Waking Finnegan

“We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our whole life is rounded with a sleep” ~ Shakespeare

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Location: zurich, Switzerland

Monday, August 29, 2005

Migros Dream


Looking down numberless aisles for cat food at some Migros in Zürich---the bulky metzger tells me: "Für die Katze ist Frischfleish am besten!"---Fresh meat is the best thing for cats! He escorts me by the elbow past the cereals and and crackers, along a long trough of startling flesh. The butcher is hanging his left hand over the pit, letting his fingers ride over the hillocks of manicured meats---along cello-packed noodles of extruded ground beef---past the poulets, turkeys and hams. And now here comes the fish section! He's dipping his thick fingers into colored plastic buckets of eels, shrimps, crabs and lobsters--- occasionally pulling out a little telescoping gauge to check that the sealife is comfy.

We come to a huge "aquarium maze" filled with murky water, where he stops at the entrance, clinks the thick glass with his gauge and says: "Schau mal". "Just look". I can see something moving, but the water is algae-colored....murky. Then he looks up at me while reaching under the giant sea tank, flipping a long metal toggle. There's an electric buzz, and then the entire warehouse begins to dim, except for the butcher's room which is backlighting the massive fish maze, frightening up swirls of tuna, shark, and sea bass. A giant halibut and catfish are battling for something dead below, kicking up an underwater sandstorm. "Come, let me take you to the cat meat!"

We walk into a white-tiled sterile workroom---the same room that was backlighting the tank. In the center sits is a spot-lit industrial-green bandsaw. In his Zürich dialect he asks whether I've ever seen the inside components. Not waiting for an answer, he unclips the motor housing, swings it up and props it overhead like a car bonnet. "You see this? It's good for cutting through bones. Just look at this workmanship!"

65 Comments:

Anonymous Anil said...

chilling...does a shop like that really exist in Zurich? will make to sure to visit it if I find myself there!

11:28 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

anil
Not a semblance, other than the packaged goods. Any of that circus stuff you'll have to go to the States for.

1:14 PM  
Blogger floots said...

Hmm. Freud fish (and all the batter for it!) Loved this. These spooky quasi-industrial gothic settings always get to me.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

"Good for cutting through bones"...seems almost a threat in there? The story has a sinister Sweeney Todd element about it?

1:26 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

floots
Battle-fatigued battered freud fish (with plenty of secret sauce). I'm pretty sure there's a whole lot churning under the dark waters where you're living. Nothing like the real thing to get the imagination churning.

grace
Sweeney Todd I've never seen. Butcher you say? I saw the film by Jean Pierre Jeunet called: "Delicatessen" not all that long ago. Similar to the Sweeney Todd theme.

The meat section still creeps me out, especially the white-tiled medical chopping space behind the standard supermarket meat sections. Blood on white tiles makes me weak in the knees. (Now you know one of my 101 things).

1:40 PM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

'bonesrtg' those were the letters printed for word verification...reminded me of, "Good for cutting through bones"! quite a spooky dream, industrial gore. the metzger sounds sinister. he should carry a heavy cutting knife and a blood splattered apron. :)

1:44 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

gulnaz,
Ooh, that's creepy indeed. You mean "bonesrtg" came up when you posted this?
There've been a lot of butchers in my dreams over the years. This guy wasn't as sinister as some. But maybe the "nice guy" mask hides something even more terrible.

Right now my "word verification" shows bdlxcllg". What do you make of that? I'm sure someone will be able to decrypt it.

1:54 PM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

i think your 'word' says bedcalling which is apt, as its morning at your end and you must be wanting to go back to sleep. :)

seeing butchers in your dreams sort of means to me, a certain fear, a sense of betrayal perhaps?
i maybe wrong.

uwuuq

2:43 PM  
Blogger Perfect Virgo said...

A ghoulish goulash of seafood catfood. Grinding bandsaws shredding cadaverous joints for the nutrition of our feline friends. The "white-tiled sterile workroom" reminds me of a morgue. The butcher proudly displaying his weapon of choice for the choicest cuts is your grisliest character to date Finn.

3:06 PM  
Blogger . : A : . said...

Sinister. He sounds like a serial killer.

3:41 PM  
Blogger . : A : . said...

