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A Swedish Golem
prose [ ]

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by [nadai ]

2010-09-07  |     | 

His dark collar and white pale face would tell you that he came from a mystery book, a detective novel or from a Nordic folk story. To tell you the truth he was just an appearance on the streets of Stockholm making the scenery even more awkward than usual.
His thick fingers were melting a cigar into an instrument of drama. A close in-spection of his fingernails could tell you that hygiene wasn’t among his priorities. I actu-ally stumbled on him in a bookshop where I used to buy cheap books and he came in just then searching for an older copy of “Golem”. He seemed so fresh and yet so old for the rest of the world. A medieval maybe an old knight posing in dark rock clothes in front of me. This was too much. I had to follow him.
As I studied him closer I could observe that his eyes were of different color: one blue and one brown. He never frowned and always had a classy walk in comparison with other men.
He walked outside the bookshop holding his copy of Golem tight in his hands. I thought he was going to read it while walking telling by the look he gave to the book from minute to minute. Fascinated by his cover he finally decided to put it in his black bag.
Something like a cold sunshine fell in that moment on his face turning his face into the whitest face I ever saw at a living human being. His hair slightly sparked in red-dish nuances and yell a bit over his chin and the lower lip making look like Pinocchio. His nose up in the air, à la Suédois, gave the impression that he is under pressure. His “seal” nose rose a bit higher in the air and his head made a really quick move all of the sudden. He sneezed over his book and his shoulders rapidly shivered into a clumsy spasm. Then I could see that the book was levitating in front of him wide open. I couldn’t understand how he managed to take his book out of his bag while I watched him all the time.
I felt like a very attentive detective, noticing all the changes in his movement and facial expressions. I could smell his thoughts, his plans, his reactions. I leaned over the terrace to see him move along with the opened book in front of him. It was funny that no one seemed to notice the strange scene that happened and even the stranger image of a man accompanied by an open book in front of his hands or a device for that matter to sus-tain it.
It could be magic or a scientific fact I couldn’t explain at first sight. Obviously nobody but me seemed to perceive bizarre scene. All the passers by focused only at their road.
He crossed the main crossroad and turned left to the Methodist Church, then right and left again entering in a place with a red frontispiece. “The White Chagrin” the sign revealed itself. The door looked old and dirty as though the place was build in the 1930s. It had a cabaret appearance and some posters from long time ago sold the presence of a famous duet from 1935. “Madame Bleu and the Dark Prince” (quite shallow I thought and extremely flashy for a today’s representation).
He windows suddenly were illuminated and the next scene unveiled itself. I took my post seriously in the opposite corned of the street where nobody seemed to walk by. It might be one those streets, I thought, you know the ones, which give you a bad impres-sion of a dark thing, a blurred appearance or an inexplicable uneasiness. Then you shake your head in another direction and start hurrying there, leaving behind a mysterious place an untold story.

I could see from across the street how the lights flashed in red then blue and then velvet. Music echoed through the dirty windows as they kept holding a private yet famil-iar character. I had to see what was there. I raised my head above the bushes and my eyes turned to bewilderment and ecstasy. The room was tall yet dark despite of the lights. I saw changing one after another. The man was standing in front of a huge, classic piano that played a sorrowful yet pleasant music by itself. No fingers, no device just the mel-ody. Not even the inner chords were moving only a white dust coming from inside gave the piano a surrealist impression. The man was standing on the chair as though he was the player listening to each note nodding melancholically at each sensitive note. On the walls some white and black pictures represented some places from long ago.
“1935”, I heard myself saying. An old violin was hanged above the chimney and yellow stars were floating inside as though instead of a five there was a heat coming from movement of those yellow stars. I could see the man pointing his middle finger at the chimney and the yellow stars disappeared. He held his hand in the air for a minute with his eyes closed listening to the melody. He then made a move with his fingers like throw-ing an invisible object towards the fireplace. Blue stars appeared and on the ceiling a cloud formed with bluish contour and a slight rain followed. The room changed its ap-pearance to an autumn like venue but the objects inside stayed the same.
“The weatherman”, I said mocking the bewilderment of my own eyes. No! The man was a force of nature. His medium sized black hair ventured on his forehead and cheekbones making him look like a famous pianist. “He’s remarkable”, I couldn’t help whispering and the word floated through the magic he created. “This is not ordinary” my thought echoed shamelessly revolving in my head like a phantom. “This is pure magic, a creation of evil.” Then the man suddenly turned his head towards the window and lifted up his fingers in the air prepared to do another trick.
He pointed in my direction throwing through the invisible air velvet candles. They floated in a perfect line alongside the window steaming light towards the dark curtains. They approached my sight and began to spread wax all over the floor burning three times harder than before. I froze in my shoes and I didn’t know what to do. “Should I run, should I hide?” “This is the magic show I’ve been waiting all my life. I cannot leave now. No. Stay. Stay with him”, my head drifted with excitement.
The man walked from the piano towards me.

