By Eckhard Gerdes

All rights reserved.

Book Three: Never Made Up

Part Fourteen—Blind and Deaf

After they left, I was alone. No more music played. The TV, which started to show The Lady Vanished, vanished. Vanished also were the accoutrements of Victorian England and even the byobus. I grabbed the beer out of the fridge before the fridge disappeared. But a minute later the beers disappeared. After the cell was emptied, the bars disappeared, and then the walls. Then everything beyond the walls. And then nothingness began to overtake me as well. My feet first, my ankles, calves, and then my fingers, hands, wrists, arms, thighs, shoulders, waist up, chest down. I disappeared at my navel.

     Everything disappeared. No sound. No sight.

     Move to the smooth. Working with the assumption that the more civilized one was, the smoother (like David Niven—I barely remembered his image! I hope it’s not my last), I moved to the smooth. Rough would lead to sharp, dangerous; smooth to easy, comfortable. Of course a bowl evil can reverse the two—it’s cotton—many (out of trouble) a time [a time again]. Trusted stet. Trust stet. The paper was high quality acid-free stock. My baby fell from a high class stork. A stute.

     I stoop. Forgive me.

     I just realized that the stork would be my last image, not David Niven. Oh no, now it’s Niven again. Niven in Ninotchka.

     Thwack! A sign in Braille is slipped into my hands. It is from the literary police, who interject, <<Alliteration counts as sound! It can no longer be employed!>>

     Neither should sound effects! That would be rough. Or groovy.

     Yeah. Groovy.

     I will not be able to hear the literary police anymore. It’s all up to inner dialogue now!

     Are exclamations permissible?

     I don’t know. Are questions? They both involve vocal inflection. No, only impassive demonstration is permitted.

     You are taking a more formal tone. Certainly tone is a quality of sound.

     Not once the signified has been separated from its signifier. The signified claims its independence.

     Heck, she claims her humanity!

     Who is she?

     A beautiful soul trapped inside a uniform, unable to discard the garb because of a keen sense of obligation.

     Is that sense visual or auditory? I don’t think so.

     Okay, so the sense of obligation stays.

     No, please—we’d be better off without it.


     Obligation breeds resentment. Only giving freely frees giving. You should make a bad motivational poster out of that.

     Yep. Um. Well, no comment. What’s a poster?

     I—I don’t remember. I don’t even know why I said that. Posters are the invisible who comment online.

     Ah, good, so they’re invisible. Then they cannot be visual. Superb. Well, writing like this really goes against the grain. It rubs people the wrong way. It’s gritty. It’s a pain in the ass.

Eckhard Gerdes is the author of 13 published novels, including Hugh Moore and My Landlady the Lobotomist. His tetralogy The Chronicles of Michel du Jabot, of which the included piece is an excerpt, is nearing completion. He is also the editor and publisher of The Journal of Experimental Fiction.

This story is included in Issue #45: About Seeing. Copyright © 2012 by Fiction International. Authors of individual works retain copyright, with the restriction that subsequent publication of any text be accompanied by notice of prior publication in Fiction International. Please contact the editor for reprinting information.

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