(pun intended)

3:42 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

gulnaz said:i think your 'word' says bedcalling which is apt, as its morning at your end and you must be wanting to go back to sleep

Ha, an interesting translation, and one that's pretty spot on. Now if the verification word had been "bdwttng"...

virgo
"...his weapon of choice for the choicest cuts is your grisliest character to date Finn". Thanks mon amie. Knowing what you are able to do with this sort of stuff, I thought I'd invite you to maybe "flesh out" his character, as he's just "bits and parts" so far.

.:a:.Shall we call him "Captain Crunch?"

.:a:. pun taken

9:15 PM  
Blogger superflywebpimp said...

Brothers! Are we not all butchers of poulets? When we dip our fingers into thick globules of various molten crustacean, do we not also pull out telescopic mirrors of our inner selves? Tis not for mortal man to say. I say unto thee this day my brethren, he who hath not clinked the thickened glass of backlit tanks without first arousing swirling sandstorms of murky reflection, shall never know the trembling sound of Zurich's bandsaw of literary comment boxations. Unclip your mortal props of sterile workmanship, Car bonnets, be damned!

2:36 AM  
Blogger Bouls said...

Wow! I would not want to be in this place. Sounds very claustophobic. Definitely a feeling of impending doom. Is the saw intended to cut up fish or you? Drums up visions of Fargo. All this wetness and fishiness could be a New Orleanian's nightmane. Once again-Bravo! Incredible visions. But glad they're in your head and not mine tonight. I scared!

4:03 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

superflywebpimp
Thy molten crustacean tongue hath spewed deep-fried battered chunks of McMullet bonnet wisdom on the cerebral bo-toxification proceedings. May thy table-dancing banjo-gyrations at my blog forever continue amen. Let us spray.

bouls Oh you'd actually have loved this place! I've crowned Herr Metzger Butcher: " LORD OF THE STINGRAYS". As you may imagine, the dude only drives Corvettes.
Mr. Stingrays was quietly singing something fishy. His words were chanted in Gregorian mode while I was investigating the aquarium:
Ein kleiner fisch ditty(sung to "I'm a Little Teapot")
I'm a little fishy,
I can swim;
Here is my tail,
here is my fin.
When I want to have fun with my friend,
I wiggle my tail and dive right in.

7:56 AM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

lol@the fish ditty. i don't think i need to translate 'bdwttg'. :) maybe you should call him captain bone-cutter or the Captain Bonnie Cruncher. :)

10:55 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Gulnaz
How about "Hannibal Haddock"? Or maybe even "The Sturgeon General?"

1:24 PM  
Blogger RuKsaK said...

'hillocks of manicured meats' - I'd slit throats to forge a line as good as that - I'm more and more often blown away by your style.

2:49 PM  
Blogger rhein said...

Yikes. "It's good for cutting through bones." Scares me...

3:34 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

ruKsAkAs Excuse the misplaced capitals in your name, but you've been gone so long that your graphic name's chock-a-blockness has caught me off-guard. No matter. I think I speak for others here that your blogsphere resurrection is welcome news!

As to your slitting throats for any of my lines, I'd have to say you're no bad cut of meat yourself when it comes to cutting remarks.

By the way, my WORD VERIFICATION here came up "PUFEX".

rhein be afraid. be very afraid.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

somehow this reminds me of a tour I was given while in medical school of the basement morgue. in it were heads, bones, and other body parts in various states of preparation for dissection. none were fed to the cats, thank god, but your tour reminded me of that macabre sense - nicely written.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"....the same room that was backlighting the tank."

That line nearly gets lost in all the richness here. When I re-read this that room took on a much more sinister dimention.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering, have you ever been in a place such as this? And if so, where?

7:12 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

doc.charles
The fact that you've actually walked around in such a place and lived to tell about it.
I get jumpy even when handling a boneless chicken. (How the heck do they stand up?)

Question: Do you have any more of those dissection room stories? I loved the one you posted. I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. (I went to look up the name of it but couldn't get your achives pages to open. Maybe anyone interested can unpry it.

