Chapter One: Irving gets a shoe.
It was early and very cold as the pile of
old sheets and covers rolled onto the floor.
With a determined effort, Elwin rolled himself
onto the floor. He opened his eyes and tried
to stand up. In only four tries he succeeded
and walked into the little green room to urinate.
Then he went back to bed.
Nearly four hours later, he decided it was
time to eat breakfast. Breakfast consisted
of toast, coffee, onion flavored grits, and a
fresh laquer covering that nearly disolves glass.
Three unsuspecting pedestrians are queried about the time.
It was very early that morning as
Heywood began walking toward home after
a long night of wandering around, trying not to think.
As he was almost home, Heywood remembered that
he had left his keys in the car on the
lawn in front of the Sir Helmut Pithy memorial.
Heywood was crawling in his window and
felt the familiar metalic jingle of keys
falling to the floor as he dropped
a dollar and thirty eight cents in quarters
nickles and pennies into the crack
between his bed and the far wall.
Sensing his mistake, Heywood closed
the window behind him and declared
he would find his car someday as he
fell deeply into a pit of relentless sleep.
The Slightly Older Recluse
As the time of twilight ebbed
past him, Peter Hensew, the slightly
older than Irwin Recluse, looked out of
his window into the gray halflight that
shrouded the forest around his car.
It had been 234 days since Peter had
actually touched his car. Rather,
he had allowed several of his contemporaries
to touch it and in some cases, even drive it.
One of his contemporaries, whom he called
Exeter Nine Seven (E97 for short), had
gone so far as to fill the tank with gasoline.
Now, as the 234th day began or ceased
to ebb past him, he began thinking
about the inferior quality of his life. He
even stopped to fancy the idea of striking
himself with the iron skillet given to him
by an admirer. But he had already
been here before - traveled this path -
seen the error in these ways.
What little remnants of self abusive
behavior he had expelled from his
system like an old piece of gum that
had lost its taste and flavour.
That is to say what few
redeeming qualities he knew he didn’t have
had been replaced by some qualities
that made him less inclined to rake
the skin off his feet with a wire
Chapter Four: the afternoon
Young Heywood waddled down the
sidewalk toward the mailbox where
he would often visit. It had been
a long walk toward the small rather
ordinary mailbox. The mailbox was undented
and had a smooth vulcanized finish that
Heywood made note of every time he
ventured outside long enough to retrieve
the mail after having waited until the
mailman was out of view. Heywood
took pleasure in these outings and would
often whistle to himself as he
walked back inside.
The Young Recluse At Night
Albert was listening to the sound
of the refrigerator and thumping a rythmic
pattern obsessively with his left hand
when suddenly, the room lit up as a
car drove by. Not wondering who it was
exactly, Albert looked over at the
pattern on the far wall that the street light
made through the window blinds.
Then he looked up at the window again.
He held up his hands and squinted
as he watched the same fingers
he had watched yesterday and the
day before that whirl and fly as
he tilted them like airplane wings
look on television.
Revenge of the Recluse
Early that evening just before three
while Alfred was trying very hard not to
think, there were sounds that kept emanating
from almost every room in the house and
they simply made it impossible not to think.
As soon as one thought was shoved from his
mind, Alfred would be assaulted by a sound
that reminded him that he was still thinking.
And being not in the same mood as one
who thinks out loud, Alfred began
making inward sounds and gestures.
All of this was very sick, but he could
not help but think about it and this in turn
reminded him that he was thinking again.
The Young Recluse Alone
Albert was listening to the refrigerator
when somebody opened the door to it.
Who could that be? Anyone would have
to be really hungry to break into Albert’s
house just to use his refrigerator.
What would they do when they discovered the
old old mayonaise? And what about
the shriveled lettuce? How could
Albert explain this to the police?
He would have to say "somebody
broke into my house and made
a sandwich out of old old mayonaise
and shriveled lettuce only there
was no bread."
Delusions of historical dreams.
There was at one time a great
nation of warriors. 3 of whom had
no memories of directions. They could not
remember which street went where or even
where each street was. Somehow they
all managed to arrive at a place
that was only 3 blocks from where
Helmut was. Realizing the importance of
this. Helmut telephoned the authorities who
immediately told him he was wrong. Then,
Helmut realized that there were indeed
indians in vermont who used the expression
javo which to them means coffee with milk
and no sugar.
Escape of the Young Recluse
Elwin suddenly realized that the bed
was on fire and he had indeed fallen
asleep while smoking on thorazine.
Leaping frantically onto the floor
which by now was also in flames,
Elwin danced from foot to foot
in a quandry as to which door to take.
