Night fiddles the black differential. He was awake, intermittently. They called him a pause-button. No, he thought, mute-button's more precise. Without whimsy. He walked to the window and looked over his farm, eyes flicking over the miscellanea: unresponsive froth, a cairn of anomalous bones, orange flowers beneath the wanting roof. Will the orange ever relax? Next to the fringe, the bubbling sod. Shadows dampened everything.
There was a knock against the screen surrounding the farm. Something's wearing it down, he thought. The barrier. Days before, he had selected an upgrade without a deterrent. Another knock. An embarrassed animal, or something like it, zoomed away, rocketing nonsense. The farmer was not gassed.
The alert was long over.
Something had to be undone. Decisions. Movements. Outcomes. The farmer powered his cycle and scattered to the bazaar where they cooked forgotten meat, where addicts were trapped in the basement. They affect demise without an asynchronous night, he thought. He was doing a lot of that of late.
In bygone days, the addicts used to trek all night every night to the garden where the supreme god nested, or the guilty geneticist, or whatever he was called this night. After the alert, he was allowed to call himself whatever whenever. The fears came after the ignorance. Below the fumes, the addicts appalled night, they shamed night.
The farmer's necessity was uncontested. A salesman had authorized him to eat the swarm during the alert.
The farmer unbent his legs from his cycle. I ate the swarm, the farmer argued into the bitmap. I ate the swarm. He groaned economically. I ate the swarm and breathed out an army. I ate the swarm. Why won't the salient afternoon crash without the addicts? They are misguided and floppy, a ways from the immortal pocket. The farmer laughed; his lexicon was stumbling into mysticism. He stepped into the bazaar.
A keeper approached, feet crunching on gravel. Barbed hair, spigot for a nose, tactical eyes. The farmer did not recognize him.
"How did you find us?" he said.
"I haven't lost anybody," the farmer said, looking askance. He took a step forward.
The keeper smiled and stepped in front of him again, fingers grazing the farmer's chest. "We love to have you with us," he said with unlikely expertise. "Only let us know --"
"I'm fine." His eyes clouded. "I don't expect anything from here. I'm looking for -- never-you-mind." Gut withdrawing, he took another step.
"Please understand that traffic here is --"
"Let me be," the farmer said, and waved his arms and whipped away, a bird in abstract.
The farmer needed three things for the cleansing: a slab of nostalgic meat, ruined flower petals, and a vial of ennobling foam. He would cleanse his body, his publics and privates. He had all the other instruments. He would pour the foam and rub the meat all over and use the petals to scrape it off, and spread foam again for the final cleanse. The cleansing would be done an odd number of times.
In the bazaar, he came to where he needed to be. A minute teenager was there. He told him what was called for.
"Why do you need such and such and such?" the minimal thing asked.
"I ate the swarm around the bobbing nouns," he said. "I ate the swarm past a dominant. I ate the swarm across a privileged trap." He couldn't stop himself.
The minute teenager stared; his eyes frosted over. "I must go now," he said and applied himself. When he came back with all the necessaries, the farmer flapped his arms again. But he did not fly.
"Will the uncoordinated sound brush against the swarm?" The farmer was talking above everything. "Against an insect's screams, I ate the swarm, the sound twisting the ill anniversary. The marginal worm edged outside the fluid. When I ate the swarm it loosened the hurt light." He remembered how it had stalled all opposing strength.
The teenager handed him the meat, petals, and vial.
The farmer quieted. He communicated his cash.
"You must go now," the minute teenager said. "You must go."
"Yes." The farmer nodded.
"The addicts are --"
"I know their faceted heads well." The farmer laughed, a dry bark, and left the bazaar. He slalomed past the keeper who said, "Have a nice one."
"I should not say this," the farmer said, turning around, "but anything left useless will rot."
The trip back to the farm was longer. A constituent had bumped against him. His cycle kept apace, panting along. "Each consumer's shell must be treated --"
"I ate the swarm," the farmer said. His eyes teared; the winds were a biting force.
"How does the swarm budget pregnancy?"
"What am I to do with you?" The farmer shook his head. "I'm sorry," flicking his hand, "no time for jibber-jabber." And he sped away, losing the constituent in steamy plumes.
Back on the farm, in his sanctum, the farmer removed his cloths. With a blob of meat, he cleansed his aura, the line from the clavicle's nook to the belly's button, then the hair and the face, the upper right side of the body, then the left side, then after that, the lower right side, and then the lower left. He raised his head and torso to ensure his exudations flowed down, away from his body. He poured the vial on his head, careful not to insert foam in the nose and in the mouth. He massaged the meat mixed with foam on his face and cleansed all impurities. He used the brittle petals to scrape his privates. He cleansed himself five times. After the last cleanse, he perfumed and air dried. Rising again, he donned another disguise.
He extinguished all the lamps, fell to bed, and closed his eyes.
He dreamed of womb proposals, of greasy dominants and abandoned pregnants, of gentlemen, their overstyle antiques and their revealing sick. The sick, he mumbled repeatedly, until his alarum -- the one his Other had set to waken him from bad dreams -- alarmed. The farmer panted. He unraveled his body from the bed. Sleep restores the cross life, he thought. Sleep clogs around the untoward voice. So why do I pant? In sleep I should graduate past the snags. How do these broken gentlemen poke my sleep then?
"This is nearly devastating behavior," he said, frowning. "I am baffled before unambiguous gentlemen. I am an authentic shame."