Excerpt: WOWxa

May 10, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

written by William Faulkner; an excerpt from Pylon


When she made her first parachute jump they had not been together very long. She was the one who suggested that he teach her to jump, and he already had a parachute, the exhibition kind; when he used it he either flew the aeroplane or made the jump, depending on whether the casual partner with whom he would join forces for a day or a week or a season were a pilot himself or not. She made the suggestion herself and he showed her, drilled her in the simple mechanics of climbing out onto the wind with the parachute harness buckled on and then dropping off and letting her own weight pull the parachute from the case attached to the wing.

The act was billed for a Saturday afternoon in a small Kansas town and he did not know that she was frightened until they were in the air, the money collected and the crowd waiting, and she had begun to climb out along the wing. She wore skirts; they had decided that her exposed legs would not only be a drawing card but that in the skirt no one would doubt that she was a woman; and now she was clinging to the inner bay strut and looking back at him with an expression that he was later to realise was not at all fear of death but on the contrary a wild and now mindless perdition of bereavement as if it were he who was the one about to die and not she. He sat in the back cockpit with the aeroplane in position, holding the wing up under weight, gesturing her on out toward the wingtip, almost angrily, when he saw her leave the strut and with that blind and completely irrational expression of protest and wild denial on her face, the hem of the skirt whipping out of the parachute harness about her loins, climb, not back into the front seat which she had left but on toward the one in which he sat holding the aeroplane level, scrambling and sprawling into the cockpit (he saw her knuckles perfectly white where she gripped the cockpit’s edge) astride his legs and facing him.

In the same instant of realising (as with one hand she ripped her skirt hem free of the safetywire with which they had fastened it bloomerfashion between her legs) that she was clawing blindly and furiously not at the blet across his thghs but at the fly of his trousers, he realised that she had on no undergarment, pants. She told him later that the reason was that she was afraid that from fear she might soil one of the few undergarments which she now posesessed. So he tried to fight her off for a while, but he had to fly the the aeroplane, keep it in position over the field, and besides (they had been together only a few months then) he soon had two oppoenentshe soon had two opponents; he was outnumbered, he now bore in his own lap, between himself and her wild and frenzied body, the perennially undefeated, the victorious. It was some blind instinct out of the long swoon while he waited for for his backbone’s fluid marrow to congeal again that he remembered to roll the aeroplane toward the wing to which the parachute case was attached because the next that he remembered was the belt catching him across the legs as, looking out he saw the parachute floating between him and the ground, and looking down he saw the breaved, the upthrust, the stalk: the annealed racious heartshaped crimson bud.


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