Strings on Flesh

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The puppeteer is bent over his small stage, his small little world of parallel reality, working on two pieces with sober dexterity. A man walks by and drops two fat coins in the stereo case set beside his knees but the artist doesn't realize. The donor assumes that he did, but is acting against to make himself seem more immersed in his show. The truth is, Craig isn't even sitting there for money. He doesn't need it. Not that he's inherited a generous sum of gold from his forefathers; he never cared about money.

He'd been watching the man, though.

Craig has always been watching people. Out of the corner of his eyes, while appearing to be focused on the two pieces hanging on by his fingers, he's been watching them.

The real people busy in a false dilemma walking on the shore separating truth from lies.

Truth they don't want to dive into. They like watching it disappear and come back up again pulled by a magnificent power. They love toying with the idea of drowning in truth.

And lies that they don't want to go back to. Lies so amazing, so apparent. So homely. And the shore.

He lives in these people. In so many people at once. In the lady crying for her love walking by his left fingers and in the man pining for her in his right fingers. He doesn't flick the strings to move them. He feels himself moving first, then acts upon the feeling and makes the puppet move.

The man wants to walk. Craig remembers how a crying man was walking the other day. Smelling of alcohol and sex, the man was suddenly in love with his wife waiting for him at home. He was so guilty and so purely full of love. Probably all under the influence of alcohol, but Craig was watching.

The man on Craig's stage imitated the same. The exact same helpless walk. The lady walked towards the separation that stood adamant between her and her man. Craig watched the wall, he wailed with full hands, cried for the man on the other side. Then Craig was the man, he walked to the wall, he raised one finger and touched it.

The lady exploded with love and lust. They transcended the air of helplessness and gracefully swung back and forth dreamily.

The man loved her, he rocked her back and forth and the lady did so herself. Their rocking synchronous with each other, making love. On the puppet stage, with a wall in between, the lady puppet and the man puppet were having sex.

One harsh blow flung Craig off his feet. He landed in a pile of garbage and stole a look at a young girl looking at his puppets, staring transfixed at the stage, and her angry father pulling her off. It must have been he who had hit Craig. Craig looked at his hands, they were cut at places with the strings that had come off the puppets.

He felt so wrong. He still didn't understand his puppets, how could he have expected to identify the real people!

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