“I started reading The Spiral Cornucopia of Pale Lavender… and I didn’t really like it. But then I realized I was trying to read it like a book – I was trying to just read it. And so I went back and slowed it down and tried to imagine it more like something to ingest bit by bit. Like a poem or a fortune cookie. It’s still weird. But I like it a lot more.” – C.M.
“This is truly incredible.” -C.O.
“I have no idea what this garbage is supposed to be. Were you drunk when you wrote it?” -S.G.
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The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is a 10-part series of fiction. Below is part 3. To read the introduction of the project, click here.
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74She opens the door and enters first. [SEQ. IV] 1We go through the black door and down a small set of three steps and into a small bunker area. It is a small box. It is made of metal. There are shelves. 2On those shelves are boxes and cans filled with things. Some of it is food and some of it is generic office supplies and there is also a bag of yeast that is turning black. The ceiling drips water onto the floor. 3There is an electric plug on the wall but the shape looks like a straight line an inch in length instead of anything my collective conscious may be familiar with. 4The door dissolves as we approach it and we enter a hallway that is lit by light that seems to radiate out of nowhere. It is both odd and familiar to me. 5The smell is both sweet and delicious. Like a steak in cranberry sauce. But it isn’t strong enough to make me hungry. It’s just strong enough to make me satisfied. 6I see that the old woman is suddenly standing up quite straight and looking decades younger. 7She tells me that everyone looks different here. They look the way they want to look in their hearts, which is typically a more glamorous version of themselves. 8Rarely do people want to become someone else. It happens but you typically stay yourself. 9She looks at me and laughs. 10And when I look down I see that my skin is pale white. 11We pass a mirror and I see that I am the man in the river but I don’t know why. 12She points at me and tells me that my hair is white. She pulls out a lock of it and shows me. 13We walk through the tunnels and then up some stairs and mostly I follow her because she walks as though she knows where she is going. 14At the end of the hallway there is a key. She picks up the key and uses it to open the door and I say, “Where did the key come from?” and she says that it was always here and I wonder who built this place. 15She tells me that she doesn’t know but the place is really big. She tells me that the other doors have been explored but none of them connect except two. You can go in one door and then come out the other one later on. 16A couple of guys that have been trying to map it – just some local guys in the village – figured it out. 17They think all of the doors are connected in some fashion. 18But the question is, if it’s a giant maze, what’s at the end? 19They found a room with a ceiling that appeared to not exist, a darkness that sat like a blanket. 20Another place from another time. 21The afterbirth of a local apocalypse. 22I ask her where we’re going and she just says we’re going to go to the quiet room until the Stomping Process is over. 23She says we have to stay here for several days because time moves differently where we stand. 24She says if you perch at the doorway (she used that word perch – like a giant bird) on this side and look out at the village, you will see everyone moving around very fast. They move like they’re all running around. 25Time moves more slowly over here and I say, “How old are you?” and she tells me that she is seven hundred and twenty six years old and suddenly my heart breaks because I know that her husband that is dead is not her first and that she has experienced the loss of a lifelong husband seven times. 26She carries more grief than anyone. Than everyone. 27There are things she is not telling me but I cannot prod right now. 28She tells me that we have to stay in here and wait for the Stomping Process to be finished. 29I ask her how long three days in here is and she tells me that it is seven years out there, which they call a threshing. 30When the Stomping Process begins it always lasts for seven years. 31They take the people and pull them into the sky. 32I ask why and she says she does not know. But I know. 33I know that some of them are kind and some of them are cruel and I know that they are fishing. 34The woman leads me down a hallway where the walls are gray and red and when we come to the end there are two men standing outside of a double door that is locked and the men have guns but no eyes and they don’t ask what we want because their job is not to keep things out but to keep things in. 35We walk through the doorway and inside I see a large group of people and they are all sick and broken in different ways. Some of them are covered in sores and some of them are thin and frail and some of them have blood dried around their mouth and nose and some of them lie on the floor coughing and some of them are dead. 36The smell is unpleasant but not unbearable. 37I notice a vent in the ceiling with a fan that is always running. I also see a vent and it is out of this vent that I sense a smell. 38There are perfumes being pushed into the air here. Something tangy like a grapefruit but instead of masking the stench of sickness and disease it instead adds to it, combining with it, making a smell that is neither good nor bad but making something that is neither. An ambivalent scent that I don’t think I will or could ever get used to. 39The people turn and look at us and some hold out their hands but most of them acknowledge us with their eyes and then turn away, aware that we are unable or unwilling to help them. 40I see a ham sandwich sitting on a counter but the bread has turned a dark green color. There is a refrigerator but it isn’t plugged in. 41When I turn to ask the woman a question I see that she is gone and I am so stupid and now I am alone and now I am afraid and now I realize that I am one of these people and I don’t want to be. 42I want to be free and outside even though I really don’t know what is out there and even though the fishermen are reaching from the sky and pulling people from the earth, or whatever this place is. A hologram, an illusion, a spell, I still would rather be out there because freedom inside of oppression is better than being a prisoner without a view. 43I don’t go towards the doors because I know the men will never let me out. 44I know that I cannot call my mother or my friends or my brother, if I had one, if I ever had one. If I ever had a mother. If I could find a phone. 