Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
Frances Bone lays on her bed. Her stomach hurts as she constricts and her fingernails dig in as she pulls herself ever tighter into herself. Tight as a fern fronds suffocating spiral and like it she will become a fist, balled and bristling and shunning of light.
She blinks and her self-pity flows into her snot and then through the grooves in her lips before coursing down into her throat.
Her neck lolls and she gazes up and her look catches on the webs that hang heavy and dead with the dust. She traces the line where the wall meets the ceiling. She follows it into the spot where all points converge, she follows it into a corner.
“I am mad!”, she cries out.
“You’re angry?”, frowns the Corner.
“I’m bat-shit fucking crazy.”
“Oh, you’re that kind of mad?”
“I’m talking to a wall, aren’t I?”
“People talk to walls all the time. Sometimes they shout, sometimes they swear as they try and take money out of them and some even poke them full of messages to their gods. At least, so I’m told. Don’t get out much.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“You’re painfully thin”, retorts the Corner.
“Your conversation is painfully thin”, snaps Frances, rolling onto her back, cracking the bones in her neck.
“Do you mind if I…”, begins the Corner.
“… smoke?”, finishes Frances.
“Do you mind if I lie to you?”
“Go ahead. Why not? I have no idea what truth even is.”
“OK. So, one day very soon a man will approach you. You’ll know him by the way in which his nose dips with every word that he utters. Like he’s sending Morse code with its tip.”
“Is he sending a message?”
“Your lies are very specific.”
“This man will offer you a card, it is an ornately embossed business card. Take it. There will be a number on said card. Ring it. The voice that answers will be that of a woman of Eastern European extraction. She is Montenegrin and she will tell you of a place. A black doorway that will lead you down and into a vast underground hanger. There, you’ll discover a craft. Your ship. A great neuro-plastic surging beast that you will grip and wrestle into submission. More than a ship, it will become your dearest friend and together you’ll reach out and map the great expansive nothingness of forever. Yeah, so that’s what you’ll do, you’ll knock around the universe discovering shit and having adventures, like forever and ever.”
“That’s it? Kind of lost me toward the end and the start didn’t make much sense and, well, the middle that was just lazy.”
“Told you it was a lie, I was making the bloody thing up as I went along. Felt good though, right?”
“Stepping aboard your ship and feeling its anger and fear bristle up through your fingers as you calmed it?”
“No. OK, it did, a bit.”
“A bit is OK.”
“I see what you’re doing, you know?”
“We’re an enlightened lot, we the confederacy of the cornice.”
Frances grips her pillow and she cries a bit more and she hates herself a bit and she picks away at the scabs of her scars a bit, and then she smiles – a bit.
“Might just go out later. For a walk, or I might just not”, she says.
“You’re the captain Frances, just…”
“Just that, well… these cobwebs aren’t going to clean themselves. Just saying that throwing a broom up here from time to time wouldn’t hurt”, coughs a grumbling echo from the darkest corner of the ceiling.