Confessor of Littlefield #8
This is a story within the novel The Confessor of Littlefield. Within the narrative of the novel, this story is written by the narrator, Adam. It reveals my appreciation for Kafka.
Baked Potato Cop with Runny Eggs Eyes
I am sucked into a tunnel and spit into an interrogation room, hanging side by side with a six foot tall house fly, both of us in harnesses suspended from a metal pipe laid over ceiling planks. A cop, 25 pounds over weight and wearing a shirt 2 sizes too small is sitting at a card table looking over a clipboard of names.
“Name?” he asks clearly in a monotone. The voice matches a black haired man, dyed, in his mid-fifties, not a smoker but whose breath is somehow worse. Instead, the voice belongs to a sandy haired, crew cut man in his forties, with green eyes that look like they are being cracked into a fry pan.
“Peeshite.” He bellows and looks up to match my face with the photo in the folder on a clipboard.
“Why don’t you have tablets and smartphones to carry that information. You still have to use physical files?”
“There are no files unless there is something physical to put in them. Most people still write faster than they type. Besides, Sarge lost faith in technology when the Budget Dept. awarded the communications contract to Boost Mobile.”
“Gotcha. You always have to be in the now, not the 30 seconds from now.
“Exactly. Now, we believe we have some things you have been missing over the years and just need you to sign for them.”
“What things?” I ask, glancing at the fly as it blinks back at me then gives its face three speedy wipes with a feely finger-leg.
“Why don’t come this way.”
We don’t step, we are sort of manipulated by the air, like we are windboats being brought to order magnetically, sucked by our destination point. The chair in the car sucks me to the seat. The door closes and the cop is a big, sweaty cerulean blue stuffed potato with runny eggs eyes and a pan head. We drive past crate after crate, each ten feet tall and 1000 square feet. I look up and see ten stories of racks encircling me like a panopticon. The building is immense. It has a large roof that looms over a railroad track so it might look like a potato barn ten miles in length.
After driving perhaps a mile we get out and the cop gives me a clipboard and says, “sign here.” I don’t. He looks at me a little peeved and slaps the clipboard against his thigh and sour cream spurts from between his legs. He pays no attention. “Hey,” he says hotly, “you don’t have any idea how much work goes into fighting thieves on behalf of our citizens. The responsibility to those greater than you is, uh, greater than you can imagine. Anyway, didn’t you ever wonder what happened to the stuff you’ve lost and never found?”
“We collect every one of those things. Socks and undergarments, puzzles, papers, letters, pens, scissors, sometimes pets you think you’ve gotten rid of, winning lottery tickets, favorite shirts, lucky wiping cloths. Says here you lost a duffle bag with all the baseball uniforms you wore as a kid?”
That isn’t fair. “Yes,” I clear my throat with that sound that tells me I have given myself over to something I shouldn’t have.”
“Here’s your copy. You have 48 hours to get your sh…stuff outta here. If you don’t we will impound your property at a fine of $500 a day. After ten days we destroy your sh…stuff and fine you $10,000 on top of the $500 a day you didn’t pay. You will have 30 days to pay your fine or go to jail. At which time your house, car, and bank accounts will be seized to satisfy the fine. “Is this your signature?”
“Whaddaya mean? I just watched you sign.”
“For some reason you need me to verify something you think you saw. I can’t do that for you.”
“Is your name Geoffrey Peeshite?”
“I can’t answer that unequivocally.”
“Yes or no.”
“There is no yes or no that is completely accurate.”
“Are you telling me you are not Geoffrey Peeshite?”
“I am he, but that is not my signature. Someone else signed that while my hand did its bidding. I watched the hand do something for which I did not intend.”
“Yeah, well, intended or not, the judge will see the video and find you guilty.
“He cannot, if he cannot apprehend the one who intended the signature.”
“I know. That’s why I think I have a chance. Life is what I make it. Everything is the best of all possible worlds.”
“When you wake up in detention you will have the opportunity to petition for the best of possible worlds. Good luck.”
“Please fasten your seat belts,” the hairy voice announces with the rush of wind in my ears.
Powder blue emergency room. Gowns, face masks, rubber gloves. The smell of antibacterials. A bushy browed, dark eyed female surgeon is holding a foot long wiggling worm on a long pair of scissors. She says to me, “there are some things you never do or else destroy the long standing relationship. Never look like a coward. Never be indecisive. Never squirm from responsibility. Laziness is welcomed. It allows your partner to extend upon you the passive aggressiveness she at all times wishes she could express.”
“Whatever,” I say, knowing the surgeon lady is pissed off. She tears off her mask. It is the unreasonably snotty woman cop who once told me “I don’t give a damn if die!”
“Does that mean you’re going to leave me alone now?” I ask.
“Oh,” she shakes her head, “I ain’t even begun with you.”
“Ok.” I look around for an escape. I don’t want to know anything more about this person. She is the result of the antacid I took just before bedtime.
The cop is back at my side and we are the crate again, he with his clipboard and me with a WTF look on my face. “Listen, buddy, let’s be reasonable. Let’s just settle this so we can both get on with our day, okay?”
I look at the cop and he blinks at me then quickly wipes his face three times.
Now, at this point I am thinking about having myself pull a concealed fly swatter and I even imagine I am Clint Eastwood spinning my flyswatter like Clint does his revolver after blowing a bad guy’s brains out. But then I would get the cop’s runny eggs eyes all over me. If I hit him elsewhere I get sour cream all over me. I could pull out my concealed spatula and flip him over, but then I would face a fine for humiliating a cop and be made to be a practice dummy while the police practice punching with their elbows, shoulders, knees and hips during the “stop resisting” drill.
I am overcome with anxiety and impotence and began praying, “God, oh God, please get me the heck outta here! There are forces at work here I do not understand and who have captured me. Please help me wake up! I’ll read Jonathan Edwards even; wait, let me see if I can wait a few moments longer.”
I see my reflection in a mirror which makes me fall asleep, and I slink along the hallway past the door to my bedroom where my motionless body lies beneath a blanket. As I descend carpeted stairs to a kitchen with a sliding glass door I see the cop chasing the fly with a swatter in one hand. And just as the fly is about to fly into the sliding door it veers away and the cop runs face first into the door. I hear the thud and see the blood. I think I saw a tooth fly outta the cop’s mouth. But the glass sort of becomes a gel and a tube, like the mouth of a digestive system, and slowly ungulates as it sucks him in.
My head rushes forward, gasping because I was sleeping on my back. I look at the mirror and I am awake. The brain is active and vaguely aware that I am not an idea but material. I wipe drool on my arm, scratch my scalp, and get up and walk to my living room. I look through the sliding door at the trees barely shaken with breeze. A squirrel, on its hind legs and looking like a prairie dog sniffs the wind for danger then quickly darts away. A dog barks. I open the door to let in the outside air. A fly buzzes in.