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I shall now take the time to tell you of the Thought-Maker, the finest of fine gentlemen, the cream of the cream, and may the gods look down with pleasure upon my tale.
Taller than most short men, grander than mediocre, He Who Gives Birth to Cerebration stands proud. His doe eyes are a deep, penetrating brown, dark as bilirubin rich excrement, shrouded in eyelashes the length of bony fingers and the color of endless abysses. A voluminous nose slopes as a tear drop off his large, intelligent forehead to suck up the fragrance of roses like a vacuum of olfaction. High, robust cheekbones burst forth from his face like a model of high-fashion. Bulbous lips give way to teeth so strong they grind bones like popcorn without kernels and a tongue that could lick up a frenzy. His chin is said to have been cleft when his father unsuccessfully tried to abort him with at hatchet as a gift for having lived to see the age of one. His sinewy jaw and ruddy cheeks are coated in a thick mat of wires that could etch wood, a dense black like the heart of a politician, well matched to the shoulder length dreadlocks hanging like mangled rebar from his scaly scalp. Saucer-sized ears protrude from between the bars and are capable of hearing a pin fall in a haystack. His neck, oh, his neck! After the fall Adam fell out again and had a watermelon to bring about the protuberance to be found found on his neck. Broad shouldered with a back taut as a condom on the leg of an elephant, he is well capable of performing manual labor. His legs laugh pityingly at a mile run.
In his youth he lived in a basement that was utterly unglamorous. Small, cramped, nearly windowless. But cheap. Room enough for a desk, a chair, a twin size bed, and a chest of drawers, more minimalist than LaMonte Young. The only window was of the sort that lies with its base nearly level to the ground, black rimmed, sideways sliding, and only big enough for a cat to slip through, should it be able to get up to that height. However, the window had its perks. As it was the only window on that side of the house, the neighbors were less than adamant about shutting their blinds. The master bedroom was at just such an angle as to be well visible from the basement. Dull evenings could be spent watching the heedless neighbors clean up for bed or go about each other. Often the Origin of Ideas would gaze up at them even as they slept in the faint light of the moon. Feral cats on the prowl skulk past the window as spiders spin their glistening webs across the window in hopes of catching the moths prone to fluttering about when the Ideogenetic read in the fading light of evening. When he had his fill of silent window pane framed life, he lay down and slept deeply as soon as his head hit the pillow. His dreams were numerous and wonderful and taught him much of the mysteries he sought to solve. In the morning they slipped away from his mind as readily as the covers from his body.
He had courteous relations with the family which housed him. He took meal with them on occasion and was prompt with his rent. He never held raucous parties (not that he could, given the tight confines of his allotted living space) and never complained. Surely at this point you are thinking to yourself, “What use is this story? The Father of Brainwork has leapt out as a lively beast with a striking face, to what end? He is dull as a housewife and twice as common.” True, every word of it. But great men are not made overnight without a catalyst and the stage must be set before describing the stimulus that brought forth eminence, though it shall now be depicted:
The basement had been his home for some time when his twenty-second birthday arrived. It arrived without pomp and passed much as days are want to do. However, the following day the neighbors put their house on the market. Though he briefly lamented their going, people are always moving and it is the ones sitting still who are the anomalies. He bore them no ill-will. Thursday week the house was sold (it was a seller’s market in those days and a fine price was fetched). The next day a new couple moved in (they had relatively few positions and the house came fully furnished). The basement was unoccupied as its inhabitant was off in Culver, Alabama, listening to lectures and furrowing his brow. It is the day of his return that is the focus of the story at hand.
The Inducer of Rumination stares with intense curiosity out of his world portal and waits to see his new actor and actress. Hours pass and he has seen nothing. They are going to bed too late, or have already retired and have been missed. Moderately disappointed, he lies down to a restless sleep. It will not be the last time his sleep cycle is disturbed by his neighbors.
