Getting it in the Head , livre ebook

icon

131

pages

icon

English

icon

Ebooks

2017

Écrit par

Publié par

icon jeton

Vous pourrez modifier la taille du texte de cet ouvrage

Lire un extrait
Lire un extrait

Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne En savoir plus

Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris

Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris
icon

131

pages

icon

English

icon

Ebook

2017

icon jeton

Vous pourrez modifier la taille du texte de cet ouvrage

Lire un extrait
Lire un extrait

Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne En savoir plus

Here we enter a world where the infatuation with death, ruin and destruction is total. Set in locations from New York to the west of Ireland, and to the nameless realms of the imagination, it is a world where beautiful but deranged children make lethal bombs, talented sculptors spend careers dismembering themselves in pursuit of their art, and wasters rise up with axes and turn into patricides. McCormack's celebrated debut collection is richly imaginative, bitterly funny, powerful and original.
Voir Alternate Text

Publié par

Date de parution

06 juillet 2017

Nombre de lectures

0

EAN13

9781786891402

Langue

English

Poids de l'ouvrage

1 Mo

Also by Mike McCormack
Crowe’s Requiem
Notes from a Coma
Forensic Songs
Solar Bones
MIKE McCORMACK
This Canons edition published in 2017 by Canongate Books Ltd 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE
First published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape, London, 1996
www.canongate.co.uk
This digital edition first published in 2017 by Canongate Books
Copyright © Mike McCormack, 1996
The moral right of the author has been asserted
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available on request from the British Library
ISBN 978 1 78689 139 6 e ISBN 978 1 78689 140 2
To my family and Noelle Donnellan – for keeping the faith
Contents
Acknowledgements
The Gospel of Knives
The Stained Glass Violations
A is for Axe
Old Man, My Son
Thomas Crumlesh 1960–1992: A Retrospective
The Angel of Ruin
Machine, Part II
Materials Grant
The Reach of Love
Oestrogen
Dead Man’s Fuel
The Terms
Blues for Emmett Ward
Amor Vincit Omnia
The Occupation: A Guide for Tourists
Getting it in the Head
Afterword
Acknowledgements
Some stories in this collection have appeared in the following magazines and anthologies: ‘The Stained Glass Violations’ in Passages , ‘A is for Axe’ in Brought to Book (Harper Collins), ‘Thomas Crumlesh’ in the Sunday Tribune and An Anthology of Irish Comic Writing (Michael Joseph), ‘Machine: Part 11’ in the Connacht Tribune and ‘The Occupation’ in Ambit and Best Short Stories 1995 (Heinemann).
The author is grateful for permission to reprint lines from ‘Caffeine’, composed by Bordin, Bottum, Gould, Martin and Patton © 1992 Rondor Music.
THE GOSPEL OF KNIVES
When I opened the door and saw her standing there like an effigy, draped from head to toe in some fashion paraphrase of a chador, my mind flamed with a single, sordid thought: I wanted to get down on my knees before her in that sweetest of all acts of sexual worship and lick her out good and proper. I could see from her face – the swarthy skin, the too-even set of her teeth, the retroussé nose – that this was a woman of pent-up desires and trammelled passions and I fancied that I was the man to rectify all that. I glowed with confidence. Here was easy meat and it was as much as I could do to stop a predatory grin from spreading over my own teeth. However, when I invited her into my room and she spread out her collection of knives on the table I knew that I had made one of the bigger mistakes of my young and now bitter life.
‘I’m a seller of knives,’ she said needlessly, arranging the gleaming pieces on the table, ‘and I’m here to sell you one of these.’
I swallowed heavily, eyeing the array of steel which had so quickly covered the table. I would never have guessed that there were so many variations on the single theme of the blade.
‘I’m sorry,’ I stammered, ‘but I’ve got all the knives I need. I’ve got a bread knife and a set of steak knives and a short blade for peeling. I live on my own, so you can see then that I’m not exactly in the market for a new one.’
‘No,’ she said quietly, ‘I think if you look closely at the circumstances of your life you will find that there is ample room in it for one extra blade. No one’s life is so complete that they can afford to do without one of these knives.’
‘I thought you were selling encyclopaedias or you were some kind of a Jehovah’s Witness,’ I said plaintively.
‘No, I’m a seller of knives. My work is to spread the Gospel of Knives because in the beginning was The Knife. All other versions are fiction. My job is to spread the redemptive word of The Knife. Answer me this, what is the greatest of man’s inventions?’
‘I suppose you’re going to tell me it’s the knife.’
‘Of course, there is no other answer. Taken unawares, most people say it’s the wheel or fire. But they are wrong because the knife is at the source of all. When man picked up his first knife and started cutting and sawing and slicing it was the opening moment of his humanity, the instant of his divinity. Now in all my years in this ministry I’ve never met a man who did not need a knife. I’ve met men who have denied God’s word out of face and I’ve met men who couldn’t sign their name and they’ve all managed without any noticeable handicap. But all these people were bound together by their need for knives. And do you know why? The simple answer is that it is impossible to go through life without cutting or slicing: it wouldn’t be human. If I met a man who didn’t need a knife I’d just pack up my bags and walk away because it would be a sure sign that I had met someone who was less than human and a waste of words. But you’re human, are you not?’
