Monday, September 8, 2014

750 Words Fiction: Magnificent Flying

No good excuse for not doing this the past few days. Stuff happened, and this didn't. 

The title is randomly generated too

He lived for kindness, but would die for art, and only I knew that.

But that was what he was, and that was the purpose that he had turned his eye toward. To be kind, for art's sake. To be art, for kindness' sake.

He was going to be art. Cap his life with a masterpiece that would work back and reveal his every word and motion to be images in a mosaic as long and extensive as his life had been, with no room between or line to divide the two.

And he did so because he thought this was charity. Self-sacrificing, sacrificing himself, and I can still remember the sight of his bloody fingers, moving across the keys of his old grand piano. Glistening red on black and dripping onto white, leaving fingerprint impressions behind where they pressed down.

Because the world wanted many things, but what it needed was art. What one needed was art, and to be art, and this was his chief concern. But more than for the sake of being kind, and to satisfy this for others, he was kind for that was a part of his art. He lived for kindness as he lived for art, one for another, and in the end it was art that was his sole concern.

In the end it was art that killed him, but he had set himself on that course sixty years ago. Conducting the movements of his life like the parts of an orchestra and responding to the happenstances and unforeseeables of life like a master jazz player, improvising and riffing off the play of his partner, who was the entire rest of the world.

I watched him, playing bloody music on the piano, watching him slide the bow up and down the fiddle, watching him pluck away at the strings of the guitar, and the bloody stains he would leave behind every time that he turned the page.

He never read the sheet music. It was not there to be read but to turned, to leave a record behind of the music that he had played. Even so, as he took needles to his arm and extracted more, to mix it with his inks and his paints. His blood, sweat, and tears, in a strange ink. Like a kind of Kafka he set the pages away, secreted in dark recesses where they would not be found until he was dead.

They would search his house, looking for the things that only God had known. They would find receipts, journals, pictures, arranged in his house so perfectly, so meticulously. They would be prepared from the time that they entered in at the gate. Passing by the lawn, so carefully tended so that its browns were here, not there, and its greens there, not here, patches of living and dying and long-dead grass put together in a way that was only exactly right.

The door would be unlocked, a sign that he awaited them. All his obsession about locks, the twenty down each door and the five on every window, the twelve times he would check each lock before he was content, was all meant for this moment, to ensure they knew that something was different. That something was finished.

And then they would enter. What would they see first? Where would they go? The pictures on the walls, the color of the paint on the walls, all to evoke a mood and guide them gently. Down this way, down here. Now that way. An object out of place, meant to guide the eye and lead it to this manila envelope.

He would guide them through his house, to his body, past his body. The safe, and the combination elsewhere. The books that had been hollowed out, left to hold keys or cheap plastic baubles. The books that had been cut out and cut apart, scraps of pages pasted on the wall. Highlighted, pencil-marked, annotated, words crossed-out.

The recordings of his speech, the record playing in the kitchen even now, the recording of his dying words before his falling body hit the recorder and switched it off.

So that they could experience a life that was art.

He never told me but I pieced it together anyway. From references in conversation, from oddities in his behavior, from what he spoke of his philosophy. Like breadcrumbs, but I put them into a loaf anyway and I knew what he would do. And I think that I was meant to be there, to see his art from the other side and know now, not later, what it was that I was seeing.

Did I err in allowing him to do it?

Word count: 784 words
Time: 26 minutes (writing)
Prompt: "He lived for kindness, but would die for art, and only I knew that."

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