There is a motorcycle parked outside Packer’s apartment building. He doesn’t know who it belongs to but he suspects that it belongs to a man visiting the girl next door and that he will be forced to endure listening to his coital-eructations later tonight.

Packer drops the keys on the kitchen counter and appraises the dirty dishes in the sink before deciding on tackling the job at a later date. Gathering the mail, likewise, is a task that will have to wait. He opens the door to his bedroom and kicks his shoes off in different directions, then closes the door.

There is a silence in his apartment that is at the same time comforting and chilling, like running your fingers along the steel on your favorite hunting knife.  The air is stale and besotted with a grim Dostoyevskian funk. He wonders ruefully when the moaning will start.

There’s a neglected fern in the corner of the room, standing like amnesia’s sentinel. It droops with six years of dust. Dead skin cells coat its green leaves. Packer makes a note to water it in the morning and turns on the TV. Over the shoulder of the newscaster is a chalk outline of a homicide  —  a horrible act of man’s barbarous brutality represented by a cartoon shape. Packer turns the TV off.

He sits on his couch, like he does every night, and closes his eyes. Buddhist monks wouldn’t recognize it as meditating, but Packer enters a realm of no-thought where the curtains of our shared temporal reality are ripped down and a numinous window is revealed, and the vision is he sees through it from the other side provides him with a delirious, warm reassurance that covers him like an amniotic Snuggie© as the detritus of time dissolves slowly and tenderly inside drywall and shower grime.


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