the big tease
This small town by the sea reminded him of films he remembered from his childhood–pantomimes of panic and desperation, harrowing stories of lives continually forced back on to the rails of localised and embodied knowledge–in which, as if to emphasise their entrapment, no one ever spoke in less than a shout. One afternoon he asked his aunt, was there something special about the town? Well I’ve always liked it, dear, she said. No, he said, he meant was there something different about it to other towns. The old woman stared at him. Of course there isn’t, she said. Don’t be stupid. He hired a car and drove her up and down the coast. While she enjoyed this at first, later it tired her out. All she wanted to do was watch wildlife videos and be read to from the myths. Tales of anabasis, she said, she could take or leave. But I can never have enough of Isis and Osiris, I suppose it’s how I am. Soon he was dreaming nightly of the metaphysics of dismemberment. A detective. The hunt for the murderer. The metaphysics of life from the sea. An obsession with alternate genetic pathways to being human. Later the weekly meetings of the Philosophical Society were embarrassed by a man who had put his faith in just such a theory, who read to the gathered local philosophers from an autofictional text he was writing, in which bodies and body-parts were washing up on beaches, at first all over England, then all over the world.