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Archive for May, 2016

“Freuds” by Toh EnJoe

 

 

 

Freuds

by Toh EnJoe

When I went to demolish my grandmother’s house, a whole bunch of Freuds came up from under the floorboards.

The question will probably come up again, so at the risk of repeating myself, it was Freud who emerged, and in great numbers. I am not trying to be evasive or pretend it was something else named Freud. It was Freud. Sigmund Freud.

The one with the frightening face.

This past winter, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away, leaving behind a big old house in the country. That’s how this whole thing got started. And once it was started there was nothing that could be done about it, and there is still no end in sight.

In her final years, my grandmother declined all invitations to live with any of her family, and she was doing pretty well on her own, but one day her sword-cane failed her and she collapsed in the garden. It is believed she meant to attack the black cat that came to the garden every day, or it may be she meant to spear one of the catfish that swam in the pond. She was in the prime of her life, like a master swordsman, and this is how she passed her final days.

The cause of death was given simply as old age. It seems she may have stumbled over one of the paving stones in the garden, and that’s what did her in.

So, about the house she left behind, the family gathered for the funeral and put their heads together, but no one was interested in moving back out to the countryside. Letting it stand and having someone live in it would be a pain, and taking proper care of it would be costly. The family could try to sell it, but who would buy it? And so the decision was made to raze it to the ground. A date was set, and the family honored the last day of grandmother’s house by gathering there once again on that day.

Before the demolition began, the tatami mats were removed, and that is when the whole bunch of Freuds were discovered.

Not one Freud or two Freuds. They just kept coming with each tatami mat that was removed. There were twenty-two Freuds in all, one lying beneath each of the tatami mats in the big living room. Exactly twenty-two. As the old saying goes, A person takes up half a mat when sitting up and one full mat when lying down. Life can be lived virtuously, simply.

The faces of our family tree, which ordinarily radiated both carelessness and courage, were struck dumb at the sight.

Twenty-two Freuds lined up in the garden. Grandma’s parting gift to this world.

Even my ordinarily bossy younger uncle, who always wants to run the show, was rendered speechless at the sight of so many Sigmund Freuds. He was completely flustered and made no gesture of directing how to move them. He just lined up the Freuds in the garden and then brought out some tables and set some beer bottles on them, trying to calm himself down.

My younger uncle appeared to be searching for words that would bring down the curtain on this act, but he was at a loss for anything clever to say, apart from an opening gambit that tossed the ball in the completely wrong direction: “If they come from underground, shouldn’t they be Jung instead?”

So far as I was concerned, the sheer number of floorboard Freuds would eclipse the problem of who they were, but my uncle seemed unsatisfied, and he responded to me: Fair enough, these are Freuds.

This is Freud’s face. There is no other face like it.

For the most part, the things my grandmother had owned during her life had been taken care of. She had not left much worth fighting over, with the exception of her sword-cane.   Dividing up her worldly possessions had been a very placid closing of the curtain. About the most exciting thing that happened then was that I put on one of her camisoles and danced around in it. Then in the end, there were the Freuds, which counted as a major deal, and in large numbers. This was not a legacy to be divided; it had been transformed into a grand game of hot potato.

What could one do with a Freud? my younger uncle’s wife wondered aloud, perplexed. Grandma was a strange one, but did she have to keep all these Freuds under her floorboards? said older uncle’s wife.

My cousin’s daughter had been staring at the many Freuds that had been carted out and lined up neatly, supine, in the garden, but then she started crying, and I led her outside the main building. If I had seen a bunch of Freuds like this when I was her age, I would have asked permission to leave myself.

This might be The Complete Sigmund Freud, my uncle said, once again tossing the ball in the wrong direction. The question of whether this was the entire collection or not was just so much pointless jaw-boning, because they all seemed to be Freud himself. Somewhere there might even be an “on” switch to press, and they would all begin giving lectures. Assuming, however, that some things remained normal, that was not likely to happen.

To line up all the Freuds in the garden, I had to take their limp bodies in my arms and make countless round trips between the big living room and the garden. A terse, tangible reminder of my own humanity, coupled with that special gravity of the unconscious, lying flat across my forearms.

I had said these were all Freud himself, and my uncle picked up on the himself part and went on to say that was awkward. I too wanted to continue and say that was awkward, but that awkwardness was not any old ordinary awkwardness, it was really, really awkward.

It was my younger uncle’s wife who said, I wonder if we couldn’t sell them. While this was a forward-thinking idea—who today would want to buy a Freud?—my younger uncle admonished his wife, and my cousin added, Yeah, who would want to keep a Freud in their house?

