A Contrived World
- onNovember 11, 2014
- Vol.19 Spring 2013
- byJung Young Moon
- A Contrived World
As I lay alone in bed that night, I couldn’t get out of my mind the thought of the hippie who did nothing and lived on dead raccoons and deer. The hippie was someone I didn’t know, and I hadn’t lived in such a way, but he felt so close and familiar to me. Perhaps it was because I, having had to go hungry for many days, for reasons different from those of the hippie, mostly because I didn’t have an appetite or any kind of desire, of course, had a very good understanding of hunger.
And the story about the hippie conformed to one of the images I had of hippies, and that night, I became lost in thought like someone slightly insane, and made up a somewhat preposterous story about him (with the intention of making up a somewhat preposterous story), and in his way of life there was a certain form of life I sought. I fleshed out the story about the hippie who lived for a period of time without doing anything, living on dead raccoons and deer, and came up with the following story (I’m getting off track again, but that’s because it doesn’t matter where this novel is headed, which is because this novel doesn’t seek to say anything.). What I want is a novel in which one story stems and breaks away from another story, and all the stories become mixed up together, creating a mishmash.
For the hippie who had no choice but to be very poor because he did nothing, every day was a perfect day for doing nothing, and fortunately, only such days continued. But he was always hungry, even though there was nothing he had done, since he did nothing, and always felt unhappy that he was always hungry even though he hadn’t even worked hard at anything. But he didn’t want to make the mistake of blaming someone else for his hunger, so he blamed his hunger on his stomach, which always made him aware that he was hungry. Twice a day, morning and evening, he went out to the road and collected dead raccoons and deer, which was the most important daily task for him, who had nothing else to do, and almost the only daily task.
Sometimes he collected flattened raccoons and deer, over which cars had passed after they were already dead. The hippie, who liked soup, usually made stew and soup with the raccoons and deer. Flattened raccoons and deer, however, did not taste different in particular; they tasted only like raccoons and deer, and did not taste like something that had been flattened, or have a flat taste to them, though such a taste would be difficult to describe. The hippie shared the meat of the dead raccoons and deer with an old dog that lived with him, and the dog, which had to share in its master’s poverty, had to appease its hunger, eating with its master the meat of the raccoons and deer that had died, hit by cars. It was the dog that moved the hippie, who was always lazy, and knew that there was an infinitely indulgent pleasure in laziness and indulged in the pleasure without trying to break away from it, and was so used to hunger that he was undaunted by any kind of hunger, to go in search of something to eat. He thought he shouldn’t let the dog go hungry, even if he himself went hungry. The dog, in human years, was older than the hippie, and so the hippie thought that he was responsible for providing for the two of them. The hippie, sick of eating raccoons and deer, once fished out a frog that was floating dead on a nearby pond, still looking fresh, and ate it, but the dog did not eat the frog. He thought about the reason why, and came to the conclusion that it was because the dog did not know what a frog tasted like, and did all he could to feed the dog the frog so that the dog may learn what a frog, which he savored, tasted like, but the dog did all it could to resist.
During the day, the hippie spent most of his time sitting on a chair on the porch, waiting for the sound of a car coming to a sudden stop, but the road was far enough that he couldn’t hear the sound very well. The dog mostly sat still beside its master, waiting for him to feed it, not having much energy for anything else. Dogs, by nature, have a keener sense of hearing than humans do, but the dog, which could hear almost no sound, being old and hard of hearing, had a poorer sense of hearing than the hippie did, and was of no help at all. The dog, sitting beside him, pricked its ears now and then, not because it heard something, but because it wanted to see if it could hear anything, or if it hadn’t mistaken a sound for something else. Still, when they sat on the porch, they pricked their ears, and what they heard were sounds other than the sound of a car coming to a sudden stop. The hippie, passing long days because he had nothing else to do, looked at the weeds covering up his house, feeling bitter and even betrayed, rather than proud, that they thrived even though he hadn’t done anything to help.