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Authors: T.M. Wright

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Spider on My Tongue

BOOK: Spider on My Tongue
10.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

By T. M. Wright

First Digital Edition published by Crossroad Press & Macabre Ink Digital

Copyright 2011 by T. M. Wright

Cover Design by David Dodd – Copy-edited by Kurt Criscione


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A note from the author – T. M. Wright

~ * ~

The characters you will meet in this novella will be new to you if you haven't read the first two books in the "Manhattan Ghost Story" trilogy--"A Manhattan Ghost Story," and "The Waiting Room."

I have been told by people who know about such things, that this book, third in the trilogy, is "one weird little book."
It was designed that way, of course, because when a book talks about death and love and "otherlife" it's best, for me at least, that it's weird because, hell, what do we really know about death and love and "otherlife," after all?

Which, of course, begs the question--is it necessary to read the first two weird books in the trilogy in order to understand the weirdness of this one?
But it might help.
Otherwise, it's a matter of deciphering the weirdnesss, of making it rational weirdness, I guess.
But if you're not averse to such a task, go ahead and read "Spider" as a stand-alone.

By the way, the main character here, Abner Cray--who's been pining for his lost love Phyllis Pellaprat since the end of "A Manhattan Ghost Story" is not up to always telling this story in a coherent manner.
Forgive him.
He has little idea what "otherlife" he's in, or what "the passing misery" beyond his door has in store for him.

--T.M. Wright.

With love for Chloe, Tara and Ella,
my grandchildren

I have learned this too: pettiness survives. And jealousy: And

pretension, fear, loneliness, depression. I have learned that the living

have not yet cornered the market on misery.

—Abner Cray, 1984,

"A Manhattan Ghost Story"

June 8, 2006, 3:30 PM

Here's something you desperately need to know: the world you live in is not the world you
you live in, and if you try to live in it believing you
it, one day you'll find yourself surprised way beyond the powers of your poor synapses to express surprise—as if a spider has suddenly climbed into your mouth and bitten you on the tongue and made you unable to move, or swallow, or spit..

That is what I live with constantly. A spider on my tongue.

My name is Abner W. Cray and, long ago, I knew lots of things—what time to get up in the morning, what to do after I got up, what to do after that, who to kiss and who to avoid and who to listen to, who to be afraid of, or joke with, what tasks to leave until later and what to accomplish within the moment that was upon me.

Now, this day (this beautiful, grotesque morning) I have only a spider on my tongue. Now I can not move, or swallow, or spit.

And here's something else you need to know: You can not trust me, or anyone, about anything. You can not even trust yourself because I can not trust
—about my survival, about my death (whether it has happened or will happen or should happen), about those who crowd me constantly in this little house, about the places I can go to, about the places I can never go to again, even though I've been to those places ten thousand times in what surely has been one-hundred thousand years.

~ * ~

June 9, 8:00

Beautiful morning, grotesque morning—like a cherubic face with a bleached skull beneath the skin. And that describes all of us—you and me, the UPS delivery man, the shapely woman in green (whose eye is easy to catch), the neighbor who stalks your cat because it kills songbirds, the sibling you foolishly thought you knew so well, the lover who leaves you with a godawful mess.

"Do you know what you
I say to some of those who crowd around me here, as if I am simply nonexistent, or as if my existence were no great matter, and I see them (certainly I do) cock their heads or shrug their shoulders or raise their eyebrows to tell me I'm being impossibly stupid or that the question simply doesn't pertain.

It is not their open mouths or their poor plastic smiles or their marbled eyes that so disturb, it is their foaming and enthusiastic ignorance which proclaims loudly that others in their universe (which is
universe, too) welcome that ignorance and want to share it. Perhaps in a kiss.

Phyllis Pellaprat is elsewhere. And everywhere. At last. She came to me (long ago) when it should have been impossible for her to come to me, and impossible for me to take her, and she gave me as much of herself as she was able to give, then dissipated, like smoke.

You know her, you knew her: she shared your bed and tickled you at all the right times, in all the right places; she made much and nothing of her nakedness and her mischievous predilections; she said you were her world made of skin and hair and cartilage; she saw you even when you were nowhere near, and, at last, she left you only after she shed many tears, as if leaving you were an impossible task, but she left you nonetheless.

She was as real as pain, and that was something she could no more avoid than she could have avoided her life, and her death.

I think I love her as much as God allows, and I say that as someone, now, who has every reason to believe in a God, but doesn't.

~ * ~

1:45 PM

If you want me to take you back to the beginning of this tale, I won't, I can't. And I can't because I don't want to. If you had written previously, and almost endlessly, about your stupidity and (some would say) your perversion, would you want to look backward at it, or even
backward at it, for Christ's sake! That would smack of masochism, and I'm not a masochist. (Although you must remember what I wrote earlier. Trust me and I may disappoint you, because I can't trust myself. Existence, however, is a lot more interesting that way, don't you think?)

~ * ~

2:30 PM

The snot-nosed kid selling puppies on Fifth Avenue (little muttlies, of course, but fucking damned cute) was a real heartbreaker. But then, that's what he was supposed to be (a heartbreaker). Clichés are the stock in trade of these poor creatures.

Like the phantom taxi driver who drove as if the Manhattan streets were filled only with air:

And Kennedy Whelan, the rotund detective looking for murder:

And the cynical editor who was sure that "literature" could serve her only if it served the masses:

And Stacey, the gorgeous second cousin of the lead male in these poor stories, who tickled his sensibilities:

And Phyllis Pellaprat herself, who showed him what love could be, then showed him that she'd been lying all along, though she hadn't known it.

What a bag of clichés.

If I could, I'd spit.

~ * ~

5:15 PM

It's a neat little house I live in, now—as small as my ambitions, but airy and livable, at least when I arrived not too awfully long ago. My neighbors are far enough away that they might as well be invisible, which suits me fine, and there are ample woods to walk in, and a hundred narrow paths winding through them. In this place, at least at first, I had a never-ending late spring and enough sun and storms and gray skies to keep me from becoming bored or complacent.

It's rare that anyone comes to my door. It has happened only twice, in fact—middle-age men asking to hunt on my land: I said no each time, though, minutes later, I could hear the low, rumbling chatter of their shotguns. I didn't chase these hunters down in order to shoo them away: In the ordinary sense of the word, at least, I'm not stupid.

(You're wondering, of course, if you can trust what I just told you. I'd say yes, but then you'd ask if you could trust
and when I said yes, again, you'd repeat your question, and we'd go round and round and round and this little narrative would never get written. And, good Lord, it
to get written.)

We're talking about real time. What I put down on paper, here, has happened, or is happening, or will happen, or is continuing to happen. That's the sort of universe this is—where all things happen in all tenses, and in tenses you've never experienced, too. Such a fascinating place, this universe—a place where I can remember, and rest, and die (which I'll get around to sooner or later).

Please don't trust me. Not everything I say is a lie, as far as I know, but I'm a miserably unreliable narrator. It's not that I want to be unreliable, but I really know
so I attempt to interpret what I experience, and I have no way of knowing if my interpretations are correct because
is correct here, just as, for instance, people are never at a "correct" age, and rainfall is never a "correct" amount: we can not control age or rainfall, so the idea of the "correctness" of age or rainfall simply doesn't pertain.

BOOK: Spider on My Tongue
10.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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