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Sketches (Gals)

July 16, 2012

We all lapse binary: between dreamlike surly consciousness, skulking in the eaten-away portions of our separate dominions, and our tacit reality- an unstoppable flow of infinite frames per second of everything, always, forever, eroding our bodies and our bodies’ effects. She (Scarlet) would often presume herself to be native to the former, because, because, because, becau’… because of chemical imbalances, innate chakras, psychosexual impulse-complexes instilled from early childhood, any one, any how, would most likely prove to be correct at the right moment on the right day. It was as if her psyche was divvied up halfsies-like with a razorblade: on one axis, feeling. On the other, knowing. Her strength of conviction was never fully behind either, and so, if you talked to Scarlet for long enough, wormed as deeply as you could beneath the cold, unblemished but sometimes slightly clammy rubbery-clay skin that stretched across her forehead you would get a disturbing sense that she was completely unsure of everything that crossed her path; in fact, she would display such a total lack of confidence in what stated itself to be true and such an unnatural magnetic desire to disprove anything which said it wasn’t so, that you would think she was either irrationally stupid or in the possession of such a singularly complex mind that she was practically a gabbering fucking autistic corner-dweller.
Truthfully, the most painful thing for her to bear was that every day when she lapsed out of unconsciousness into hyperconsciousness the realization came to her that this was a condition she shared with at least 6 billion other people, and that she was a complete stranger to herself and hideously familiar to complete strangers. Maybe, more than anything else, it was this rare degree of self-consciousness that tipped the scale towards introspection for Scarlet, because she was hopelessly enslaved by the id. Luckily the outside world punched through intermittently to distract her from these thoughts, thoughts which would otherwise wholly devour her.

“All I’m saying is, I’d like to listen to some music- can we put on some music? Please?”
“Alright, alright. Gimme a sec, ‘kay? I’m finishing this foot first.”
“Oh my god, bitch. Your fucking foot can wait, ‘kay? I want to hear music and iwanttohearitnow. Got iiiiiiiiit?”
“I’m not playing music until my foot’s done.”
“Ugh, fine. I’m going to have more of this red, then.”
“Easy! If my parents come home early and you’re sloppy on their wine, how d’you think that’ll look?”
“Pshhhh. Yeah right. Look, just paint faster. God, it smells foul in here; can I at least open a window?”
“Be my guest. Literally.”
“Awesome.” Annette leaned back across the bed and opened a window. “Soooo. How’s that foot comin’?”
“Just… the… little toe…”
“Okay okay okay okay, I’m just going to choose something then. Alright? Cool?”
“Not cool. My house, my music.”
“Well, duh. I didn’t just carry any of my CDs over here, I mean God, right?”
Scarlet was entranced by her toenails. “Are, you… calling, me, stupid?”
“Read it however you like, ‘kay? I am just so bored, sitting here doing nothing while you take all fucking year to finish one toe.”
The TV was on. Scarlet unmuted it with her free hand. “Go to town. Premium Cable.”
“So. Boring. Are you for real?”
“I’m for real done with this toe.” The toe in question was fanned and dried, and slipped into a stylish red leather sandal. Open-toe. “These look good?”
“What, your feet? Or the sandals? They’re a bit strappy.”
“What, my feet?”
Annette looked confused.
“Just kidding. So, you wanted music?”
“Whatever. So over it. God.”
“No, I’ll play some music! It’ll be cool.”
“Better be good.”
“What is this ‘good music’ that you speak of? I’m sorry, strange female. I only have Frank Sinatra and old Sonny and Cher.”
“Bleaaaaaagh.” Annette, not without skill, mimicked vomiting copiously.
“It’s what yer gettin’, so buckle up tight.” Scarlet tiptoed across the bedroom’s salmon carpet until she got to the CD changer. She depressed a plastic nub and Satie’s Sarabande I started playing.
“What the fuck is this? Gross. Classical.”
