good day

     by Raymond Federman

bought a new laptop
a sony very light weight
my old one was too heavy to carry when traveling
with the new one I will be able I hope to do email
very light only 4 pounds 3
the old compact presario was 8 pounds
lovely little sony
so I am going to give my old laptop to the kid
so now I am busy putting on diskette and CDs
all the files on my old laptop
the kid is very happy to get this old laptop
and I am happy to have the new laptop
so everybody is happy
except that my new laptop had not arrived yet
I ordered it on the net
so I am anxiously waiting for my new toy
while waiting I recorded a short story
I mean literally recorded it in my sony tape recorder

this is the story

--I am sitting in my study--that's how the story I recorded begins--I am sitting in my study in california--in sand diego california--close to the sun--where I moved four years ago to be with myself and finish my work--I am sitting in my study looking out the window at the splendid view before me--incredible the valley the mountains the trees the sky--beautiful--I had a good day--I feel great--good round of golf this morning--shot an 81--yes 81--38 on the front--I hit seven greens on regulation--had two birdies--back nine a 43--two lousy double bogies--dumb mistakes--the mind wanders sometime--but a solid 81--then home to work on my body in nine parts with 3 supplements--the english transaction--worked on my scars today--and I look up and there before me the view--incredible--and I think--when you die all this get extinguished--nothing more to see--it's like plunging into a big black hole--everything becomes dark--but then it occurs to me that to say that--to think that--implies the possibility of an after--of some kind of existence after you die--could I have been wrong all my life--no--I'm not going to fall into the meta-pata-physical stuff--no magic trick--not divine power or intervention--I am human--I am conscious of being human and alive--but now you are dead--so here you are among all the dead carcasses--yes that's what this story is called--the carcasses--here they are--the old ones that have been around for along time--the new ones that just arrived--all pile up on top of one another waiting for their turn to be transmuted--transmutation does not happen all at once--doe snot happen instantly the moment you become a carcass--carcasses are not reincarnated the moment they become carcasses--their is a waiting period--a kind of incubation--so here you are waiting your turn--no magic trick as I said--just that you have to wait for the authorities to decide--yes let's call them that--authorities--and they are the ones who decide when it's you turn to be transmuted--they call you--hey you over there come over here--and they tell you we sending you back--back whenever you came from--doesn't have to be the planet earth--carcasses come from all the places in the entire universe--the place where the carcasses are piled up is a separate zone in the great void of the universe--nobody knows where it is--but it's like a huge department store--a bit like wall-mark--and there carcasses of all sizes all types all shapes all forms--but most of them formless--wait for the authorities to call them to be transmuted--one cannot argue with the authorities--you have to accept their decision--and so your turn came and you are told that you are going back as an insect--yes--as a fly--imagine yourself now living the life of fly--ok it's a short life--but still--what is your main purpose in life--your raison d'etre--to buzz around--to bug the shit out of the other species--buzz around the eyes of cows who try to smack you with their tails--or buzz around human--shit on windows panes or T.V. screens--but one day you land on the arm or the top of the head of a human and--bang--he slaps you with his hand--and crushes you--splashes you--and you're dead --what kind of a life is that--so here you are again among the carcasses--oh you're already back they say to you--I mean those who are still there--and again you wait your turn--well this time your turn comes quick--no reasons given--you come back as a flower--a lovely red rose in the suburban backyard of some nouveau rich on the coast of california--and you're proud because you know you're beautiful and you smell good--and the ladies who come to visit or to play bridge look at your and say--oh what a beautiful rose--but then one day the lady of the house tells the maid to go get flowers in the garden to put on the dinning room table--so here comes the maid with her clippers or whatever she uses to cut you off--then she sticks you a a vase with some water--and soon the water starts smelling foul and it's unbearable--and you begin to whiter and the lady of the house says to the maid get rid of that dead flower--and the maid throws you in the garbage can and empty the smelly water in the sink--and here you are back among the carcasses--what kind of life was that--now you wait again--this time a very long time--maybe a couple of centuries--even more--time doe snot exist in the carcasse zone--- but finally the