"Door number one" shouted the radical
left wing crowd while in total kaos
the extremist right wing audience
all but got up and rioted during
a massive row at the anual meeting
held in august last year.
Chapter Ten: Toothpaste is Everywhere
Alvin ventured out that night into the cool and chilling
air of gloom that pasted the streets. For hours and
minutes he looked high and low for someone to call friend,
someone to converse and laugh with, someone to at least
nod and say hello to. He went past the Waffle House and
did not stop. He went here and there where once he and others
gathered and amused themselves. And finally he found someone.
He said hello and someone nodded and said hello and
for an awkward moment he almost thought of something to say
and then someone left. Alvin went back home and rolled
onto the couch and vowed never to watch MASH reruns in the afternoon.
Clarence emerged from the meeting unsure of himself.
The rest of the committee had been quite firm in their
pursual of justice. Clarence tapped the rhythm to some
obscure melody that had been haunting him since before
lunch. Had he been so wrong in supporting the team of
specialists that had made the first successful attempt
at implant surgery with dental floss? How was he to know
the brain would be rejected? And if he did, how was he
to be held to blame? It was purely his word against theirs
and nobody was around to argue anymore except the rest
of the bloody committee and they were so sloshed as to be
unrecognizable amongst a subway train loaded with street
refuse and grafitti artists.
Chapter Eleven: Unlike the Others
I woke up one day and found chaos.
The word "like" had been stricken from
our language. Paper was flying in the hallway
when I arrived at the office. Only then did I
realize what had happened.
They had landed and they were everywhere.
A girl in the cafeteria was stricken down
as she tried to carry on light mealtime conversation
without using the word "like."
They simply did not like that word.
In fact, they did not like anything.
They were like nothing we had ever seen before.
They were weird.
I was like far out!
The Young Recluse in the Year 2017
There would be a time and a place for everything
and everyone would know what to do without saying it
and things would be returned to their proper place
and without notice, everyone would be asked
questions regarding their intentions and plans
and the answers would come easily, immediately
as if rehearsed and with a slight monotone
quality as if these people had been brainwashed
to believe all this, to believe that things
were in the proper place at the proper time.
We are screaming at Fred.
Only two doughnuts remained.
"They must keep remaining" thought Fred as
he hurried across the room to where
the kleenex was. They would have to
keep remaining there where they were
until later when he would devour them
slowly savoring each little piece of
doughnut while he chewed and chewed
it and swished it around in his
mouth. Then he would wash it all
down with Mello Yello or Mountain Dew
and think about the rest of those
cleverly unmentioned things that were in the little
box inside the shoe bag hanging behind the
side door entrance to Fred’s 3 level
1 bedroom deluxe luxury suite of
tiny but industrious, actually thoroughly
ingenious housing and storage shelters.
Somehow "oh mercy" thought Fred as
he waivered anonymously across the room.
Fred soon recovered the lost cleverly
unmentioned articles from his soiled
and wrinkled trousers held most of the
time under the wires and things or
The Young Recluse Wakes Up
All the lights in the room were on as young Shepard woke up.
"All I want to do is go to the bathroom" he said into the
little speaker and a nurse came in with a urinal. She
untied his right hand so he could use the small half-gallon-
milk-jug device. "What a place to find yourself in on a
saturday morning" he heard one of them say. "Yeah, what
a saturday morning to wake up to" Shepard thought. He pressed
the little head picture and an up arrow and while his head
rose higher he thought "you haven’t lived until you have
escaped from hospital bondage." He squirmed and muttered
curses at the pain in his hip from the last injection.
"If only I hadn’t been foolish enough to leave the room
after untying myself." He smiled a drug induced smile
and went back to sleep.
The Young Recluse Eats For Free
On the outset, it appeared as though
the coughing fit would last forever. A contagious
panic swept accross the dining room as people realized
that they too had phlegm and could not get it out. It was like
dominoe theory on a grand scale. Waiters, bus boys, cashiers, an
old man who walked in to buy cigarettes - all of them harking
and hacking to clear lungs that only moments earlier were okay.
Alvin had cleared his throat already and was looking sheepishly
over the plants surrounding his secluded booth not too far from
the fat lady, the first victim of the epidemic.
At first, he had imagined that a hair was stuck on the back of
his throat. Then while trying desparately to touch it with his
finger, he gagged for a bit and inhaled something; choking
mildly at first then heaving for air between violent expulsions
of only so much pain. Naturally other people began to go "ahem
ahem" Then, one after another they progressed into a dramatic
display of insipid crowd behavior. Alvin tried to keep his eyes
open but the drone of hundreds of people coughing was quickly
putting him to sleep. He got up quickly to pay his check, not
noticing that the fat woman had fallen into the floor blocking