The Price Of Obsession Is Madness

by Victor David Sandiego

For years, Adam counted the beans. Each morning, at eight o’clock sharp, he took the pot from the cupboard, placed it on the countertop, withdrew exactly eleven raw beans, and placed them in his hand. The beans were smooth and variegated, like small eggs of a beautiful bird. It pleased Adam to look at them for a moment before putting the eleven in one of the plastic bottles that he always found in the alley next to his house. Eleven, he liked to say, because it is the only number that resembles the betrothed as they approach the priest. Some said that this number was the number of times that Adam had been in the hospital, but they were simple people who had never aroused a divine experience of their own.

When I have counted all beans, I will be happy, Adam would say. But it seemed doubtful that he could continue his mission. The house was full of bottles: all of the shelves, each nook, and each corner exhibited a grand assortment of labels and colors that reflected the pitiful light into bizarre figures that seemed to dance on the celling. I have the bathroom, Adam said one day when the authorities at last knocked on the door. I still have my sock drawer.

The ambulance made the sound of knives when they fall on the floor. A dog sadly barked. A long way to go, said Adam from the back window. We still have a long way to go.

This piece first appeared in The Tishman Review, 2016

Tags: Poetry Prose


Unfocused, scattered, shallow behavior can also lead to madness. Could we be talking about that middle path? Is that a fulfilling path? Thanks for your piece on Obsession.
Day-va, Oct 12, 2018