Monday, January 23, 2017

KEENO AND THE CUBISTS by Russ Bickerstaff

Keeno didn’t have any problem with the Cubists moving into the neighborhood. He just wanted everyone to know that. He’d grown up in the area years ago when it was more . . . traditional . . . and he knew that it wasn’t going to stay that way forever. He went off to college and started a job that became a career and when he met a girl and married, the only place he could think of to raise their kids was the place where he grew-up. So he moved back into the neighborhood and everything was fine. There were babies that they took to see fireworks who toddled along into preschool and then grade school. And everything was fine. And then the Cubists started moving into the neighborhood.

It was perfectly normal at first. Walk your kids out to the park and you see a couple of Cubists their moving along on their straight lines in those weird jerky motions and you know your kids are going to ask questions later. But it’s a weird, little novelty and they learn to forget about it just like everything else. But then a couple days later you see them at the park again. And then the day after that, you see one of them walking down the street with her little cubist dog and you feel kind of weird about the whole thing. That’s when you start to notice the moving vans. Weird angular people unloading their weird angular furniture and all those goddamned boxes. It’s enough to make you lose your lunch.

Keeno didn’t have anything against the Cubists. At least, he didn’t like to think that he had anything specific against the Cubists. They were probably quite nice people. They were so colorful. You knew where they were right away. The Cubist houses were clearly visible from down the block. It’s not like they were trying to hide what they were or anything. In a way, that really was the problem ultimately.

They almost seemed to be flaunting their Cubism everywhere. They almost seemed to express a disdain for the rest of the world and all its curves and fixed perspectives and things. When pressed to explain exactly what he meant by this, Keeno had difficulty with specifics. The Cubists largely kept to themselves and seemed to be unwilling to interact with other people in the neighborhood due to how often they were stared at.

Maybe this was Keeno’s big problem with the Cubists: the fact that they didn’t seem to be willing to interact with the rest of the neighborhood. They were all secluded in their own cubical spaces when they weren’t flaunting all their straight lines in your face and they seemed to totally disregard the world around them.

Clearly something needed to be done, but it was unclear as to what exactly that might be. There was no way to make the roads or sidewalks curvier. The paths through the park were already quite curves. Nary a right angle anywhere in the entire park. There was nothing specific about the neighborhood that should have drawn any attention to them to bring them in. What was causing them to flock to the neighborhood in the first place?

Keeno wanted to investigate further, but his work had kept him far too busy to do so. This was a problem as thoughts of the Cubists kept distracting him from being able to focus on his work. He just kept thinking about their weird heads and their jerky movements and getting disgusted with all the straight lines and right angles in the world around him. Something had to be done. It was somewhere around the third time he had left work early in a week that things began to fall out of focus for
Keeno. He collapsed into bed and fell asleep, gradually coming into a dream of curve-less space that he was quite incapable of escaping until his own horror had finally pulled him into the cold embrace of full consciousness.

The rest was more than a little predictable. Keeno would have to get used to seeing things differently. It would be awhile before he could openly accept his own angularity and mutation of perspective. In time he would come to accept other Cubists. In time perhaps he would be able to even accept himself.

1 comment: