At Grimpen Mire

I went for a stroll around Grimpen Mire. In my pocket, a doll made of wax. I paused by a tussock during a break in the rain. I smoked a cigarette and thought about Paavo Nurmi, the Flying Finn. It occurred to me that if ever I tried to run as far, as fast as him, I would almost certainly collapse from exhaustion. Grinding the butt of my cigarette into the muck, I took the doll from my pocket. From another pocket I took a batch of pins. Spatters of rain started up again. I adjusted my Homburg on my head, as best as I could with the doll in one hand and the pins in the other. It was my intention to pierce the doll with the pins while jabbering curses. I think it best that I do not divulge the name of the cursee. In any case, it hardly matters, because I did not carry out my plan. I cast the doll into the mire and dropped the pins in the muck by the mire’s edge. Then I turned on my heel and sprinted – yes!, sprinted! – back towards my shabby hotel room in the town. Long before I reached it, I collapsed from exhaustion. Unlike Paavo Nurmi, I had no idea how to pace myself. I am no Flying Finn, nor was meant to be. I sprawled there in the muck and the rain fell down on me. I let it fall. What could I have done to stop it? I have no power over the weather. He whom I had been on the point of cursing, oh, now he has such power. The day will come, perhaps, when he will have egg on his face. I am too tired to care. I have run out of steam. I fear that, as dusk falls, gruesome creatures will crawl from Grimpen Mire, grab me by the ankles, and drag me under. So be it.

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