Liesegang - ten wishes, ten temptations,
which would you choose?
So there I was, trying to help again. Out on the street. Any street.
Almost any town. Busy. Stinky. Filthy. Rotten. And in this heap of misery
and misfortune this tiny old woman. Lost. Ferocious cars coming from the
right, charging from the left. Her insufficient legs having a hard time
holding her in the upright. The crutch. The green felt hat, with a worn-out,
a little less than shiny hat band. The overcoat. The aged dark leather
shoes bulged from her arthritic toes. The shiver in her arms. The innocent
stare of her presbyopic eyes gazing at her surrounding.
I had to help. Pushed the button for the pedestrians traffic light. Saw
the nice WAIT scripture flash up on the other side. My reassuring smile
at the old bones besides me. Told her everything would be alright just
to surmount myself. All she had to do was trust me. Not anybody else.
Just me. I would get her across the street safely. And she turned to me,
still trembling, failing in the attempt to get her head upright to mine
without loosing her fragile balance and so taking an affectionate peek
at me through her lifted brows. Youre a very kind young man, she
said. And I said, thank you.
WALK, the sign showed, I offered my arm as an aid, and she accepted. Deliberately,
at less than snails pace, we waded across the leaden street parquet.
Reached the other shore after a long and fearful crossing. The WALK-ing
order had long extinguished, the cars were in line ready to leap upon
us, the accelerators pushy, we showed cold blooded probity, or call it
ignorance. Proved ourselves to be folks of principles, to continue once
started, to follow on through till the end.
We were both happy, reaching the opposite sidewalk in good health and
I had my farewells waiting behind my teeth. But strangely enough, my story
was just starting, my old rescued woman now in turn taking my hand and
offering me her help. Let me reward you, she whispered, breathless from
the effort, for your amiability. Let me be grateful. It wont be
much, I have to give, but it may be of some interest to you.
Reluctant at first, but me profoundly lacking anything else to do to keep
myself occupied, I joined in. Eternities passed while walking, stopping,
looking around. I wasnt sure at time whether her brain remembered
where her bodily home was. The old woman sometimes seemed totally stripped
of any senses, her eyes following the rows of houses we were running after.
Then again she was attentive, receptive, as if some hidden voice was giving
Nice houses we walked by. Mysterious ones fit for occasions like this
one. But all we left behind without a second look wasted on the passed.
I still believed there was a goal somewhere in her mind. I followed. With
microscopic steps, always minutely an inch behind hers. And then, close
to a tube station, with white houses raised against a grey sky, with the
evening lights on the street going on, my companion said we were there
A fairly large wooden door with a golden knocker, a nice entry with neat
mailboxes for all the tenants. A set of stairs went up on the left. A
narrow little space on the right and a door coloured in bright red in
the middle. We took the stairs. Up three floors we went, the old legs
before me surprisingly agile and light. Then a couple of doors on the
third floor, a light bulb shining from the ceiling, bare, alone. The old
woman took the handle of a door, the words lets take this one today
between her lips, jerked it open and gave me way. Hardly was I in the
door step when a slight push from behind shoved me on. I was in a little
room, the door behind me banged shut. I heard her steps disappearing and
then I could hear myself breathe and nothing else. Three by four yards
were the measurements of the walls around me. A sole chair welcomed guest
to make use of it. No pictures. A carpet floor, brown with blue flower
ornaments upon it. Obligatory wall paper, it too with the flowers blooming
in full. I seated myself. Three doors. Not one window. A nice chandelier,
an antique heating unit. More I couldnt see. I decided not to be
disturbed. Why should good deeds lead to ill fate? I tried to enjoy myself
waiting. And waited.
Then one of the doors I had not come through caught my attention. There
had been a noise behind it. And right, the handle moved, was consequently
pushed down, the door creaked open. A veiled person entered. Veiled completely
in a warm red orange yellow fabric. Gloves and something like a thin net
before the face. The person spoke. A woman. The voice maybe young, unassigned.
Youre the young man who helped my grandmother? Maybe she thought
she had entered the wrong room, and there were other men waiting in the
other rooms? But then, she didnt really wait for my answer. Come,
young man, come with me.
