• Dzama

Agnes and Her Lover

The book had a large hole burned right through it. It was still smoking and smelled of sulfur. Who did this? Marlus said. The concierge examined the burned pages. He tried to make sense of the destroyed cover. What did you write this one about?

What does that have to do with it?

Maybe everything, said the concierge. Maybe nothing. Was it a romance? True crime? An exposé?

Marlus glared. I don’t write exposés! It was about Agnes, a female deep sea diver from the 16th century. When she submerged she went down in a glass diving bell.

I don’t get it. A glass what? the concierge stared at Marlus.

You have to read it! There’s a scene where she makes love one hundred meters deep. But in the end I have the lovers drown inside what looks like a giant, overturned wine glass.

Now why would somebody burn a book like that? the concierge said.

IT’S A METAPHOR!! Marlus snatched the burnt novel back from the concierge. As he pushed out through the revolving doors Marlus heard the concierge call after him, For what? A metaphor for what?

On a park bench Marlus called his mom. Just be glad they didn’t burn your whole building down! his mother said. It’s only a book! You can always write another.

Mom, I have written others. And besides, I couldn’t write another one like this even if I tried. If I wrote it today I’d ruin it. Too much life experience.

Just then Marlus saw something out of the corner of his eye. Let me call you back, mom. He turned to see an ethereal woman, dripping wet, her strange gown ensnared here and there with seaweed vines. Her face had a bluish glow and her hair flowed independent of gravity, as though she was still deep underwater. Agnes! he cried. She embraced him and locked his mouth in a briny kiss.

 

When he woke up he was alone, lying in a pile of garbage under the park bench. His shirt was torn and white with powdery salt residue.

 

Back in the lobby of his building he passed the concierge.

One of your metaphors is waiting over there and he doesn’t look too happy, the concierge said. Marlus stopped. He looked over the concierge’s shoulder to see a young man dripping on the lobby upholstery, seaweed sticking out of his unnaturally flowing hair.

Before Marlus could run, the young man launched across the lobby and gave Marlus a roundhouse kick to the head.

 

When he came to again, Marlus found himself tied up and seated in a rowboat. Agnes and her lover sat opposite him. The two spoke quietly to each other and kissed as the boat rose and fell on the waves. Meanwhile Marlus struggled against his ropes. He finally managed to get the tape partially off his mouth. I didn’t want to kill you two! he said. But I couldn’t resist the poetry! They looked at him and laughed. Then they threw him overboard.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow. That story really threw me for a loop. I find the concept of a writer being killed by his own art very interesting.

  2. Tom Lisowski
    Posted April 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Branson!

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