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The Author Is Dead

Juliano Zaffino - The Author Is Dead - Blog

A List Of Things That Turn Up

Juliano Zaffino

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On the first day there were new tenants, two of them, young.

On the second day they had two cars even though they were only supposed to have one. A great inconvenience for a time, specifically 8pm, but every day, specifically returning from work to park between them, two lover-cars making every endeavour to touch, to create a gap small enough that they might hold hands.

On the third day there was blood, a lot of it, but in thin lines, tiny smears and dime-droplets, descending down the staircase, along the corridor carpet past our door, on the walls and out the outer door, on the paving and the grass, on the parking space, on the white car, going into and coming out of the car boot, a fade in the red like a foot had kicked out in resistance.

On the fourth day a slipper, an old woman’s slipper, the kind designed to keep you both comfy and warm, lay fully sodden on the ground, trying to soak up more rain. Just the one slipper, on its own, forgotten and unloved, appearing like the leftovers of a shitty thrift-shop feast. It was there eighteen hours later returning: the rain was heavier, the ground wetter. Was the slipper so white before?

On the fifth day the American dream was fulfilled by a god or a psychopath and a carcass was left rotting on every doorstep, a gift to open the door to, to not see and then to tread in wearing your best shoes, best suit, on the way to work or for your morning date, your first one since you were ditched, your first date in eight years, a cloudy stench in the halls and the defaming buzz of a thousand little scavengers just trying to get by.

On the sixth day when the sky turned brown with hurricane dust there was a layer of brown dirt on every surface in the hallway, the walls and the doors and deep in the carpets and doormats, mingling with the juices of the dead and decayed, and on the ceilings, thick dark dust always spiralling down from light fixtures and into the eyes of every passer-by. Around the corner, on the way to the rear exit, a book lay open flat on its front, pages no doubt staining by the second, black faux-leather hardcover gleaming in the light, gold gild embossing impossible to decode.

On the seventh day the apartment across the hall was emptied.