Villa Noailles (2)

— Jeanne Graff

It’s a scorpion. In the bedroom. It’s huge. We should spray it so it’ll go to sleep. It’s hiding; actually it’s here but you can’t see it. Not all scorpions sting, and anyways, their sting isn’t fatal. Red ants, that’s new. They attack, they eat you up, and your skin swells. They must think to themselves: “wow, she tastes so good!” And then they call their girlfriends.
I can’t sleep at night anymore. The hands start up, then the legs. You have to disinfect it, to continue applying oil; the swelling will go away. We scared them yesterday. The pharmacist said to use chalk, to build a dam with chalk, it stops them. They are fierce. The scorpion made a strong appearance but we haven’t seen him again since. The nest outside, those are potter wasps, they’re not dangerous, they don’t sting and they’re very pretty. As long as there are no scolopendra everything’s fine, because those are really dangerous. The ant bites will a last few days. You have to take care of yourself. You really don’t look good. You have to sleep. You wouldn’t be able to handle another attack. They bit your entire body and made pathways. They eat your blood.
There is never simply one of them, there are many. If ever one is by itself, that means it’s lost. There are scouts whose work is to be in the front all the time; it’s like an army. Essential oils stop them from passing through and calm the itching. We’ll draw paths around the bed to stop them from climbing. Here, there’s one. Wait. Look at what it’s doing, where it’s going. You have to spot their paths and interrupt them, so they understand they can’t use them anymore, not let them come back, interrupt the highways, they try, you have to keep the pressure on. It’s warm; it’s gonna be really warm today. Things are not okay. I hurt my eyes. My hands, arms, legs, feet, back, they’re everywhere, on my eyelids, on my face; they didn’t spare my face. We need some medicine. Call the pharmacist and ask if she can prescribe some homeopathy so they don’t sting, to make the blood smell.
I’ve been having these migraines with auras for the last few days: you’re talking to someone and you don’t see half of their face. Do you want to taste the olives? These are plain. Take the plain ones, they’re the best, and taste the eggplant, it’s home made. Or maybe you’d rather the puree it’s refreshing, do you like it? The tomatoes are from here. Come, taste the olives, the flavoring is artisanal, they’re even better, taste! The saleswoman was able to isolate me, she pulled you away and completely ripped me off. The small fish she sold me aren’t fresh and smell funny. I haven’t eaten meat or fish since the twentieth century. I find this cake strange; it seems dead; it must be at least two hundred years old. The fruit on the mousse is strange; you can’t tell if it’s deep-frozen, or embalmed, and the sponge cake must be old, it doesn’t taste like anything, it’s like a sponge. What’s this traffic jam? The bus is an hour late, was there a terrorist attack? It must be because they are commemorating the liberation of the Côte d’Azur, August 23rd 1945. There were seals here until 1940, monk seals. It’s okay, they’re letting us through, they’re just gonna check the bag with the swim fins. Hide the sea urchins. I fished them this morning. You dive under water and pull them off; you should only take urchins that have a little hat, they put decorations in their own spines, it’s really pretty. You have to throw the others back into the sea. Look at this dark thing in your hand it’s a black star, you can see it leaving, it drips it grows dull. Here you are, look, you’ve changed color. We’ve changed but we don’t say a thing.