45I cannot scream for help because no one is listening and I am alone and panic begins to wash over my body and it makes me sick and I start to pace and then I lie down and I sleep and when I wake up there are loud banging noises and the walls are shaking and the lights are flickering and I run and I hide behind the refrigerator that isn’t plugged in while the rest of the people crawl towards the door. 46They fall to their knees and they hold their hands in the air and they all begin shouting and screaming and I hear, “I am here, Lord!” and, “Take me!” and, “I am ready!” and many of them begin to laugh but most of them begin to cry and sob and I see that this is the first time they have been happy for a very long time. 47The banging stops and a whisp of something that I would call smoke or mist creeps under the door except the mist looks like a prism and I see all the colors of the retinal spectrum blending and sparkling like a gemstone and I see other things too. But I don’t see them with my eyes. I feel them. I feel the words and the thoughts and I know that yes, this prism mist is a good thing but I fear that it is also a trap and none of the people know it and I watch as the colorful mist wraps around the group of them and envelops them and I see the mist start to boil and I hear screaming but it is not screams of pain but screams of ecstasy and it seems like they are experiencing other-worldy pleasures and it is in this fashion that they go away. 48They are not pulled through the door but the prism fades as mist does and when it is gone, everything inside of it is gone as well. 49Sitting on the green and white-checkered linoleum floor is a small stone, the same prismatic color of the mist. It is about the size of my fist. I pick it up and find that it is quite warm, somehow imbued with human life but no; I understand that that is wrong. 50This is their sickness and their hatred and their sorrows and their remorse and all of the terrible and bad things of the world that have been placed and given and gifted to them over their many years wandering this strange place, this life, this existence, that they’ve gathered up and now they’ve all been allowed to leave it behind like old shoes, freed from it completely. 51I smell the rock and then I taste it, rubbing my tongue along the top. It tastes like pepper and makes me sneeze but immediately I feel the effects of it as my brain expands and I see all the pain in the world. 52I see it all. 53I see how it works into our bodies. I see that sometimes it enters through our ears and sometimes it enters through our eyes but mostly it is birthed from our hearts. 54We are like mother hens sitting on our eggs, sitting on our evils, sitting on our selfishness, sitting on our jealousies and we keep them warm and we let them grow and we birth them out into the world, not as eggs, but as words or actions or in the tone of our voice. 55I drop to my knees and I want to cry but I don’t get to. I don’t get to expel the feelings. 56I grip them in my heart and I squeeze their complex singularity with my body and my soul cries and breaks and I stare at the ceiling, which breaks away and crumbles away and I see, outside, not sunshine, but ultimate darkness and in that darkness I sense nothing at all. No great evil staring back at me but absolute sadness and it reaches out for me and it wants me and I can feel that if I follow it I can do anything I want. 57I can partake in all of my wants and desires but there will be no pleasure in any of it. There will be no taste to any of it. 58I feel laughter pulled from my body and I feel joy retched out of my hands and I feel happiness, like a coin, taken from me. 59And now I understand that I am empty and this body is truly nothing more than a little package. An envelope with a piece of paper inside and what’s written on that paper? What does my letter say? What is my message? 60I feel the darkness reaching in for my letter but I hang on tight and it says, “No. This is mine. All is mine.” 61And I know that it isn’t true but I wonder if it is and I unfold my letter, not a real letter, but my purpose, and I reach deep down inside myself and [SEQ. V] 1I say, “Who are you?” and the answer comes back. “Compassion. Understanding. Friendship. Don’t ever forget. You will die.” 2And then everything is pulled away from me but some kind of residue is perhaps still left and then my body is sucked through the gaping chasm in the ceiling and my eyeballs melt away and everything is dark and when I turn around, I see a hole in the fabric of whatever this is. Maybe a version of reality or a dimension or time or space. 3I drift away from it and I don’t care because nothing matters and everything is darkness and nothing serves a purpose and floating freely through space is better than being trapped against my will and I feel my consciousness expand and I understand that I’ve been here before and perhaps this is where I came from and perhaps this is the cradle of Now and I call out with myself, not my voice and not my heart because these things are all gone and now I am just a thought. 4My physical being has been removed and I know that I am transcendent but have somehow de-volved to a flickering memory. 5I feel out towards the edges but find nothing but vastness and then a vibration touches my thought and I know it is another place or another person or another thing – there is something. 6There is life. 7Something in this vastness and blackness and darkness and abyss and I call to it and I find it and it is a/ [SEQ. VI] 1I open my eyes and I’m underwater, inside of a narrow tube and I can’t lift my arms.
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Part 4 premieres next Monday the 6th. 36and then he reaches up and he peels off his face like boiled skin from a tomato”