Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Diderik Humble jr. had just finished his letter to the editor of TRU Times, complaining that his mentor and benefactor in spe Darwin P. Johnson had been misinterpellated as Darwin P. Erlandsen, “a wholly different animal altogether,” in Humble’s own words. “Darwin will not take lightly on this mistake on your part, and may be persuaded to take legal precautions to have such gross misrepresentation rectified,” Humble had written, well aware of Johnson’s generosity to his friends.

Only last week Humble had to ask his sickly mother, stored away, as she was, in a barn somewhere in the Middle Kingdom, to extend him a small grant, “for a new coat,” as he put it. It was dire times for Humble, even though he had succumbed to the call to join the new corporation. For one, he had been unable to have his interjection on the debate on Solyaris. I was bending paper clips, rolling cigarettes ferociously, trying to know something about the movie, all the while Diderik repeated the same phrases, “Allow me to interject,” and “Not to be presumptious or facetious in any way, but,” and so on. I asked him to write his ideas down, if he could find the time in between composing his Compleat Theory of the World and Everything Else (Vol. I). Last night I received this note in my post box:

Curious the way Tristero placed those two post horns on the wall in Tarkovsky’s Solyaris. Wonder if those horns are there in the new American version?

I had already passed my remarks on the movie to the TRU Times, and, not having seen “the new American version,” saw no reason to post an addendum. Instead, I sent him an text message, inviting him out for a cup of tea at The Spectre of Kabool.

It was a seedy joint, crammed with the usual racket of hypocrites, do-gooders and other bleeding heart liberals. We found a table in the darkest corner of the bar, where only the occasional prostitute would pop by, thinking we might just be some potential paying customers. When she saw us, she would invariably turn on her heels, displaying a somewhat repulséd look.

When Diderik finally arrived, he was not alone. Sinsemilla, his estanged wife, came stumbling through the door, holding on to the sleeve of his jacket, behind his ghostly apparition, like some shadow of a metaphor.

“Stop it now, Sinsemilla. I said you could come with,” Diderik started.

“What is she doing here,” I said, staring directly at Diderik.

“She wouldn’t be left alone.”

“I thought you said you’d killed her. Killed her good.”

“I thought I had. But I hadn’t. Or so it seems.”

Sinsemilla needed to use the restroom, and Diderik had to come along. He couldn’t leave her alone. He’d brought a thick brown envelope to the bar, and left in on the table while he was escorting Sinsemilla. I looked at it thoroughly, considering whether it could be some primordial version of the manuscript he’d been working on. I glanced around furtively, and quickly slid the envelope into my lap.

Diderik Humble jr.'s thesis

Laertes in his «Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers» notes that «When somebody asked Heraclit to decree some rules, she showed no interest because the government of the city was already bad. Instead, she went to the temple and played dices with children. Finally she withdrew from the world , and lived in the mountains feeding on grasses and plants. However, having fallen in this way into dropsy she came down to town and asked the doctors in a riddle if they could make a drought out of rainy weather. When they did not understand she buried herself in a cow-stall, expecting that the dropsy would be evaporated by the heat of the manure; but even so she failed to effect anything, and ended her life at the age of sixty».

I managed to slip the manuscript back into the envelope and slide it back onto the table just in time for Diderik not to notice. I think. He pushed his body over the floor, dragging his ghost behind him like some metaphoric shadow.

“Stop it now, Sinsemilla. I said you could come with,” Diderik said.