Fiction: The Boy in the Girl’s Armpit

Felipe Jacome

 

By

Patrick Calinescu

 

 

The sky was variably colored, and variably textured, and variably at ease with variously different temperatures.

Under it, under his own sky-sized ego, a boy of very little flesh (for his bones were just as many as those of any other boy, or girl, or any other type of human being anyone might think of) roamed freely wherever he wished in the underbelly of this particular sort of celestial undercover.

He could be anywhere, anytime. Predictability of motion, through the time and space through which he too was just one of the innumerable, simple, ignorant viators, was not his thing, and everybody who might have ventured to know him for whom he really was ought, by so late an hour in his day’s progress, to have known better. But they didn’t, because none was better than him at anything that they could actually be better than him at (and these things were as many as the colors, or the textures, or even the temperature degrees that the sky was so good at varying almost out of spite for his unchangeable predictability).

One day though, something peculiar happened to him. At one particular point in the fabric of the spacetime continuum in which he, as usual, was minding his own business (what happened to be his business then, he did not know, nor could he with any precision tell), he all of a sudden thought he should break his habit of never looking up at the sky, about the broader than usual range of multi-colored, multi-textured, multi-temperatured varieties of which he until then had known completely nothing.

So he looked up at the sky. And just when he was in that celestially zenned moment, untroubled by anybody, untouched by anybody, undeterred by anybody, something, a rather somebody-ish something, came along, popped out of nowhere, crammed its whole existence into the indivisibility of that very spot, and did all this because it was somehow driven (by an apparently immaterial force) to trouble him, and to touch him in any way possible, and to deter him from looking up at the sky again.

But this puny boy was much stronger than that. He kept looking up at the sky, and marveling at its never self-contiguous nature. Now he saw it colored in blue, and of a relatively smooth texture, and of a balmy temperature, now he saw it colored in pink, and of a harsh, checkered texture, and very high up in the scorching area of unbreathability. This perpetual motion of colors, and of textures, and of temperatures amazed him greatly, and he was none the wiser for having stared at this kaleidoscope of complexity for as many hours as he managed to keep his neck in that uncomfortable, craning position, all too eminently typical of the pre-Galilean astronomer.

When, though, he couldn’t do it anymore, it was not out of boredom that he had finally ceased his gazing up into the sky. Rather, the muscles in his neck had locked him into that posture, which a giraffe would likely have recognized as a very dear form of arboreally grazing gymnastics.

Now, he was frozen into a singularly skyward, severely saintly, supplicating statue. He began worrying, even as the sky was gliding fantastically fast against his strained retinae, that he might never recuperate his normal bearing. As he worried exponentially more loudly, the same rather somebody-ish something, which had in the meantime withdrawn from the general view of the underbelly of this raving sky, showed up again all too eager, this time, to help.

“Am I going to die?” he asked with brutal desperation.

“Seems likely,” the thing said composedly, perhaps even indifferent to the plight of someone who, after all, was so ontologically different from it.

“No!” the boy yelled with the same brutal desperation rising up to the vocalic tip of his opposition.

“Yes…” the thing said in an invariably unperturbed voice.

“Please,” implored the boy, “don’t let me die!”

“I…,” the thing tried to say a little of something else too…

“Not yet,” babbled the boy, “not yet…”

It said nothing again. But this time it was too late, anyway. The boy died of too much exposure to the contents of the sky, which in these parts of the world had always been an incurable disease. If he had known how lethal looking up at the sky really was, he would perhaps never allowed himself to alter his intrinsic verticality in relation to the equally intrinsic horizontality of the upper parts of his welkinean underworld. But he didn’t know anything about it, so he paid for it with his own life.

Soon, a new, stubbly generation of hairs will grow, faster, stronger, taller, out of his little organic remains. And the girl who varied his sky so tirelessly would as usual have known nothing about the true cause of a yet another unscheduled shaving session at so late an hour in her day’s progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Patrick Calinescu

Patrick Calinescu was born in 1976. He was nearly 16 when he began studying English. Before that age, he knew nothing about it. He already published two books in Romanian, one in 2003, the other in 2010. In November of 2011, on the day on which he turned 35, he decided to write exclusively in English. Since that day, which in Dantean fashion marked the beginning of the second half of his life, he has been working on his life’s project to make his English the English of everybody else.

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