Various events conspire to prevent the nigh-time observation and a full week is fruitlessly spent before the neighbors are spied and the Cause of Cogitation was caught with his guard down. His neighbors are two in number, one of the male gender and one of the female. From what can be discerned, they are in some variation of an intimate relationship. The she of the two walks casually from the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom without a thread of clothing about her. Her hips are ripe for bearing children and sway fro and to hypnotically. Startled by her seemingly sudden and shameless entrance into the bedroom the Constructor of Contemplation jumps slightly back and topples over his chair. Recovering his composure, he returns to the window. She has been joined by her lover and they do as lovers do. The earth may not have moved, the mountains stood still, but as the two fell asleep in each other’s arms a lingering smile graced their respective faces and gave a quiet beauty to the scene.
Across the pair of kempt lawns and below the ground in the basement bedroom, no sleep was to be had. Attempting to pace and increasingly frustrated by the now maddeningly small room with its lack of floor space, our man thought of her. Though she had been less than easily visible due to the distance, lighting, and various obstructions, she had been seen and had left an impression like a crop circle on his emotional corn field. Large, complex, inexplicable, he longed to decipher her existence. She pierces him like an iron maiden and likewise keeps him on his feet unable to embrace the comforts of sleep. As day breaks he stands haggard and frazzled.
Weeks drift by where days move like glaciers and nights like flash floods as every glance he catches of her washes over him like so many droplets. The hazy way she appears at the other end of the distance gives her a quality not unlike the mirage of an oasis in the desert and he longs to drink her up and satiate the pangs of dehydration. Tonight, as he pines up at her, he sees the other him don a suit and kiss her cheek as he dashes out the door, somehow able to think of other engagements even as she stands naked in the bedroom and slightly recumbent against the foot board, the weight of her body balanced by her hand on the bed. Hatred and envy raged out from the basement at the man capable of leaving such a sight. Animosity, however, gave way to exultation as she wandered over to her own window and gazed out. Awe-stricken, he gazes up at her for several moments before throwing himself to the ground and pressing his back against the wall beneath the window to avoid detection. A practical woman, she loves the sky but knows that the infinities of space are matched by the infinities beneath the sky and gazes at both. It is when she looks down that she notices the basement window and the face pressed firmly against it with glassy eyes. Bemused, she smiles with closed lips and winks. When he composes himself finally the next morning, she is no longer at the window, as could be expected, given the length of time passed.
Eating lunch with his hosts he finds that they, with the inclusion of himself, have been invited to dine with the new neighbors so that they may come to know each other. The hosts have accepted on their behalf and his and his paltry attempts at excusing himself from the encounter are brushed aside like peasants before a king.
The day was spent in terror and he was barely able to dress and clean himself as to be presentable. He sweated his first collared shirt into the hamper as it went from white to grey. Finally, the hour arrives and he accompanies his hosts down the driveway, along the sidewalk, and up the neighboring walk to meet his fate.
He ate without knowing what he ate. He had the vague conception that the meal was green, brown, and yellow in various places on his plate. To his misfortune, he was placed at the end of the table opposite her and consequentially attempts to conduct himself without ever looking up. When he feels it prudent he steals glances at her like a petty thief, but she somehow manages to always be looking at him without drawing attention to herself and while talking casually and with ease to the rest of the company. He manages to gradual form an image of her. She is older than he expected, he estimates her age to be roughly thirty-one. Her hair is tied up behind her head with a few loose strands of dark auburn on either side of her face. She does not appear to wear makeup and her nails are unpainted. She is wearing a plain black dress which clings to her like wallpaper to a wall. She is of average proportion, neither rotund nor scrawny. She wears no jewelry and her ears are unpierced. Through catching phrases of conversation he learns that they have been dating for a year and that she is a writer. This last tidbit of information caused him to gag on his forkful as it was immediately followed by his hosts declaring it such a coincidence as their charge was an editor. Excitedly she requested his help with an article she was currently working as she felt it needed a cleaning up, was he free this Saturday? So it went and he became engaged to assist her with her writing.
Time passed, time passed. The Beginning of Deliberation found Saturday knocking down his door and forcing itself upon him in a most undesirable fashion. Stricken, he scraped his feet along the cement and rapped the knocker against her door, noticing that her boyfriend’s car was absent from the garage.
