Friday, December 10, 2010

The Befouled Room

The living room is exquisite and clean, with a white carpet, couch and love seat. A fireplace blazes behind thick glass, burning gas and controlled by a dimmer switch nearby. The "logs" never burn, they are made of a ceramic fiber. There is a very large, thin, high-definition television set, placed into an enormous entertainment center. A stack of coasters is at my feet, on the coffee table. They are all there, in a little nest made precisely for that purpose. My coffee is steaming nearby, without a coaster under it. A copy of "PC Magazine" sits in the center of the table.

From where I sit, on the love seat, I can see into the kitchen easily, and beyond that into the dining room and foyer. The affect on me is easy to guess at, given my tiny flat. It all looks big, and expensive. There are no dust bunnies or cat toys on the floor, and for that reason I'm compelled to say that the house is a bit like a museum, it's that spotless to my eye.

To my left, the never-ending fire bakes the ceramic and glass and the heat provided is not inconsiderable. I move to my right. I'm a little hot. There is nothing on the television, and I can hear a clock ticking and the occasional gust outside. It's dark out, and not much brighter in here. Besides the fireplace, four dim light bulbs glow faintly in the kitchen. My thumbs set to fiddling.

Not a damn thing is happening, and that's what I think to myself, "Not a damn thing is happening." Time goes by, but like a dream. Thoughtlessly, except for the aforementioned consideration of the lack of activity. It feels like several hours go by, but something tells me that it has only been minutes. The clock is audibly marking time, but it travels in and out of my attention.

An end table to my right, made of reclaimed barn wood, is empty except for a lamp, a pipe, and a pipe ashtray. A lighter and pouch of "butter rum" pipe tobacco are in my pocket. I'm not sure how, but I know that they are there, just waiting for me to violate the air with plumes of smoke.

The air has waited long enough, and that's what I think to myself, "The air has waited long enough." The pipe is stuffed and in my hand directly after this thought, and I'm puffing and puffing away. The lighter goes back into my pocket, and I set upon keeping the thing alive. It's alive! It breathes smoke up and out of view, and can soon be seen invading the air under the lights in the kitchen. Like a drop of ink in a large fish tank, the cloud moves to every corner. I'm pleased to have something to do, and I'm relaxed. The copy of "PC Magazine" finds a way into my hand, and I'm flipping through articles that do not interest me in the least.

Silence and pleasing isolation. Puff, puff and puff.

Suddenly, the room bursts to life. The television is on, and someone is reporting something urgently. Could be the Super Bowl, or 9/11. It's supposed to be important and that is being related well, but I'm not picking up specifics. The room is bright now. The rug seems whiter, as do the couches. But now there are people walking around on that white rug and sitting and conversing on that white couch. Color is everywhere. A young lady just beyond the coffee table is wearing a dress that comes down almost to her knees. It's a "little black dress." She is holding a glass of red wine and laughing her ass off as she speaks to a handsome man, middle aged, who is wearing an awful "Cosby" sweater. He is holding a rust-colored drink that is certainly harder stuff than wine.

But that's not all, people are everywhere, and some are looking at me. I don't see the clothes they are wearing anymore, or the drinks (if any) in their hands. People are talking and some are looking at me, as if we are in the middle of a conversation and it is my time to speak. The kitchen and dining room and foyer are all out of view now. At some point, I realize music is playing loudly, and the television has been muted.

I can't quite place it.'s Cee lo Green's Fuck You.

Now, a little about pipes.

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