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The Vendor

Dreamed July 1971 by Georges Perec

I have killed my wife and cut her rather crudely into small pieces, which I have wrapped hastily in paper bundles. The whole of her fits in a cardboard box, which is still relatively easy to handle.

My only hope is for someone to make her into wine or alcohol. I go to the distillery. I walk without knocking into a room where there are three women in overalls. Two are sitting down, the third is standing near a waist-high double door (like a saloon door).

Either I address them with a wink, like we know one another, or I call out, flatly, something like:

"I have 50 kilos of quality meat!"

The young woman who was standing brings me into a tiny room, where she begins to examine my merchandise. My package has all the necessary labels, but the young woman claims that the firm I represent is not an approved client of her Company and that I'm going to have a hard time closing the deal.

As a sample, I take a series of small bottles from the package. This should be no more than a simple formality but, to my great confusion, there are more and more bottles: red wine, white wine, rosé, all sorts of liquor, even a pitcher of water--tiny, but full and above all uncorked: you could dip a finger in without making it overflow, which strikes me as an indubitable experimental demonstration of osmosis or of capillarity.

All the demonstration proves useless: a man comes out from the office next door and tells me this will end badly for me if they don't find my name in their files.


This is Dream No. 77 from Perec's La Boutique Obscure: 124 Dreams, translated from the French by Daniel Levin Becker. Perec's famous for word- and mind-games; his best known novel, A Void, omits the letter E--as the title, elliptically, typically, warns. So beyond the hazards of double translation (dream to page, French to English) note what is not said.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: crime - violence - death - meat really IS murder! - blood - transformations - capitalism & business as usual - gender - Judaism - Christianity - breakups - nightmare - guilt vs. blindness - more Georges Perec - France - Wayan too is complicit in a societal Nightmare Transubstantiation

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