Two Rusty Flies, Dancing On The River 

René Adams

            And the shacks rattled like antlers in the dark at the many feet willing, and entrusted them with legions of fruits to make time disperse. The rorschac memories before the room faded, and they felt alive. Knowing their names like so many hand-shakes in the night. The three men were sat in order of importance of course. Although, since they had been preparing for the day it all came across as clock-work. The swaying clocks of organs flowing from left to right and back again. They were experiencing migraines, and the beginnings of tourette-like twitches, which they could not explain.
          The room was painted a numb-navy flesh colour, and seemed to infect even the plain oak table in the middle of the room. The room was plain. And their seats dug into their backs like uncomfortable stools at the barbers.
          Thirty was the year when they were called back. The off grey-blue walls of the waiting room rippled a little more, as Lenas’ blood had been concentrating for some time on this day however. He slagged off the lighting behind his eyes, and the other two males sat either side of him. And damned the fact that they’d all decided to wear anonymous colours of white, without a family crest on the shoulder, providing no angle for his calculations in the room.
          A soft scratch named itself behind the door to their right. None of them looked across. It just slid down the thin opaque glass of the door, then departed, saying no more for a few minutes… It was impossible for them not call on their training after the fourth hour or so, as their stomachs where used to eating every couple of hours, then going back to the rigorous study of different arts and works.
          After the room still hadn’t changed, and their guts began speaking to each other beyond their control- the lights were finally turned off. A homogeneous gas was sprayed into the room, it was scentless, but they heard the quiet rasp of the faucet and shot up to attention. Lenas took his momentum from one leg, leaping forward hard, rising up into the air, and landing somewhere where the opposite wall should have been.
          There were similar leaps around him too. A tight fore and index finger missed his neck by a few millimetres as he moved to the side, avoiding it, as he knelt down on the floor, sending a kick up into the shadow, and connecting. There was no more trouble for a few moments as he leapt again, landing another kick on a skull in the darkness, hearing a whumpf, and darting a few meters on, using it like a falling stepping stone mid-air, where he left the man to be killed by the one he hadn’t felled.
          The lights flicked back on, Lenas breathed out, in… And straightened his smock. There was no need for the destruction laid on the dead body in the middle of the waiting room, as red splatters flowed down from the man’s lips, standing over the body, like a dog without humanity, heaving heavier than Lenas, but he knew to think nothing of it. The man wiped his lips with the back of his hand, and proceeded to lick the blood from his palm.
          The door opened and they walked out, as the floor opened behind them, taking the cadaver away. They walked within a few inches of each other and were stripped by attendants that rushed in dressed in translucent rubber. Their smocks were ripped off and another gas poured up from the floor, disarming their adrenal levels and bringing them back down to city normative levels. Both Lenas and the other male growled in the ascending rush, occasionally flicking their arms away from those holding them, looking into their masked faces, and wondering if this was a part of the interview as well. Then they thought about their position in the company, felt their new uniforms wrap around them, and thanked the attendants as they departed.
          “Walk forwards.” The room said.
          The white door at the far end of the room began to outline itself, as a black rim opened, and the next light welcomed them in with another set of company staff waiting in the room. Waving. Slowly. Like lobotomised owls in their peace, or four limbed mammals of some type. The debrief specialists spoke in long drawn out sighs, that were lower than what the two men could hear, but created tattoos on their skin as they spoke. The room was a deep reddy rouge, and they looked directly at each other this time, as they found it hard to discern between ink being written on their limbs, and simple words. A lightening passed between them as the door behind them closed, and the drone from the operants became heavier, like a hand-pumped accordion.
          Lenas shook, as he searched through the DNA of his learning to remember whether this was time for obedience, aggression, or change. The colour of the room began to flicker. The male beside him began to loose control over his coordination as the circle of attendants spoke, beginning to walk around them, and was unable to hold onto his own thoughts. Lenas looked at him again, gritting his teeth, as the male began to dance like a cast-off marionette caught in high tide, making the attendants smile, as their influence began to work. What was the memory and what was the bastion? To only drift from action when the lilac of your pulse passes from thought to action? To, to, to dance beyond your allies… Whennn their time has flown? No. Lenas decided, feeling groggy. No…
          “Hey.” Lenas screamed, “You’ll need your energy for the next room, keep it awake! Stop dancing, they’re taking you you fool!”
          It was no good. Lenas shuddered in the tight exertion of refusing the attendants words, falling to his knees, closing his eyes, as his knee hit the floor, opening them again, then seeing the old knackered rose-bud ships of his family departing in a war he had forgotten. He pulled the dream apart and looked to his right, where the other man was shaking on the floor like a burning steak of bones, shivering. He reached across and grabbed his hand, then fore-arm, as they both gripped each other’s, before they were nearly ready to pass out completely. Lenas looked up at the closing circle, rising to one foot, then the other, then began to walk, faster, running with the man in his grasp, dragging him along the floor. Lenas could hear a few more steps in the strobing red, as the man he dragged began to find his feet, his heels flicking backwards, finding grip, then turning around, then leaping as Lenas swung him at the edge of the circle, like twins linked by grip, the man in his grasp striking several of the attendants with kicks as he flew.
          They parted, and played with the gravity that their limbs allowed, dancing in the red.
          The light was brought down again so that they were only ghosts attacking forms that slipped away into the walls. Their muscles heaved, and they heard them, until these were the only sounds in the room. They stumbled around, finger tips and bloodied limbs finding each other. The voice boomed again.
          “Walk forwards.”
          They did. Not knowing if the command was linked to miles or days, holding each other up.
          The floor began to look like stars, where great unknown sea creatures swam. Some together, bunched up like planets of differing shapes, elongated and calling out like long sad chains of sea anemones, sirens, and mechanical tricks of light, piercing and darting meters away from their feet. They walked not looking down for too long, as the night of the floor seemed to curve up into the sky as well. It was as if they were dumb. Or as if they knew there was no point in wasting that energy in speaking. They separated at points, their limbs forgetting to be awake, as small pockets seemed to open in the floor. A round glow of teeth sucked onto the translucent flooring, just hanging there, a wet venus fly-trap, and a strange glowing pulse from its circular canines asking for the weary dancer to walk nearer. They would awaken each other from these deliriums of spirit, grabbing an arm this way and that, pulling the other away from the toying holograms.
          Then the hunt and the eternity began in their hearts, whispering that mortality was a sweet thing in the liquid night, speaking mostly to their joints, and dry tongues.
          “We’re going to die here.” The man beside Lenas said, before he lost his footing, stumbled over, and fell into one of the mouths.

