The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia Claire’s House of Fine-Tooth Combs
This story was inspired by Walking with the Dog, by Angelo Accardi (Italy) contemporary. Click here to view.
The night the lights went out — out as in OUT — in Georgia Claire’s House of Fine-Tooth Combs — out in her House, out on her life, out in her world, out on her combs — Georgia Claire went out looking for answers.
A masked man walking a Keith Haring dog schlepping a graffiti marker kit.
An ostrich talking “sultry dress trends” in a conversation pit.
A barrow of see-no-evil monkeys pitching pennies made of unleavened bread.
A narrow of nesting tables justifying all the shitty things they’d said.
A papier-mâché advance man returning to form.
A lemon-yellow bomb shelter slinking into a storm.
A town cryer wailing I can’t cry wolf anymore!
A cat in pigtails snarking THAT’S what you’re here for?
A movie flyer plastered on the face of a clock (“My Own Private Apocalypse! starring Phoenix Lazarus and His Party of Five”)
A Slim Pickens look-alike from “The Swarm” hustling back to the hive.
An exaltation of loopholes looking inward, ever inward.
An exclamation of finger-pointers in a post-modern vineyard.
A technocracy of vacuum cleaners cutting corners, discretely.
A text-fiend incarnate laying blame and feasting.
A lover who said and who said and who said: Would you run? Would you run away? Would you run away with me?
A lover who said without saying, and without saying, said: I don’t see a graceful way out, and grace is important to me.
A banknote glider, a banner tied to its tail, squeaking: what it means to be something … or someone … or anything.
A fresco on a ceiling, scatting before shrieking: what it means to be nothing … and no one … not anything. Ever.
Georgia Claire found a little context, maybe. And a lot of colour. But no answers that night.
What happened to the light? she asked. What’s happened to my House? My life? My world?
The way you say it — “my world,” said a one-eyed lamb hawking half-full hopefulness. The world, like a word, has many different tones. See something one way, just as you might say a word a certain way, and it means one thing. See it, or say it another way, it means something else entirely.
Also, words and worlds get snuffed out, just like light, the one-eyed lamb said.
But it isn’t always about light, it isn’t always about the light, the lamb added.
What, pray, is it about? Georgia Claire asked.
Try reading the fine print between the lines with your fine-tooth combs, why don’t you, said the cat in pigtails, her eyes gleaming, her teeth flashing, her whiskers awash in the light of the syntactic night.
Pat Foran knows very little about light, very little about anything. His stories have been published in various journals, and his work was selected for the Best Small Fictions 2021 and Best Microfiction 2021 anthologies. In June, he received the 2021 Mythic Picnic Prize in Fiction. Find him at neutralspaces.co/patforan/ and on Twitter at @pdforan.
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