by Robert Komishane
Beneath the surface of the madman’s mask, his secret brain lurks, looking out at the mysterious streets of his city wriggling with passersby all in a hurry. He tries to concentrate on their faces, figure out what they’re trying to convey to him in their cryptic language, but they keep decomposing into stroboscopic fragments too quick and indistinct to read. So he gives up, sits down on a bench at the street corner, and closes his eyes.
Just in time. The show’s about to begin. Up on the screen nimble dancers with wide orange grins pasted onto their faces leap and frolic, dip and pivot, spinning day into night into day. Tears giggle down the madman’s cheeks when suddenly, without warning, a dark and heavy curtain drops and covers the stage and he’s dragged down underneath, swimming for his life.
Finally, at the end of his endurance, the madman gives up and falls through deeper and deeper fathoms until he comes to rest on the ocean floor. Here, in a recess so remote the surface people in their somnambulistic rambles have not yet even dreamt it, the madman watches an endless caravan of glittering sea creatures of every color, shape, and size flit, shoot, and float by. Then, a phantasmal Blue Heron materializes right in front of his eyes, harpoons and speeds him all the way up to breach the surface of the water, and deposits him back on the bench at the street corner, where he’s been sitting since early afternoon.
The madman opens his eyes, tilts back his head, and gazes at an entirely blue sky, not even a whisper of white in sight. He rejoices.