The Tralfamadorian

A few months ago I wrote a short story about being bummed out and disconsolate while living in London, and being too lazy to try and get it publised, I decided to post it on here so that someone other than myself might get a look at it.

The title is taken from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Slaughterhouse Five,” in which the Tralfamadorians are a race who don’t experience time in a linear fashion, so states such as sadness, death and decay are trivial curios. In my story it refers more to a creature who isn’t capable of living in the present moment.

There’s an excerpt below, followed by the full PDF document…





Sam stood in the self-checkout lane, amid the industrious early risers, and those like himself whose sleeplessness was more an indication of his lack of synchronicity with the world. He’d driven there a little blissed out, distractedly watching the first morning light play over the incongruous mass of concrete and gaudy corner shop signs that made up North London. He’d shuffled through the isles, only vaguely aware, or rather, aware but in a state of heightened indifference that would have been disabling if not for the sense of slow burning contentment he felt. It bordered on euphoria. Cradling several items in the crook of his arm, a few cans filled with some sort of vat prepared slop, ill monikered “thai red curry” or “beef steak in gravy,” and an assortment of caffeinated beverages, he perambulated. Having dropped a couple Valium last afternoon and woken up at one in the morning, still in the midst of the dosed expansiveness that comes from having one’s anxieties obliterated in the downing of a pill, Sam’s only concern was whether this feeling would last him through the day. He stood at the end of the store, gazing out at the unmanned checkouts cascading seemingly into infinity, as though in opposing mirrors in some bizarre carnival horror house. Except he realised from his comfortable middle class perch that this was undoubtedly some sad sack’s daily existence, rather than an amusing hangout for high school potheads. Everything around him had become a Radiohead song. He was aware of the novel absence of stress – that without his brain feeling the need to triage his life’s exigencies, his first impulse was to stare distractedly into space, grinning sloppily as the attendant tended to the flashing lights the incompetents had set off. Unexpected item in bagging area. He’d sat down. This whole vignette was a shambles, he knew. Some part of him could see his own embarrassment in the third person, but in a good natured, inconsequential way, sort of like the guys on You’ve Been Framed who step on rakes and hit themselves in the dick. He was fully in the grasp of interpenetrating daydreams, shifting from one to another, weaving memory with projection…


The Tralfamadorian


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