It was at least five steps we went up and down. Dozens of corners. My
new companion hadnt talked to me apart from the first set of words.
She had just lead the way. Her long orange cloak vibrating before my eyes
with her every step. We came to a corridor. An exceptionally long corridor.
Five doors to the left, five to the right. The walls white, a stone floor,
stairs to the back of us, another door far in front. She turned. I guess
she looked at me through her veil. I hoped she was.
Here we are, young man. These are your ten choices, choose. Her voice
was slow and earnest and wonderful. And she opened the first door and
bade me enter with a movement of her gloved hand.
It got dark as I went in. No floor. No walls. Vastness. For a moment nothing
happened. Then, from an immense distance, something light came towards
me. A crystal ball, round and clear, floating. A beautiful woman in a
silver gown was standing on top. Brown hair, splendid deep eyes, very
narrow lips. She didnt speak. All she did was hover around me on
her crystal ball, looking at me intensely, concurrently looking at nothing,
at herself. Whirling around me in slow motion. Disappearing again. I thought
that I was supposed to reach for the door behind me. I did.
And? Do you want her? Her voice was soft with a modest jingle hidden somewhere.
I was in the corridor again. Surprise. Want her? Why, yes! Grandmother
told you she could help you, didnt she? Do you want her? No, I dont
think so. Okay. Lets go to the next door. Dont you want to
know why not? Do you want to tell? I paused. Her hand was on the handle
of the second door. The woman in there just didnt say anything.
She was as silent as a statue. So distant. And she almost had no lips
at all, they were so thin. Fine, my companion said, and gestured me on.
It was dark again. I could hear somebody talking. Somewhere. And there
was a warm chill around my ears, coming from somewhere in front. Talking.
I waited a while. A long while. The talking didnt really stop. Tried
a polite cough. Raised it to a hollering roar. The voice stopped. I cant
see you, I noted. Oh! You cant? The voice was uniquely feminine.
Maybe Im too close? Wait! Something crackled. It got very bright.
Turned out I had been looking into her nostril the whole time. Thought
something smelled good, she said. With a shrewd I-know-it-all-smile in
her face. Continued talking. An appealing open face in a blue roll neck
jumper. The way I see it, we had to meet sometime, and you know what,
babe, Im glad its now. That was the last sentence I heard
when I reached for the door. I guess she was still talking.
Shes preposterous. Full of pungency. Too much self-esteem. And shes
got that unbearable as-if-chewing-bubble-gum tilt of her cheeks that always
tells you she couldnt care less. Shes a nightmare. And on
I went. You can just say no, you know, my veiled companion said while
introducing me to door number three.
Red velvet everywhere. Soft beneath my shoes. Nice on my hands. A huge
world of drapery. And then this slightly wet voice. Its you! Something
moved. Quaked. And then there was this huge tit falling upon me, foiled
in a lavishness of satin cloth. It stopped short of smashing me. Rested
dangling right before my face. Her voice again. Hi... Like I wasnt
the only one searching for words. Im... Like she wasnt capable
of finishing a sentence. Her words more sighs than anything else. Hi,
Im... Uh, boy,... Im... so moist. And then she let her tit
drop and she literally pushed me back against the door. I opened it just
Now, that was just too... But my companion wasnt eager to listen.
The corridor was long. Next one.
I was in an old style opera house. Sitting in an old wooden folding chair.
A lamp fastened to a little table. The table right before me. And this
girl on stage. All the main spots on her. Dazzling. Blinding. Dont
you think Im beautiful? That Ill make it? Do you like me?
You dont think there is anybody like me, do you? What if there is
no applause when I finish? Oh my god? What if they dont do anything
and just sit there? I mean, it must be alright when they shout and boo?
Isnt it? But what if they just dont do anything? Will I be
able to cope? Do you think so? Was I audience? Was I critic? No matter
what play she was rehearsing, it didnt amuse me. I stood up and
went out the big wooden double swing door in the back. A green EXIT sign
was flickering above.