Another question: Do you eat meat?

anonymous
Thanks. Have you ever looked at proceedings of another room through a fish tank? Most folks mount their tanks up against a wall, which really is a bummer for the fish, and prevents seeing the odd sorts of distorted action that happens "through the looking glass" as it were.

anonymous
The closest to such a place was The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Northern California.

8:00 PM  
Blogger transience said...

ouch. that appeals to my cheerleader tendencies.

9:30 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

transience
Cheerleader tendencies? Hmmm, you've addled the old noodle with that one. I'll have to pull out the blog comments translator for clues.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

hey - i'll post another soon. i'll check out the archives page bug too. i eat meat, still have sex, etc despite some scarring visuals and textures. that stuff gets compartmentalized in the brain thank god. the blood and guts are one aisle over from the chicken breasts :)
That piece you referred to is going to be published in a tiny scientific journal soon, so i'll put up that link. again, loved the story!

9:59 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

dr.charles
Lol. Great to hear your unique site is getting the recognition it deserves. There really isn't anything like it out there. Kudos.

My Verifications Word is aaikmaq

7:00 AM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

amazing as always. all the talk of fishfood brings to mind an unfortunate event that happened during my recent holiday in France, i have been a veggie since i was nineteen and only in the last three years have i started to eat fish. salmon mostly with the occasional tuna. we ate at a very french restaurant near Nice where i ordered Tagiletili au Samon. it arrived with a boiled alive crab sitting on top. made my stomach turn. threw the poor dead beast back onto the beach. yuk!!

10:56 AM  
Blogger afp763389 said...

... :)

12:30 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

C.J.
Great to see you back in action.

The description of your recent seafood foray, along with these sorts of dreams, makes me understand Moby a bit better. Not talking about Ahab's white nemesis, but the vegan songster.

Throwing the crab onto the beach made the stomach-turning go into the spin cycle. Q: did you eat the salmon and tagliatelle afterwards?
Presentation is everything, especially with various meats.

There's a scene in the film "Chinatown" where Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is at the Albacore Club (on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles), talking with Noah Cross (John Huston).

Cross: "Oh. How do you do? You've got a nasty reputation, Mr. Gits. I like that."
Gittes: "Thanks."
Cross: "If you were a bank president, that would be one thing. But in your business it's admirable and it's good advertising."
Gittes: "It doesn't hurt." (He looks down at a whole fish on his plate. The dead fish, out of its natural element, stares back.)
Cross: "It's, um, why you attracted a client like my daughter."
Gittes: "Probably." (They both look at the fish.)
Cross: "But I'm surprised you're still working for her - unless she's suddenly come up with another husband."
Gittes: "No. She happens to think the last one was murdered."
Cross: "Umm, how'd she get that idea?"
Gittes: "I think I gave it to her."
Cross: (Sees Jake staring at the fish and hesitating) "I hope you don't mind. I believe they should be served with the head."
Gittes: "Fine. As long as you don't serve the chicken that way."


afp763389That's an interesting code name you've got there. How did you get my phone number?

1:16 PM  
Blogger Grafxgurl said...

eeks... err.. you DONT have Nazi blood in you by any chance do you?... * sidles away*....

WHY do you have such GREY dreams
!?!!

3:54 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

grafxgurl
Nazi blood? Moi? I'm no more venal than a mole on quaaludes or a beaver after an extraction.

And the color of my dreams. What were you expecting---chartreuse? fuschia? peach?
You kidding? I'd never post those hues.

My Word Verification: egtmi = "Egg-tummy"

4:39 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Oh I had to post this Word Verification:
ORGSMSHOW Nuff said.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Chilling and lyrical at the same time. Your dreams are so well plotted I never want to leave the theatre.

6:36 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

patry francis For each memorable sequence, there are countless instances of mind-numbing chaos which unravels me.

Verification Word is: aqllqyn

Definitely a lost tribe of people who once fought on the side of good during "The Battle of Coney Island".

8:10 AM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

wv= akelno, isnt this a lovely sound!!
what do u make of it? a primitive sounding word meaning i don't know! ( a gallic shrug has to be a part of it!)

1:38 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

gulnaz
'Tis a lovely sound indeed. "A Celtic nay!"

Hqlbrnk
This must be "Headquarter Labs on the Brink" or "Huge Quarter lb-er really needing ketchup"

5:58 PM  
Blogger Pecos Blue said...

