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  • Two Stories from Mysterious
  • Rebecca Brown (bio)

The Hole

There was a hole in her. It was in the upper middle where breast plate, sternum, ribs, guts, etc., should be, above where the Teletubbies’ teletubbies are though theirs have little televisions not nothing. Sometimes she felt something go through it, sometimes with something like whistling.

It wasn’t a thing she thought could fill; it was a thing that was.

It was surrounded by a hoop made out of wood like an olden toy. Not all of her was wood although it felt sometimes as if she was which was uncomfortable. The wood was sometimes polished. Was this resultant of a pass of time? Sometimes was oddly flexible, or oddly, even beautiful. More often it was splintered, split, or hard with creosote or some gross nasty probably cancer-causing crap throughout and gouges like where telephone repairpersons gouged things in to climb onto. Mostly it was round though not entirely, not true, but bent, so if it were outside of her or unconfined it would wobble like a drunk or some poor bitch or bastard with a head injury. It mostly didn’t stick out, it mostly stayed in and was apparent, therefore, to only her but some awful times to others, these times embarrassing her, them too if they had a heart. Mostly it was beige or sienna or brown, sometimes dark, deep with also in or underneath, red though sometimes black as if coagulated. It was not ebony but how many kinds of wood do people really know? Not many. So people thought ebony though it was not; it was a kind of wood we wot not of, a tree we wot not either. [End Page 116]

Whether it had been carved, cut, gouged, bow-, hand-, or hack-sawed in her recently or been in her forever she neither wot. Nor why it now awared itself in her.

Had she not been paying attention before?

Yet often it is hard to know what’s missing.

Had she started paying attention because it hurt?

Except there was no it to hurt, it being a hole, it being nothing. Could nothing be a thing? Could nothing hurt? For some thing or part or non-part or non-thing inside her did. Or perhaps had, i.e., in the past. For she was—forgive me—I do not mean to be insensitive toward the differently abled, I mean only to describe her pathologically—she was “retarded,” i.e., was very, very slow to understand. This is to say that often what happened to her awared itself unto her much, much later, sometimes too late. Sometimes it was like things happened to her but they didn’t, or didn’t at the same time, or didn’t to her but sort of to someone only sort of her. Or maybe it was more like jet lag, like how you start somewhere to go somewhere else, but you go too far, you go too fast, unnaturally, your body doesn’t understand, it has to catch up and this takes long. It takes long but you don’t know that it’s taking long for a while, because for a while you think, “This time, I’m fine, this time I’m alright, this time it isn’t happening,” except it is, it’s in you again, it’s happening, has happened and you are not fine, no, you are not, and then all the sudden it wallops you, it’s like it breaks your head apart, like your blood is moving backward and your stomach is about to fall and something is coming up from inside of you, up through the throat and it’s about to… uh… uh… utter?… you are about to—uh… uh… uh—

Or maybe it’s like the soundtrack out of sync in a movie and I do not mean just a little, I mean a lot like days or years, like half of your retarded life so by the time you hear the words you can’t figure out what they’re supposed to mean. The words and pictures can’t make any sense, together or apart...


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pp. 116-119
Launched on MUSE
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