ofelia's castle

< my eventual bloodless coup / by ofelia hunt

the room is full of me

I think, 'This room is very white and very cold and if I were an interior decorator I would probably paint the walls strangely and at angles so that people would walk strangely and at angles, and maybe approach very slowly or very quickly, or approach quickly but take a very a long time, or approach slowly but arrive in a moment or something, and I say, "I am somebody."

"What?" Chris asks. Chris removes his eyeglasses and stares at me because he wants to look intelligent.

I say, "The yellow elephant reprogrammed nineteen death robots in Sidney, Australia." I step away from Chris at an angle and walk very slowly toward the bathroom, yet I am moving swiftly and though Chris jogs to keep up, I quickly outdistance him.

"Wait!" Chris says. "Where are you going?"

I could say many things now. I could say, 'I will strangle small animals in the garden' or 'I need to check my e-mail' or 'I'm going to invent a machine that can replace humans in any workplace and really fuck up the economy,' or 'I need to steal a candy bar,' or 'I'm going to poison your mother,' or 'It's time for me to turn some tricks or something.' This is not a complete list. There are many other things could say. I say, "There are many other things I could say."

Chris says, "I don't understand." Chris flanks me, walking very slowly, and cuts me off. Chris says, "It's okay. You can stay here with me." He tries to hold my hand and hug me but I don't want him to hug me so I sort of shrink away from his hands and I do this very slowly which moves me quickly away from Chris and Chris's hands. Chris says, "What's wrong?"

I hate the question, 'What's wrong?' I think, 'I will fillet the question 'What's wrong?' with a knife for filleting fish and I will pan-fry the question 'What's wrong?' in vegetable oil over medium heat for two decades and then serve the question 'What's wrong?' to a lunchroom of prison rapists or something.' I tell all of this to Chris.

"Oh," Chris says.

I have said the wrong thing.

I think, 'This room is very white and very cold and there are too many people and these too many people should be herded carefully outside and into the parking-lot and into their own cars and their cars should be herded someplace else, like a Denny's, and then I could wait here in this very white very cold room and I could tell Chris that he should also go to the Denny's and I could think about redecorating for a while and the colors at strange angles and other things.'

The priest approaches Chris and me strangely and at odd angles and so slowly that he appears suddenly at our side. The priest has this sort of monstrously curved brow lined up and down with thick hair and he directs this brow at Chris and me and we are both shocked in a way because the brow is sort of weird and maybe lurid and it makes you want to stare but you know you shouldn't stare but you do it anyway. The priest says, "I'm sorry."

"Oh," I say.

The priest has said the wrong thing.

I go into the bathroom. Chris doesn't follow me into the bathroom. The bathroom is a little room and it is comfortable and very much like a cocoon, but bright and with tiles and one toilet and one sink. I turn on the sink. I flush the toilet. "I'm sorry," I say to the sink. "I'm sorry," I say to the toilet. "I used you both for many years," I say, "and I never thanked you at all and you gave me so much cool and comfortable water which is really something that I shouldn't have expected so easily. In history people had to go to the water, but you bring it to me and take it away from me and stuff." I sit on the toilet. I flush the toilet again. There is a faint knock on the bathroom door. "I'm sorry bathroom door," I say to the bathroom door. "Chris doesn't know how much that hurts." I stand on the toilet seat. "I'm sorry toilet seat," I say. I look out the narrow window to the parking-lot and watch the shiny shoes of old men as they move up and then down and then to the side.

I hear tapping on the bathroom door again.

"What?" I ask.

I hear some muffled words.

"I'm coming," I say.

I open the door and I look up at Chris and Chris's little black eyes as Chris's little black eyes look at my little pale face.

"Your shoes aren't shiny," I say.

"What?" Chris asks.

"It doesn't matter anyway," I say.

"It's okay."

Chris is scratching his eye and he is not being careful and it is a little scary because he could scratch his eye badly and he could go blind and then he would never watch television again and he likes to watch television, which is really tragic actually and I think, 'I have to stop him from going blind.' I say, "Don't go blind Chris, you will go blind if you keep scratching your eye."

"Huh?" Chris says.

"I'm sorry Chris," I say. "I'm terrible and terribly mean to you." I think, 'I should destroy this white room and remake this white room so that everyone in this white room can feel happy and energetic and so that Chris can sit comfortably and not stand next to me and not worry about what I might say at every moment.' I think, 'I should be disqualified as a human being.' I feel alternately like an alien and like a robot, and I also feel like I can't talk to Chris anymore because I can't. "I am disqualified," I say to Chris.

I go outside.

I apologize to my little Honda. "I'm disqualified," I say.

At the grocery store, I tell the grocery clerk.

"Your money's still good here," the grocery clerk says.

At the park, I tell a small girl.

"You're funny," the little girl says.

When I type it to some guy I don't know in Australia, he types back that he's disqualified too. He types, 'We should have crazy disqualified sex in my camper.'

I type back, 'I am a hermaphrodite.'

He types back, 'Oh.'

I am not a hermaphrodite. I call Chris with my cell-phone and I leave him a long message about being disqualified and also to apologize for being weird earlier and I hang up, but then I feel nervous about the message because I think I probably said the wrong thing and I don't want Chris to hear the message because he will think I am strange and awkward.

I drive my little Honda to Chris's apartment and I sneak into Chris's apartment through the window and I search Chris's apartment for his cell-phone but I don't find his cell-phone and instead I feel dizzy because his walls aren't quite straight and his floor isn't quite level and his furniture is colorful and strangely angled. I feel a little sick. I lay on Chris's couch. I take a nap.

Chris wakes me up. He's just come home from work. Chris says, "What are you doing here?"

"I don't know," I say. "Trying to become requalified," I say. I don't mean it. I think, 'I should redecorate this apartment, I should destroy this apartment and create this apartment and redecorate it.' I think, 'I should destroy Chris and create Chris and redecorate Chris.' I say to Chris, "I will destroy you."

"Go ahead," Chris says.