Nothing Happens

He leaves with his black umbrella under his arm and the house bellows after him, What good is a black umbrella at a time like this?  You know that if you go now you can never come back again?  It is dry out and the light is falling.  In the sky to the west the sun sets like a dead anaesthetist set fire on a longboat and pushed out to sea.  He watches the funeral as the longboat gets further away and the fire begins to die out and soon it is dark and he puts up his black umbrella.  It does him no good.  He walks through the streets which are filled with quiet and noise, and crowds and loneliness, and a million things happening a million times no matter what, and things are happening to him and through him and around him too and there is nothing his black umbrella can do to make it stop.  When he reaches the train tracks he settles on the embankment, puts down his umbrella, takes a candle from his pocket, lights it, picks up his umbrella again.  He waits through a million things, the hum of the late traffic somewhere away there and.  And then, at midnight, the train comes – the engine and then a long line of bathtubs linked head-to-toe, head-to-toe, porcelain-plastic-steel-tin carriages rattling through rattling through rattling, slowing slightly as they pass and his candle goes out with the draft and the railroad thunder.  Always a bathtub carriage to your heart, he thinks.  And, What good is his black umbrella now?  The long line of bathtub carriages come to a stop, slowly and eventually, and they are no longer carriages at all, just bathtubs.  Lonely, rusted, long-ago bathtubs.  Each one of them tip-tapping out a dripping water clock.  And he could climb in and rust away off into the night and the million things happening out there somewhere else again.  He could set down his black umbrella and climb in.  He could leave now.  You know that if you go now you can never come back again?  And he doesn’t, he sits and watches the bathtubs until they set off, somewhere into the night again, always a bathtub carriage to your heart.  On the way home, water begins to fall from the pitch black sky and patters against the fabric of his black umbrella.  A million different things happening a million times more and him walking home again beneath the safety of his fake black sky, through the streets and adventures and the sound of gravestones in the rain.


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