Monday, April 15, 2013

His Blind Friend Daniel by G. Arthur Brown

My blind friend Daniel claws his way in the corners, as if in search of food, but he is just vetting the tile work.  I shouldn’t leave it to him; he’s blind and vetting is what I’m paid to do.  But I’ve got a jelly donut.  I didn’t tell Daniel that I had anything good to eat and he’s not exactly a blood hound.  I take a big bite and my lips smack.

Daniel’s head shoots up.  “What was that?  Are you eating?”

“No, Daniel.  I’m blowing kisses to the ghosts,” I say as I dust the confectioner’s sugar from my chin, as if he might see it, finding me out.  “Place is full of them.”

“I can feel them, too.”  He slides his greasy, gray finger tips along the grout.   An ecstatic expression squirms on his face, his hard-boiled egg eyes locked firmly on me.  “I know I am inside a ghost when I feel suddenly cooled, like an AC unit just kicked on. But it is also like you’ve been immersed in gelatin of some type.  You get the fear, like you’re going to drown.  But it happens so fast that you don’t have time to panic.  Sometimes, if you are lucky, they leave you a little bit wet.” 

“I know I am inside a ghost,” I kid him, “when I am at the nursing home.”

He nods gravely, pensively.  “Their tiles need much work.”  He brings a filthy pinky to his nose and sniffs. “A dead person ate fenugreek here.”  He utters this in such a way that I have no doubt he is correct.

It is then that I notice that the jelly is not jelly at all. It is a green fenugreek custard.  I can taste it now. It was never even sweet.  “Do old people get pudding?” I ask.

“Yes, of course they do. You know that.” He runs his fingers along the edges of the sheets, tucking me in.  It’s comforting to hear his voice.  It is so dark and cold here.

“Tell me a story.”

“You know all the stories. You invented the stories.”

“Tell me one that I have forgotten.”

He clucks his tongue.  “Do you remember the story about your blind friend Daniel?”

I shake my head.

He clears his throat. I imagine what his face must look like while he composes himself. He begins, “Your blind friend Daniel claws his way in the corners, as if in search of food, but he is just vetting the tile work.”

Copyright 2013 G. Arthur Brown
Artwork Remedios Varo

1 comment:

S. Tigert said...

Too bad your story will be buried by today's relatively meaningless events as people try to ascribe everything they want or fear to it. Great story; the highlight of my day.