Shes boring. Trying to be bigger than she is. Its like shes
always standing on her toes, looking up somewhere, trying to reach for
something that has long fallen to the floor. I thought that was put rather
cleverly. I thought it deserved some recognition. All I got was the door.
A forest. Weird bird cries, poisonous snakes sure to be hiding somewhere
beneath the carpet of leaves. Apes knocking on their chests far off. I
didnt see her at first. Blended perfectly with the botany. Her nostrils
flaring was the movement I caught. Poised in an eucalyptus tree. Her body
ready to jump. Yet one leg slithering down loosely from the branch she
was sitting on. Her eyes steady. On me. Like there was only two things
I could do. Stand still and wait to be killed, swallowed, and digested.
Or kill her first. And right, had I mentioned the machete dangling from
the coconut fibre cord around her hip? I was out. Open retreat. Banged
the door behind me. Shut.
The veiled one greeted me with her calmness. Stood while I caught my breath.
The corridor was nice. Pleasant temperature, no humidity. Her head was
pointing towards me, as far as I could tell. Observing? Asking me whether
I was ready for more? I nodded silently. The door opened.
Really? Thats amazing! A high pitched voice intruding. Whatever
interesting story I had been telling so far, there was no way to take
it on, after that. I was sitting in a restaurant. About afternoon time.
Over a nice cup of coffee. A gorgeous blanche with a black mane opposite.
I remembered. I had been telling the joke with the business advisor driving
through Nepal with his Audi TT meeting the shepherd with his 1200 sheep.
That was how far I got. And then she said, thats amazing! An Audi
TT in Nepal! Isnt that the one without a roof? I wasnt willing
to waste anymore time or words. Didnt even bother to ask for the
Youre a bit choosy today, arent you? Her voice echoed in the
bare walls of the long passage. Choosy? She was as blunt as a spoon! And
her eyes were like the little wide set oculars of a greenfinch. She was
insufferable! Okay, okay. You dont have to insult her. Next one?
My ruffled feathers were smoothened. Yeah, next one. And I added to amend:
I was sitting on a black leather chair. Reclining. Rotating. Rolling.
An executives dream. She was sitting vis-a-vis. A huge oak desk
split us in two halves. Somewhere underneath her legs were crossed in
smart silk stockings. Listen, I dont have all day. Ive got
this portfolio prepared which you can get from my secretary. Shell
also give you the keys to my Jag, my address is in the GPS computer, just
click on HOME. The swipe cards for the house are in the glove compartment.
But then, my butler knows youre coming. Ill need the Jag back
by four sharp. Have a look at the house. James will show you your designated
apartment. You can ask my secretary for my tax forms. They are quite satisfactory.
I had something like ten grand a month in mind for you. But we can talk
about that. And now, if you would please excuse me, and remember, four
sharp. I jolted out of my chair. I wasnt really sure whether she
had taken a single breath while speaking. And please, she interrupted
my exit, dont use the pool, today is disinfection day.
What do you think? I was trying to close the door behind me as quietly
as I could. Her voice was as soothing as ever. I must have had quite a
baffled look on my face. I gathered a few words together. Shes a
razor. Her chin, her brows, her legs. I bet even her... Excuse me. I just
think she cuts like ice.
My next room was empty. Just a horizon somewhere at earths end.
And a voice that asked me whether I was in want of something. Whether
I could be helped. I didnt know. As if my silence was an open invitation
she asked again. From another direction. Can I get you anything, darling?
And from yet another direction. Are you cold, love? Her questions were
surrounding me. Do you want something to drink? And then I could see them.
Little, narrow, straight lines. Slices. Cut from a self-giving whole.
Pacing towards me. From everywhere. Encircling. Flat slices of a thin
woman, creeping upon me. Full of servitude. Are youre feet hurting?
Bonded by utter magnanimousness. How is your back? Are you all right?
What is it, darling, you can tell me! Fine streaks of herself getting
themselves to form on helpful nature. How are your haemorrhoids, dear,
can you sit all right? I hadnt let go of the doorknob for one second.
