thrice great hermes
by stanley lieber
it was back to reading. étienne wanted to finally finish anaïs nin, and of course henry miller. mishima was temporarily (again) on hold.
his daily carry had expanded to include even more books. a dedicated satchel. was this a mistake? there was scarcely room in the truck for his work tools. if he couldn’t work when he got there, he’d just have to sit and read. étienne made the stuff fit, though his elbows would bang the satchel on tight curves.
something still troubled him.
his back was sore, pretty much all the time. dad would have told him to have it looked at. "whatever it takes." étienne hadn’t seen a doctor in years. he was uncomfortable sitting, standing, laying on his stomach, or on his back. laying down on his side his knees would fit together unnaturally. sleep was something he had to resent. it showed up whenever it felt like showing up—totally lackluster, totally unreliable. and totally unapologetic. he figured, that’s just sleep being sleep.
the gods were still fighting. he still didn’t believe in them but he supposed that was one way you could say it. (why should he need to say it?) sometimes phrases appeared into his head. he’d rather they didn’t.
more days went by and étienne read more books. he got on with his routine. it helped to sort out the situation with mom’s estate. he went for fewer walks in the woods. he tried to figure out what to do with his body while he was sitting, standing, kneeling, or laying down. he tried to stop complaining.
at times it seemed he had forgotten how to animate his limbs. he called upon his motor functions and the attempt would produce no discernible movement anywhere in his body. he’d stop, and wait, and finally his arm or his leg might twitch. then he’d go on with whatever it was he had been trying to do.
in the years that followed he would remember this lack of cooperation and wonder how he had decided to address the apparent rebellion against himself. he would have no memory of it.