Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: drabbles

This Song Is Old

There is an old song that has been sung since the dawn of time, since the first throat. Someone always sings it, it’s why the sun sets at different times in different places. A chorus of voices sing the same patterns at the same time. Sometimes you get the urge to hum a melody you’ve never heard before: this is it. This old song is in the movement of Jupiter. This old song has started to skip beats, experimentally or fatiguefully, like a gramophone record scratch. This song is old. You don’t notice the scratches because you stop existing, momentarily.

Sandcastle Man

Sandcastle man sits on a cold beach like something medieval. His hands vanish into the grey sand and it must be cold for him, stark naked. His skin has assumed the same colour as the sand itself. The water is beating at his legs, nibbling at his toes, and soon surrounding him. By unfocusing his eyes he can look at his arms as if they’re trees rising from the water instead of columns pushed down into it. He stays unfocused, and eventually he falls apart, and in but two tide cycles the sand is perfectly smooth where he once sat.

Midnight Conversation

You wake up in the middle of the night approximately 20 seconds before the phone starts to buzz; you have enough time to blink the sleep out of your eyes. It’s buzzing. You pick it up before your sleeping partner comes to life from it.

“Hello?” you whisper. The floor is cold against your bare feet.

“Hello,” says an undistorted voice, and then it says your name. You had expected distortion, but you’re not recording the call, you’re not quite sure what you’re expecting.

“What do you want?”

“I just want you to remember that I know who you are.”


Previously: /2014/02/23/stoplight-conversation/

Stoplight Conversation

You meet a child who knows what you’re thinking. The walk-light has just gone red.

“Have we met before?” you say. “Are you lost?”

“Yes, and no. To both questions. You’re confused now, a bit alarmed. You’re trying to think about anything but That Thing, but you’re circling the topic so narrowly that I can see the shape of it in your mind.”

You look away.

“That’s a naughty word.”

“I want you to–”

“–stop doing that.” The child sighs. “Yes, I know. You needn’t think such mean things about me, you know. It’s not like I can help it.”


I have been spending a lot of time on my own lately; I want to be accused of your murder. I can see that you are about to crack and in my greed I want to be the prime suspect. I have been watching television, but only reruns. I have been reading books. When the officers in blue knock on my door I will express shock that is not quite right, and I will have no alibi. They will point to your lousy suicide note and say they have never seen a worse forgery. Yes, this is what I want.

bit by bit by bit

Her first epiphany was in the bathroom, when she caught her naked reflection in the mirror: There is someone else inside of me.

Her second one came shortly afterwards; she forgot which one of the marmalades in the fridge was hers. She used to know: I am in this body, so is someone else. There might be more.

The third came when she stuttered out the first name that came to mind (after a two-second pause) when she introduced herself at the interview. Amanda: I am inside of someone else’s me.

Bit by bit by bit, she realized herself away.

~ Read the rest of this entry »


There is an empty bedroom and a trail of dropped blankets, teddy bears and stuffed dolls leading out through the door, which is ajar, into the living room. The trail disappears but is taken over by footprints. The TV is on, hissing static and snow into the room like an open window in a storm. The tiny sole-marks are almost oversnowed now, but there is another, larger, set of prints around them. Both sets lead into the machine. There is a thick rope, too, tied to one of the legs of the marble coffee table. It is stretched taut now.


The men from the bank are here at the door, I let them in, it is freezing outside. There is so much snow that my view of their car must have been obscured for the entire street seemed empty.

They have been observing you, insomniac, they say. You’ve been racking up quite the sleep debt, they say. I don’t understand them.

I try to shake their hands, but they refuse politely.

You come down the stairs a bit like a zombie, Atlantis eyes sunk deep into your skull. They present you the figures; you understand, you say, you fall asleep.


The first thing he forgot was his own name. At first, this pleased him; it was probably a bad name, like Yosef or Stephen or Muriel. But the name-thing gnawed at the back of his hair, and he had all the time in the world. He started making a list in the ground (it was all coarse fibres; there should be a name for that). Sometimes he would start over if he had a really good idea on how to organise it. One day, he grew tired of scratching symbols in the down, and he dropped his symbol-maker, and he

Test Tube

Born from a test tube all splayed out like an autopsied rabbit, I have to invent my own reasons for curling into a ball when I’m crying. It is what people do, I have seen them, and I want to be like you. Sometimes my skin hardens and and I think I will stay like this forever, until it all leathers and cracks open, and I eclose with my new skin glowing red. Sometimes, I stay there for hours, rocking like a dropped porcelain doll, trying to associate this all with warmth and the opposite of dread, whatever that is.