Short Story

The Horse


It does not have to be this way oh god above me god above me. God who I have so elegantly killed. There was a horse in the road and he was being whipped and I cried and cried and came to the poor beasts aid. Why whip a horse? Why not whip me? Why not whip A stack of my writings? Do not waste the lash on an animal that can do no more than trot and winny! I can recite poetry in Greek, I can write prose in Latin! I can read you a passage from Virgil verbatim from my mind! So much more could be gotten from whipping me!

Watch as the amethyst sky rain. Terminate the afternoon with clouds and storm and fickle atmosphere. I was reading Hugo, only Hugo, nothing more profound than that. I wanted nothing more than to read, but the horse needed my attention. I can no longer read, no longer speak. I am in a bed. The linens are white and well starched. A parade of sycophants coo at me and ask my bitch of a sister for my ersatz autograph. She places a pencil in my hand and drags my limp digits across the inside cover of “The Birth of Tragedy”. Why did I write the pathetic excuse for a manuscript anyway? Ah… it was that student who was self-righteously tossing meaninglessly circuitous questions about my lecture. I felt like throwing Socrates for a loop… I carried away from there.

Oh how I could use Dionysus now! Oh god of libations and witless mirth send me a euphoria that will part the reeds of this marsh that holds me prisoner. I only want to write again… If only to denounce myself. Oh God of Jacob you of all beings should be happy that I wish to use my pen to excoriate myself. I’ll crucify myself and save you the trouble! I have already expedited my descent into hell. What is hell if it is not your sister feeding you soup and spooning your admirers lies about your oeuvre? Give me fire! Give me hideous imps! Give me endless wrenching torture! But deliver me from this literary rape my own flesh and blood is perpetrating on me and my memory! It is intellectual incest! Her fingers, let alone her mind, were never meant to touch my ideas. I will banish Baal from my thoughts is you strike her dumb and blind and give me another month to get my affairs in order! I will resurrect you for a bit if it helps me be remembered for more than my demise.

The world has changed since I fell into the stupor. It has gotten so much more… rapid. Or is it rabid? I the church bells themselves seem to ring louder, quicker, and the men are beginning to speak oh so very knowingly, as though some great question had been answered. And the women! There are so many more women about. So many of them visit me. I have no idea why. I was no friend of theirs, or at least that is how I was perceived. Suppose truth was a woman? How ironic would that be? And now the women in whom truth is personified have descended upon me in my most dire hour and corrupt the truth I tried so hard to speak. Or maybe I am too proud. Perhaps my words where lies and this foul muse has come to my bedside to correct the egregious errors of my ego? So many questions. The answers left their card at the door but never did come in to pay a visit. They had to pay their respects at Schopenhauer’s grave I suppose.

I have written 3 manuscripts, a small book of poetry, and 15 essays since I feel into this torpor. Alas they cannot be committed to paper. They will die with me, but that is no real tragedy. So many ideas have died with their creators in ignominious silence. So will I. That is inevitable now. I am enfeebled and infantile again, I have completed the cycle, albeit much sooner than I had anticipated. Well, I suppose it is a cycle, or not. Perhaps it is a ferment and I am near the peak of my vintage about to be drunk up by some great inebriated deity. But that would imply that I would be expelled at some point… unless the deity has an endlessly expanding bladder. But I digress… from something I suppose. Perhaps not. The sun is falling and those speedy little church bells are striking six. Time for my  sister to bring me my supper. Oh how I hope tonight is the night when she slips some blessed poison into my broth. She must be tiring of dealing with my crippled husk. I am no pretty sight In this, or to be honest any, condition. I am a hard man to deal with healthy and hearty, let alone drooling and murmuring. Let her kill me… although I did always want to out live that hag Victoria over in England. I don’t want to die a “Victorian”. Bah. How droll that would be.

I have a very blasé attitude to death. You would as well if your were essentially a well coifed bed warmer. I no longer care if I end up in hell or heaven or in Prague. I just want to be able to stop thinking about death. That is the true bliss that comes with passing on: no longer having to think about passing on. So many terrible books have been written about how/why we die. Not enough have been written about how we should live. I hope that my works have subtracted from that deficit in some small way. Living is a wonderful thing, if by life one means the ability to live without pain. I stopped living long ago. So I no longer care if I do live or do not.

The cat is on my legs again. That infernal cat that my sister insists on letting loose in my room. It smells, and it makes no end of trouble for my allergies, not that anyone could tell: I have so many fluids oozes from my frame that one some more coming from my congested nose will raise no worry in my caretakers. I hate cats. Their smug little smiles remind me of  how my publishers look before they strike some vital passage from one of my manuscripts: “This is much too abstruse of a passage for the pedestrian reading public Friedrich… how about another one of those nice aphorism of yours instead?” Publishers, like priests, seem to believe they have the ear of God, or at least of the prevailing market trends.

But the cat! Oh the cat! That whining little creature. It lies there, smelling of cod and spoilt milk as it sucks the very warmth from my body. God above how a hate these little creatures. Oh, and my sisters knows it I am sure. If I had a aversion to blue you can rest assured the walls would positively bleed the color. That bitch. That… but what is the use? She will not poison me tonight, or tomorrow, or ever if she was her way. I am her only means of procurement for the two things she loves most: pity and money. The first she gets quite readily, obviously, and the second she fortunately receives very little. I am not a popular writer, and for once in my life I am thankful for my unctuousness persona and its dampening effects on my literary bottom line. She is living as high as she can off of my bottom Mark… Her needs are modest, at least her financial needs. I am sure she gets no end of attention and praise from those trumpet tooting nationalists who claim to see a Pan-German manifesto in my writings. How did I so quickly become the new Wagner? Has my entire life been one long lead up to the punch line “Nietzsche est Wagner?” Again… not that it really matters to my sense of pride, but I had hoped that the dear old hag would at least preserve the underlying meaning of the words I spent my entire life forging. And now she has gotten her greedy little hands on my notebooks… lord only knows what she can do with my unfinished thoughts!

But I grow tired. The broth dribbles from my lips like water from a clogged fountain. I’ll pay the nurse a favor and pretend to sleep. Perhaps I shall really sleep after a while. Maybe I will dream of that horse. Maybe I can ride alone in the countryside for a bit. In my dreams I am sure I will not have to apply the whip to his hide to make him gallop like the breeze.


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