Curious Old Jeremy Teske

A Short Fiction

Apartment 1602 houses a remarkably peculiar tenant. Indeed, Jeremy Teske is so peculiar as to attract from his neighbors a certain warmth often reserved for children and small animals. As with children and animals, we neighbors turn to exchange in order that our tired hearts may ache in tender recognition of this poor, poor little creature. Treats for the children and animas. Mail for Mr. Teske. With each payment, Jeremy offers a smooth click ssss click, a turn of the knob, and then a hesitant, creaking opening. Through the crack of his door, we greedily pocket the bounty Jeremy offers in anticipation of his mail. We walk back, our mind’s hands fingering the images we just received then converting his currency into words and stories which are then traded to other neighbor’s for their own words and stories about that shy little creature who’s burrowed behind the door which reads 1602.

From these exchanges I’ve derived at least this:

The world of Jeremy Teske is two-fold. In the physical realm, it is made up of the unceasing flows of loose papers and notecards and binders and notebooks which move around apartment 1602 in accordance to Jeremy Teske’s Law of Stationary Attraction and Displacement. The physical realm also takes on a signature musk. This smell (our reader may conjure its essence by recalling, then synthesizing together, those well known scent archetypes of grandpa and bookstore) likely finds cause in the old notebooks and papers which became wet one summer at least a decade ago, when the now junior financial officer at Investments Capital LLC, Byran Mannefield, was just a snot-nosed punk who liked to pull fire alarms and let the building rain its false liquid-heroism.

Of course in the weeks following most tenants filed insurance claims and replaced their damaged properties. Maybe Mr. Teske filed a claim too—of this I can’t be certain. But I do know as a matter of fact that as of the date of this writing, old Jeremy Teske still has in his posession those soiled artifacts. I know this because I’ve seen the now coarse and brittle documents, which once floated along the peak strata of his paper rivers. I’ve seen them recently, swimming along the floor and desk-tops, an undercurrent which brushes against rock, and sand, and sea-weed, obscuring the already diminished light. The elements which bend the current, mixed up in the current. It’s not the water which smells; it’s the objects which time and wet inherit.

The metaphysical world of Mr. Teske, I am convinced, is something of a parable. At least, it may reveal something like a parable to those of us willing to pay it close attention. Had I not gotten myself so invested in trying to unearth the moral of that one discernible law which governs Jeremy’s metaphysical world—that one law which may contain his parable—I’d have likely followed city ordinance and notified the Department of Psychiatric Disturbances of Jeremy’s unfortunate existence. For better or worse, i’ve chosen to observe rather than report. To make sense of Mr. Teske rather than see that he come to his senses.

Mr. Teske’s condition isn’t easily articulated. Rather, I should say, it’s not easily known. What I do know, and what I think is fundamental, and from which I believe all else which reeks of madness in old Mr. Teske originates, is — poor old man — his unfortunate inability to stop a train of thought. Or at least, his unwillingness to switch trains.

And so he’s taken that train off the tracks. And it now plows through new and unprecedented territory. And always with mind to where it’s just come from. From one day to the next, it may seem the topics of discussion among the singular world of apartment 1602 vary greatly. But there should be no confusion: Jeremy Teske is not a spontaneous man. Each diversion of thought or speech or written word is carefully considered and recorded. All movement of thought is purposeful and considerate. His whole life, Jeremy once revealed to all the world willing to eaves drop on his monologue—of which I am the lucky One — his whole life, Jeremy’s thoughts have been careful to avoid being buried. Each product of thought and speech, Jeremy insists, is some part of him, severed and temporally localized. And by thoughtfully stringing together each of these abstract products of his Self, Jeremy survives Time. And so continuity must be upheld. Thought ‘A’ must necessarily lead to thought ‘B’ and so on. No deviation is permissible if he is to satisfy his compulsion. And so and so and so this man, this curious old Jeremy Teske, he’s a living, breathing, run-on sentence.

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