Grizzled Oldie

A Franz Kafka erasure

By Taybrook Mills


The Grizzled Oldie sat, his pale cactus hair legs sticking to the leather of his car seat. He felt the cringing heat pouring down from the sky, and muttered unspeakable grumbles at the Sun God. A wrinkle of weak sweat melted from his forehead, drizzling down to his feathered brow. As the light changed, he slowly pressed his foot to the pedal, watching the other clunking cars rattle past. He knew he could fly past them in his Mercedes C350 like a whisper on the sun, windy hands grasping the gaseous surface as it wished across the surface. He let the combustion fire at its slowest, refusing the yearning engine’s need to burn.

He had come far, and beside him sat the thing that he must have been looking for all of his life, for nothing else had so grabbed and nearly torn the very viscosity of his life-force from his body. No woman or son, no treasure or fossil, no abode or mechanism, meal and libation, nor remembrance of the dead or living had taken this effect on him. He sat quietly, the climate control of his vehicle finally overcoming the overwhelming heat. He knew in a part of his mind that his actions had contributed somewhat to the slow rise in the Earth’s temperature. It was inevitable that the great machines that tore apart the Earth’s abundance would belch forth the poison of combustion into the atmosphere, slowly trapping the sun’s power more and more. Soon it would not matter, and it would stabilize itself, at least in geological terms.

The Oldie reached the private drive that led to his home of late. He had lived on nearly every continent on the globe save the extremities of the poles and Africa, but had spent enough time there to know it intimately as well. London had seemed the right approach for the final front, the center of the world’s economic and symbolic power of empire, despite the United State’s attempts at deceit in this regard.

The discovery had been completely accidental, but the part of him that had always been searching, which had led him to observe and scout and dissect the Earth, had always known it was there. After spending half of a century in every type of mine, it had been the platinum in the Marikana mine in South Africa that had been its sanctuary. He gently patted the parcel wrapped in vellum and twine, caressing the solidity of the object that had captured all of his yearning.

#kafka #erasure #short




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