A Commissioned Work

It was dark. It was, I say, until a light rips through it, and I squint, and cover just above my eyes. It seems I can’t see with or without light, what a charming revelation so early in the night.

A deep voice with no echo asks me to do something for him, to make something for him, and carve it out of stone.

Please carve me a thing, he says.

Carve a monster so vile, with bulging eyeballs, rippled, cratered skin, with horns in between, teeth jagged in layers, designed to eat babies, ears to cherish your screams, a tongue to lick your blood, dry sandpapered tentacles for arms, with nails and suckers on the end, its whole body will reek of despair, turds and three year old Big Macs, and emit thoughts of pain and activate your worst memories and bring to mind your deepest most gut wrenching regrets, reducing you to tears and a sniveling snotty wreck.

I say, I’d be glad to! It will be ready on Tuesday.

I retreat to my den and find a nice large slab, with a soft surface and rounded edges with smooth corners, and it weighs more than me, so I have to carve it where it sits.

Reach for a chisel, and with eyes closed, start with a single ceremonial TINK. I hear that TINK and it reflects off the brick walls and fills the room, TINK TINK, TINK TINK like a sonar I evaluate my room and indentify that everything is in its place, and perhaps the air is thicker and heavier tonight than usual. Nothing to be worried about.

And TINK TINK I start TINKering, thinking my TINKs are like light blotches of ink, the first words soak in. TINK TINK. I ripple the edges and TINK TINK the soft texture in, and what sounds elegant to you is actually me hacking away at this stone slab, but it sounds as TINK TINK.

I TINK bends and TINK shapes and TINK the stone thin, I feel I’m not taking stone away, I’m just pressing it in.

And TINK TINK time passes as my clock TICK TICKs, its gears are grinding and I’m just TINKering, making monster make shape and at one point it’s nothing but then TINK I think it’s done.

I stand back through the thick air and see a monster so vile, with bulging eyeballs, rippled, cratered skin, with horns in between, teeth jagged in layers, designed to eat babies, ears to cherish your screams, a tongue to lick your blood, and you get the point, it was finished and looked pretty good I think, and I’m not moving but then I hear… TINK.

I look at my chisel and put it down and wait, until TINK TINK there it is, that TINKing TINKs in, and I can hear it coming from within my carved monster. A crack appears and light pushes out and suddenly there’s a smell in the air of despair, turds, and three year old Big Macs, and I know it’s my monster and I’m frozen still, petrified, as pieces break off TINK TINK and light bursts and I cower and feel the inevitable death on my shoulder, there’s another flash as my door opens and then… the world… is quiet… with footsteps running past my den, never to be seen again… (Footstepped echoes of TINK TINK, TINK TINK…)

I open my eyes and on the floor I see my stone shell.

I spent so long on the outside TINK TINK that I didn’t realise someone was also TINKering away at the inside.  As ugly as I could make this thing, not everyTINK was up to me. And to poetically prove my point, I pick up the front of the shell, where one side is just monster, made with anger and showing remnants of my sloppy TINKering…

But the inside of the stone shell was the imprint of a beautiful face, with a half smile, big eyes, and a little dimple on one side.


– Scott Sandwich


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