Magda awoke, surrounded by Alsatian dogs and medical equipment. A short, stout man unshaven for several days was watching an action film on a portable media player. A woman dressed in jeans and a T-Shirt with the logo ‘Negate Me’ was typing on a computer keyboard. “The sky looks like a location for negation,” Magda remarked. Irritably the woman at her computer drank from a glass of iced water and answered: “Now all of this will have to be negated.” The unshaven man gently turned his portable media player to sleep. The Alsatians responded to distant police sirens by themselves falling asleep. It was as though the city was murderous as flowers, ink stained as a seesaw.
Patterns resembling words resembling sentences detached themselves from the woman’s computer keyboard and floated towards the silky ceiling. I must view your eyes through this microscope, the woman insisted. Somehow while the Alsatians were asleep she had changed clothes; now she wore a beautifully cut pale grey dress and a diamante necklace. Her legs and feet were in sheer stockings, though she carried a pair of dark green shoes by the heels in her left hand. Awkwardly, leaning across Magda, she aimed the microscope with the right hand at each of Magda’s eyes. The short, stout unshaven man had left the room, depositing his portable media player in a yellow plastic bag marked ‘Clinical Waste’. In his stead a tall, elegant child with hair the colour of ripe blackberries swigged cider from a bottle and rolled down an embankment towards a railway line. The woman with the diamante necklace tutted, complaining at all these distractions. She made several marks in charcoal on Magda’s forehead and joined the Christmas party.
Now Magda was alone with the Alsatian dogs. “You make me so nervous,” she said, and the dogs, again hearing police sirens, now very close, began to prowl about the room, sometimes scratching at the isolation unit door. Then, as if by magic, they seemed to melt through that door and Magda noticed how a small rip had appeared in the ceiling and that the patterns resembling words resembling sentences had become a ladder. In great pain Magda climbed that ladder until she was out in the open air. It was a beautiful crisp bright day, though bitterly cold. Magda’s hospital gown had the effect of making her nakedness feel refrigerated. So she was happy to find the doctor’s wife, Magda’s, fur coat hanging from a small ornamental turret (the hospital was known for its quaint architecture). She tried the coat on and although several sizes too large its warmth applied to her as well as the doctor’s wife. The T-Shirt warmth of the hospital was gone now. Magda stood at a bus stop, fingering the purse left in Magda the doctor’s wife’s fur coat.
When were you first this afraid? Did your
eyes change colour? To what do you attribute
your fascination with indeterminate
cartography? Have you ever fainted
in a bowling alley? What is your favourite
costume you have ever seen an actor wear?
Would you describe a magician hobbling
into a Baltic port late at night as
‘barrel-like’? Have you ever mixed flour
and flowers? Do you imagine or think of
as an element of quotidian
existence that the birds you feed the squirrels
you feed know you by name? When was the last
time you experienced an erotic
sensation on contemplating market
forces? How often do you look at your
self in a mirror? Quüop detroy omnív.
Do you consider yourself psycho
logically the catastrophe of
diagnostic spinets? Have you ever
wished you were your own drowning? Or desired
desire in a meta-fantasy perhaps
more accurately / categorically described as?
It takes no time before Magda is at the seaside in winter. Many of the amusements are closed for the season, but she still wins £100 on slot machines. With this she buys herself some jeans and a pullover, and using the doctor’s wife Magda’s credit card a pair of warm suede boots and some woolly gloves. Then she selects a parka with a faux fur hood and kisses the doctor’s wife Magda’s fur coat goodnight. The weather is changing, a storm like a hammer beating upon an anvil coming in off the sea. The doctor dances with the computer woman from the isolation unit. Then he dances with Magda, his wife, who secretly reminds him of his brother the financier, who he has always loved like a lime tree bower and for even longer has wished to kill. Back in the isolation unit machines bleep and tick. Magda stops at a taxi rank and asks to be driven to a ruined Abbey nearby. “Shall I wait for you?” says the driver. “That will not be necessary,” answers Magda. “Once there I shall grow wings and fly into the heart of this storm.”
Daytime in the isolation unit. It has been decided that Magda, who is a Plague victim, must work for nothing or lose her benefits. Naturally the decision has not been made foolishly. Magda will wear an isolation suit which will protect anyone rich who may by terrible accident come into contact with her. Magda, the doctor’s wife, comes home from teaching the history of alchemy in the local university to find her husband watching pornography on his laptop computer. Magda laughs and decides to go for a walk. In no time she is at the seaside in winter. There she meets Magda, who she recognises from her husband’s dismissive description. “How thin you are Magda, how lovely; lovely as the Medieval Lady mourned by the Dreamer.” The two kiss and hire a small cottage where they make love. The storm is now far inland; stars smile down on the lovers, a three quarter moon prefigures its totality. Let’s listen to some music, says Magda. There’s a spinet in the cottage, says Magda, how strange, I play the spinet. So she plays a composition of her own, which sounds like the earth’s ecstasis after heavy rain and howling wind. “Let’s never leave this place,” says Magda. “The owner of the cottage never existed and neither do we.” Magda agrees; they’ll never leave that place. Back in the isolation unit a short, stout man unshaven for several days is watching an action film on a portable media player. A woman dressed in jeans and a T-Shirt with the logo ‘Negate Me’ types on a computer keyboard. “The sky looks like a location for negation,” the Doctor remarks. Irritably the woman at her computer drinks from a glass of iced water and answers: “Now all of this will have to be negated.” The unshaven man gently turns his portable media player to sleep. The Alsatians respond to distant police sirens by themselves falling asleep. It is as though the city is murderous as flowers, ink stained as a seesaw.