She stared at me in disbelief and then began pinwheeling the serpents, her hands moving like she was jumping rope, in tight little circles at her sides that swung the snakes in wide arcs. “This is the humane way to kill them. Makes them dizzy until they fall into a syrup sleep. I call it that ’cause I like to think of it as a sweet sleepy state. And then they’re stuck there. Like if you fell into a pool of maple syrup.” Bogey said the word syrup in one syllable: srup. I wondered if she fantasized about pools of srup, if drowning in srup, maple or corn, was the way she hoped to go. (margaret watkins) and a little excerpt from werner herzog’s “of walking in ice”
The regulars would love to see the boy reach under the waitress’s skirt, but he doesn’t dare. Only if this were a ﬁlm would I consider it real. Where I’m going to sleep doesn’t worry me. A man in shiny leather jeans is going east. “Katharina!” screams the waitress, holding a tray of pudding level with her thighs. She is screaming southward: that I pay attention to. “Valente!” one of the regulars screams back, referring to a crooner of the good old days. His cronies are delighted. A man at a side table whom I took for a farmer suddenly turns out to be the innkeeper, with his green apron. I am getting drunk, slowly. A nearby table is irritating me more and more with its cups, plates, and cakes laid out but with absolutely no one sitting there. Why doesn’t anybody sit there? The coarse salt of the pretzels ﬁlls me with such glee I can’t express it. Now all of a sudden the whole place looks in one direction, without anything being there. After these last few miles on foot I am aware that I’m not in my right mind; such knowledge comes from my soles. He who has no burning tongue has burning soles. It occurs to me that in front of the tavern was a haggard man sitting in a wheelchair, yet he wasn’t paralyzed, he was a cretin, and some woman who has escaped my mind was pushing him. Lamps are hanging from a yoke for oxen. In the snow behind the San Bernardino I nearly collided with a stag—who would have expected a wild animal there, a huge wild animal? With mountain valleys, trout come to mind again. The troops, I would say, are advancing, the troops are tired, for the troops the day is done. The innkeeper in the green apron is almost blind, his face hovering inches from the menu. He cannot be a farmer, being almost blind. He is the innkeeper, yes. The lights go on inside, which means the daylight outside will soon be gone. A child in a parka, incredibly sad, is drinking Coke, squeezed between two adults. Applause now for the band. The fare tonight shall be fowl, says the innkeeper in the Stillness.