A Tale of Madness, Prostitutes and Faulkner… and Dead Hobos
My third attempt at reading Absalom, Absalom! failed; after eight pages I had a seizure and flew into a drunken murderous rage, despite having not a drop to drink while reading, killed several hobos and mounted their heads on the hood of the canary yellow ’76 Cadillac El Dorado I stole from a Puerto Rican Octogenarian Prostitute while she delivered homemade macramé plant hangers to the petting zoo behind the Mayor’s sandcastle.
The Mayor was displeased with her gifts of handwoven floral condominiums and refused her payment, to which his constituents rejoiced believing him to have rejected the sexual advances and street walker solicitations of this grandmother of thirty-nine.
With Rosa’s repetitious ramblings and repeated repudiations still ringing in my ears I saw no end in sight, should I have been able to see at all through the twitching and tweaking of my eyes, I continued my ride of terror setting my sights or such as my sights were on the domiciled and homeless alike, daring any head to cross my hood and live to rest another day upon its neck.
And so the Octogenarian Prostitute returned with her now sweat crested flabby caramel arms laden with the only honest wares she’d ever offered a man to find her car gone, the only proof of its existence and former conveyance of her to that spot a pair of smoking black trails of rubber and the carcass of the first panhandler to cross my path, split in two lengthwise in my spider monkey-like frenzy, Faulkner induced insanity.
But now being carless and abandoned and twicely embarrassed by man the Octogenarian threw down her macrame and clenched her soul and cried out for her Legion of grandchildren begotten of the very city that had refused her honest living with her handwoven treasures or at the very least begotten of the men of that city who’d haggled with her, and reasonably so, and reduced her worth to that which even she was embarrassed by it, a task not easily accomplished you would agree should you have gazed mercifully sparingly–for your sake sparingly–at her starter home-like girth or shambling duckish gait.
Her Legion of progeny abandoned their street corners and shady dark alleys where they supplied this waylaid city with its illegal supply of bootleg ringpops of ill-reputed quality and candy necklaces whose string notoriously broke and spilled forth those treasured sugared Os; they descended on the Mayor’s sandcastle and laid waste to this bastion of sand and shattered arts and crafts dreams. The mayor’s personal guard was no match for this Legion born of the disillusioned voters and they decimated his army of trained seals. They held his honor down and forced him to watch as they violated his stockpile of fat free chocolate milk and crushed within their vengeful yet surprisingly dainty looking young hands his prized collection of macaroni figures.
It was as the Mayor wept on his knees amid the carnage and destruction and held in his hands the remnants of a full scale Neil Diamond made entirely of elbows and rigatoni that I arrived back with the Octogenarian’s Cadillac, parking it carefully just as I had found it aside from hobo heads I had amassed on the hood and the baby unicorns which now served as wheels, to which I would concede should I be in the position again I wouldn’t do as their horns, while stylish and certainly all the rage in France as a certainly so in vogue and ecologically sound alternative to rubber, resulted in a ride too bumpy to be relaxing in the least.
The Legion descended upon me. They held me tight in their sticky candied sandy hands while the Octogenarian approached.
“Why,” she begged of me simply.
It was the honest pleading in her eyes for her lost and now found and yet horribly disfigured and hobo abused Caddy that struck me and I stepped toward her and met her eyes so that she might see the shame I now carried inside.
“I tried to read Absalom, Absalom!,” I heard myself say, “I ignored my friends’ warnings to start with a less maddening Faulkner tale. I made it eight pages before my mind was no longer my own.”
And the Octogenarian Prostitute took pity on me and forgave me for she knew well the curse of Sutpen’s Hundred and the madness it had wrought on even more resilient minds than mine. The Legion backed away in reverence and awe for powerful must I have been to have survived the touch of Absalom; all except one, one smaller than the rest who was urged forward by his grandmother’s gentle hand and offered me a plant hanger the color of dried blood that the Octogenarian had woven herself.
This particular hanger was special to her; she had not intended to sell it to the Mayor along with the others. She whispered that this woven macrame hanger was infused with the weave of a thousand hood rats and that it alone among her plant hangers had a name, that I must go forth from this city of sadness and dead hobos and journey until I am worthy to learn this name. Only then will I be worthy to return.
I took this gift and clutched it to my soul in silent thanks to her forgiveness, and I wandered off amidst the Mayor’s weeping and remains of his sandcastle, stepping carefully over the shredded bits of hobo I had left in my wake.
I wandered in silence and in fear for though I had my plant hanger and my peace in it and all it reminded me of, I knew one day the madness would return.
One day I would attempt to read Faulkner again.
Posted on May 20, 2011, in Fiction, What Was I Thinking? and tagged Absalom Absalom!, baby unicorns, Cadillac El Dorado, Faulkner, hobo, macrame, Neil Diamond, prostitute, Ring Pops, sand castle. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.