Without a money spill, a beach house comes with some sort of compromise. In this case, the instructions are to enjoy the ocean front property as long as one does not look under the floor. Sounds easy enough. Until you get there and it appears that things are living under the carpet. You step gently into the dreamy beach home, careful not to squash whatever rug beast just darted into the kitchen. Sit on the sofa with feet up. From here, you enjoy the view of the beach and the ocean while ignoring the peripheral slithering. Maybe the wooden deck will be a better place to hang out if it isn’t too cold tonight. The staircase from the deck leads right down to the beach, just as advertised. A walk on the beach might put this strange condition out of your head.
Down the stairs, you notice a door under the house. The key for the front door works and inside there is just a room for the washer and dryer. There’s a hatch in the ceiling but you’d need a ladder to poke your head into it. The thought of what might crawl onto your face makes you shut the door and go for that walk. The swelling force of the ocean grows into the wild surge of an imminent flood. Moments ago from inside the house, it appeared so tranquil. Flat and without movement. As if the surface of the sea required only the thinnest seal to keep it down. You forget the calming effect of distance. Now it teems with energy. The tide ravages the path along the shoreline and sends you crab crawling on the rocks to get around the point where you hope to beg for inspiration on how to experience the rapture of persecution when you return home from this vacation.
As the waves crash, the whitewash makes a thousand faces merging into one another. You remember last night when you closed your eyes and a phosphene materialized into a dissipating neon lace. The froth blows across the sand. Foam collects like snow on a half-eroded sand castle. The fake frost chills the hypothetical bones. The sight of a human-made thing (obviously a castle made with the skill of adult hands) where there should only be natural things in nature annoys you like whenever you see one of those stupid stone stacks made by some pretentious fop who calls himself an artist and lives in what he calls an artist’s community, you are sure to mess it up, so you kick a turret and sand crabs spill out and wiggle back into the ground. You notice their little holes all over the sand’s face and envision them teeming under its porous skin.
The aggravating itch of a familiar yet unidentifiable smell overcomes you. A sweet musty scent you figure might be coming from the scrub at your feet. But upon rubbing its scraggle and sniffing your fingers, it’s something else. This unlocatable fragrant itch of grey matter has a swarm of vague memories about it. Just under the membrane of forgetting. A dim amber of near memories that wants to bleed brightly but cannot for no particular reason.
You hike up gentle sloping sand dunes. On the ridges, you gradually ascend to a peak that seems to shift farther away as soon as you think you’re getting closer to it. When you think to turn back, there appears a telescope on a tripod atop the ridge of the next dune. You scan around the dune-scape but see nobody around.
Looking through the telescope, you cannot believe your eyes. You look at the distance with your naked eye again. The two visions drastically differ. You wonder what kind of magnification power this could be. It was as if you were looking at a different landscape altogether. Your naked eye could not pick up even a hint of the telescopic vision on the horizon. To make matters more confusing, each time you look through the strange apparatus, a different vision appears in the scope.
The first vision shows the dunes descending toward a beach that is familiar enough to be your childhood beach but reformed like in a defiant dream. The dunes are much bigger. The headland in a different spot. The cove more pronounced. The waves break with greater peaks. The estuary stretches for miles.
The second vision is something Dali and Bacon could’ve painted. A body is pinned on the shore like a giant rock on wishbones. A face twists in such agony as sand pours into its mouth. The sea water funnels through its pores. Once the deformation process is complete, the released body limps along the shore because it has become a sad soggy sponge. Soaked in a coat of forgetting as it looks for a more affectionate rock to attach itself to.
The third vision is the most abstract of all. Cords are submerged in a shallow space of decades forgotten. As you try to follow one of the cords, it splits off into dendritic memories deteriorating into gooey threads suspended in some viscous memory-hive. Shadowy masses ooze along the floor. Prismatic spaces fall off into darkness.