Ω

There were race-horses at Kings cross Station. They shot past Lenas as he watched them walking towards the British Library. They trampled on the bodies of the denizens that turned around in their sleep, and passed him by as he sang, some tune from a long dusty clarinet playing, that played as he tried to remember his lines for a college play. One of the horses stepped off and away from the river-road, and placed a hoof on the pavement towards him. It was blacker during the day, and he hadn’t slept for a few. Lenas looked across at the race horse, smiled, smoked, and watched as the stream of vehicles continued through its torso. It raised its head, and whinnied up into the summer sky, into the universe, and gibbous moon.
          A knife pushed into Lenas’ neck and he screamed. He opened his eyes and blinked at off-white tiling in the roof. His wrists were tied down, his ankles as well. The nurse took the syringe out of his neck and walked away humming something. He continued to swap looks either side and up and around, seeing another man to his left, and calling out in all the verse of angry-drunken-doped karaoke singers. The sting from the bee calmed him however, and soon he began to relax. He poked his head up and saw the next several nurses come in. Part of him still tried to coordinate their size and gait in his mind, like the films the team behind a boxer might watch, to pass on their advice about strategy. Yet, it all mushed away, as a deepening flux of rose passed around his brain, altering each one of his aggressive thoughts back to lilac. One of them released the straps, another squeezed the nail on his index finger with a pen tip, checking that his pain thresholds had dropped back down, and the other helped him up, adjusting the bed-rest. There was no concern in their movements, and then one of them pressed a button on the side of his bed making a table flip out, in a slow mechanised buzz over, as another placed a tray of food upon it.
          The meal was a liver and lettuce sandwich, mucus yogurt, and sweat water. It wasn’t. They told Lenas, but the patient beside him felt the same and they decided to just hit the floor instead of eat the food. They still had these thoughts of where the liver might be from, neither of theirs, but from a third man they couldn’t remember. They found themselves walking over to metal lockers in the corner of the room, as wild deja-vus came and went. There were recently healed scars all over their bodies that they dismissed, and they opened the lockers side by side like two hungover brothers.
          They took out their clothes and put them on. They looked at each other’s attire, looking deeply into the browns and blacks as if transfixed by the nature of their dirty shades. The neuron-harmonising effect of their injections began to increase, and bring them back, they immediately lost all strength as they rush came, where the nurses caught them under their arms, and they screamed abuse at all things, their hearts stopping for a moment, then re-starting. Making them open their eyes, and feel like a birth had just departed which was yesterday, their lips moved in familiar ways, bringing no speech, and then spoke for five minutes in their minds, as their personalities were normalised, and finally synced with their being again.
          They turned around and sighed, trying to smile at the nurses, and following them out of the room. The client room they had been in opened immediately onto the marble foyer of the building. The nurse ahead of them turned and waved an arm over to the receptionist, who held out two envelopes, which they accepted. There were other stragglers walking in, others that they may have known, inter-dispersed between hurrying office types, that looked tired and harassed in their gait, as if they wanted their time here to be short, and only once. The entire room was swarming like a den of insects under a bar-be-q, looking up to a sky of black for treats that might fall down. There were medical professionals behind the welcome desk, and the sound of scratching pens and questions mumbling through the air.
          There was still a little loss of coordination in the men’s limbos as they left the building, so they held on to each other again as the double door opened, and brought them back to the rushing city.
          They let go of each other, eager to look at the pay checks inside their envelopes.
          “I always get up to that girl at the desk you know Dave, and she says something, something like ‘All, lucid, fire’- URGGHHHH” Mike said throwing up on the street, catching the shoes of a rushing business man, who swore at the man of the street, and pulled his fist back to strike him. Mike continued to throw up as a few stitches came loose on his neck, bleeding out. And Dave looked up from helping his friend as the fist slowed against the blue.
          “…hold.” Dave said watching the fist, knowing that it would, as his green eyes bled, and they walked on, on-lookers wondering why the business man was frozen. Maybe he was a street performer.
          “I’m not doing anymore trials man,” Mike said, wiping congealed blood on his cuff as his nose continued to bleed, “they make my head hurt. and…”
          He started to mumble as he always did, high and low, as they walked into a shop that had a Western Union service to cash their cheques, gently forgetting what happened inside the rooms they visited everyday, and had done for the past ten years.
          It was a Thursday.
          London was busy.

*

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