***

To find out who would want to keep a Freud in their house, and more importantly why, check out Self-Reference ENGINE by Toh EnJoe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freuds

 

When I went to demolish my grandmother’s house, a whole bunch of Freuds came up from under the floorboards.

The question will probably come up again, so at the risk of repeating myself, it was Freud who emerged, and in great numbers. I am not trying to be evasive or pretend it was something else named Freud. It was Freud. Sigmund Freud.

The one with the frightening face.

This past winter, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away, leaving behind a big old house in the country. That’s how this whole thing got started. And once it was started there was nothing that could be done about it, and there is still no end in sight.

In her final years, my grandmother declined all invitations to live with any of her family, and she was doing pretty well on her own, but one day her sword-cane failed her and she collapsed in the garden. It is believed she meant to attack the black cat that came to the garden every day, or it may be she meant to spear one of the catfish that swam in the pond. She was in the prime of her life, like a master swordsman, and this is how she passed her final days.

The cause of death was given simply as old age. It seems she may have stumbled over one of the paving stones in the garden, and that’s what did her in.

So, about the house she left behind, the family gathered for the funeral and put their heads together, but no one was interested in moving back out to the countryside. Letting it stand and having someone live in it would be a pain, and taking proper care of it would be costly. The family could try to sell it, but who would buy it? And so the decision was made to raze it to the ground. A date was set, and the family honored the last day of grandmother’s house by gathering there once again on that day.

Before the demolition began, the tatami mats were removed, and that is when the whole bunch of Freuds were discovered.

Not one Freud or two Freuds. They just kept coming with each tatami mat that was removed. There were twenty-two Freuds in all, one lying beneath each of the tatami mats in the big living room. Exactly twenty-two. As the old saying goes, A person takes up half a mat when sitting up and one full mat when lying down. Life can be lived virtuously, simply.

The faces of our family tree, which ordinarily radiated both carelessness and courage, were struck dumb at the sight.

Twenty-two Freuds lined up in the garden. Grandma’s parting gift to this world.

Even my ordinarily bossy younger uncle, who always wants to run the show, was rendered speechless at the sight of so many Sigmund Freuds. He was completely flustered and made no gesture of directing how to move them. He just lined up the Freuds in the garden and then brought out some tables and set some beer bottles on them, trying to calm himself down.

My younger uncle appeared to be searching for words that would bring down the curtain on this act, but he was at a loss for anything clever to say, apart from an opening gambit that tossed the ball in the completely wrong direction: “If they come from underground, shouldn’t they be Jung instead?”

So far as I was concerned, the sheer number of floorboard Freuds would eclipse the problem of who they were, but my uncle seemed unsatisfied, and he responded to me: Fair enough, these are Freuds.

This is Freud’s face. There is no other face like it.

For the most part, the things my grandmother had owned during her life had been taken care of. She had not left much worth fighting over, with the exception of her sword-cane.   Dividing up her worldly possessions had been a very placid closing of the curtain. About the most exciting thing that happened then was that I put on one of her camisoles and danced around in it. Then in the end, there were the Freuds, which counted as a major deal, and in large numbers. This was not a legacy to be divided; it had been transformed into a grand game of hot potato.

What could one do with a Freud? my younger uncle’s wife wondered aloud, perplexed. Grandma was a strange one, but did she have to keep all these Freuds under her floorboards? said older uncle’s wife.

My cousin’s daughter had been staring at the many Freuds that had been carted out and lined up neatly, supine, in the garden, but then she started crying, and I led her outside the main building. If I had seen a bunch of Freuds like this when I was her age, I would have asked permission to leave myself.

This might be The Complete Sigmund Freud, my uncle said, once again tossing the ball in the wrong direction. The question of whether this was the entire collection or not was just so much pointless jaw-boning, because they all seemed to be Freud himself. Somewhere there might even be an “on” switch to press, and they would all begin giving lectures. Assuming, however, that some things remained normal, that was not likely to happen.

To line up all the Freuds in the garden, I had to take their limp bodies in my arms and make countless round trips between the big living room and the garden. A terse, tangible reminder of my own humanity, coupled with that special gravity of the unconscious, lying flat across my forearms.

I had said these were all Freud himself, and my uncle picked up on the himself part and went on to say that was awkward. I too wanted to continue and say that was awkward, but that awkwardness was not any old ordinary awkwardness, it was really, really awkward.

It was my younger uncle’s wife who said, I wonder if we couldn’t sell them. While this was a forward-thinking idea—who today would want to buy a Freud?—my younger uncle admonished his wife, and my cousin added, Yeah, who would want to keep a Freud in their house?

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