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The International Writers Magazine
: Dreamscapes: I write them down in my notebook...

King of the Dust Mites
Mary Wilson

The notebook in which I write has a black cover. Black is not a color, it is a value. I print, I do not write in cursive. My mother writes in cursive. Her letters are long and flowing, like ribbons on the page. The Sister who taught us cursive writing said that only children print. The sun is out today. The windows of this cabin are broken. The glass lay on the leaves outside. The windows were large, but now they are broken. Or should I say that the glass was large, or that the openings are large? Windows are openings, not necessarily defined by glass. A window could have plexiglass. Or saran wrap. Translucency seems important. Glass is made of sand. The heat of an atomic bomb can turn the desert into glass.

There is a rusting truck, an overturned washing machine, and three chairs outside. A chair needs three legs in order to stand. I have not been outside for three days. There is an empty oil tank outside, and a wrought iron railing that leans against the cabin.
There are 13 steps to the second floor, if you count the top as a step. I am unsure if you are supposed to count the top as a step. Perhaps there are 12 steps, like the apostles. The top step is for Jesus. I am not sure if the 12 apostles include Judas.
I keep my other notebooks in my backpack, protected in Ziplock bags. I don’t want the writing to get wet and bleed.
Today I will go into town. I am out of chocolate Pop-tarts. I can buy chocolate Pop-tarts at the general store. I have already recorded all the people at the store in my notebooks. My printing is small, like typeface, but I have filled many notebooks.
There is a pornographic magazine on the table by the couch. It is open to a page of a woman performing fellatio. Or giving a blow-job, one might say. The corners of the pages look like they have been dog-eared. The drops that have come through the roof have made them curl.
I will buy Spaghetti O’s at the store.
My stomach is upset, but not as badly today. I will empty my bucket outside. I get my water from the stream. Maybe it is a ditch. Today I will boil my water. Purify it. Boiling water makes it taste flat. There is no taste in water that has been purified.

I will stay until the cold comes; then, I will return to mother. The checks will be waiting for me. Most people have to apply twice to get those checks, but I had to apply only once. Mother knows I like to go in the summer. The checks are still coming in the mail.
She asks me if I want to go the grocery store with her. She wants me to get out of the house. Sometimes I wear my dark glasses and carry the white cane when I go out. People will not usually speak to you if they think you are blind. The cashiers usually say hello, and then I write them in my notebook. I believe my mother is ashamed of me when I carry my cane. Her friends she plays bridge with know that I’m not blind. I have already recorded them all in my notebook.

My earliest memory is of my father. We were at the ocean. He was carrying me and he had gone waist deep into the surf. I clung tightly to his neck. His face was rough. He had blue eyes. I have blue eyes.
I cannot remember a time before I could speak. I cannot remember being a baby. My mother did not breastfeed me. A cow is my mother. Maybe the brain does not have the space for memories at that age. I would like to remember being born. One does not remember being born. One does not remember dying. The entry and exit doors lock when they shut.

The rain carved more ruts into the road. The machine will need to go by again before the summer is over and take out the channels. Mosquitoes bit me on my way to the store. The farmer at the corner who grows the pumpkins said hello to me as I walked by. He grows giant sunflowers. It is not so much the sunflower that is giant as the stalk that holds the flower is excessively tall. I recorded him in my notebook.
I swam in the quarry on the way to the store. Two dead dragonflies floated together on the surface of the water. There was an inescapable sadness in their floating together. In some cultures, they are a symbol of regeneration, and in others, death.

I bought bread at the store. Was the Manna that fell in the desert leavened? Perhaps they ate the locusts and that was the manna. Locusts have more protein than steak. I have never purposefully eaten a bug.
It appears as if my notebooks are divided into chapters. Birth to age seven, the age of reason. Seven to 12, 13 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 35. My life has no chapters. Only two sections, pre-pills and post-pills. The government gave me my insanity certificate when I was 26. I redeem it to get monthly checks. It has proven to be more lucrative than my college degree.

If I can’t remember a name, I create a name. The bus driver from sixth grade had a small train track in her yard that was big enough to ride a miniature train on. I have named her the Conductor. She had an Irish accent. One day she let us ride the train. She wore a striped hat and pulled the whistle. She is in notebook number two. I can’t remember anyone else to put in notebook number two. Maybe another will come to me, but I think that notebook is finished, but it is not complete. I wonder how many people I have neglected to add.
The pills that I have brought with me won’t be enough to last until the fall. Tomorrow, I will start to cut them in half.

