5th April Postcards from the End of the World: Animals chapter
To the fat man in broad shorts, selling cocaine to children.
I heard of a bull fight promoter from Spain who travelled to the End of the World. He saw great potential to make a lot of money from the masses of humanity who gathered there to ponder life. No one complained when he commissioned a bull ring to be built, as to protest would go against the secret code at the End of the World where everyone has the right to do what they want to. The Spanish promoter was aware of this code and he rubbed his hands with glee at the prospect of all the millions of dollars he would make. The mayor sanctioned the event under the proviso that he be the one to choose the first bull to meet its death. Thousands of lonely people gathered at the arena and watched the mayor choose the first bull from twenty animals paraded in front of him in the middle of the arena. They were huddled together with chains through their noses that kept them from roaming free. The mayor selected the largest bull with the shiniest black coat and the sharpest horns. The arena went silent as a much-decorated bullfighter appeared and began to wave his red cape at the bull. The bull did not move. For ten minutes the bullfighter tried every trick he knew to entice the bull into rage, but t remained motionless. In desperation he took out a large sword and thrust it into the bulls hide but the sword broke in half. The bullfighter was the one now enraged and he took out a small pistol and fired it into its massive head, but the bullets ricocheted and hit him in the chest. The crowd cheered as one as the bull calmly stood there for a few minutes and then bent it’s knees and rested on the ground beside the dead bullfighter. It closed its eyes and went to sleep. No one knows for sure if bull have dreams but occasionally its tail flicked in the air and a great stream of mist came out of its nostrils. Everyone in the arena at the End of the World threw their hats in the air.
from the man-child artist
you sold down the river
To the hero who lies dying in the seaweed.
My mother and I have just returned from Bali. She paid for my trip to help me get over my divorce from Gary. During one of our days there we were in a remote village and one of the old ladies saw the small tattoo of a snake on my wrist and she grabbed my arm and made me sit down with her. She told me of the serpent woman who had terrorised the village for two centuries. She had the body of a gigantic snake and the head of a beautiful woman, with long black hair and green eyes that put you in a trance. Spears of fire could not kill her. She came to the village twice a year to kill and eat one of the young men – women and children did not interest her. The old lady told me that she had three sons and she was worried that one day she would lose them all to the Serpent Woman. Her anguished tears worried her eldest son and one night when the Serpent Woman was due to come to the village he went to the beach to wait for her. A few hours later he saw her form in the waves. He began to sing a song as she got closer and when she was only a few feet away he looked into her deep green eyes and told her that he loved her. He walked up to her and put his hands under her chin and kissed her and he heard her give out a long sigh. He got on her back and began to sing again, she carried her lover to her island far away, never to return. I walked away from the old woman and left the village and finally I forgot about Gary and a marriage without true love.
From the Girl
with the blue
pick up truck.
Dear happy hooker with the degree in fine arts.
Sometimes you need to dig deep in your memory to find out more about yourself. Last night I was thinking about my childhood. I remember one of my aunts telling me stories about Mickey Mouse living underneath my bed and how sailors when they drowned turned into dolphins. On my eighteenth birthday, my father took me aside and warned me never to get married and end up with some shrew for the rest of my life. This morning I broke up with my fiancée Karen. We had been together for five years and she had always wanted a white wedding. I told her that the problem was me, that everyday when I walk the streets I see beautiful women and fall in love ten times a day. She screamed and ran out the house and I heard her start her car and drive off. I didn’t want it to end this way so I got into my car and tried to follow. She drove well above the speed limit and it was hard keeping up with her. An hour later she stopped at the beach and was walking into the water when I had arrived. I ran onto the beach and took off my shoes and jacket and was about to swim after her but when I looked up she was gone. I waited for a couple of minutes desperately hoping that she would surface. Forty yards out a sleek black dolphin leapt out o the waves and somersaulted. It appeared again and it hovered above the water for a few seconds in the air waving its fin and then it too was gone. I waited for a few minutes more staring into the ocean and then I walked back to my car.
From the man
who sings like a
drunken weary angel.
To the cellist playing electric bass in a band on stage at a pub.
Yesterday afternoon, a man in his late thirties was sitting next to me at a bus stop. He lit a cigarette and the wind carried some of the smoke into my face. He asked me if it was bothering me and I told him it wasn’t, but really it did. He was quite good looking but I hated men who smoke. I go to the gym every day and I eat a strict vegetarian diet. I was thinking about my last boyfriend and how messy the break up was and I was quite over men. ‘I beg your pardon,’ the man said. ‘You look worried about something. I don’t mean to be rude.’ He smiled and asked me if I had ever travelled. I didn’t want to be drawn into the conversation and I told him I hadn’t even though I had been to the States many times. ‘You should go to Romania,’ he continued. ‘It’s the storks there I love the most. During mating season the male storks land on the thatched roofs of the village huts and sing. The mating call by one stork is nice on its own but when they sing together, it is like a Welsh Choir, like a Gregorian Chant. I don’t cry often but even thinking about it now makes me weep.’ ‘Do the females respond?’ I asked. ‘Sometimes,’ he replied, ‘but that’s not the point. It is the song they sing that matters. It is the most lonely and beautiful song in the world.’ I sat there for a few minutes thinking about the storks on the roofs of the huts and then I asked him for a taste of his cigarette. I had never smoked before and it made me cough when I tried to inhale. He touched my hand lightly and said that I didn’t have to smoke for his sake, even though you should always try something at lest once. The bus drove past our stop because we were too busy talking to hail it, but I didn’t mind so much, as neither of us was in a hurry to be anywhere.
From the prisoner
in her cell reading
poetry at midnight.
To the civil rights lawyer writing her thesis
There is an island near the End of the World where the inhabitants only ate one species of fish. The river of this island was the source of the finest barramundi in the universe and the villagers thrived on the diet but could not eat anything else. A few years ago a ship landed on the island and the captain was treated to a feast of barramundi cooked in coconut leaves, by the natives. The next day he ordered his crew to catch some of the fish to take away with them. The crewmen caught several fish and presented them to the captain and on closer inspection it was discovered that inside each barramundi was a giant black pearl. The captain communicated with the authorities from his homeland and a fleet of ships arrived within a month at the island. For twelve moths the river was trawled for barramundi until there were no fish left. The ships then left the island with their rich cargo of pearls and barramundi flesh that was found to be suitable for freezing. The islanders slowly died of starvation. They tried to eat vegetables and berries but their digestive system was unsuitable and everything they ate was regurgitated. The last islander died but there was no one to bury him.
From the inspired fool
writing his love songs
to no one in particular.