authorities call you and tell you that you are needed among the lions of africa--there is a shortage of virile male lions on the planet earth--and so they are sending you back to be a lion in africa--so here you are in Kenya with three sexy lioness and a bunch of cubs--and it's a good life--every fifteen minutes--this has been carefully observed by lion observers--one of the lioness comes over and begs you for a little humping--so you rise from your dreamy slumber in the sun--hump the lioness and go back to the shadow of the trees where you were dreaming of another life--its a good life--- plenty to eat--the lioness see to that--lots of gazelle meat--and it's fun to play with the little cubs--but one day a bunch of humans of different colors come along--the black ones are half naked and danse arund--the white ones wear funny colonial hats and have rifles--- but they are not here to make a carcass out f you--they want to capture you--and they do with a big net--then they stick you in a box and ship you to what they call the civilized world --lucky for you--they don't put you in the Buffalo zoo where you would have spend the rest of your temporary earthly life in a cage wallowing in your own shit--and with no sexy lioness to hump because now--because of the like of exercise--you're incapable of getting a hardon--no lucky for you--they put you in the san deigo zoo--and build for you what they call a natural environment--of course its fake--this is california--there is nothing natural about this environment they build for you--its pure hollywood decor--you know that--you know it's fake--but you pretend it's really to make the human feel good and happy so they don't send you to the Buffalo zoo--but you're bored in this phoney walt disney environment--most of the time you sleep--or pretend to be asleep--especially when they bring their children to look at you in fear--they would lik you to look and act ferocious--so once in a while a human pokes you in the ass so you can roar--what kind of alife is that--okay they bring you these big chunks of meat--beef--but one day they give you a piece of meat that comes from a sick cow and you die--you die of the mad cow desease--and you're back among the carcasses--well I wont' go into all thepossible animals or humans or vetetables or whatever you could come back--imagine yourself as radish--what kind of a life that would be--or an artichoke--okay a tree--a big majestic tree--that would be okay for a while--but then all the other trees around become jealous because you're taller--or because you trunk is bigger then theirs--or your leaves more beautiful--then one then some humans come with a big saw and cut you down to pieces and burn you--what kind of a life is that--and here you back again among the carcasses--and while waiting for your turn to come again you think--I know dead carcasses are not supposed to be able to think--but for the convenience of this story let's just say of this story that they are capable of thoughts--you think--why can I have a voice in the decision of what I will become next--why can't I make up my own ...--well I was going to say mind--let's just say my own carcass--and since you were once a writer in one of your transmutations--you compose a very satylish message addressed to the authorities asking if maybe it isn't time for the carcasses to have a say in the process of their transmutation--so this stirs up thing in the carcasse zone--there are discussions--debates--polls--and all sorts of things like that--and finaly the authorities agree--so now the carcasses must come in front of them to discuss what they would like to become--it's a very complex and lenghty process but eventually you decide what you want to become--for isntance me I often said that if I were to come back I would want to come back as a roman gladiator so that I could lead a revolt against the roman emperor--or come back as a musketeer--or as a french lover--or as--as--as--it's not easy to decide by oneself what one wants to come back as--this is why I think the best thing to do here--I mean here in this tory--is to let the readers decide themselves what they would like to come back as--and if this if ever published--let's say in the new yorker--then I would insist that the last page of the story be a blank page where the readers can write they want to be in their next life--of course someday--the way science is making progress--carcasses might be able to come back as objects--imagine coming back as stove or an electric razor--or better yet--as a golf club--that would be an interesting life--here you are a brand new Taylor Made Titanium 360 driver with a graphite shaft--not a bad life--well at least until the golfer decide that you're driving him crazy with the way you slice the ball and decides to buy a carcass reincarnated as a king cobra 560 driver with an anti-slice shaft--and throws you in the garbage--imagine what a life that would be--by the time I finished recording this story it was dark outside my window and the splendid view had vanished into the night--

The Federman Collection
at Spineless Books