The Couch

THE SOFA - (or couch!)

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Nexus
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Posted 01/04/09 - 4:16 PM:
Subject: THE SOFA - (or couch!)
The Sofa.

Plato -and Socrates if his student is to be believed - held that there is a world of ideal forms beyond and even above our own. Murial did not know of this theory put something of a similar style did pass through her stimulated synapses as she sped about -after consuming far too many coffees - seeking the ideal suite to furnish her currently slightly lacklustre living room. She still had not found her perfect man and was childless but the perfect purchase would force happiness to the fore at least briefly; she knew this would be so. This detail would complete the major details of her mortgage held apartment and cement her firmly within a sense that -despite all else that might be lacking - her trajectory was sound.

They were everywhere, sofas. Enormous from billboards with beautiful families ensconsed upon them or aesthetically pleasing young men or women. The adverts for the seeming impossible reductions claimed by the warehouse superstores allowed a fair mix of types to drape themselves over varied designs, sizes, colour schemes, as long as they looked happy and content. Indeed they must be; they too had found that little corner of completion. They danced, they sang - they had found a comfortable and visually pleasing structure to return to after their tired routines.

There is was. A small reduction only but it throbbed in its window space within the fashionable London store like a mystic vision. Nobody unsuccessful could seriously be seen draped over such an object, unless, perhaps, through an accident of some kind. Soon she found herself enquiring in a seemingly tentative way with the weary young shop assistant while her heart raced with expectation.

"I take it that nice sofa you have in the window is still available?" Murial said in a calm and collected politeness.

"I'll just check madam." He typed and mouse clicked at a terminal. "I'm sorry, it appears we're out I'm afraid, a very popular model. Strange, it wasn't reduced much."

A panic took hold of her. "What?"

"It's out of stock. Actually I think it was the last of the line."

She laughed nervously, as if he were joking. "Last of the line? That doesn't make any sense!"

"Sense? Look, I'll double check.." he returned to the terminal a little nervously. There had been other people similar to her ever since the sale period began and the tell-tale hysteria was beginning to take it toll. "It is the last of the line madam. That one in the window went to somebody a few minutes ago actually, even though it's slightly soiled."

Murial stood in shock then thought again began to trace its neon cartwheels in her mind. "Did you sell it to them, are they still here?"

"Not me, but I think it must have been that family, Julian was dealing with them about the time the sale went through. They'll all look nice sat on it eh?" His manner had relaxed and he had allowed this aside to introduce some kind of sanity into his afternoon.

"Okay, thanks, thanks...." Murial backed away with an irresitable velocity as if they were objects separating for eternity in outer space. She pretended to be examing other furnishings in the store but -from the corner of her eye- watched the two small children leap and play as if the objects in the store were a purpose built playground and the tastefully attired and presumably afluent parents discouraged them. They did not appear particularly happy but a fragment of something like contentment rippled away from them. 'Why, when they have everything, do they have to take this thing from me? What can it do for them? It could do so much for me, just for a little while, just until....."

Later the kids seemingly unstoppable energy appeared to ebb as they were lifted and coaxed into the elegant BMW people mover. It sped away and she gave chase at a not too obvious distance. After two hours of painfully slow conjestion they entered a fashionable area of St James' Park that she could, with precision, already have predicted as being the sturdy tree that held the family nest. WIth no regret over her actions she found a parking space surprisingly easily and in almost harmonious timing with the BMW as it assumed repose outside a gleaming townhouse. She noted the address as they entered hung with new possessions like human pack horses in the desert of modern life. Soon they had disappeared inside and - after a brief period of blankly surveying the property- she disappeared back into the crowded roads of London.

He'd done houses in the area before. She had gone to some rough pubs in the East End dressed down as much as she could bare and listened in on conversations until she fond her man.

"I'll PAY you. Take what you want but it's the sofa I'm after. Please don't ask me why, I just want you to do what you have to do to get in there and out again without being seen. I know it's probably a larger object than you are used to shifting."

The man, who remained nameless, appeared to adjust to the request as if it were quite a normal thing to be asked by a strange and not unattractive woman. He had, of course, wondered whether he could get 'more than cash' out of the deal but that would remain to be seen. After hearing how much she was willing to pay such considerations began to drift away.

All he'd had from her was a mobile number and an up front payment. When he had failed to call at the agreed time she was rather glad and knew he must have decided against the deal; he, like her, had come to his senses and reverted to his usual instincts. Strange she should be considering the transaction weeks later at work on a coffee break when glancing at the small item of news wedged somewhere towards the back of her broadsheet.

'Two men had been seen carrying a sofa down steps of the St James's Park townhouse, an area that has recently suffered from a significant rise in break-ins. The witness claimed, although they thought it was a strange thing to be happening early on a Sunday morning ,they thought it may be part of a repossession order resulting from the credit crunch and had passed by. The men were confronted by another man returning to the house, who he assumed to be the owner; the resulting arguments he assumed were a result of a disagreement stemming from his shock over the repossession. The witness did not stay to watch how things unravelled and it was only after he had heard about the murder days later that he thought to contact the police. The sofa and other objects from the house thought to worth tens of thousands of pounds were stolen and police are trying to trace their wherabouts urgently.'


Nihil Loc
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Posted 01/04/09 - 8:46 PM:

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An isolated unmarried woman, Murial, longs for husband and child and the ideal of family life.
She sees the perfect sofa to furnish her apartment on sale but is unnerved to learn it has just been sold to a nice family and it is the last of its kind.
She follows this family home.
The need of acquiring this perfect sofa turns into a fetish of anxious compulsions, really a sad distraction from the misery of her world, as she impulsively hires a man to steal it for her.
We learn this plan has twisted out of control because of the riffraff she hires and the altogether unpredictable nature of the dark side of the universe.

This oddity of a material fetish distracts her from the gnawing ache of her ideal self in the beyond. Impulsively, irrationally, and in desperation she sets the external world afire like most human beings do.

_________________

Here is my theme of the Couch, or Sofa, which plays on the order of Borges' library (old news).

A world exists in which all objects are couches or sofas (or related). We might as well replace the word 'object' or 'substance' with the word 'couch'.

Tree trunks look like couches and produce pillow fruit. Dogs are little footstools. The floor is plush in some places and hard in others. Knowledge is inscribed in the woody surfaces of benches. Men and women are buried in couch sarcophagi beneath the litter of rotten couch matter. Entire cities are built from couches. Money takes the form of dismantled gold plated or jewel encrusted couches of long ago. Et cetera, ad infinitum.
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