paulus walks down the stairs. he sees me. he doesn’t say anything to me.
he’s as mystified about his behavior as i am.
i’m a horrible person. he thinks i want his money. he doesn’t have any but he persists to think it. his brother is the one who has all the money and he doesn’t talk to him.
paulus doesn’t want to acknowledge me because he thinks he’s cain from the bible.
paulus has a moldy greenish white growth on his face. i think it’s a birthmark.
he wants to talk to me later. he didn’t say it but i can tell he wants to talk to me
because he has been ignoring me. he doesn’t say anything to me for hours
days weeks months and then he finally calls me to talk about his miserable love life.
i have very white skin. it never sees the sun. i don’t want to get skin cancer.
my mother had half her face chopped off because of it. she spent a lot of time in the sun. she reclined in the concrete courtyard and absorbed sun rays. i’m not going to
ruin myself like she did. she never learned from her mistakes. i’m very cautious.
my father is very cautious. he has two useless knees. he walks with two canes.
he never had his knees operated on. he doesn’t want to go under the knife.
he’s obtuse and severe and absent. he likes to ignore me to see me panic.
he’s a control freak. his father was a control freak and his father’s father was a
control freak. their women were convulsive and blue. two became obsessive memoirists and one, my mother, went to university for a phd.
paulus likes my white skin. none of the lovers paulus has have the pallor i have. i wear shorts that are really underwear. then he gets to see my thighs. i like your thighs he says. i like them. i really like them.
i like to text and to talk on the phone. he hates the phone. i like his svelte voice over the phone. i’m glad you called he likes to say and then he doesn’t say anything. he breathes and coughs. he is a man of few words. he doesn’t work so he doesn’t have anything to say about his day or anyone else’s day. i talk to him about my work. i clean large houses in the nw hills. he likes to criticize me. you don’t have the killer instinct.
he says. you don’t go for the kill. you have to take him. you had him. you reduced him to
nothing. he was helpless. he wanted to be helpless. who cares if he has bad breath or if you pity him or if he wants to smell your asshole.
paulus drinks his indonesian coffee. i can tell he is thinking about how he can’t think and how he can’t fuck and how the sun sets in the east and rises in the west.
it is better not to mind his fatalism but not for too long otherwise he gets jealous and
angry and disoriented. he opens his book to the same page he always opens it to.
paulus wants me to be his secretary. i’m not going to do his work. i wrote his last book. he had the idea to write about parasites but i wrote most of it. i did the research. in his mind he is a great writer. i’m not convinced. i’m a parasite he said. i don’t know too much about grammar. i like to tell stories. i’ve always had a gift for story telling. he’s too morbid and flat to be nothing more than a drone.
my mind slows down paulus said. i can’t connect with my thoughts. i have been thinking about how we all live off one another and how we are losing parts to survive.
when i talk to him about my father paulus looks hopeful. he is the only one as miserable as himself. he isn’t doing well. he has a hard time with his sight. he bumps into things. really he said. what does he do all day?
he collates his papers.
wasn’t he a soldier in the war?
did he ever talk to you about killing?
what does he say? does he talk to you about the tunnels?
there weren’t any tunnels. that’s another war.
the wars have been one after the other. i don’t know which one he was in.
he was in the second one.
i was in the fourteenth?
no the twentieth. or was it the twenty fifth?
oh how many have there been?
a thousand or more.