Neil Rothstein

by Horror Sleaze Trash on June 11, 2012

I’m a writer living in Manchester, I sit in front of my ancient computer, staring at the walls and the familiar view from the window and let my mind wander and explore the inner marshes of my mind, I sit and investigate my own imagination a secondary terrain, I’ve had a few stories published online, mainly at Gloomcupboard. I studied fine art at University and struggled for many years to make people understand it. I failed miserably.

The severed aperture.

I sat looking into the small crack in the mirror. There seemed little point in doing anything else. And I sat there denying my own existence. Did I expect anything else? I pulled lightly on my eye skin, detached myopia. The small crack in the mirror seemed to stretch from the tip of the mirror onto the wall behind it and up to the ceiling, tracing an invisible line from the reflected surface into my retina, the visible line elongating itself beyond the physicality of canyons. My hands crumpled the bedclothes in a painless way, small dunes of fabric allowing access for passing priests.

The bedclothes in between my fingers reminded me of a skin, a familiar skin, I twisted slowly, a slight degree, to look at the fabric between my digits, like stationary dunes on a limited desert, the lack of movement haunted me momentarily and I moved my fingers. My hand so released from the trapped fabric dune lightly skimmed it all flat, I was definite about this. Deliberate and psychotic.

Passing the Time

I tried to distract myself with words, screaming random words in no particular sequence at the book shelves. Making odd shapes with my arms and with my hands describing the shape of my favourite vagina. Lying on the floor and inducing fake oscillations. Attempting to fuck the walls. Predicting the immediate future, 3/4/5/6.

Every word, every gesture

I continued to stare at the crack, the small fracture in the mirror that seemed to be spreading like slight water seeping into a dropped paper towel. I stood briefly and stared deeper into the crack, I allowed my finger to grope the opening, to trace its specific shape. I sat back down a little defeated by the sudden depth that seemed to resonate from the concrete aperture. I imagined standing on the very edge of it. Allowing thought to override fear. The fast distant drum beats signifying something I couldn’t bear to think about and all I could do was hold my legs in position in case of imminent failure. I stood up slowly and walked to the open window, it was open slightly, letting the thinnest of breezes into the room, and looked down onto the street below, but through gap the open window created I could see the shining pavements soaking up the half light, the marbled clouds lowly forming,    I let out a sigh of frustration at the three hundredth consecutive day of this sight.

My secondary half

A peculiar aspect of this room was that I could reach the ceiling without stretching my arms at all. I walked back to the mirror, my image caught in a half pose of hand extension, this was a trick I played on myself occasionally, like trying to catch my own reflection, forever trying to test my own synchronicity, determined to prove to myself that I could out run my own shadow, my secondary half.

The harder I stared at my own facial contours the less defined they became, I could peer through all the stainless steel openings, the metallic structures to glimpse a true self image, and my frequent attempts to catch out and catch up with my own particular image were to achieve a discernibly clear image of my own face in my mind, but the harder I tried the easier it slipped away, like a prophetic dream in which you fall into the deepest sentinel canyon, bats and antelopes surrounding you on all sides and you grasp at these images in the moments you wake up, wiping the tears that drop like cannons and 17th century revolutionary sedition from you, and in doing this the images recede but the feeling remains, the feeling remains, the feeling remains, it’s still there in you, on you like sugar rushes in the womb.

Faint blond hairs

I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, a gesture I learned solely from reading books, particular books, I was more than aware that my mouth was making noises, which in turn I suppose my brain was making these noises happen, but my detachment was entirely complete, I stood there repeating the movement of the my hand wiping my now dry mouth, arms rigid by my side, I raised my right arm, ( importantly my right ) and moving my arm to the left, hand just sliding past my face, then returning, back of my hand prominent to me, the warm skin, the faint blond hairs brushing my lips, this motion I repeated for a full hour, my lips by the end dry and painful-the noises I made during these insecure alliances where claims to a throne, a throne on some deep stated planet, insults directed towards myself in a strange guttural dialect, and still my mouth felt hideously pendulous, like I had an enormous bottom lip swaying pathetically in a light summer breeze, alternately becoming dry, then drooling saliva everywhere, on the mats, the dirty plates, the collection cereal boxes I had accumulated  over the last few blurred months, my left handed fingers grasping at the air where this ugly native lip imaginatively flopped like a dipped horse or a cauterized mannequin.

I presumed I had been standing in the middle of this cubicle for at least five years, gently stooped, expecting a delivery in the slips, losing all reason and utterly beyond comprehension, the posters that lined this small cube now peeling, or maybe they were always peeling?, they all seemed to be blown up images of cutlery or paving stones, all arranged like film posters, an odd configuration of likeness and form, an installation by a blind artist or a terrible code, a set of co-ordinates depicting the angles of assassination of David Cameron, the odd sexual coupling of Thatcher’s spinal fluid and the annunciation of the pope. I straightened myself, the pressure on my lower back like white fingers, heavy  hard footsteps that I realised where my own, the desk in the corner of the room lit by a tiny lamp and a fat candle shedding light on what I presumes where my sketchbooks. I lowered myself into the almost child sized chair. A fear had gripped my intestines. I opened one of the sketchbooks and on every page where the words

‘nothing wrong with a bit of optimism ‘

I sat there for at least another nine hours watching the fat candle out pace the lamp in a race to the suicidal finish, ‘ nothing wrong with a bit of optimism ‘, I began to repeat this phrase over and over again in the form of conversations, accusations, diatribes, speeches that no one would ever hear and letter by letter I exhausted every permutation. This cubicle seemed potent. I stood up and studied the posters that fluttered as I moved through the air, my spine aligning with the pictures on the wall, one of the overpass near to where I lived seemed so powerful  I had to lie on the floor to imitate it, lying still, the posters where all of different sizes, ripped from newspapers, the enlarged photographs included, the underside of a forearm, the buccal structure of Nick Clegg, suggestive of  Lee Harvey Oswald, the inside of the right calf of Margaret Thatcher, what these strange collection of images signalled I could only guess, but the insipid intimacy of them frightened me. I walked to the window and with a nerve of cold marble I raised the blinds, the greyness of the light blinded me temporarily, and the unexpected noise of hundreds of voices wailing in anger and joy shocked me and as I looked out of the window at the slow moving procession of black cars with undertakers on either side, I knew what I had done.

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