So what didnt you like this time? It was plainly in my face. Her
voice was adding a tone of harshness I hadnt yet discovered. I was
stealing my way around an answer. Well, I dont think that is good
enough, she said. We were almost at the end of the corridor. What did
she want to hear from me, anyway? I said that the woman just didnt
have any buttock. Is that good enough? I saw something behind her veil,
thought I saw something. Brilliant! Her voice now definitely had something
fresh. No buttock! Now thats a brilliant answer! Door number nine.
There was a cold wind. I was outside. High up outside. On something like
a tower. A city beneath. Not a tone was reaching. Nothing. A tall lady
with an immensely long neck was standing close to the edge of the platform,
leaning on the railing. Waiting. Silence. Everything was full with it.
Her slim body was bending over the abyss, forming a crude, but recognisable
question mark. I had never felt the necessity to say something more. It
was undeniable. No noise. Nothing. I could see her neck grow over the
precipice, her head evolving, her ear magnifying, increasing tremendously
in size. Her ear becoming a giant tube, opening up to a gigantic floral
trumpet, eagerly waiting to pull itself over me. And when I and my silence
were about to be gulped, I turned on my heels and was gone.
We were at the end of the corridor. My last door. Your last door, young
man, she said. Talking about mutual thinking. She took the handle and
made a little ceremony out of opening it up for me. Bowed as I walked
in, the cloth of her headscarf dropping from her back onto her chest.
I answered the bow while passing.
Something horribly forceful grabbed me by my hair. Pulled me painfully.
I stumbled, my face fell into sand and I opened my eyes. I was in a desert.
Lots of opened, emptied leather flasks were lying around me. The bones
of a dinosaur some hundred meters off. I jerked my head free, but another
fierce grip immediately had me by my shoulder. A six armed woman was confusing
me with her multiple hands. Fidgeting around with them. Three of them
on each side to be exact. She looked Asian, with a glittery bra and a
golden dress and lots of jewellery. She was dancing to a tune the sand
dunes had borne and was chanting along with it. Again I freed myself.
Started to run. Headed for the dinosaur bones in lack of any other aim.
When I reached them, I saw that there was more. The bones of four tigers
were scattered around what must have been a brontosaurus. And then the
remains of six or seven vultures were gathered around each lion. And then
there was something around the vultures, quite a wreckage all together,
but thats when the six armed woman caught up with me and grabbed
me by my penis. Got you for good this time, she said. Now dont you
go running again, boy. I didnt really dare to do anything. She had
a reasonable grip. I counted my chances. I had one. Look, there is your
mother, I shouted! I pointed behind her. She let go and turned. And me
off like a blitz. She could eat my dust.
I had made it back to the corridor. My companion was there with me. Faithfully.
Waiting for my breath to catch up with me. I propped my hands on my knees
and tried to get my lungs back into my body. I saw stray grains of sand
on the floor beneath us. And young man, after youve seen them all,
whom do you want? I straightened myself. Looked down the corridor. The
steps far in the back like a memory. The five doors to either side.
You. I want you, I said. Turned to the veiled lady. Of all the women,
I want you. A wind came as I said the words. An unprecedented strong wind,
tearing at my bones, like they were going to be ripped out. The wind came
up the stairs, the ten doors flew open, more wind joined from them as
well, pushed me flat, against another door, the eleventh one. Pushed me
until my cheeks touched my ears, until my muscles lost their nerves. The
door behind me gave way, burst open, I was slung on a floor. The wind
I was in the first room with the three doors. I gathered myself and found
myself in one piece. Sit down, please. My veiled lady was standing there.
You say you want me, young man? Of all the women you have seen? And you
know youre answering a question I didnt even ask? Well fine,
young man. Here you are. And she pulled the veil from her body.
There she was. The narrow lips. The as-if-chewing-bubble-gum tilt in her
cheek. Her big breasts. Her standing on her toes as if reaching for something
that had actually fallen on the floor. Her nostrils flaring. Her wide
set birds eyes. Her sharp chin. Her thin waist line. Her long neck.
Big hands. There she was, smiling.
There she is. Its only been a second, me seeing her. But putting
it all together, I think Ill love her forever.
© Jöerg Liesegang, 2001
by Joerg Lisgard
by Joerg Lisgard - a Hackwriter First Chapter
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