‘Remote’, 1722 // fiction

First published on For Every Year (June 15th 2013) //

Remote
Sunken in the turmoil of a memory-foam mattress, Jacob stares at his blank television, his wife next to him, Anna, pear-shaped as a cashew apple ripe for harvest. They have straight backs and flat shoes like all good god-fearing natives.In the air, two floating cups of coffee, black, unsugared, appear from off-screen and pour out onto their closed mouths, until empty.
Add several hours: their swaddling-clothed newborn floating close by, its little button eyes watch over them judgementally. The baby’s hovering produces a hum; sound of an unthreatened UFO.
Suspended lightly in baby’s hands: the telescope, gold, extended; in its glass the baby’s eye, massive, blinking and marginally less button-like.
Jaco twists his neck to check that yes, they are still under surveillance.
Land ahoy, the baby whispers sarcastically, making eye contact.Jac untwists his neck and goes back to normal, sinking deeper into memory-foam.
As he falls deeper, Ja blinks twenty four times in a second – eyelashes going everywhere – and he repeats this act again to form one memory.
Then J does this thing with his lungs.Then Ann slyly switches eyes left-to-right and, not for the first time since our introduction, does so in a mode of suspicion.
J squeezes his eyelids shut and imagines ocean. The baby’s buzzing grows so loud into the room as to form a distraction. Jsqueezes his eyelids, harder and harder, until his eyeballs pop and drop back into his skull, so that he is blinded forever.
All things, including air,
should afford the oculars
a bustier relief
, the baby announces,
as if crying.
J is crying now too. He is blinking twenty four times in a second but has no eyeballs to moisturise. He is distraught at having misplaced his eyeballs.
Baby lowers its telescope and is being up front when it says, more friendly than before:
Don’t worry about it.
I am a seed, not a nut,
and you my false fruit
, whilst blocking the television with its dangly blanket.

Repeat after me
, the baby begins, then gives up and falls too into depressed sobbing.
The hum grows more electric and crackles with its watery atmosphere.
Add several hours: baby floats over mother, slow, its depressive tears descending steadily through air, and splashing onto her pupils. (Their heads are approximately one half foot apart.) Babyis accurate when it drops tears onto moth’s eyeball. An electric situation.
Moth nods, floats tear-drop up into baby, doing the best she can.Baby does a face when it lands. Mother blinks up, tears swapping eyeballs in steady streams.
‘Er what are you going to do about this, Jacob?’ Ann enquires.
Baby looks at them, expectant of answers.
The room is quiet, blank television watching on.
Baby tosses telescope sideways, lifts TV remote and aims it somewhat vaguely.
With an open palm, baby presses down on POWER, saysPOWER in a deep voice, and they each wait patiently for the effect to take hold.
The TV fizzles, winks on, winks again, and produces in its rectangle the image.
The image:
(IMAGE)
flickering one into the next, then the next, and the next, and so on, until, received by their human eyeballs, it produces an illusion of movement, an illusion of life, equal parts this, equal parts that.
Baby floats over (italic), weeping.
Blind, (italic) says, in answer to the question:
“I am only Easter Island. I am only false fruit,”
and his sockets fill like boats
with salt water and colonies
while room explodes.
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