Eric Beeny is the author of a small novel, The Dying Bloom (Pangur Ban Party, 2009), a story collection, Snowing Fireflies (Folded Word Press, 2010) and a poetry collection, Of Creatures (Gold Wake Press, 2011). His blog is
Dead End on Progressive Ave.
Seth often existed without motive, so he invited his condition over to his place to prove he’d learned to ignore it.
Of course, it got there, and began coaxing Seth into thinking it never really left.
“I know,” Seth admitted, “I know.”
Seth was the only one Seth’s condition ever got along with, the only one it could trust to believe it had life.
Seth felt obligated to examine his condition since it had a hard time speaking on its own behalf.
Seth asked his condition if it wanted to visit his friends, but his condition convinced him it wasn’t worth it to go, even call.
“Wanna visit my folks?” Seth asked.
“No, I wouldn’t want to embarrass you,” Seth’s condition said.
When Seth did manage to get out, against his condition’s wishes, it stayed home alone.
Then Seth felt guilty, couldn’t help thinking about his condition, about what his condition was doing right now.
All the artifacts Seth had collected over the years he didn’t want to think about anymore.
He kept them on display: His birth certificate laminated and placed on the mantel over the fireplace next to an old Rubik’s Cube—the stickers peeling a bit at the edges—, faded paintings of wheat fields and seaside villas hung on the walls—the paint cracked a bit like soup skin—, a pile of broken televisions and computer monitors sculptured in the corner—their screens like broken windows and nothing good to see out of them anyway—, inviting his condition over to look at them (though, his condition never really left).
Seth’s condition would say things like, “Huh,” and “Oh, my.”
He’d ask his condition for advice on how to care for these artifacts, these relics like photographs of strange chance meetings of long lost lovers or camera footage of failed robbery attempts with hands up against gun barrels and Miranda Rights read in blown-open bank vaults, Monopoly money fluttering like leaves plucked from the bank’s branch by gentle plastic explosive shockwaves, an economic autumn.
Seth’s condition would yawn, secretly make plans to visit with Seth’s memories like old friends Seth never liked who so often showed up on his front porch without calling first to see if he’d even gotten out of bed yet.
Seth couldn’t sleep.
He tore the carpet up, wrapped it around himself like a blanket and stared at all the artifacts he’d collected over the years and didn’t want to think about anymore.
What were these things?
These parts of himself he thought he could identify with?
How did he come to own such strange memorabilia?
Eventually, Seth got to get sick from the layers of dust like peach fuzz growing on all these artifacts he couldn’t take care of anymore.
He moved them all into their own boxes to live, closed and taped the flaps like cracked shingles on their orphanage roofs.
He put them all in a big room at the back of the house where he didn’t have to think about them anymore.
Seth never goes in there.
No room to move.
He accidentally broke the key off in the lock.
The rest of the house, its rooms now were empty.
All he kept was the old Rubik’s Cube.
There are echoes we never hear, hiding in small empty boxes Seth calls rooms.
Seth hides these rooms in a bigger box he calls a house, his hands holding a smaller box he calls a Rubik’s Cube.
The Rubik’s Cube is in the shape of a house Seth calls a house.
The house is dark inside, like where we live.
Seth inhales the darkness, its white mist filling his lungs like water, my lungs creaking like wood.
I can do it, he says, gurgling.
Seth’s hands twisting the stories of this house, he rearranges the rooms he calls rooms inside this house where we live in darkness like a rainbow’s shadow.
We’re in a green room, second story.
Seth twists, wood of this house creaking like water in our lungs, his fingers twirling these rooms, their colors, around us.
The living room is yellow and slides out from under an upstairs bedroom, blue, the walls cracking in half, floorboards snapping like bone, the bedroom dropping to the first story, the living room sliding on top of it.
A section of the attic breaks off, revolves around the side of the house like a square Ferris wheel, stops upside down in the dining room.
We tumble around and fall through these rooms Seth calls rooms, in this house Seth calls a house—where we live.
We fall into a white bedroom.
Seth twists each story, each side of the house, the front porch and back patio, shredding the concrete driveway like cardboard, digging up the garden in back and the lawn out front like paddlewheels on a steamboat, soil sifted and pouring like water from the patio deck, grinding crushed plastic garden furniture in the Earth.
This house shifting around us, Seth twists again.
Light like sperm flows through cracks which open and close between these rooms, smearing the colors of the rooms’ shadows.
The house is still, quiet, and we listen, hearing the echoes of rooms filled with our absences falling into and out of them.
I open my mouth to speak, water pouring out, some dark green seaweed unfurling like a tongue.
Seth twists again.
We slide down a hallway and slam into a locked door.
Seth says, No, and twists again.
We slide again down the hallway, through one room, into another—we fall through a blue window, land on the front lawn.
We look up at the house.
Nothing’s been solved....