I started trembling inside but I knew that he would not hurt me. He was a magi-cian, a lunatic perhaps but not a killer. Instinctively I grabbed my umbrella to defend my-self in case it was needed. The Swedish tall man approached the window and I could dis-tinguish his face clear near the velvet light. His eyes were completely inhuman: the pupils replaced the white part of the eye and illuminated like the eyes of a cat. He glanced out-side for a moment then returned to his piano. His back was fuming and his dark clothes seemed to replace his skin. His walk was guided by an invisible track as though some-thing sustained his feet and drove him around.
“He has a magic carpet”, I thought but I couldn’t see such a thing. In this moment I knew everything could happen. The piano had a book on it and it was wide open. The Golem book, I mumbled. He must use it for charms or black magic.
The piano was still fuming white smoke the same as the stranger’s back.
I couldn’t make the correlation between the paintings, the posters outside the house and all the crazy things happening inside. “He must be a professional magician, is not possible to do al this without a scientific explanation”, I tried to reassure myself look-ing at the man that smoked a huge Havana that sparkled in tiny green shades.
“He must use the oldest trick in the book, but since I’m so new at this magic stuff I cannot tell for sure.” Now everything became to sound reasonable to me at least for a short while. The piano played by itself the same sad tune, the candles floated around in a velvet sparkle and the paintings changed the scenery of the house in all seasons. I still couldn’t predict the following scene. The tall man took his head and spinning it towards left he took it off like a bulb and placed it in the middle of a round brown table. The headless body walked calmly towards the chimney and melted completely in he yellow stars, which danced their tribal rhythm undisturbed.
His head on the table seemed as alive as before and the mouth opened wide and some noise flew out. I couldn’t tell what was it. They were mixed with a sharp laughter and a giggling. Then his eyes became phosphorescent and two silhouettes formed out of the thin air: a strange creature and a woman. The woman was short with extremely long blue hair and had a face of a doll with smell black eyes and cherry mouth. Her clothes were simple but classy and he had huge gem on her middle finger from the right hand. The creature was small as a child with a few hairs and a wide mouth. I didn’t know whether the creature was an animal or a human being. Definitely it had an animal posture of a monkey rather but the face looked old and had a human grin with big, impressive eyes that spinned inside the head in the same way as artificial eyes do when you turn a doll upside down and put it straight again.
The best expression to describe it would be: a human like creature quoting Max Ernst. My mind was connected to its physique than I totally forgot about the woman. To woman yawned as hard as her small cherry mouth was capable and took the creature into her arms treating it as a cat. They walked in the living room looking around at the walls and the paintings gazing a long time with a motionless satisfaction. Her blue hair at-tracted me immensely as it gave her the air of a fairy or a creature of Nordic lands. Her back was decorated with her long, beautiful dress that I cannot describe as being in fash-ion or just very uncommon for our days. It had something timeless and deep as water waves mysteriously danced on her black silk collar.
Then they started to dance on the sad music while the head on the table remained motionless but with the mouth wide open. I tried to detach myself from the magic and give a plausible explanation to the whole episode. I couldn’t simple say: there is a head on the table, too completely strange creatures appeared out of nowhere and the man that was here before switched his head off and before that he played with colored stars and candles and did magic tricks with the weather inside this house.
“All of this cannot be explained rationally”, I said to myself and I must pinch my skin to know that I’m not dreaming. Maybe I’m hallucinating or I have a daydream from which I have to wake up immediately. No. I know that I physically stand here, with my umbrella near my arm ready to strike, with my fingers outside of a window, gazing through a foreign house. But maybe somebody poured a lotion inside my drink during the day when I wasn’t paying attention. But I couldn’t trace the moment when this might have happened.
Trying to recollect my thoughts and actions during the day I still paid sufficient attention to the surrealist realm that developed under my eyes. I saw the blue haired woman dancing with the small creature in her arms and all of it was depicted from a thea-tre show. It had that texture and light of an old cabaret, where characters are stylish yet they look somehow out of fashion and they have a peculiar style of dressing which I can-not call “common”. It is like when you step in the artist’s chamber after a show and all the lights are bright and spectacular, yet the room is a complete mess, full of posters and colorful clothes, feathers, candles, simple, meaningless objects that put together in that room create a magical world for the viewer. I felt almost like in a circus at night when people’s faces are illuminated by fantastic colors, old and creamy smells, they wear bright masks with ecstatic or depressive expressions.
Or it is like in a carnival out of the streets of Venice, Rio de Janeiro or anywhere in this world where people are jamming to one another and each face is a new discovery for your optical sense. A magic show with good and bad, only this time I knew there was no magic and there was no carnival.
So my sense and my imagination where tricked into this mixture of magic, surre-alism and dance. I waited for the man to reappear or the woman to start speaking or the little creature to get down and play with the head on the table. Nothing of this sort hap-pened. The lights slowly faded away and all of the sudden I couldn’t distinguish anything in the dark room. Not a single star shone, a movement was sensed or a shadow passed. I waited with my breath in my mouth tasting the dry interior. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t swallow. I gazed with enormous eyes just like before. My ears yearned for a sound that never came.
In vein my heartbeats pulsed faster there simply was no more show. “No more show”, the thought broke through in my mind and with it a sensation of delirium and sadness started to appear. “No more show”, I silently uttered to myself deceived by my own incredulity in reality and the palpable world. I wished more of cabaret and Madame Bleu, her little creature and the Dark Prince with his incredible tricks. I wished I could be bewildered again. Alas, the darkness came and with it I melted with the last sound. The truth of each representation: when the lights fade away the void appears. The silence craves for some while as echoes multiply in rapid pace and enslave the void.

The dark tall Swedish man perpetually walks and talks on the streets of Stock-holm with ordinary steps, among ordinary people. He gazes at books in antiquaries or searches for an old piano across town. His face is never serene, never obscene, never fo-cused on what we might call “the now moment”. He lives in his dark world, with colorful candles and has his strange companions he invites late at night or maybe when other peo-ple start following him doing his best to create an unforgettable scene in a house with dirty windows called “The White Chagrin”.

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