There is another abandoned house on the road by the stream. The back wall of the house is missing, the timber posts acting as the only support. Someone put a mannequin at one of the upstairs windows. An empty shell in an empty shell.
Today as I walked past, I heard voices inside. Perhaps the people inside are the same people who were at the cabin where I stay, the ones who left the magazine.
I went down the steep bank by the pumpkins, and walked through the tunnel that goes under the road. I began hiking up the stream. There were no crayfish or minnows. The water was clear. It takes a certain degree of murkiness for life to exist.
I walked up the stream and sat on a granite peninsula. The water had worn it smooth, except for a spiny ridge that ran through the middle. I sat there and watched the water.
A car went by on the road and I heard the radio news mention the Grand Ayatollah. It made me wonder if there is a Miniature Ayatollah. I would like to have this on my grave—the Ayatollah of the Insignificant. The King of the Dust Mites.
Animals learn how to function in their animal society when they are young. A mother monkey will teach her child how to break open a nut with a stick. A bear will teach the cubs how to hunt. The animal focuses on territory, sex, and food. Human beings are animals. We aren’t plants, or robots. Perhaps my father was part robot. His human side developed the cancer.
The girl in the magazine has pink nipples. They are like rose petals on her chest, barely visible in contrast to the paleness of her skin. Lovely Brandy in notebook four had pink nipples. Later, I saw her in the park, nursing her baby, and caught a glimpse of her nipples, which had turned darker in her motherhood. Rose petals to tea bags.

I was napping upstairs when I awoke and heard them outside, but they were too close for me to exit, so I crawled under the bed with my backpack. I was hoping that they wouldn’t find my bucket.
They stayed in the sitting area.
He said, "I think someone has been here."
She was talking about getting new shoes and getting a carton of cigarettes.
I could hear them as they had sex on the couch which has the cushion with torn upholstery. It is the only couch. It didn’t last long.
I could smell their cigarettes. My father smoked unfiltered cigarettes.

I stayed under the bed with the tiny spiders that look as if they have no mass. They appear to be specks of dust that have come alive. What internal mechanism directs them? How could they hold a brain or heart or blood, but they must eat, all living things must eat, so they must have a stomach and digestive system. And an asshole or eliminative organ. What could an insect that small eat? Dust mites, perhaps.

A grown man under the bed in an abandoned cabin. I am reasonably intelligent, am I not? As a child, I played advanced Chutes N’ Ladders and accelerated hide and go seek. I had scored well on standardized tests. I stayed under the bed and made up my own test questions.
A train is traveling west at a speed of 20 mph. If Tom hops the train, what are his chances of meeting a schizophrenic alcoholic with scabies?
How does a doorknob work?
I don’t even know how a doorknob works mechanically. With all the knowledge I have acquired over the years, I could not create a creature as simple as the dust spider that lingered with me in the shadows. I have no children and I never will. I have climbed out of the gene pool.
I watched them through the window openings as they walked down the drive. The girl walked by a briar bush and got them stuck on her shirt.
They didn’t speak to me directly so I didn’t write them in my notebook. I have considered writing everyone I see into the notebook. There are a finite number of people with an infinite number of faces.
They left their cigarette butts on the floor.

Today I walked down to the church and the graveyard that is behind it. The church is Victorian, yellow and white. They don’t worship Victoria, however. I assume they are Christian. When one tithes, does it come from the gross or the net?
The farmer’s dog ran over to me to greet me while I was in the graveyard. He also grows gladiolas. The farmer, not the dog. The dog began pissing on the grave markers.
The leaves are beginning to turn and soon I will go back to my mother. My mother is not my sidekick. I have no sidekick. Maybe I should get a dog. I could go on journeys, like King Arthur. He was nobly born but was not aware of this until later in his life.
I also took a piss on one of the gravestones—the name was Beckett.
I stepped in the dog’s crap on the way back to the cabin.

© Mary Wilson September 2004

Previously by Mary Wilson
The Arc
The Temple
(A particular favorite with my creative writing students)



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