Vox

Vox by Nicholson Baker

Book: Vox by Nicholson Baker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nicholson Baker
I’d put them in her in box late one night and then thought better of it. She said, ‘Well, do you still have them?’ I said, ‘Gee, I think I do!’ ”
    “You’d
kept
them? In a little file of your own?”
    “Of course,” he said. “After all that trouble? Plus this was in some way part of the whole thing, that I’d blurt out what I’d done and she’d ask to see and I’d have it on hand to show her.”
    “What did she say?”

“She said that the copied cock looked like a sonogram.”
    “That’s it?”
    “I’m telling you, she had it very bad for this Lee guy. I suggested that she could take the two pages if shewanted, for her reference. She said no thanks. We had lunch a week or so after that. She moaned about Lee, I listened sympathetically. Then I asked her, I couldn’t help it, I asked her, I said, ‘Never mind the photocopy,’ I said, ‘let me just ask you, was the cock tracing I showed you in any slight way arousing? Not right then in my office, to be sure, but later? Did you feel the slightest smidgin of arousal later?’ And she gave me an indulgent look and she said, ‘I’m really sorry, the pictures made me feel tender feelings for you, but they just really did
not
arouse me.’ So that seemed conclusive.”
    “I would say so,” she said.
    “Yep. Yep. It wasn’t. More happened.”
    “You mean you and she ended up getting together? What was her name?”
    “Emily.”
    “That’s right, you told me that. Well?”
    “Well, we did spend an evening in my apartment,” he said.
    “The usual? You draped your best cummerbund over the lamp shade? She toasted you with the Koromex tube?”
    “Something like that. But anyway, that was what I thought of when you asked me to look straight at my cock and talk about it. I have to say, that was one of the more unsettling questions I’ve been asked in my life.”
    “Would you like to know whether I would find a tracing of your cock arousing?”
    “I would be curious about that, yes.”
    “I suppose it would depend on my mood. I might like to perform the tracing. If you traced my whole body, I might in exchange trace your pale Ramone … This mouthpiece I’m talking into? Of the telephone?”
    “Yes?”
    “It’s like a sieve. It’s like those little filters you put over the bathtub drain. Sometimes I think with the telephone that if I concentrate enough I could pour myself into it and I’d be turned into a mist and I would rematerialize in the room of the person I’m talking to. Is that too odd for you?”
    “No, I think that sometimes,” he said.
    “But the interesting part,” she said, “is that the trip itself would take a while. I think a lot about what it would feel like to be turned into some kind of conscious vapor. You know those trucks that come around on streets and grind up the brush on the curb? Those droning trucks? The guy throws a branch in, and it goes mmmmn-
yooonnnng
-mmmmmm, and all these tiny chips fly out of a high pipe? I think of that, except of course it wouldn’t be painful—I think of the part where I’m just this spume of wood chips and pieces of leaves. Or you know what else? You remember those birds that were getting sucked into the jet engines? Sometimes I lie in bed at three or four in the morning and I imagine myself flying miles above the earth, very cold, and one of those black secret spy planes is up there with the huge round engines withthe spinning blades in it, the blades that look like the underside of mushrooms? The black plane’s going very fast and I’m going very fast in the opposite direction and we intersect, and I fly right through one of those jet engines, and I exit as this long fog of blood. I’m miles long, and, because it’s so cold, I’m crystalline.
Very
long arms, you’ll be pleased to hear. And then I recondense in bed,
sshhp
, as my short warm self. It must have something to do with my estrogen level. But that’s what telephone travel would be like out there, I

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