I watched my father as he daubed on the makeup. His whole measured, paternal presence began to transform in front of my eyes through some effect that mere shading and filling couldn’t account for. There was an art to what he did that went beyond the surface, into the perceiver as well as the object. He applied a strange, shimmering paint in geometric designs that almost danced around the contours of his face like moving pictograms. I saw him get measurably younger until there was a jittery, multi-colored creature in front of me with a plume rising from its head like an Elvis Presley pompador.
Considerate of my confusion, he stopped and looked up.
“Oooh, baby, we gonna live forever! Welcome to the fuck’in carnival!”
He toasted me, and our glasses clinked together as the rest of the carnies toasted both of us. The professor broke another vial into my glass.
If I ever saw my father after that night, the memory of him just isn’t there. What’s left is a kind of white spot, not a dark mystery that stems from a poverty of images, but a great flash of light that burns its meaning in thousands of images, one on top of the other, for an instant, and can’t be deciphered in a month or a year or, perhaps, ever.
"The sleep of reason
brings forth monsters."