"if the only thing more grotesque than an undertaker with embalming fluid coursing through him is imagining what we'd bleed if we should become so static..."
If we should become so static. I like our faith, against all, that we are not so.
I hadn't read that thick custard blood as embalming fluid. But now I imagine his long nights with his retrofit dialysis, swapping in the yellow, preparing himself - like the suicide of Taxidermia, but with nowhere to go and no machine to sever the thread - for a longer haul. The centuries of labor, his thoughtless ticker sludging that pudding through his veins, morning in, morning out. I imagine him lying in bed, always waking up twenty minutes before his alarm clock, the eyes snapping open slow. Why do I even bother setting it, I know I will wake. I know what today will be like. Why is there no decay? My oxen heart louder than that clock.
For, indeed, the static can course.
But not our blood. Our blood just puts on a good show for us. Too often it sits torpid, like hot mice sleeping, until it is pricked and startled, the blinding light and air bursting in. It pulls itself together fast, in that quick instant between a cut and a leak. It makes itself a liquid, it gets everywhere.
Like magma and lava, blood does not become the latter - that is, itself - until it leaves.
Otherwise, it tricks us. Because it is solid. Yes, it knows how to thump and wave, knows how to produce the semblance of running cold, but it's dry, solid. Between chalk and sponge. It is a substance through which time and messages are passed: the blood of an arm remains the blood of an arm, but it has heard of a heart. It's gotten word. A circuitous game of Telephone. Wait, I can't hear you. I should pulse or blush? I should stiffen or stutter? A decision, an instinct just means the blood is sick of waiting, takes the phone off the hook, goes about its business.
In The Andromeda Strain, the blood dries without being bled. The corpses stiffen into poses. (Perversely, it's from the same director as Sound of Music - I think now of a very different version, where the von Trapps are found, goggling, open mouthed, dead, and so too the Nazis, and there is no motion, just a still-life, arranged into a chorus. The soundtrack will need to be changed.)
They become statues, like those frozen soldiers in Kaputt and Life and Fate. Like Pompeii
and yet not at all, not like when that hot ash settled soft and cradled and became hard around the bodies, so when they rotted, they remained in negative space, an indictment, a full-body equivalent of the one who writes the killer's name in her own blood.
But this is without lava, without the heat from without. They find them and cut their wrists and what drains out is a dry powder, a rusty silicate.
And it is nothing but blood caught off guard, without the warning to make of itself a liquid, to keep the whole illusion of our being bodies of water, whispering low and rustling. If the camera panned down, it would find a gathering message in red sand, written in florid, expert script. Not that we could read it.