If anyone were to ask Michael White what he considered to be his strongest personality trait he would invariably answer that it was his capacity for patience. People only rarely asked him this but he had the answer at the ready, and he liked to think on it at different and regular intervals. What does it mean to be patient, he asked himself, and his answer was, always: to endure. The patient man, he had come to realise, was the arrogant man, because he assumed that his stubbornness would win out against the world, and that it would only be a matter of time before his particular stamp on the world became evident and true.
I am an arrogant man, Michael said to himself, sleepy under the stars in his hammock. Very soon he fell asleep, that kind of sleep where your mind hasn’t quite caught up with the fact that it is dreaming, and confuses the dream with reality. He dreamed – or lived through? – a month of traveling through thick vegetation, stepping over snakes and ducking under enormous vines and hanging branches. Soon there was a door, embedded into a tall oak. He opened the door and stepped out on to a small boat bobbing on a lake of oil. The lake was on fire and the heat was immense, and on the coast were huge white cities filled with concrete beds upon which murdered children and teenagers writhed in agony while tears of molten metal coursed down their cheeks. The torments of the residents was endless, but for visitors only temporary, and so Michael rowed the boat away from the coast line, using a bleached femur that he had found in a long, narrow box underneath his seat which was filled, aside from the bone, with milk teeth and gallstones, and as he rowed the contents of the box rattled while the river seethed and boiled.
Michael woke, he thought, with a kind of gaping snore, and all about him the lights from his neighbours apartments were off, and moths and bugs clustered about the naked bulb above his head. He put himself to bed, and for a very long time he tongued at his teeth, just to make sure that they were firmly embedded into his jaw, and unlikely to come loose.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.