Stickman Readers' Submissions November 10th, 2011


The eyes can show the saddest face. I look into them a final time as I get into the taxi. It is raining, the usual wet of England, but the water drawing from her gentle facea is of origin from her own place.

I have stayed with Aberdeen for over two weeks. I am restless to get back to Amerika. Perhaps I am scared, too, of a big part of me not wanting to leave. What a friggin contradiction. But there it is. You want clarity, go to fiction.

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Things are a mess. Filipina wife is back in her baranguy. Scottish lover's hands are waving in the rain as the black cab takes my skinny white ass to the airport.

The trip to Thailand seems so far ago. But it wasn't really. Maybe it was. What I know is that Ao Nang changed the colours of the sky above. Before my entrance under it, my life had settled: job teaching art in Amerika with Filipina
wife; after, well, after, a kind of back on the road again soundtrack, damn change that felt damn fine when entwined in Deena's white fine arms back in the East Finchley down covered bed, the slight hairs of my legs lined next to the softness
of her flesh, and when I move up and over her, and then down upon her, her most private fur, in touch, would send me to space that kind of explained away all the strife of life.

So why am I on the way back to Amerika?

I need money, for one thing. I no longer have a job. I thought I could sell some property, but it was too personal when it came to it. A picture in my mother's house in Brighton: I could not part with it. Perhaps I can sell the Lucien
Freud that is maintained for me at my father's house in San Marino, California. Of course, really, I know I shall not be able to sell it.

I shall ask my father for money. Rather dependent tasteless. Quite. But I shall pay him back. I know I will tell him that, and perhaps I believe it. In any case, I want to send money for a terrace for my Filipina wife back in her Rizal province
house. Wages of guilt, perhaps. Wages of sin.

I had vacationed in Ao Nang with my Filipina wife. At the Somkiet Buri Hotel, by the swimming pool, a red haired lass from university, on vacation with her father and mother, had opened her legs under water and in quick glance by me, had
seen red curls along her sweet V, and obsession entered me; she had entered me, and in following circumstances, in next days, especially time with her in a hotel, my world turned: BT to AT: Before Thailand, After Thailand.

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I am driving to float. I am driving through a canyon along Las Virgenes Road near Los Angeles on my way To Venice, California, to take my second experience in a sensory deprivation tank. The lovely thing about Southern California is the variety
of its physical geography, and expanse of experiences. Within the space of a couple hours drive, one can travel canyons, lowlands, beach, mountains, rivers, deserts. Within the space of its cultures, one can travel conservative streams to Hollywood
dreams to consciousness changing scenes. My float experience is a way for me to extremely relax and focus on what is going on in my life.

I park my borrowed BMW 723i at a gigantic shopping mall called the Market in Santa Monica. I walk a couple streets to the ocean and then along the ocean concrete path. I pass Santa Monica peer where many moons before I had drawn charcoal
portraits of tourists. Perhaps you know it by the iconic Ferris wheel that sits at the pier's center that at night lights the sky.

People of all ages and styles appear: foreign tourists and aging hippies and bikers and druggies and affluent retired alongside less affluent beggars: a hodgepodge of human faces that provide a richness, with the blue of the Pacific and the
off white sand as back-drop.

A two mile walk and I am in Venice. Many outdoor cafes and bars and people selling beads and art from stands. I come to a small array of shops and walk in back to a small that says in lettering on its front glass: Float Lab Technologies.
I go inside and the owner named Crash (I swear that his name, look it up on the internet), sets up the tank, and hands me ear plugs. There's a large metal door painted black that looks like the outside door of a huge fridge. I get completely
undressed, open the door, and enter a floating pool of water that contains large amounts of salt. The temperature is exactly the body's. When inside, I shut the door and all is black and soundless and I lie on my back and float. The idea
is that when the body is deprived of outside stimuli, the brain creates its own. Some people hallucinate, some go into extreme meditative states.

I float. The face of my Aberdeen lass enters my thinking space. And then a strange memory that I have not thought about since I was twelve. I am in boarding school in Montruex and develop a high fever. I am put in isolation in a room and
cared for by the school nurse. I now remember the touch of a warm wash cloth as the nurse cleans me. I feel the warmth of the cloth as she places it between my legs. She rubs it upon me and I feel the greatest pleasure ever and I get excited and
have a happy ending, as the saying goes. But I was indeed quite innocent and my eyes were completely closed. And now as I remember it, I realise that she did the same thing for each of the three nights I was there.

The face of the nurse now comes to me. Her voice of Irish brogue.

The red fire of her hair.

Red. Bright and shiny.


Like Deen's hair.

How like water floats can the intersections of our lives sometimes cross.

Time is hard to appreciate in a sensory deprivation tank. I can not tell how much time has passed. I open the door from inside the tank and get out. The clock tells me I have floated for about an hour and a half.

I leave the building, relaxed, with the outside colours brighter than before. The soothing sounds of the waves pounding the shore provide a sense of grace and nourishment.

I walk back and soon the colours around lose a measure of shine and the world returns to a normal light, though what is normal is no easy thing to say.

The End

Stickman's thoughts:

It sounds like a lady in Thailand has really got to you, but in a rather different way than is typical!

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