Hi, Andy. Andy called Pumpkin reaches above and removes his lid, disc with stemmed handle. Concentrating, his face tightens until his fingers find their target. Get distracted as they further corrugate the already corrugated cortex with massages. Each movement of the hand corresponding indirectly with thrashes before me in the chair. As if he enjoyed locating the response, prolonging the removal of it from his person, more than proffering it. His face blurred and chewing itself but, Andy, this searching through your brain is enough. I say hi to everyone. If you must respond, wave or raise your eyes. He shakes and withdraws his hand; clutches a tape recorder.
Even with much orange matter falling from his hand, he knows better than I that the words on the tape recorder are Hi, Andy which he will use in lieu of his response, but not in my voice because his thoughts have obscured the phrase swaddled it sieved it. The finger’s wet streak pushes the play button and euphoric eyes that say, to lie to myself that by not speaking by giving you back your words I eschew rhetoric, semantics, etc.—this lie and its effect are akin to coitus.
And me: this is not hearing one’s voice and thinking, that’s doesn’t sound like me; that, in fact, is not me; even if that were me, that is me in thought not speech; but rather that is not me and I wish it were. What are the logistics of exclusively responding via submerged tape recorder? How much do I care that my wife will leave me that I will be ostracized when I entreat Andy to accompany me indefinitely? And will he shatter the tape recorder within the endocarp when he realizes my obsession, and succor himself instead with the physics of fragmented plastic and tape; coruscations smiling from the walls each time a shard pierces a particular mound of endosperm, as if the seeds therein had grown sweetly sharper. But to not speak or respond or laugh until I have done so to Andy alone and had him again extract the recorder so that I may play it for whomever. If not, how to inject my voice with seeds and pulp, muffle it with Andy’s hearing it. To speak only as someone’s brain absorbs your voice, reconfigures around it, falls through it.
Even for strangers, your first voice would have to be in their brains, quiet somewhere in a room and awaiting its next iteration; yet when it arrives the original is cloaked, sporting a false nose and mustache, and oddly cantankerous…