(by Jenny A and Mike B)
“It’s all their fault!” I’m just going to lie here and cry into my pillow!” Lance looked at his friend Jason. Jason’s eyes were delightfully sea-blue. The sea was a notion which you found in books, and the ideas you read about it would cause you to experience it differently than if you hadn’t read such books. Lance put his fist, hard into the pillow’s end and turned over. Jason slowly awoke.
Marsha reclined on the sofa. She was the ocean itself. Her swollen vulva pressed up against eight blankets. Lance wanted his attire to be significant – It had to “rock”. Jason caught Lance’s eyes for the eighth time. Eight was the number of an octopus’s legs. “Spydiferous octopussy!” Lance said it out loud. The significance of eight was therefore droll. In this instance, any fucking would be droll, and therefore pointless. Lance wondered, if in the overall scheme of things, there was a value to drollness “in itself” but then decided against that likelihood. He already knew, from his university undergraduate course, that there was no point deciding the indecipherable.
It was the fault of things being made too complex. There was no room to manouevre any more – the more you moved, the more life locked down on you until your existence became like a grid around your head – just like in “Matrix”. "One" was truly the loneliest number of the self-centred self.
There was a knock on the door. It opened. It was Jane. “I’m hungry”, she said. “I could eat a horse.” Horses were animals with manes and tails, and the hooves and teeth would have been too boney to eat, all at once. Obviously, then, Jane meant this assertion metaphorically, although in size and demeanor, she resembled an ass.
Context is everything. Jane made this assertion standing in a university dormitory. University dormitories signify desperation and consumption of way too much caffeine. They also signify pimpled faces and immaturity, by and large. Jane’s face was clear as she made this statement, thus signifying her manipulative tendencies as an outsider. Who would pay for this horse that she would eat? Neither boy thought he had it in him. They exchanged glances again – they, too, felt hungry.
Marsha groaned. “The more things change, the more they remain the same,” she proclaimed with a wince. Her groan signified devastation; her utterance, resignation. She had caught the ‘flu, only a week out of the end of winter. How would she ever finish her essay on postmodernism? Nobody seemed to care though. If they did, they did not know how to convey it. No, they didn’t. It didn’t really matter anyway, since wanting to communicate meant reinforcing the dominant ideals of patriarchy and Marsha fancied herself a feminist, par excellence. Gosh, circumstance was immutable. It was better to shut up and preserve the name. They could all eat later, when the time was right. The significance of the correct time would be known when each felt it, synchronised, within each heart. Then, independently, and yet together, they would make their individual ways, beyond the closed door, and outside the dormitory, into the great world, the great intertextual meta-narrative.
Nobody knew the significance of this more than Lance. He knew, somehow, in a way which can neither be explained nor represented, that they would eat Korean food that day. It was just something which came to him in a flash! There was just something about the meaning of it being winter, and the likelihood of them eating Korean. However he looked at it, he couldn’t get away from that notion.
“I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed!” cried Marsha. If I don’t get this postmodernist essay done, then I might have to repeat that whole course! Tears welled in her swollen red eyes. She looked pathetic. “If you want to play with us,” asserted Lance, “ you’ll have to do better than that! You look pathetic!” he added. “Why don’t you buy some decent mascara?”
Marsha certainly seemed to be upset. Her seventies hairdo added extra sincerity to her display of emotion, however Lance remained resolute. Something within him made him think that Marsha was just aiming for a subtle game of sado-masochism. Sacrifice and confess–he would make her sacrifice and confess. Perhaps, he would wear a robe and his black leather mask.
Jason had another game in mind, however. He had grave suspicions that what really would achieve the effect he’d been hoping to with Lance was a high heaping of some good Korean Kim Chee. Kim Chee was hardly acknowledged as an aphrodisiac, and only those who had rare access to a certain multicultural knowledge could possible gauge what they were really in for.
It was a barely known fact that Korean sailors ate Kim Chee. The cross textual reference was this: Genet had also written about sailors. This was a subtle point, to be sure–and yet not one which, objectively speaking, should be overlooked. This was to be a test of mental agility and sexual daring, all at once. Would Lance have the intellectual, je ne sais quoi, to realise what was being suggested, right in front of him? As both partook of the Kim Chee, surely a transition would overcome them? They would realise that they were both dead men, fated to take whatever options still remained to them – either to become like Genet, or die wondering.
The Kim Chee had that hot pickled taste. It was true that it was made mostly of chili-soaked cabbage, but it was also made of love. Love was a concept which reminded you of warm and fuzzy things. Baby octopuses hidden under lettuce leaves, so cutely surprising. Christmas lunch with colleagues who you didn’t totally approve of... That sort of thing.
Lance decided to get into some heavy fucking. Just the thought of the Kim Chee and octopi under the lettuce leaves had done it to them, shoving it between the ass’s legs till he couldn’t cum anymore. Things were getting complex.... which was all to the better. Lance had decided to proposition Jason under eight or nine blankets. Eight signified love. Nine signified treason. Which was it to be? Certainly not ONE!
It was so hard to decide. Such is radical un-decidability. They agreed upon setting fire to the dorm instead. Only, Marsha was still in it.
What could be done? Was it an offence to female self-direction to set fire to the whole room with an actually, existing female in it? Or, was it more accurately a case of gay men’s jouissance? Neither point of view could be decided upon. A compromise would be to set fire only to the bed, in which Marsha was hiding, but it seemed a bit unfair, in terms of more conventional behaviour injunctions. Still, it was reasoned, as if by transcendent force, she would have a fighting chance, if the whole house were not on fire. Only her bed.
Midnight Oil, the band, was playing. They sung the song about beds burning, in order to protest the politics of, well, everything, but especially oppression. They sang:
How can we dance when our Earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning
Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu
The western desert lives and breathes
In forty five degrees
You could just tell that there was a great deal of anticipation in that song. One, ever so secret thing, you could surmise from it was that global warming was not a major issue. We would still be able to sleep ok, because “life goes on”. That insight had been taken to heart at an early age by both Lance and Jason as they listened to their mothers’ Beatles’ records. They knew it well by now -- it was “in” them, and that was totally normal, nothing to beat oneself up about: “Lord, liberate us from Fascism.”
A dog barked. The screams from Marsha’s burning lips – the text she spouted forth – must have been, according to some readings, horrific.
A knock came on the door. The police. A disturbance had been reported. Playing Midnight Oil at high volume had signified these dorm residents as being, “out of date” or was it, “out on a date”? What did it matter -- It wasn’t new. The postmodernist police wanted its free citizens to know that it was now the year 2005. Mayhem was ok, but would they please get with the programme.
The television came on just then via the remote control (Jane’s fat ass had just descended onto it.) Nobody knew what would happen next: Each were rivetted to their seats. Maybe this was “it” – the point when we we're all going to get “new values”. Instead a commercial: “‘Surf’ is a revolutionary new detergent”, it said – something which (from the jaded viewpoints of the students) was patently untrue. Having fringes (“bangs”, some would say) was revolutionary. Didn’t anybody know?
The T.V. news also went on to announce a textual reference – that thousands of women had been killed in “honour killings” throughout Jordan, but that was an uniformed, racist critique from a Caucasian cultural perspective that did not understand that they go to live with Allah. It was also a voice of technology speaking to their Daseins. To claim to understand it all was wrong, wrong, wrong! It could lead to textual totalitarianism and concentration camps.
Real freedom was ... much like ice, really -- disconcerting enough to tolerate when it is freezing up your gums and mouth. Impossible when it was placed onto your chest or belly.