Absurdist

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March 21st

After thirteen days of having intensely studied Sully (or Cully) and his newsstand, both through close at hand observation and by means of a pair of army surplus 8 X 40 binoculars, I am now (or was then?) able to surface with this series of descriptions, notes, and reflections - not to mention the premises, assumptions and conclusions needed as a necessary prelude to any meaningful action:

Notes On The Behaviour of Cully (Or Sully),The News Vendor, As Diligently CompiledBetween March Eighth and Twentieth

1. His name is Arthur Sully (or Cully), I can't be sure which. That's because the hand-painted wooden sign over his newsstand reads either: 'ARTHUR SULLY'S NEWS-A-RAMA' or 'ARTHUR CULLY'S NEWS-A-RAMA', with the 'S' and the 'C' superimposed one on the other. It may have been a slip of the sign-designer's brush and a half-hearted attempt at correcting it. Or his predecessor might have been Cully and he Sully. Or the opposite. Or he might have simply changed his last name. Or he may have left the previous owner's name on the sign. Whatever. I probably could find out for sure on closer inspection. But it doesn't really make much of a difference to me - at least not at this point. I'll just refer to him as the News Vendor. Is he the last News Vendor left? In this city, most likely. I can't speak for other places. Perhaps there are still some for nostalgia's sake in cities like London and Paris. But in this particular city, I have not run across any others. And I've roamed up and down its streets - from mountain (both cis- and trans-) to sea, from forest to skyscraper. Assumption: having opted for pixels on screens of all sizes, and devices that are friendly and respond nonjudgmentally to the most awkward of personal questions including bowel movements, the public for the most part has stopped purchasing paper news. It's so retro, as my daughter likes to say. Or in the words of my partner: Why bother with all that searching when the search comes to you with a couple of clicks? Or voice request?

2. The Newsstand: It may be dilapidated. It may be falling apart. It may have holes through which the wind can whistle. It may be in need of several coats of paint, right now a faded army green. But it is nevertheless a thing of beauty. Something that deserves to be preserved. A hexagonal over-hanging roof provides both shade and some protection from the weather. Across the front, a window swings out horizontally and is pinned back to reveal all the treasures within. To one side, a door that can be opened both fully or only the top half with shelving exposed when open; on the other, a series of slats that slide away and allow potential customers to enter. It's a model of efficiency with every nook and cranny packed with objects of pleasure if not pure knowledge. How could you not but admire ...? I'm getting ahead of myself. Stick to observations, please.

3. The News Vendor: He's old. Extremely old. So old that ... Hmmm, that might prove the first difficulty. No, no. Think improvisation. A touch of suffering - and there'll be plenty of that, I'm sure - and a matter of time, that's all. A matter of time. The wrinkles, the lines, all the troubling marks and symbols of age will come. Simply a matter of time.

4. He's bald. No comment. Well, maybe just one comment. He's not exactly or completely bald. A curly silver fringe, like steel wool, sticking out around the ears and back of neck. Anyway, not to worry. The crown of his head is usually covered by a greasy blue-grey sailor's cap and can be seen only when he removes that cap to wipe his brow.

5. He possesses only one leg. He ... - Only one leg! Christ on a stick! Only one leg! I mean only one real leg, one leg of flesh and bone - and that itself being mostly bone. The other's wooden, a peg-leg of the antique pirate type, slightly warped and cracked with age, which he straps on with leather thongs. Many marks and holes in it. As if he has been jabbing old-style compasses or pen-knives into it to whittle away the time. On the other hand, it might only be the work of termites after all. Busy little insects missed by the housing inspector. Able to create mounds that can be seen from outer space. And having found a perfect place to both hide and feed amid all that pulp and paper.

6. Dress: A red -

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King Arthur's Night and Peter Panties

King Arthur's Night and Peter Panties

A Collaboration Across Perceptions of Cognitive Difference
edition:Paperback
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