‘Yes, I suppose so.’
‘Well, then it follows that you need one of these knives, it’s unavoidable.’
‘I’ve already told you that I’m full up with knives.’
‘Have you a lover?’
‘Yes,’ I lied.
‘Good, because every lover needs a knife. I knew of a man once who woke up beside his beloved and saw for the first time how ugly she was, the scales had finally dropped from his eyes. And even though she was sleeping on his arm he was so panic-stricken he started to chew his own arm off, gnawing and tearing at it like a snared animal. And it took him so long that eventually his beloved awoke and looked at him. He got such a fright that he went into shock and couldn’t move. She couldn’t move him either and he died there in the bed within fifteen minutes. Now if he had one of these,’ she held up a short, double blade, smooth and serrated, ‘he could have had that arm off in two minutes and made good his escape. You wouldn’t want to end up in a situation like that, now would you?’
‘That’s a ridiculous story. Besides, it could never happen, my sweetheart is very beautiful.’
‘All beauty fades but with proper care and attention a good knife will last forever.’
‘I heard a story once of a child philosopher who couldn’t get his penknife sharp enough and he spent all his time honing it until one day the blade disappeared altogether.’
I will never know why I made up that story.
‘That’s the story of a fanatic,’ she said coldly. ‘The story of a man looking for irreducible truths. It wasn’t the knife which failed him but his imagination. The knife was probably perfectly good within its set application. What he should have done was get another knife. There is no danger of that happening with these knives. Have you ever been to prison?’
‘No, I live a virtuous and God-fearing existence.’
‘And is your life so blameless that you are utterly without fear of reckoning?’
‘The truth is that I have no life. I have no qualifications or work. I have no future and I’m not old enough to have a past. Occasions for sin are severely limited.’
‘Nevertheless, the world is full of treacheries. One day you might find yourself incarcerated, walled up for a crime you didn’t commit, mass concrete and iron bars between you and the blue sky. You might have exhausted all words and petitions and found no succour in prayer. Then these are the knives for you, they are absolute knives. This one can cut through any substance known to man, it has never been known to fail.’
‘That’s ridiculous,’ I retorted.
‘Knives are sacred,’ she replied, ‘I would not defile them with lies.’
‘You’re serious about all this?’ I said incredulously.
‘Yes,’ she replied. ‘Because these are serious knives.’
By now any notion of sexual conquest had fled my mind completely. Her unspeakable beauty dominated the room like a caryatid from some distant, ruined temple and her smile filled me with dread. I could almost hear her mind whirring through a set of instructions, sizing up the options before her face committed itself. It did not help either that my table was now laid out and glittering as if for some terrible, total surgery. I wanted my room emptied now, bare and empty as I had always loved it.
‘I know everything there is to know about knives,’ she continued. ‘Anything I don’t know about knives is a lie. Look at this one.’ She took up a short, curved piece and juggled it neatly from hand to hand. ‘This is a survivalists’ knife, special army issue to the SAS, the US Navy Seals and other elite anti-terrorist units. It’s a tungsten alloy laid over with Teflon. It’s hafted by a brass tang to an ebony handle. It’s the sharpest knife in creation, strictly under-the-counter material and rarer than most gems.’
Suddenly she hopped forward on one foot and her arm swung down like a scythe. The knife split the air and buried itself in the door at the other end of the room. The walls resonated with the terrific impact. She withdrew the blade cleanly and handed it to me.
‘Now bid for it,’ she commanded.
‘I’ve got no money, I’m on the dole. I can’t afford to go throwing away money I don’t have on things I don’t need.’
‘Who said anything about money?’
‘You’re a saleswoman,’ I said. ‘Money is what you deal in.’
‘You’re being presumptuous again, you’ve been that way from the moment you opened the door. I prefer to think of myself as a kind of beneficent society, like the International Gideon Society for instance. I leave people their knives and I walk away. I’ve left knives in hotel rooms and houses all over the world. Sometimes, however, I have to go door to door and get some remuneration, I have to keep body and soul together also.’
‘But I have nothing to give. Look around you, I’ve only these four walls and these four limbs. I have nothing to give.’
‘That is not true. When I opened the door you wanted to possess me, you wanted to get down on your knees and worship. We could settle for that. One knife against one loveless act of sexual possession. A fair exchange is no robbery and since I want you it would be an honourable transaction.’
I almost squealed in horror. ‘I can’t,’ I said, a dense wave of nausea swelling through my body. ‘It’s crazy. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Why can’t you just leave me the knife and go?’ I could feel myself being reduced to a caricature of despair. I was on the v

