“Yes, sir, you have three letters, and what looks like an application for a bank card.”
B. ripped a corner from the offending application and placed it on his tongue. He stared the concierge in the eyes as the tongue was withdrawn and B.’s jaw began to masticate. An even tempo. And then he swallowed. B. thought for a second, then handed the envelope back with the words, “No thank you, it tastes like shit.”
The concierge handed B. a bottle of spring water.
“Thank you. Do you have a mint?”
“Of course, sir.”
B. entered his room, crossed the floor and sat down at the desk. He recognised the writing on two of the envelopes…fuck it…he opened a bottle of wine and then did the same to the correspondence from his mother.
I’m filing for divorce; your father has become intolerable; any interaction with me has to be preceded by wine-
B. finishes the glass and pours another, wondering what he’s going to have for lunch.
-and he never listens to a word I say anyway; too busy thinking about his bloody stomach! I swear that if I don’t divorce him soon I’ll end up running a knife through it. Could you be a love and write to that lovely, young, solicitor friend of yours with whom you went to school? I’d do it myself but I’ve misplaced his details-
B. walks to the window and considers throwing himself out. He turns and walks back to the desk.
-and can’t for the life of me remember his name, nor his practice; I wouldn’t know where to look for him. Soon as you can, darling.-
B. slips the solicitor’s business card into an envelope, seals it, writes his mother’s name and address on the front, and flings it across the room towards the door. Tops up his glass.
-And get your sister to contact me; why can’t she be more like you.
Your loving mother.
Mother’s filing for divorce again; I think she wants some sort of applause; I’m convinced she believes that this is the first time, and that her years of martyrdom must surely come to an end; although the martyrs actually had to die in order to become martyrs…she genuinely sees the death of a non-relationship as akin to that, like she’s struggled against an oppressor; she’s at least set the groundwork for subjugated women of the future to build upon, it’s just that her depleted soul hasn’t the strength to carry it all the way through for herself. I don’t remember reading anywhere that it was a prerequisite for one to struggle in order to be strong; like there’s some sort of rite of passage one has to go through otherwise you’re not the real deal; and even if you’re weak at the end of it you can still be classed as strong because you survived, or you’re allowed to be weak because you survived; if one is weak innately then one is inferior and has no right to comment. I’d punch her if it didn’t prove her point.-
B. smiles, then frowns, then sups. He suspects that there is a question lurking in the letter somewhere; it annoyed him having to read something twice for information that wasn’t explicit; especially if it was so mundane a thing as a letter…it’s not a bloody story; just tell me what you want.
-Anyway, that was just a rant; you can ignore all that. I shan’t go to see her; I’d only make things worse-
“Not if you just shut up you wouldn’t.”
-and it’s sure to just blow over anyway like the last time. Anyway, how’s the money situation? Do you need some?
All my love all ways,
P.S. Did you buy the book?
B. needed some air; the windows were heavy and he was feeling weak so he headed up to the roof. He dangled his legs over the edge and lit a cigarette. He held his glass of wine in front of him, peering over it at the street below, estimating at what point he’d need let it go in order to maim or murder…three meals a day, roof over your head, no money worries, no fashions to fail to understand…the thought of burglary made him wince, but one could always practice beforehand. Best not drop the glass yet then.
I am writing to you with regards your letter detailing the trouble you appear to be having in retrieving your money from one of our nationwide and extremely accessible cashpoint machines; no other bank offers so great a number of these machines as us. I am fully aware however, that the number may as well be zero for all the good they’re doing you, sir.
As you know our recently cleaned system may well have suffered an extremely rare transmogrification when reassembled following the crucial cleaning process; it now recognises neither your name nor your card number, and sadly I have been unable to attempt recognition of your address, as provided for the purpose of this return letter, for the simple yet decisive reason that it is not the one you initially used when setting up the account. Could you please rectify this with all due expediency.
Thank you in anticipation.
Thank you very much for sending in the address with which you used to set up your account with us. Sadly it was unsuccessful in being recognised.
My apologies sir, for the previous letter; it was posted too soon. Whilst I would indeed love to set up another account for you, I’m afraid that that is impossible due to the fact that your details are already in use with a live account; in order to set up a new account we would have to access your current account in order to close it down, but of course if we could access your current account there would be no need to close it down as that is the very thing we’re looking for.
It seems that my department has done all they can do with regards this matter; we are in a position, however, to pass all this information on to the appropriate department that will be able to deal with the problem, and they will contact you as soon as we have alerted them.-
An hour had passed. B. began pacing his room. It closes in on him in a beautifully detailed way; the grains in the wood wave to him; the humming of the heater tells him in which direction he should walk; the chandelier displays each one of its arms…grace, as a word, is inadequate; any manifestation of thought into physical presence is going the wrong way. The thought that is B. leaves his room and travels down the corridor; the glowing walls of his mind channel this thought past the myriad rooms of distraction, with each successfully answered question the corridor gets wider, the walls glow brighter, the carpet displays every fibre of its being as it interacts with the soul of B.’s feet; next floor; the train of thought is ready for the subsequent level of enlightenment; carpet throbs; interconnecting doors flow open and inch shut; you know this; where is the question; the end of the corridor is reached, the idea of going back downstairs aches B.’s very core, the idea of ascending to the next is preposterous; turn around, you have not finished with this level; you know this; it’s not all sunshine and skittles, sometimes it’s brutal and self-immolating; answer the question; what is it you think you are doing; B. is getting somewhere, this thought’s got legs; this is a beautiful place to be, it’s not as tired and worn down as it once seemed but an hour before; enjoy it; what is your obsession with time; B. needs a point of reference; what is your obsession with time; answer the question; there is no question; correct answer; what has been answered; next floor, this is the top floor, this is a heightened place to be; there is superiority up here, there is knowledge, it is everywhere, there is no need to look; B. is maintaining, B. is connected; fear of communication with a fellow human being does not exist up here; all is known; all is present; what is your obsession with time; what is it you think you are doing; what is it…you think…you are doing; maintaining; for what purpose; to avoid doing; you lame shit; there’s a fearful place that has yet to be explored, it has been ignored, B. must go there; it means sinking back through the lower reaches; it’s located on the other side of the hotel; purposefully to remind B. what it feels like to pass back past the doors leading to the physically constructed world; he can stay in these corridors for as long as he wishes; his legs will not ache, he will not feel hunger, he will not need sleep, there is a genuine job of maintenance that needs to be carried out; but this is not the top floor; this is not knowledge; this is not the reason; B. must go to the place he fears, for he cannot stay here; his core aches, he yawns, his legs ache, moving from one phase to the next, this is exhausting; the carved wooden steps await him, his eyes are alert, his legs cease to ache; this is a beautiful room, there is nothing to fear here; why have you created this; what is it you think you are doing; why have you created this; the carvings so vivid; B. needs fresh air; he sees it through the leaded glass; his vision doubles again at the thought of going back downstairs; again a yawn accompanies the movement to the next phase; temperature is not considered; why have you created this; B. turns to look at the construction of his mind…it’s beautiful…what are you going to do with it.