She greeted him with the usual pleasantries–would he like a drink? hungry? make himself at home–and he took a seat near the table clearly designated for work. She went over the basics of the article and he gradually overcame his fear as the essay took hold of him. The subject was rarefied and his intellectualism got the best of him. Discussion spilled forth and debate raged. The topic was not novel to him and he approached it from all angles and she was likewise caught up in a storm of ideas. He made her work so fresh and vivid she couldn’t find paper fast enough to scribble down all the new contemplations he elicited from her. In their ravenous academia they lost track of time and soon the boyfriend arrived home. His appearance startled them both and he laughed at how worked up they are over what is to him a rather mundane topic. He reminds her of their plans for the evening and meanders away. She turns to the Root of Reflection and admits that they will have to postpone the continuation of their conversation, though there is still much to say and do, tonight is not the night.
They meet in this fashion for a full week without discussing anything else. His nightly watches do not end but he does not make eye contact with her anymore. Saturday night arrives again and he notices her standing nude and framed once again by the window. She stares dreamily outward and her lover slips up behind her. He kisses the nape of her neck, hugs her around the waste and talking to her collarbone gestures with his eyes outward, probably to the effect that the neighbors might see. Her teeth flash and she turns into his kiss. She leaps into his arms and they make love with her back against the window. Midway through they rotate and now his back is against the window. She takes this opportunity to stare down into the basement window with a knowing smile on the ellipsis of her mouth and torments his mind like a mole in the clutches of a cat.
They have another meeting scheduled for the next day and he arrives on time. The boyfriend is conveniently absent.
“I… I no longer wish to be employed as your editor.”
“You’ve been incredibly helpful, why the change of heart?” she mockingly coos.
“I… I have lost interest in the project, it has dragged on far longer than I expected, and I have other projects I’m working on.”
“Oh? Such as?”
“I… That’s confidential.”
“Ha!” she snorts, “You love this article, you have poured much of your soul into it and brought ideas out in me which I did not imagine possible. You are full of it. What is the real reason?” she retorts teasingly.
“I… I think you know full well. I am unable to continue this in a professional manner and if you have no further questions I will take my leave.”
Fire leapt into her eyes. “What do you mean by ‘in a professional manner?’ I thought we were friends, it does not seem fair of you to cut ties like this.”
He snapped. “You know damned well I’ve been watching you from my window, small though it is. You taunt me and seem to thrive on the voyeurism of it all, likely unbeknownst to your boyfriend who certainly would not continue to treat me so congenially nor permit us to continue working alone without his oversight. You have stirred great passion in me and not just for the work at hand, and I cannot sit here for hours within reach of you and impotent to do more than work.”
He had meant to continue but she had flung herself into his lap and seemed to be attempting to suck his soul straight out from his throat, such was the kiss. With her legs on the outside of his and his thighs in the crook of her knee, he was unable to escape, though his desire to do so was very brief indeed. Where words had previously flowed forth from him now love and passion exhaled from his every pore. An endless hour they passed in the embrace of each other and as the lay upon each other the glow on her face was such that, were it not midday, it would have lit the room.
Having already established a pattern whereby he spent numerous hours at her house working, it was hardly difficult to carry on the affair. Indeed, as long as she continued to have more articles it could continue indefinitely. Having filled her head with new ideas of topics and her heart with new ideas of love, she deeply craved him. Having experienced the fullness of life and finally managed to live in the world and escape the confines of basement intellectualism, he needed her. Within four days of their affair commencing, he initiated a bit of pillow talk:
“Though it has not gone on for long, it can go on no longer. In my boundless selfishness and insecurity I cannot bare to share you. You are all I care for and all I want. We are three now and if we cannot be as one I shall certainly perish. Indeed, we do great injustice to your boyfriend as well and the situation is no good (you know what I mean) for anyone involved. Either stay with him or come away with me tomorrow and let us stake out a new life in a new town.”
“I am not so young as you, such hasty decisions are no longer in my nature. I shall need some time to think it through.”
“Not so young! What a vile excuse! Age is but a number and numbers are made up. Should you have been born on a leap day you would not even be 8 years old. Stop denying yourself the ability to live based on societal assertions as to youth.”
Though she felt it a strange compliment and was vaguely offended, his enthusiasm won her over. She agreed to his every consent. She had not been especially happy in her current relationship anyways and was looking for an exit even before the affair started.
He won the girl of his dreams. He absconds with her and starts a life of fantasy. He escapes the excessive confines of the basement and vows to sleep only in rooms with true windows. He feels alive.
He is Franz.