It was an odd tale; it started as sleep-deprived ravings but grew on me. It was an odd world, an agrarian culture, but without horses. Giraffes were the beast of burden.
There was a man in the village who no one liked. He had a bad temper, and sprayed saliva when he talked. No one mentioned that to him. He was out working his fields one day when his giraffe had a heart attack. That must be common among the swift ones; the heart has to maintain enormous pressure to keep the head nourished, perched way up there.
The man’s giraffe died and he sat there, out in his field, next to his dead animal, for three days. Then he packed what he could carry and left the village forever. The story was not about him.
In this world of odd mammals and random blinding rainstorms, metaphors had a disquieting concreteness. Promises were trees, and lies were death. I was big on the truth back then. Wombats would pursue their victims relentlessly across the grassland, but neither hunter nor hunted would voluntarily enter the forest. I think they were wombats. They sound more dangerous than platypuses. The plainsmen raised them to be particularly nasty.
I’m thinking of that story now, wistfully hoping to recapture its unfettered randomness and heavy symbolism. Fifteen years later, I seem to recall some good prose as well. Tonight I have been sitting, groping for some of that silliness, my prose prosaic. There are only so many hours you can spend editing your own work before you turn into a pile of dependent clauses and dangling participles, with nary an idea in sight.
It’s time for action! It’s time to recapture that old-school mild schizophrenia. All nighter! Yeah! Rock on!