Fiction chapters 4 & 5 –Brussegem, a snug hell



This week’s novel extract, following on from last week’s. You will find chapters 4 and 5 in a pdf file below, but here’s how this section begins (foretaste…)

4.
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A further word about Brussegem. As time performed its main function–that is, as it passed—becoming, day-by-day, a week, two weeks, more—this solitary painter, stuck in the sticks, developed a carnal need for a simple, unburdening sexual affair. It had little to do with love. At sixty‑two, Brussegem had a love‑empty lifetime to look back upon, and be philosophical about. In his life, there was little need, desire, or want for the tedious daily demands of kisses, devotion, and intolerable everyday companionship that love implied. Had he been impotent, he might have had a fine, uneventful, untroubling artistic life for the rest of his whatever. Unfortunately, in this respect he was still robust. Other reliefs were unacceptable, such as dreamy, sneaky nocturnal pollutions—they were only semi‑pleasurable, undependable in occurrence, and rather annoying in their sudden sticky surprise to be sufficiently gratifying. The other private solution, masturbation, was out; he had never bothered to acquire this skill during adolescence and saw no reason why he should begin to perfect the belittling act now. Finally, being far too proud to take an occasional bus into Brussels to spend his lust on a blasé prostitute, he instead resolved to make a few contacts out in the world in order to find a place his penis could call home.
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Yates’ party was thus convenient.
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Yates’ party turned out to be fifty or more people, mainly American‑British cliques with bits and pieces of broken Belgian accents dispersed within the humming murmurs; they stood around with glasses in their hands, being subdued and semi‑attentive to light conversation. Brussegem observed them with their glinting sociable smiles as they talked shop and sipped liquor.
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Cigarette smoke was thick in the air; someone spilt a drink on the carpet and laughed; the initially subdued, polite talk gained in volume, becoming more of a constant, unpleasant din of strident voices scrambled together, as dense as the smoke. Pre-recorded music came constantly from somewhere.
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Brussegem was increasingly displeased; the gathering was swiftly reminding him why he usually avoided such things. Every six months or so he would attend one of these social affairs, as the reality of them dimmed in his mind, simply to recall how horrible the experience was. Such gatherings replenished his aversion. It was much like witnessing another imperfect sunset, the world just did not work the way he wished. The earth, parties and all, should have been a quiet, un-agitated, reposeful place, a place built for musing and art, much like his atelier. Yet, here he found himself, much like any other silly smiling fool, attending a semi‑happy gathering, when he could be painting, or sitting cozily, thinking, in his slippers at home.
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He nearly departed straightway, yet he remained, his overpowering sexual appetite required it. He took a silent moment to curse the needs of his sexual equipment.


Click below read on, read all of chapter 4 and 5:

Brussegem,a snug hell – Part Two – chapter 4 & 5

Audio clip of next chapter Sunday/Monday coming up… Thanks, Vincent

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