FICTION: Mask Fragments


In discovering a tree of all black teeth through a tunnel, I find my explorations have only guaranteed copious trappings of the fluids of the free will. From inside of the “free” grows a head of broccoli, cancer infesting where knowing and unknowing have lavished the growth [terra incrementum] by showing its fluids and tinctures. I rest my ear against a ghost who has left behind a case, back in some hotel or another, simply a memory, fogged-up windshield, using hoses and pressurized hunks of climbing ladders in which to excavate out the hidden, (foreign) answer in said hotel. I’ve hit a tripwire of sight, drawing my glowing dark body closer into view of the doctorish, long white mask pouring out on the sand, and golden rings beneath the bed. But, from the clocks that float by, I find there is no time held there, only a single rope of blankets holding me in the tree of my withering knowledge, in a cocoon of cancerous ideas, perhaps then I must spill out into the ocean of bed sheets, perhaps I am bedridden now, forever.


From one understanding during the Blazing heat of reality in the soft sponge of life after true love fails me [there is] the unsettling feeling of empty comparisons in replacement of scalding truth. A play between clinging to and letting go or pushing away from the shore, and tears of true sadness opening to compassion for all living things deeply and the final respect to my teachers in this world [giving me nothing].


A mask shouts flower print paper and the branches fall dead to my side, releasing through a vacuum, a sudden time delay (some snake below who has already found my ripped in half version of the wall) left hanging open in a wound.

[I will investigate from another voice that I imagine playing on tape in a green room who shouts from me: Peel off the now! Peel off the eye contact! Put up the roses!] And kneels to the floor, in his pile of nonsense making passageways, and paper, sobbing for life.

I will try through the underground cavern. This, I discovered from an old flower print trick, that I located in the branches of a tree so tall it took up two floors of an apartment building. Slowly, it rests in my ear, the only sturdy object left against a backdrop of shingles and drawings, papers of all sorts of colors and sizes, where I used to find meaning, the knots of dozens of feral rabbits tearing off bits, and me silently reconstructing them back to their somewhat original shape in the cavern, climbing slowly, and making a new way into a drawing of an open closet, or tripping into the carpet, and hissing, my fangs and snake skins falling away behind my galactic, elaborate entrance. A long white mask pokes through the wall of the cave, tied in a beautiful red ribbon on the edge of the mouth to shore. The waves crashing against the rocks sound silent as we shift toward the cocoon…The new voice I try on, and look in the mirror, adjusting, the mirror shows me standing there in the cave in my white suit, turning back and forth to inspect how I must look. But No face? Shouts, just the water breaking against the rocks, from beginning to end… A bokeh from sight… Just the Vacuum of time delay sucking the snakes out of the bottoms of the pants cuffs, and getting all tangled down to a pile of slithering bodies at my feet. I inspect my facelessness, but from what eyes, I must stand in behind myself, watching from there, in the hiding place in the cave. I lift my cup full of flowers now and hold those above me, tipping back my faceless head and pouring them onto it.

I shouldn’t have trusted forward motion or the lights to lead me through here. To go in, the mutated cancerous mind must get outside of one’s self-image, yet, remind oneself of the place in which cancer can grow into the other, leading the way for all cancers. the gets… Now, as you were saying, Iliad, (start counting on your finger) (1) the fog, (2) heavy ocean, (3) eye contact, (4) the angle… As you were saying? (5) the flowers.


A new group must emerge from the rubble of any deep change. At once a replication occurs, where the missing formula have gone serum: the blank poison of before. Advanced in the new doctrine, the experiment is essential as the learning curve may be great. The experiment will always be added to and changed.


……………………………………………………………. fingers

Creep in through the mud now, plugging in the Light·Brite pieces…

From which wall you chose, from dock, tiled ceiling, missing white area (used to be the left entrance) cave entrance, the ring, or circle round the campfire seating, a whole cafe starts growing from under the sand, moving up out from beneath, (settling area) The tree hanging masks and books, toys and shoes and roller skates directly to the right of the fireplace.

Now, the giant fish comes bumping along the subway, beneath the cafe chairs still growing from the sand, ten feet tall now. I look away, back into the mirror, and see my pig nose mask over the facelessness. Hissing pops at the platform air below, before opening fishy gills and allowing a passenger aboard, whom I’ve watched for many centuries from here. The dank smell is a fish tank moss that snails prefer. Those are seen cleaning the opening, new slime along the walls delivers a fresh snack.


We are miracles starving for ‘attention to the fact’ that we are miracles, starving.


“T” eats a snowflake sandwich, squeezing on more melted ice packets and waiting for his nine O’ clock facial structure appointment.

Today, he will be getting a mask fitting done. Everybody with a mask could easily be pointed out just three years prior. Now, even his brother Marcus had a mask, and he could barely recognize the man. His voice had changed, his mindset… He no longer took an interest in science, or mathematics, or animals. Marcus had become like many who had bought masks, they were human only from the smell of piss they put off when they micturated in secret.

“T” swallows the ice packets, he finishes off the snowflake and moves his legs to get the cat carrier out from under the bench seats. The train had just arrived.

“T“ thought that his orange tabby, ‘Davie’ lie inside, angry at him, furious for the oblivion he had subjected poor ‘Davie’ to. He imagined, the casement of a living cell structure could become a place of unknowing for ‘Davie’ and this would lead to a sense of desperation, a temporary psychosis since a new environment had to be investigated, figured out and mentally mapped for possibility (food, rest, mates, water) and a cat carrier came equipped with none of those.