Wow lucky cat and you.

10:54 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

pecos blue
Yes, We both quite enjoy the jellyfish-stuffed electric eels with a squid ink reduction over a bed of kelp.

6:42 AM  
Blogger _Soulless_ said...

cello-packed noodles of extruded ground beef

Ouch. I think my intestines just felt a tinge of what happened to the beef. *chuckle, chuckle*

A giant halibut and catfish are battling for something dead below, kicking up an underwater sandstorm.

This makes me fidget on the edge of my chair... A "dead" what? Eep.

p.s.
As usual, I've been dutifully reading through the comments and replies above. Had a blast exercising my abdominal muscles from a fit of laughter, having read this:

Ein kleiner fisch ditty(sung to "I'm a Little Teapot")
I'm a little fishy,
I can swim;
Here is my tail,
here is my fin.
When I want to have fun with my friend,
I wiggle my tail and dive right in.


And now that ditty's stuck in my head. Sigh. Oh well, something new to sing while in the shower. Heehee.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

chinatown>>>wotta great film that was and still is. (must remember to shove it onto my profile favourite list).

the crab lay on its biled back staring stupidly at the supine moon. the fish was mashed and didn't look like fish and so i ate along with the pasta.

conscience absolved by hunger and washed down by a couple of glasses of Rose.

hope no one slits my nose with a knife though. its big as noses go but it is all mine.

9:36 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

soulless I love whenever you jump into the comments cage here and mix it up. Ab workouts are best while fish dittying in the shower...ahem...let me rephrase that. Ab workouts are most effective if accompanied by giggly fish ditties.

Here's another fishy flab fix (with easy-to-follow mimes in parentheses) from Finnegan's world famous: "Blubber Blasters ®“.

Listen up!

SHIVER ME FISHIES!

Have you ever gone a fishin' (cast your fishing pole)

On a bright and sunny day (sun above your head)

And seen the little fishies (eye goggles)

Swimmin’ in and out the bay? (hands together to zigzag)

With their hands in their pockets (show 10 fingers, hit top of thighs)

And their pockets in their pants (hit top of thighs, hit side of thighs. Excellent for those stubborn deposits!)

And all the little fishies doin’ the (hands together to zigzag)

Hoochie Coochie Dance! (Here you can do your thing)

Now, drop one word every time you sing the song and fill in only the motion...Continue until only motions remain and go faster and faster!



Cocaine Jesus
Odd how animal carcasses are more easily dealt with when eyes aren't staring back at you.

That scene with the knife---where Roman Polanski ("Where'd you get the midget?") slits Jake's nose has an interesting anecdote behind it.
Polanski had a knife fabricated with a hinged tip, so that when he flicked it against Jake's nostril flange, the point would harmlessly pivot downwards. However, as it was only made to hinge one-way, Polanski needed to make certain it was in the correct position. He toyed with Nicholson before shooting the scene, saying: "Wait, which way was I suppose to hold it?" Got Jack unhinged---his nervousness palpable in the scene. Now that's creative direction.

I've got another anecdote regarding Chinatown which peripherally involves yours truly. You'll see it on my "101 things" list when I finally put it together.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Queen Neetee said...

Cats!(I love them.) The things we must endure to find just the right morsels to fill their little bellies can be a sometimes nightmare.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

nice bit of background to the film. sure must have added to the realism.

that to one side though my kids are giving me funny looks.

"why are you singing stupid songs about fish" they ask.

"Blame souless" i reply

guess i'd better stay in the shower all day.

9:37 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Neetee And the nightmares they must endure---waiting for us like to understand what it is they desire. "Vladimir and Estragon" would be good names for a pair of cats, since they are the two tramps in "Waiting for Godot".

Cocaine Jesus
If you're planning on the shower all day, could I interest you in my new collection of shower songs entitled: "Fiddlin' About" ?

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is one terrific site! i love your writing style as well as the content. the unexpected thing was coming back here and seeing this crazy party going on.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Queen Neetee said...

Hear, Hear. Well put indeed. Your cleverness runs on full. What a joy it is - when reading your posts - to feel as if I'm standing before a beautifully rendered abstract art piece that's difficult to walk away from. And when I finally do, I return to make sure that I saw what I thought I saw.