Scarlet frowned with her eyebrows, an act the women in her family excelled at. “I have no idea how this got in here, actually. It’s probably my weirdo brother’s, or something.”
“God, he’s such a fag.”
“A fag that buys us booze and gets us into parties, I’ll remind you.”
“Faggy fag faggot artist queer-o parties. His parties suck. All the hot boys are interested in each other.”
“Jesus, Annette, maybe if you stopped thinking with your engorged labia all the time…”
“Shut up, dyke, you know you love them.”
“Oh yeah, they’re obviously the second-best. In the room.”
“Hahahahahahahahaha. Fun-ny.” Annette rolled over onto her back and stared at the ceiling for a few seconds before craning her head at a 90-degree angle to her body so that she could drink more wine from the stemless glass she had been palming. She sighed. “You ever wonder… like, if you were somewhere else, who you’d be and what you’d be doing?”
Scarlet frowned with her eyebrows again. “Wow, that’s very deep.”
“I’d probably be friends with prettier and richer girls, banging hot guys all the time in their jacuzzis.”
“You know, I’m beginning to have second thoughts about letting you in the jacuzzi now.”
“Hot tub. It’s different from a jacuzzi.”
“How, in your eyes, is a hot tub any different from a jacuzzi?”
“Jacuzzis have those jets.” Annette mimed masturbation. “Mmmmmmmm.”
“You, madam, are depraved. I recommend floggings.”
“Ooooh, kinky.” They both giggled like girls about three years younger, and then lapsed back into silence. Annette twirled her hair in her fingers before letting it dangle idly in her mouth. It didn’t taste like anything, she thought- actually, the more she thought about it, she didn’t know.
Scarlet, meanwhile, was feeling on the verge of some sort of extra-sensory breakthrough, where every particle of dust that lay in the air was about to rush by her face at once and not at once, scratching against her skin. She was intensely focused on the individual notes of Satie playing in the background, but she found she couldn’t recognize any melody overall; just separate clusters of tone. The woofers in the speakers that faced her king-sized bed (where Annette was lying on her back, chewing on her hair) were pushing little gusts of air into her face. Her eyes felt very dry.
Annette’s eyes were closed, and her head was now resting straight backwards at a 180-degree angle parallel with her body. There was still a strand of hair in her mouth, and she was thinking only of its texture. It was strange, she supposed, that it didn’t taste like anything, because she had washed it that morning, but she didn’t take note of it. She ran her tongue along its grain, lengthwise, running perpendicular to the straight line her body made, and marveled at how smooth and luxurious her hair was. She had always considered her skin her best feature, but- maybe, had she been wrong?
Scarlet grabbed a wine glass- she wasn’t sure whose- and eliminated its contents. Everything around her was very sharp when she wanted it to lack definition, blend along. This was, she figured, the reason why she was breaking into the expensive wine she had illegally smuggled from Europe so soon. She looked at Annette, the other reason.
“Hey, stop tapping me, bitch.”
“I’m not tapping you!” Scarlet had been tapping her.
“OH MY GOD, A GHOST!” Sarcasm.
“Shhh. Not so fucking loud, okay?”
“Why not? We’re the only ones here.”
“True. It’s just obnoxious, I guess.” Her head was steady, care of her hands. Less jitters now.
“Less… ooooobnoxiousss… than this?” Annette began tugging at Scarlet’s hair, not hard enough to hurt but enough so that a few short, auburn hairs scattered down the back of her neck, underneath her shirt’s collar.
“Christ! I just got a haircut, thanks.”
“I knoooow, I was there. Hello.”
Scarlet groaned in response, and flopped onto the bed, onto her belly, so that she was facing the same direction as Annette, their heads aligned but not matching up together. Before she had a chance to retaliate, Annette slapped her ass.
“Why don’t you haul that thing up and out and we can use that hot tub, actually?”
“But our naaaaiiiiilllllsssss.”
“ Whatever.” Scarlet still didn’t seem completely convinced, so Annette tried levity. “Hey. Promise no anonymous sperm donors. This time.”
