The Word Seller by Soren James

“You wanna buy some words?” He said gruffly, encircled in a diverse fog of body odours.

“Yes“, I whispered

“You’ll have to speak louder” he said, “there’s cum in my ears.”

“What’s in your ears?” I said.

“Cum!” he shouted indignantly.

“I don’t know that word“, I said

“Have it, it’s a free sample.”

“How would I know what to do with it” I said

“You could do anything with it, it’s a handsome word, and you, sir, are in a special position to take advantage of it, as you don’t know what it means.” he enthused with a peddlers unctuousness.

“My not knowing what it means, means I won’t know where to put it.”

“You don’t know where to put cum?”, he said dryly.

“I’m reasonably skilled with words,” I said, “and yet I can’t know how to handle every one I come across.”

“Come on“, he said, “you really don’t know how to use cum?”

“No“, I said shyly

“I’ll show you”, he said, and leaned forward seeming to encourage intimacy. “Say, just for example, you had some pornographic material, the edges of which are a bit sticky, and together with this they are heavily fingered; then, you might say that the material was in a sticky-cum-fingered condition. That‘s how one might use cum, sir.”

“It seems like an extravagant word, I’m not sure I’ll come to use it.” I said

“I don’t wish to come over all enthusiastic about it,” he said, “ but I do feel the word will . . Er . . come into its own one day.”

“Come into it’s own what?” I asked.

“Come into it’s own context?”, he suggested.

“That would be a neat place for a word to come to.” I said, “But I have no need of words that I don’t know what they mean – you can keep your ‘come‘. I happen to be looking for a bigger word, one with more space in it.”

“Ah,” he said, “am I to take it that you are a connoisseur?”

“I enjoy the odd word,” I said, modestly.

“Very good, sir.” He said, “Then try this word for size, it’s just in, and I feel, as a discerning gentleman, you’re gonna like it. Are you ready for this one?”

“I’m ready.” I said.

Pausing briefly for effect, he said. . . “Comedogenic.”

“That sounds nice, I’ll take one.” I said.

“Excellent choice, sir.” He said, with a sycophantic drool.

“Have you got a meaning to go with that?” I enquired.

“Of course. Do you take me for a swindler?”

“I do”, I said.

“I shouldn’t have asked,” he said, “in my line of work people often mistrust me.” He shook his head feigning a gesture of remorse and continued, “Comedogenic – tending to cause blackheads by blocking the pores of the skin”

“That’s not quite the meaning I envisaged”, I said. “I thought it may have meant, ‘to emerge out of comedy,‘ or some such.”

He adopted a superior tone and began: “For something to emerge out of comedy, dear sir, would require . . . . “ He stopped for a second, then continued: “I’ve always sought to finish that sentence pithily, and yet, to date, I have failed every time. Anyhow, yes, the meaning does debase the word a little. But then, doesn’t meaning cheapen everything. . . But ignore me, I’m waxing philosophical.”

“Yes“, I said, “So . . Would you have a different meaning I could use with the word?”

He leant forward, turning a white glutinous-covered right ear toward me, whilst keeping his eyes upon mine, “Are you insinuating that I deal in false meanings of words?”

“Yes. I was told you were a peddler of aberrant words. Why, do you not?”

“I do, sir.” He admitted simply. “I merely enjoy showing indignance – it keeps me thin,” then grinned his set of brown teeth at me and continued, “I have a spare meaning for the word ‘connotation’ laying around. If you convince me to turn my back for a second, you could have that.”

“How much?” I whispered.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear that, could you . . . . “, his words faded into an indistinct mumble.

“Come again?”, I said.

“Yes.” He said, “ I’ll have to clean out my ears.”

Soren James is a writer and visual artist who recreates himself on a daily basis from the materials at his disposal, continuing to do so in upbeat manner until one day he will sumptuously throw his drained materials aside and resume stillness without asking why. More of his work can be seen here:

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