The fourth and final vision returns to the scene of your naked eye, the sand dunes. But from the sky one drop of water slowly descends until it suspends itself at eye level. The one drop explodes into sound waves that knock you on your back. You look up to the solar chariot doing donuts in the sky like a mad street takeover. Its driver rubbernecks at you with crazy eyes and a blinding grin. The chariot’s circular gush showers down a deluge of light. The dunes radiate into a bright fuzz. Like particles of sand, your body disintegrates into the hot gusty winds. Your voice shimmers across what had become a chasm of air and light. And for a moment, you forget about the black pond of memory that tugs and pulls you down the more you struggle against it until it fools you into thinking you are that old body heavy with forgetting to forget about the befuddlement of intentions sticking to you like tar and the quagmire of entanglements that sucks at your feet.
Back at the beach house, you run upstairs and find the floors still. Problem solved. A good night’s rest is guaranteed. You walk around the beach house freely, then make a pasta dinner and eat it with that ocean view which was the whole point of this trip. To have it be the last image in your head as you fall asleep and carry it into your dreams. From inside, the conditions seem calm again but you wonder if the windows and insulation are thickened to dampen the sounds of rough weather. You crack open the door and a roaring chill blasts and face-fucks you with a demon-screeching gale. Shut in silence, the darkness masks the threatening bulge of a flood. You spin the fork in the pasta and the noodles writhe around it as you wonder how well such a house is built to withstand the event of a Tsunami. Surely the odds are in your favor. Such a thing won’t happen for the one night you are here to remember nothing about the emptiness back home.
A meaningless sentence runs its fragments through your head for no reason. It always starts the same with “the daily urge limps forward.” Looping to lure you in. To make sense of it. But it escapes your grasp again like a wet noodle. You have even woken up into the vague fragments your mind conjures up with it. Somehow a bleak wind blows there with sentient machines wagging their tongues while pressing zigzagging dots into the sand curtains. This is the type of nonsensical impression too difficult to rewind on the fork of your attention. Easier to let this kind of thing go and endure it when it returns in order to forget it again.
You find yourself in the bedroom. The bed has that soft fleece that reminds you of motels when you were a kid and you would comfort yourself with cheek rubs. And when you used to play on the bluffs like you saw today and how the bluffs never were the bluffs when you played but an imaginary scene of war like an ancient stain of memory on a child’s brain. Fallen soldiers caked in mud. You saw how the steam rose off their wooden bodies in the morning sun. Those left to stand watch on the bluffs kept an eye out at sea on that distant island chain, those watercolor silhouettes floated above the metallic sheen of a distant surface stacked upward. Massive squadrons billowed over the mountain ridge to the north. The small prey hopped into their shelters and clung there like rain drops to berry clumps. The haggard watchmen braced their weary bones enshrouded with shaggy armaments for another assault. They watched the possibility of their imminent erasure. Besides, the lives lost always returned to these formations long after they were forgotten. The canopies held their position as the airborne forces swelled up to take another approach to rain down upon the last fortress hunkered down at the sea. Under the shady guard, some tired limbs rejuvenated by the sunlight. The unsheltered pathways were left empty to appear barren. Only such a place fraught with broken roads would be inhabited by a frail lot. Make no mistake, this bulwark was nothing but resilient. Made to bend. To give way when needed. This land had been molded by many forgotten assaults, for it ensnared as much as it forgave. Despite the gashes and holes, no substantial dent had ever really been made. Here, injury transmuted into one tough truth decoy.
You gaze at the ceiling and notice that it is bubbling. In one corner, a pinprick releases black spores that ooze down the wall. Bubbles boil into more ominous bubbles until the whole ceiling sags down into one enormous tit about to burst. The only condition for the ocean view was supposed to be the floor. If only you had more money, you could afford the luxury of a good night’s sleep. The sagging tit brushes your cheek so softly that you think of mommy and want a sip of milk’s forgetfulness. Forget everything. Forget the childish daydreaming. Forget the need for a vacation. Forget the conditions. Forget the tough veneer of all delicate things. Forget whatever teems under the surface and dresses the void.
The tit bursts and the waves break and the floor gives way. Faces gush into faces. Bugs slither into the same bug. Everything is noodles writhing around the turn of you, the fork. You are the sand crab burrowing back into the sand to hide. You are the ambergris of a sperm whale floating at sea. You are the spores spreading all over this place. You are the tranquil dream of a window frame that forgets the agony of fabricated memories. You are the thin surface that seals up everything and nothing.