Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Everything I Touch Turns Blue

Part 1: At Home

Everything I touch turns blue.

I first noticed one morning as I returned my coffee mug to the kitchen. I found a trail of softly glowing ultramarine stains: on the light switch, refrigerator handle, cupboard. I thought of the ink bombs that banks put in the moneybags of thieves: had some inept criminal left his mark around my house?

I placed my mug in the sink and, seeing that it too was spotted, realized with a flash of shame that it was me. But when I looked down at my fingers there was nothing. They were clean.

I leaned over the counter and examined the richly dappled surface of the soapstone. I touched a painted fingerprint; it felt like nothing. Nothing wet and nothing dry. Nothing of substance. Yet when I drew a line it appeared in blue. I made a zigzag and covered it with a spiraling scribble.

Everything I touch turns blue.

Part 2: At the Doctor's

"Everything I touch turns blue," I told Doctor Kleschnick.

"What do you mean?"

"When I touch something, there's blue. Like paint, or ink."

"Are your fingers stained with paint? Or ink?"

"Absolutely not."

"Show me."

I removed the yellow dishwashing glove from my right hand and traced a line across the brittle paper that ran loosely over the exam table, creasing and tearing where I sat.

"Well I'll be goddamned," Kleschnick said.

"What's wrong with me?"

"We're going to have to run some tests."

"What kinds of tests?"

"MRI. CAT. OGTT. CRP. LFT. CMP. CFT. Give me a minute and I'll think of a few more."

"All those tests?"

"We're going to hit you hard and heavy, Donald."

I gazed at my errant digits, still pristine.

"I'm also going to get you over to a shrink."

Part 3: At the Psychiatrist's

"Tell me what's going on with you."

"Everything I touch turns blue."




"When I touch something, it turns blue. With my fingers."

Doctor Thomashefsky tore a sheet from his prescription pad and handed it to me upside down.

"Make a mark. Show me."

I drew a stick figure of a man beside a burning house.

"Interesting," Thomashefsky commented. "Interesting."

Part 5: At the Shaman's

Kuakito shook a rattle, peering at me gravely.

"Why no touch?" he barked.

"Everything I touch turns blue."

He nodded. As though he'd expected my very answer.

"What do I do?"

The mystic rummaged through a large plastic tub behind his desk. Finally he produced an ovoid, organic object and a sharpened stick. He handed them to me.

"Penetrate it!" he commanded.


"Stick it into it!" He pantomimed a stabbing action. I mirrored him meekly, bringing the point just to the surface of the flesh.

"PEN-E-TRATE!" Kuakito howled.

I speared the green gourd and a pus-like substance erupted from its core, streaming down and dripping on my knees. The shaman was pleased.

"Go home you now," he said, accepting the consummated objects unceremoniously and tossing them in the trash. "Today, problem. Tomorrow-" he put his hands together at his cheek, the universal sign for slumber - "problem no more."

"No more? Just like that?"


Part 6: Dénouement

When I awoke the following day I immediately drew my finger across the face of my clock. Could it be? It left no trace!

I walked outside to pick up the paper from my stoop. It was a beautiful day. Clear sky. A little cold. Mrs. Purdy walked by with her beagle, Sam.

"Hey Eileen!" I called. "Hey Sam!"

They did not respond. Though they gazed vaguely in my direction, they did not seem to see me.

"Eileen!" I yelled. "Hey!" I was waving at her now. "Hey! Hey!"

Suddenly she turned toward me. I smiled and continued waving, more frantically now. Why didn't she answer? Her gaze was eerie, vacant. She was looking somewhere else.