Surrealscape # 3

A ballroom by the sea. Inside, the ballroom was dipped in red and gold, awash in gold. Jazzy, nineteen-twenties opulence smeared surfaces: lamps, chairs, mirrors, moldings. Guests felt intoxicated before even getting to the bar, and also slightly naughty without yet having done anything illicit. Floor-to-ceiling windows opened out to the ocean. The ocean was green. When the sun set, it drenched the room in more gold, until it was gold squared, gold cubed, until people looked into each others’ faces and saw only black pupils in a sea of buttery twilight. Outside the ocean changed from green to black.

Spicy ostrich and quail egg hors d’œurvres (the contrast in size a premeditated aesthetic) were circulated by mute waiters in gold tuxedos. The guests were in for more culinary treats. Bride and groom had planned a roast pheasant main course; great quantities of giant birds came sizzling into the room on waiter’s trays. Trays dispersed pockets of odors – aromatic bubbles of rosemary and thyme. Ooohs and aaahs attested to the succulence of such a delicacy. Cocktails glittered in their glassware as red wine threw its reflections wantonly about, and drunken capering was the order of the day. One lady became soused enough to start twirling around the giant room with her tongue stuck out in the air. When her agitated date pleaded her to sit back down and behave, she shrieked “I want to TAAASTE the goldenness, I want to taste it!”

The marmoset, well trained of course, was given the privilege of slicing the cake. The couple stood smiling behind him. With two tiny paws he cut thick slabs of red. A rich red, no little green flowers to be had. Even a simple inversion was too cliché for the bride and groom. No, instead – grey marzipan shapes, moths and scorpions, cavorting about on five huge tiers of flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, egg. To them, familiar omens of transformation, death and rebirth. To the rest, only odd but scrumptious almond paste treats.

On arrival, each guest had been given a feather. No direction was provided as to its purpose or usage. A few ladies pinned theirs to hats or hair, while some of the men placed them gingerly in breast pockets. Two particularly irreverent women snapped the feathers in their pocketbooks. One old man, an eccentric among eccentrics, laid his feather on his tongue in anticipation of some wild, drug-induced euphoria.

The ceremony had been on the sand, with tangerine afternoon sky and green sea spume behind. Ill-prepared ladies kept sinking into the particulate mass. Gravity, an indifferent sort of fellow, yanked on their pump heels with force, but they refused to remove the shoes and stand bare-footed, chorusing “it will ruin the majesty.”

The majesty was simulated by a glossy, emerald gown dropping to pool around her feet. Liquid green pooled on sand, kept together not by cohesion/hydrophilia but by hemlines. The majesty was simulated by red lipstick on her pale yellow face. Red rose tattoos on her bare arms for everyone to admire. She wore them there on purpose (the complimentary colours a premeditated aesthetic). Majesty, his black suit with blood-red piping. The simulation stopped short with the absence of a tie, and then a small charm on a chain blasted the majesty into fragments. He had had his hair cut and styled into an enormous mohawk. Years earlier she had told him, “I find you sexiest this way.” He had had many hairstyles since then, had long ago grown out of the way this one looked, but he styled it one last time for her. It had been a surprise. The only surprise in their day so minutely planned.

Presiding over the couples vows was a blind man and his marmoset. The monkey sat beside him on a stool in the sand, playing an organ with passable skill. The man and woman read their vows, not loudly, not too softly, but very much to one another, as if alone. Guests sinking in the sand felt that they were unjustly made to feel like eavesdroppers. There were no rings. Whisperings among the parents on both sides, and the bride’s girlfriends. Counterculture yes, but no rings? “Inconsistent, all this…” murmured one very face-pierced lady to her neighbor. “Yes, puzzling, where they chose to challenge, where they chose to keep…” the teal-haired neighbor softly replied.

Up at the parking lot in front of the ballroom, guests threw gold sequins at the newlyweds. The pavement looked like night sky. There was a mountain motorcycle ride, and then the merrymaking, smalltalking, wellwishing…eating of birds and red cake. The longer it went on, the more people forgot the awkward feelings, the subtle oddities. Good old-fashioned debauchery warmed their hearts. No one was prepared.

Towards midnight, the bride and groom slipped off. A room filled with [other bird] feathers. A small back room, with feathers like a game room ballpit for kiddies, to drown in. The walls containing them. The walls creating depth. This feather sea. And of the lovers’ choosing: slow suffocation: sweet soft death. Plumage tickles her throat his nostrils as they cough silently, writhe downily, squirm delectibly. Their plan all along. A lovers’ pact: their nihilistic but saccharine dream. But not a dream – an inevitability. For these two, no other option really.

However, its finality will shock the bewildered parents and friends. The groom’s best man will discover them. He will step, highly perplexed, calling his longtime friend’s name, over broken [other bird] egg shells that pepper the entrance to the room. (They wanted to cross a border of crackle before their descent into softness.) When he finds them in the chaos of plumes, their mouths filled with down, lifeless and clutching each other, he will scream and run out to the ballroom. Invitees will pour into the doorway, and then…

Shrieks, wails, retching of half-digested pheasant.

”Just after such a joyous, life-affirming event! How COULD they?!”

“It’s totally absurd! The madness…”

“Who could have envisioned such a tragedy…”

The answer is: only the marmoset. In fact, he knew in a solid way. But only because his brain was not crowded by the extra ephemera that so crowds humans’ brains. It was much lighter. Only room for the essentials. And he didn’t fault the young couple. It was an at-the-beginning sort of thing. They had learned to make love on stacks of pillows – on, between and under pillows. They had courted death on numerous occasions. It was the only true way to cement their obsession for each other. Life was too messy. Life was too hemmed in by time.

In death: the young woman and the young man are now able to set their own Time. The man whispers “shhhh – there, there, slow down a bit,” and Time draws in its long, swinging arms and legs. The woman hisses “now – GO, GO, run quickly” and Time positions its limbs/itself for the marathon. [A tall, loping fellow, with top hat and coattails.] All throughout life, he and she at odds with the temporal band. Then, in death, Time went to their side. He shook their hands, first the woman’s, then the man’s, and said, “You have crossed the magic line, with both feet, both of you yes, yes you have. Now we can be friends and I am not unglad.” The couple looks at each other, remembering, humor in their eyes. They remember, but also experience, and look forward to simultaneously. Because Time, as a matter of course, goes in all directions here. As such, eternity is made bearable. Unless, of course, one was unwise enough to make It an enemy on this side of the border as well. Those are the ones to be pitied. For then the beautiful vistas coalesce quickly into dismal nothingness.

For there are beautiful vistas in death. Death is mostly water, but the water is pleasantly warm. Waves tap gently on distant shores. The shores are visible, but can never be reached. To the East (based on an arbitrary assigning of compass directions) rise magnificent crimson mountains, shrouded in tomato-cream mist. To the South, gigantic pillars climb hundreds of feet into the air. The lovers like nothing better than to gaze at them in silent contemplation. Their heavily textured, multicolored detail is lost across the expanse, but it is the juxtaposition of posts, sticking up at different heights and varying distances to each other, that entertains the newlyweds.

Eons of the deceased are submerged in these waters. The bride and groom bump elbows with some of them. A plesiosaurus crawls through; a Tasmanian emu crawls by; everywhere the tiniest microbial organisms are tickling ones’ outsides and insides. Six millennia of humans bathe in the hazy soup. It is crowded but strangely calm. The couple floats, arm in arm. “This is where we belong” they say.

~ by kingzoko on June 28, 2010.

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