posted Sunday, 25 May 2008

Written today and first published here


Nero Coze suffered from display-pains. That wasn’t his real name nor was that the real name for the condition from which he suffered. But you have to start somewhere.

It was simply that events were ripe for telling. A story grown to its optimum fruiting. And there was a sudden need, I felt, to nail the fulfilment before it went away and became one of the infinite number of stories that existed somewhere ever on the edge of Narration.

The story didn’t necessarily have to be about events that were true, but it helped if they were as true as possible. Narration could more easily pluck a crop hanging plump upon the Tree of Telling, if Narration believed in it as real fruit, juicy and crisp, succulent with sweetness, tinged with acid.

Today, sadly, Narration was in two minds. Dubious that Nero Coze existed at all, under any name. Even dubious about its own name.

Confused, too, whether any so-called display-pain existed within Narration’s own story as a visible creature upon the body that felt it.

This particular display-pain was dancing on Nero’s head.

Nero knew it only by the name Migraine. In the form of pointed stabs upon the jagged width of sight. Choreographed agony. Torture in a Tutu.

Then zigzagging along a trail left by Narration as a paper-chase for Plot.

But it then started to gnaw into bone-rind for the mush and pips imagined to be within.

Nero joined the dots of his thoughts rather than create a visualised monster from scribble.


I found the dead body in the street-gutter. If a corpse could ever be described as ripe, this was it. On the precisely balanced point between wholeness and decay. One newspaper reporter might have called it putrid, while another fresh. Nothing is one thing or another. Ripe is always being between two things. Birth and death. I shuddered as I rang for the police. Only a few seconds more and the body may have passed beyond ripeness into a visible bruising – as a map of its own natural journey into nothingness.

The city’s sirens were in a musical cacophony for a modern ballet. One of them, however, separated from the ringing echoes of a church’s call to sanctuary and drew up alongside me. I immediately stepped back into the shadows, unsure now as to the possibility of incrimination. I saw one of the policemen look at the body’s name-tag sticking up from the neck of the jacket.


“I knew it!”

It turned out that I had not sufficiently retreated beyond Narration’s grasp. It was now too late, because I was soon to be identified as part of the course of events. They snapped cuffs upon my wrists and frog-marched me towards their vehicle. An ambulance was to be in the vicinity and I knew, with some relief, that the body would not end its dignity on the streets. Its final mapping was in the hands of the authorities rather than a mere story.


But why does a dead body need handcuffs? Sheer spite, I reckon.

It makes reaching up in Heaven for God’s fruit impossible.

Unless your earthly pains travel there with you.



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