7:11 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

queen neetee
Funny you should mention abstract art. Whenever I eat abstract meals too soon before bedtime, the dreams can resemble my friend Bob Anderson's art (Pair-O-Dice). After some of the more hellacious ones, I wake up looking like a Willem DeKooning painting from the early 50's.

Verifiction word: Hannm

7:23 AM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

yep, i know that song well and often employ its tuneful refrain but only in the shower.

MAJJSI.

5:03 PM  
Blogger _Soulless_ said...

Dearest Nutty Finnegan,

You should have your very own infomercial. *nods head vigorously* Make tapes, VCDs, and DVDs of this mime-routine of yours. (Ooh, "Blubber Blasters ®" on TV!) *grin, chuckle, giggle* And just so you know, I'm buying just to see ya sing and move exxxxactly like that. Nyahahahahaaa...

CJ,

"Blame souless" i reply

Me? *bats eyelashes* B-b-but I'm presumed innocent till proven fish-ditty-crazy-guilty. Teeheehee.

(Uhurm. *folds hands on lap* I'm gonna behave now... ^_^)

6:44 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

cocaine jesus
WHO might we speaking of here?

soulless
I can see you have more time on your hands, which is a bonus for me my visitors. You and C.J. can bang out duets, with C.J. on fiddle while I handle the Go-Go action.

Verification word: lrcipllj

9:28 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

dude! strong work on the logo for my link!

11:44 PM  
Blogger _Soulless_ said...

Well, dear, it's just that visiting your blog is a proven effective way of making my stress dissipate. ^_^ Call it my "Finnegan fix."

Yupp, it's addicting. (Get me into counselling. Haha. Bleh. ^_^)

1:30 AM  
Blogger Grafxgurl said...

i hate cats...

6:40 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

doc
Ah, it's no biggie. simple Photoshop karate chopping from the pix.

soulless
Finnegan fix as a proven way of dissipating stress? That's the doc's department. (Felicitious timing on his part).
For relief from those kinks and stinks, one out of a thousand doctors recommends "Waking Finnegan".


Verification Word: rvjonse Sounds like a camper addiction to me---as in "I've got an RV Jones".

7:14 AM  
Blogger Pincushion said...

*giggles*..errr..that was a nervous one! Come to think of it, cats always do that to me..so does meat..no make that butchers! Lotsa them around..no?!!Like politicians! But pardon me..I am just a weak stomached vegetarian..lol!
I sure like this workmanship, heh!

7:39 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

pincushion
good to see you back here. butchers and meat, butchers and meat---time to beat a hasty retreat.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Calaloola said...

humourous and evocative as ever, finnegan ;) that guy was creeping me out, just imagine how scary he'd be to a vegetarian...

3:07 PM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

not happy wth you at all young fella me lad. NO NEW DREAM STUFF to read. i guess i'll just get back in the shower with Souless.

today's electonic spell is BARUUSSI

3:39 PM  
Blogger karma said...

this sounds very fishy to me :P

... so does ukvndpo

6:48 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

caloola
I'm not a vegetarian, but I can well imagine the frisson of a carrots vs. rump steak battle.

C.J.
Baruussi I say! (Short for Russian Bar I guess). I'm rushin' to re-edit last night's adventures before you and Soulless end up tangled like a trout.

karma wow, you haven't been around since the battle of coney island!

Verification Word is "rkkecwg", which means something like WSYWYG wrecked?

9:28 PM  
Blogger _Soulless_ said...

CJ,

Have pity on the bathroom tiles. Hahaha. (Uhurm, I mean they might crack when we sing a duet of Finnegan's fish ditties. Nyahaha.)

Finnegan,

More morbid dreams? I'm hopeful. *crosses fingers*

11:51 AM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

finn, you have excellent imagination which is waiting to be harnessed into something like writing fiction or film making. use it. humble opinion.

1:13 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

soulless
Where have you acquired the taste for morbidity? If it's morbid stuff you like, then I've got a bunch of earlier Dawn of the Dead sort of stuff to toss into the flesh pit.

gulnaz
You are a sweetheart Gulnaz. Wanna be my Director of Phrenology?

5:43 PM  

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