Voir Alternate Text
Chronicle In Stone
Category

Ebooks

Chronicle In Stone

Ismail Kadaré

Chronicle In Stone Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

SF et fantasy

Chronicle In Stone

Ismail Kadaré

Book

172 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Incognito
Category

Ebooks

Incognito

David Eagleman

Incognito Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Sciences humaines et sociales

Incognito

David Eagleman

Book

144 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Ocean Sea
Category

Ebooks

Ocean Sea

Alessandro Baricco

Ocean Sea Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

SF et fantasy

Ocean Sea

Alessandro Baricco

Book

113 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Fortunate Man
Category

Ebooks

Fortunate Man

John Berger

Fortunate Man Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Religions

Fortunate Man

John Berger

Book

100 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Teaching a Stone to Talk
Category

Ebooks

Teaching a Stone to Talk

Annie Dillard

Teaching a Stone to Talk Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Science de la nature

Teaching a Stone to Talk

Annie Dillard

Book

72 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Neither Wolf Nor Dog
Category

Ebooks

Neither Wolf Nor Dog

Kent Nerburn

Neither Wolf Nor Dog Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Religions

Neither Wolf Nor Dog

Kent Nerburn

Book

139 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Close to the Knives
Category

Ebooks

Close to the Knives

David Wojnarowicz

Close to the Knives Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Beaux-arts

Close to the Knives

David Wojnarowicz

Book

119 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Philadelphia Fire
Category

Ebooks

Philadelphia Fire

Edgar Wideman John

Philadelphia Fire Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

SF et fantasy

Philadelphia Fire

Edgar Wideman John

Book

95 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
L.A. Woman
Category

Ebooks

L.A. Woman

Eve Babitz

L.A. Woman Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

SF et fantasy

L.A. Woman

Eve Babitz

Book

88 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Edge of the Sea
Category

Ebooks

Edge of the Sea

Rachel Carson

Edge of the Sea Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Religions

Edge of the Sea

Rachel Carson

Book

166 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Under the Sea-Wind
Category

Ebooks

Under the Sea-Wind

Rachel Carson

Under the Sea-Wind Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Religions

Under the Sea-Wind

Rachel Carson

Book

129 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Pattern in the Carpet
Category

Ebooks

Pattern in the Carpet

Margaret Drabble

Pattern in the Carpet Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Religions

Pattern in the Carpet

Margaret Drabble

Book

192 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Reconciliation
Category

Ebooks

Reconciliation

Naoya Shiga

Reconciliation Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

SF et fantasy

Reconciliation

Naoya Shiga

Book

55 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Dante s Divine Trilogy
Category

Ebooks

Dante's Divine Trilogy

Alasdair Gray

Dante s Divine Trilogy Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

Littérature érotique

Dante's Divine Trilogy

Alasdair Gray

Book

319 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
Summer Bird-Cage
Category

Ebooks

Summer Bird-Cage

Margaret Drabble

Summer Bird-Cage Alternate Text
Category

Ebooks

SF et fantasy

Summer Bird-Cage

Margaret Drabble

Book

106 pages

Flag

English

icon play Lire
icon play Infos
  • Univers Univers
  • Ebooks Ebooks
  • Livres audio Livres audio
  • Presse Presse
  • Podcasts Podcasts
  • BD BD
  • Documents Documents
Alternate Text