Kafka in the Bath

Hi Everyone!

The Kin blog is that one area of Kin where Walter, Wendy, Uche and Eric, are permitted to play around. We do serious things here, too, as you have seen. But we do think that playtime is just as important as poetry. After all, as William Blake will tell you, at length, in The Four Zoas, you cannot commune with the Muses too long without going completely around the bend.

Still, ours is a good-natured sort of madness, we hope, since we are our own jailers here, and we have mislaid the keys to the asylum.

Except maybe Walter.

And Uche.

And Wendy.

And me.

Oh my!

Yes, I have outed myself. I have found an extra set of keys in an unmentionable region of my person and escaped.


I am Eric.

In my own moments of lunacy, I often turn to prose for recreation, to work out those little problems in life I can't handle with basket weaving or its sister art: poetry.

Since there are so many such problems, all equally intractable, now and then, I write short stories and flash fiction to see if I can make any better sense of things. The results have been decidedly mixed.

Doubtful as some of these efforts are, I would like to offer you a story today, all the same.

Especially after having so carefully and painstakingly established in the eyes of the court the perfect defense for all of my subsequent actions in this story, a murder story...

[Quickly producing a courtroom, a judge, a jury, a gallery for spectators, one for the press, and a horsehair wig, or peruke: all from that same unmentionable region where Eric had hitherto kept his extra set of keys hidden, all in the best traditions of the English bar.]

[Switching to a British accent, now, and sounding very much like John Cleese.]

...as your Lordship and the members of the jury can clearly see.

May I present, Exhibit A: a bit of flash fiction, Mi'lud. About 500 words.

I am told that the author commited it to paper this week--Monday or Tuesday, I believe--just after a hair-raising encounter with a water-bug in his bathroom.

Indeed, Mi'lud. One cannot help but shudder, Mi'lud, to see these things. One finds a lot of these things in places like Bedlam, Mi'lud.

[Momentarily puzzled.]

No, no, not bathrooms, Mi'lud. There are no bathrooms in Bedlam, Mi'lud. In Bedlam, one is lucky to receive a cracked chamberpot and a death sentence from the State.

No, by "these things," I meant, Mi'lud, "water-bugs." In other words, short stories by Eric Norris. Genius horribilis.

[Nodding to the bench.]

Of course, Mi'lud. I meant no disrespect to the insect. I do beg your pardon, Sir. I should have been more kind and more clear.

[Cuffing the defendant above his right rear with a very sharp elbow.]

This "water-bug," this little tale, is a frail cousin of that unfortunate beetle, Gregor Samsa, in the famous story, The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka.

I call Exhibit A.

[A call for "Exhibit A" echoes from bailiff to bailiff to bailiff to bailiff, almost forever, down the endlessly twisting and turning corridors of Justice, before it arrives.]

I call Exhibit A: Kafka in the Bath.

The story was recorded secretly today.

Members of the jury not already put to asleep by the insanity defense, and those in the press rubbing your inky hands together eagerly, excited by the prospect of a good execution, can listen to Eric Norris read his story himself, in his own voice, in his own defense, on Soundcloud, here.

It runs about 3:00 minutes.

Perfect for a lunchtime adjournment.