It had been all morning that the gills were hovering open in the fish train. All of the passengers were either waiting, on time, late, or insane. “T” being the later of the four.

A rainbow spray-painted across the sides as the doors, flying closed, the gills breathing back to life, stank, and fume. The catfish woke up and began its hunt for food, along the subway, all of the passengers erupting in sighs of relief.

Earlier, climbing in, “T” had seen the same tired old men with their sizable white cases of radios and televisions in plethora, their wires and knick-knacks were scattered all across the floor, and this made it hard for “T” and his tabby to find seating anywhere, finally resorting to the graffiti-covered seats near the fish lungs. He dreaded this spot since sometimes the fish would breathe heavily and you’d have to squeeze close to other people, arbitrarily.

The old gent with the parakeet atop his head – the couple with mohawks making out, a tape deck blasting old noise—

These were the regulars on the rainbow trout line. Folks who couldn’t afford facial reconstructions, like “T” who, because of his false mailbox, believed that he was somehow better than the others, and could.


Without sadness new forms of deep happiness find no place and I become resolute absolute and blank.


My briefcase filled with water and fish, going heavy on me all of a sudden, and I fell over, splaying my briefs onto the fish gut seats… The bulging suitcase got up off the ground and turned, looking at me.

What are you doing? Letting me get full of water over here? What do you take me for, some kind of funky fish tank or sumfin?

Oh, shut up! Blast you, anyway, you are a piece of trash, you’ve been ripping apart for months now, it’s bound to happen, filling with water like that. Serves you right!

You let me fill with water, god damn you! The suitcase came bumbling toward me, spilling water all over the fish guts in the seats near the lungs.

I ended up stomping it and smashing it down under my boot, the case scratching at my leg with the hook clamps.

It drew blood. This was when the [terra Incrementum] started forming.

Damn you, case! Filling with water. I picked up the briefcase, and tore through my papers, clumping a hand full of them together and chucking the case across the subway car, as I jammed the drafts roughly into my pocket. The case hit the stupid punk rockers.

Hey! Careful!

Oh, shut up! The gills swung open and I jumped off at this point, at the Rockcity stop. The case trapped in the gills went all squished guts everywhere and the gills seal it in.

Damn you! It was shouting at me, flapping its briefcase lips, getting choked in the gills.

Damn you!


Listen to the grapes. See what colors you hear. Silent color. Look deep, look again into the orange peels…


I take out a bundle of scotch tape and envelopes from my jacket pocket and wrap my bloody leg in paper. It already grows ferns inside there, a medical anomaly called Terra Incrementum. I hobble out of the subway into the street. The envelopes soak up the red from my leg—nervous, I cross-traffic and duck into a restaurant.


Man must embrace the animal, and plant within

Living for its innate instinct to thrive in a more reasonable nature.

Man is truly one of the animals and plants

In a larger kingdom of soft tissues, and must embrace the instinct to

Live in his more base, reasonable lightness of curiosity—


When one finds the subject A: [concrete mold placed before the front porch of a one-bedroom apartment] one must wonder, what,  for years has gone on without notice, in these very small towns.

The indentation of the facial feature has solidified there in the concrete mold, that woman’s features, fit for only one face. Late at night, arriving here, in front of the cold passage, covered from the elements in a thin, black cape, B takes place: [she leans over, pressing her knees into the soft grass, aligning her face into the mold.

Her hands are jammed into thin black gloves, tightly held around the outer edge of the cube, holding her face, and as many times occurs, fabric apparitions (a gang of muddled spirits) hunches nearby, watching her.] Following the slick connection from soft to solid, a long time passes. The old woman hangs over the concrete mold of her face, holding it tight to her. The man living inside the apartment has passed away, while she wears the mask, new tenants have moved in, lived there, moved out and died. The new tenant is talking on the telephone. His mother has just called…


Terrible events stem out of sane, figured reason, deepening the meaning of the event, and should be avoided, not out of neglect, but a knowledgeable study of the chain and its modes of connectivity.


The chance of the old lady with a crook in her back walks, near, late. She is wearing a white surgical mask over her nose and mouth to block out the world’s disease. The look of anxiety in her eyes signals an animal movement near the pond. She takes a very long time crossing the street, many centuries pass, as the trees grow and animals are born and die, whole phases of history come to pass before her. The heavy walker holds tight her weak grip on the gray handles. A black tuxedo cat accompanies her. He lounges in the comfort of the soft cushions and blankets in the basket. She’s coming closer, she sees me.


Creation studied from one mode of thought is lost into oblivion, within the crudeness of the format it is investigated, rather viewing one creation from multiple forms of study, the creation is once found.


I’ve climbed into the tree of  masks. The neighboring children hang them here. I hook up my old Richard Nixon mask as high as I had it last time.

From up here, the thousands of masks grow with mold, I see.

Some have worn completely to nothing, and have been in the tree for years, others merely lose their color in spots.  All have been worn from the rain, and snow and sun. The rubber is no match for the elements of nature.

I listen to the sea crashing against the beach and smell the outdoor air; my nose stuffed up, I try to clear it, sniffling up the frosty open air. The masks dangle off the old tree, dripping and melting.

Fin Sorrel (b.1985) is the author of Caramel Floods (2017) and the forthcoming Transversal (2020). He is founding editor at Mannequin Haus ( Follow his progress here:

Image: Mask Dance, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1929

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