Experimental short stories [II]

by Kevin Johnson Murillo


He cut the apple with an umbrella. The apple was shaped like a pear. Actually, it was a hat. An old lady was wearing it. She wasn’t pleased. Loud reproaches. The constable and his cronies swiftly arrested him before he could protest. Swoon of quick vehicles, headlights. Then not-so-quick vehicles. Heavy Traffic.

 “How could it occur to you to do such a thing?”

“It sickens me, how depraved these freaks can be,” growled the constable from the front seat.

Tossed into a tiny, cramped jail cell with a tiny, barred window and a Bible. Still confused. All could remember was feeling the merciless pangs of hunger. Breadcrumbs: more fuel for the fire. It hadn’t rained in 7 days. Then why the umbrella.

A purchase, to stand properly. One wobbly leg. The other: misshapen. A not-so-expensive cane with a second function for when the time came to defend oneself from the sky’s tears. Gots to run. Had to run, after he had committed the dissection of the hat, but didn’t, (couldn’t?), decided not to because it all happened so fast. (What kind of a choice was that?) So much unpleasantness, all of a sudden, after the relative stability of hunger, no more pleasant but known. This led eventually, apparently unknowingly, to jubilant crime and swift incarceration (Punishment).

I never really liked the Bible. I always preferred the good old Abrahamic scriptures as standalone oeuvres. Those were simpler times. Deluges and genocide, this I can understand. Then they added all the stuff about Jesus, and now look at the mess I’m in.

Ironically, his jail cell was as tidy as the cupboard he stored the umbrella in before the murder, now confiscated. No signs of dust between two walls or four walls. The window looked over an idyllic valley with a waterfall. The first time he looked into it there was a rainbow, faint clouds hovered. Still, no rain here. 8 days without rain. And now he didn’t have an umbrella to defend himself from the sky’s tears. It was only a matter of time.

“Would you like something to drink?” asked the jailkeeper some 8 days later, again.


They brought him champagne. He spat it into the jailkeeper’s face, who then proceeded to lick it off himself slowly. (Why let a good thing go to waste?) Other than this, his days were uneventful, still, less eventful, yes, than before, when guaranteed a semblance of freedom with which to walk on the sidewalk, single file, not to step on the street where lighter traffic zoomed and would tear off one’s legs if he weren’t careful. Or the freedom to tamper with others’ articles of clothing only up to a certain, delicate point.

8 days, again:

Rushed to his window to see the valleydrowned in a darkness grey and thick, clouds rupturing, drop-uhhh-lets falling not only on the unseeable trees and below, but also on his hair and orange shirt. The jailcell’s ceiling above him was no obstacle for the rain as is proven by the fact that the entirety of this cramped space was occupied by it in a space of a matter of minutes, possibly, yes, but not really, because twasn’t really a question of units of measurement (of time or space), but more substantially a question of time felt, and (for {almost} all intents and purposes) no time was felt before the entirety of the jailcell was filled, top to bottom, not a square inch was spared from the drowning water.

And our unlikely martyr died a quick and ruthless death.

But as it is with all things that must end, so it is that they may as well ascend from paltry water, bobbing, like an apple, a head, in which’s lips were heard moaning the following words:

Forget rot Nakedness!




There’s no such thing as stasis. Every time I reach a new square and stop, the red lights harass me and I’m forced to evacuate it. I find myself on a new square. Nothing has happened yet. I’m able to feel my coordinates, to sense my relation to the other squares in this space. Nothing has happened yet. And as soon as I’m lulled into a sense of security, the red lights come on and the blaring sirens radiate this space. I’m forced to proceed.

As you may have gathered from that summary narration, I inhabit a grid. ‘How many squares’ by ‘how many squares’, I do not know, I’ve yet to reach an exact limit. I’m under the impression that I once reached a square beyond which I could not reach. From this I infer that there might not have been a square beyond that one. I retired. But this squareless frontier is only an intimation. It’s been so, so very long since that memory was forged in me that I can’t vouch for its authenticity. Therefore, it’s just as likely that the grid is limitless and that the squares go on in every direction forever:

North, East, South, West.


South, West, North, East.

Seeing as stasis (i.e. immobility) can’t exist, sometimes I like to make use of circularity as an alternative. The red lights and sirens don’t seem to take notice or mind. Because it is not motionlessness it is not stationary. To be in constant motion in a circuit is still to be in motion and every completed super-square (square ×4) is felt differently by the subject (i.e. myself). The result, ultimately, is boredom. And then, again, I’m forced to proceed in a different direction, lest I stop.

The red lights and sirens don’t seem to mind the games I play. There are, it goes without saying, more complex ones at my disposal. For instance, I can create a crisscrossing loop that encircles two squares without ever touching them. Just think of a tilted 8. The greater length of this course makes it easier to forget that I’m returning. The goal, seeing as I’m not allowed to be still, is to produce the sensation of stillness in motion. Time kills all thrills. A new pattern is to be created. How about a wide square, <49 squares> × <49 squares>? How many squares does this new square contain? You’ll never get to the bottom of it. Then to abandon this loop and to abandon all loops and to simply go in one direction recklessly until something changes. What can take place but apathy? Or red lights and sirens. Exactly, the outcome is foreseen, already I know how this course will conclude, but still there’s the uncertainty of when this ending will come about. That is enough. When I forget, and eventually I do forget when I spend enough time going in one direction or retracing the same shape ad nauseam, eventually you forget; then, inevitably, something happens that breaks the pattern of stillness. Either you stop, which means you are attacked (that-is-to-say: bombarded) or you tear the pattern apart.

There is, of course, another way to experience the grid outside of fixed notions and patterns that I haven’t touched on yet, and that’s the question of directionlessness or patternlessness. What happens when I give up any pretense of tracing a shape or going in a particular direction? Then all preconceived sense shatters; one is left only with motion, different potentialities (North, East, West, South) which make themselves known to us repeatedly and always in relation to the last choices we made. (Why do I include you? I can never quite get to the bottom of that [i.e. “you”]. Am I not alone?) All too soon I’m overwhelmed and I’m forced to instantiate some kind of order, some sense of directionality to my movements. I find myself in or am found inside of another pattern—by blaring sirens. And stop moving. Which, as I pointed out from the start, is hopeless. Rest is just an excuse to be harassed.

Experimental short stories [II]

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