Sunflower Skins

June 16, 2010

Sketches, Experiment 7: A Typical Caulfield Conversation

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , , — Sunflower Skins @ 4:22 pm

A TYPICAL CAULFIELD CONVERSATION

The opposite direction of the mummies, the left instead of right in the lobby, are the skeletons. You come into this massive circular room and there are these giant skeletons hanging from the ceiling. I guess when I was little I didn’t like to come in here a lot, like the birds or alligator bones scared me or some kind of crap like that, but I don’t remember that at all; I like them a lot, if you want to know, but that’s the kind of lousy stuff my parents would say if you asked about my childhood. Never anything normal, like how I’m doing well in school or that my birthday is coming up, but these really goddam personal things, I swear. It annoys me more than anything because it’s not true, like I said. Most kids like those kinds of things and get all gruesomely excited, while others turn peevish and whine over anything creepy, but I wasn’t one of the latter, for god’s sake.

I sometimes come here before going to see the mummies. Around the entire perimeter of the room are glass cases of smaller bones, animals like toads and snakes and fish. There’re a couple horses, an elephant. I’ve seen all of these and am not really interested in any of them right now. There’s this monkey skeleton on the other side of the big room, though, that always kills me. He’s on a branch, posed, leering at whoever looks in on him. The thing is, he looks like he’s laughing at you.

The only guy I know who’s crummy enough—cocky enough—to suppose himself among the likes of Salinger is Briton Self. Then I remember, suddenly, that he has and still does, most recently in his “statement regarding his new novel.” How could we live in a world phoney enough to presuppose itself every way, stealing from others and traversing, transgressing, transforming—making satirical, material, an empire for the senseless—? And sometimes—even currently—not even well! How could we call this art? A photograph of nature, of something somebody else already made—a block of plagiarized text, inverted from the original meaning? Shameless.

Send in your love/hate mail for Britain’s own leering monkey: www.myspace.com/britonself.

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