by M Kitchell
At some point the simple task of flushing the toilet became an impossibility for the man. He would push the metallic lever down, waiting for the water to force its way into the bowl, waiting for the release of all bodily refuse and stale wet, but the water that would come would be weak, never enough to force the stool's contents through the pipes below.
Convinced that it was this specific toilet that was suffering, he waited for the supply tanker to come and asked a man to repair it. But the repair man found no problem, and, regardless, while the toilet was being repaired the first man used a toilet on the tanker, where he found the problem remained the same.
Fortunately, when enough contents were dropped into the stool, the mass would call upon gravity, a supplication for the weight of the world itself to clean what modern technology had no capacity to whiten. The man was thankful for this.
On certain days the man did not need to use the toilet, choosing instead to stand on the antechamber's high cement walls, pissing freely into the surrounding sea. As he was the only man currently stationed at the antechamber, there was little risk of exposing himself to anything other than gulls and the occasional mutated crab. Normal ocean-life kept distanced from the station, put off by the oddly tainted color the antechamber's equipment leaked into the surrounding water.
As far as the man could tell, relying on his vast array of screens and mechanical equipment, the water was neither toxic nor even chemically-tainted, aside from the unfortunate colors the rust bled into the blue, resulting in a deep, albeit reluctant, brown, occasionally resembling a transparent mud, but more often simply affecting the blues and greens of the surrounding water into a spectrum of earth.
The man was, indeed, alone.
In the past, a man lost at sea had been found by the man at the antechamber. Insistent upon the act of fate that violated our hero's isolation, it was not long before the two men considered themselves lovers, passing warm nights in the sweat of each other's bodies, passing days engaged in conversation in front of the structure's primary consoles. But the other man, the lover, eventually left.
A high-ranking officer in a foreign navy, the lover was rescued by his nation, and with a dedication to peers and country above any relationship he had fallen into, the man could face no choice but to leave.
When the other man left, the first man flirted with the idea of sadness, but instead confronted the simple lack in his day. After considering the absence as an opportunity to exploit the nature of an autonomous life, the lack was swallowed by obtuse rituals and exercises.
The man catalogued his rituals and exercises. He used a methodology he was trained for during his initial stint at the antechamber, when the center was still a relevant force in global science, a locus of pertinent information. Now, with much of the world worse for the wear, his results became irrelevant: the distribution of water over the earth had decreased from 70% to a mere 50%. It was the cause of this change--a combination of abject pollution and anthropomorphic chemicals--that global leaders were concerned with. Water, for the time being, was only there.
The first ritual found the man meditating for the earliest hours of his days. Upon waking, when the sun would spill into his small cabin's windows, he would climb down multiple sets of ladders until he found himself at the lowest point the structure catered to, 2500 feet below sea-level. When he first initiated the ritual he had meticulously carried a large cactus that had been growing on the deck of the structure to these depths. Using extra materials from the antechamber's many storage rooms, he had fashioned a system of artificial lighting to keep the cactus in steady growth. It was before this cactus that he would sit, plugging a set of electronic goggles into the cactus's base.
With the goggles activated, the man would carefully follow the signals that the cactus would send him, an incessant repetition of color patterns flickering before his gaze. As soon as he found himself inside of the heightened consciousness the light inspired, the man would feel himself lift above his body, streaming through the pressurized observation window into the endless sea. It was here that his actual meditation would occur, a slow expansion and retraction of presence among the world. The man's body would empty out as he entered a state of lucidity, where he would present himself with an Other to converse with, a body that would always talk back. This is how he learned about the world.
After the session ended, he would carefully note down what he was told, charting the time spent in each phase of his meditation using abandoned geometric equations. An entire notebook would present a moving period of spatial expansion, mapped out with angles unknown to reality.
The second ritual, which would begin after the man had finished updating his records and climbing back to the surface, involved a taxing regime of athleticism. After running around the perimeter of the antechamber 43 times (which amounted to a combined distance of almost exactly twenty-five miles), he would do a series of squats, sit-ups, and push-ups designed to keep his body at its peak physical potentiality.
After enduring the exercises he would spend a half hour luxuriating in the filtered pool of the antechamber which allowed in purified water from the ocean. One day the man realized that there could be an abundance of medicinal benefits to be found in the presence of small fish, and thusly rowed a small boat to the edge of the discolored water that surrounded the antechamber. Here, he set about capturing an array of life to decorate his pool.
The fish feed on the man's dead skin, helping him to maintain an almost-ominous luminosity of physical character. The man was convinced he would one day rise as the sun.
And from this conviction came the third ritual.
In preparation for becoming the sun, the man, during his floating meditations, began discussing his future with sun gods of antiquity. He spoke with Ra, bearing the head of a falcon, the sun-disk of Wadjet crowning his feathered temple. He danced with Sunna, stealing her away from the horse-drawn solar chariot, fascinated by the ever-so-brief presence of a woman. He insisted that Helios impart the knowledge of civilization. He learned secrets. But mostly, he wallowed in the excess energy that the sun provided, tanning his effulgent hide for hours at a time. His nude body became dark and statuesque.
He grew idyllic in his body's presentation. His insistence on becoming the sun found him declaring himself a god. His body was the only temple that mattered, and he acted on all of his base thoughts, regarding the baseness as the sun's excess permeating every secret his body once held. His onanistic activities took on a new importance, his come shattering the ground in the shine of religious ecstasy. With each bodily indulgence he could feel himself become closer to his path's end.
Six months after the repair man from the supply tanker had stepped upon the antechamber in order to examine the toilet, a second ship arrived at the antechamber. The officer, who had once been in love with the man stationed at the antechamber, had come back to inform the man that his position was being relieved. The officer, who had left the foreign country and was now resident of the country the man belonged to, hoped that the man would take a new position on his ship, a hope that insisted upon the continuation of their former love affair.
However, as the ship neared the rim of the discolored perimeter surrounding the antechamber, the officer caught sight of the man. Like a saint experiencing the rapture of God's wet inebriation, ecstatic levitation found the officer's former lover rising into the air, his bronzed skin carrying an intensity dwarfed only by the calescent history of suns.
A clap of light and a gasp of terror removed the man from the sky, and it was at this moment that the officer understood the impossibility of love.
m. kitchell thinks rooms look best when the walls are black and the furniture is black and there are vibrant green houseplants and occasional white orchids & he thinks rooms are best when they are found in indulgent architectures or abandoned hotels or in shacks on the beach. right now he is thinking about the sun & how to prolong the number of hours in a day. he likes it when georges bataille says I AM THE SUN.