A grin cracked. “You know? I think I’d prefer them to be anonymous, honestly.”
“Finally. We can agree on something.”
They rolled out of their respective positions and padded down the stairs of Scarlet’s house, to the left across the piny-fresh hardwood floor and through her well-stocked kitchen, where there was a large, immaculate granite island. Seeing it for the first time, a person would find it difficult to believe anybody had ever laid food on it before. Scarlet couldn’t remember the last time. Two half-empty wine bottles sat forlornly on its far end. “Oooh! More wine! Let’s bring it with!”
“Ugh. Fine. But I’m not dragging your corpse out of the hot tub.”
“That sounds like a challenge.”
“That sounds like you have some problems with your comprehension… of… my… uh, sentences? God, shut up.”
“Hahahahaha!” Annette’s laugh was flat and false but still full of some sort of twisted life. “Wow, Genius McTalksalot, that sure was great. Who didn’t need to show the Prof cleavage to get a 90% on his so-called ‘unbeatable’ test, again?”
“Not you.” Scarlet turned around on her heel and gave Annette her pissiest glare, which stopped Annette in her tracks for a second, before she began to laugh her weird non-laugh again.
“I didn’t let him touch. So it’s just like an accident, really.”
“Suuuuuuuuure, you didn’t let him touch.”
“Oh my God. You’re jealous, aren’t you? You’re jealous of me for a little nip-slip that our pervy old English Prof may or may not have even seen?”
“Oh, he saw. There’s no way you’re actually good enough at anything to get a better score than me.”
“Jealous, jealous!”
Scarlet scowled, and turned back around and swept open the sliding glass window/door that led to her family home’s back patio. “Here we go, anyway. Have at it.” She removed a panel, revealed knobs that she then twisted until satisfied; Annette, hearing the thing rumble into action like it ravened for her soul, was petrified for a moment and forgot where she was. She snapped herself out of it before Scarlet could notice whatever expression she wore naked on her face, if any- she wasn’t sure.
Scarlet warmed her palms against the faux-leather exterior of the thing as it whirred its way towards life-threatening. “We better hop in so we can acclimate- trust me, it’s better that way.”
“Okay.”
In anticipation, they’d been wearing modest bathing suits underneath their ill-fitting tees, so it was without great fanfare or parading of underlying assets that their clothes were balled and thrown into the corner of the patio, to be dealt with later. The water kissed all their skin simultaneously, to different effect respectively: Annette, less tan, was being cooked; Scarlet (a brunette to Annette’s blonde), tawny and thin, cooked too, though like a bone in soup-stock. She was being leached of all her consciousness and essence, becoming one with the surrounding seven feet of area and unaware of everything else; a tunnel-vision of the body.
There were “mmms,” and “ahhhhs” of assent as they let themselves go languid, propping their bodies up by keeping the walls wedged between their dry arms and wet spines. Annette reached for a fresh-poured glass, and with an insipid floating motion brought it to her lips and held it there. Scarlet, through heavy lids, watched as the wine-level in her friend’s glass decreased steadily but almost imperceptibly, little by little, listening to Annette breathing through her nostrils at a largo until at last it was empty again, and Annette’s eyes were completely closed.
Across her skin sweat and condensation mingled, forming patches of perfect-pore-dappled epidermal shine like worn pink football-hide coated in body butter. These moisture-slicks were slowly spreading across Annette’s forehead, her cheeks, where her cheeks met her neck; her facial complexion was growing more and more rubbery. Scarlet was at first intrigued by this phenomenon, and traced their outlines on Annette’s face with the tip of her right pointer finger until she realized her friend wasn’t tickled by her touch.
“Shit. Shit!” She grabbed and waved Annette’s face, to no avail. “Shiiiiit! Shit.” Scarlet’s hands moved down to a less seemingly-dangerous grapplehold, Annette’s shoulders, and shook harder. “Annette! Can you hear me? Come on, come on. Come on.”
Annette’s eyes remained closed as Scarlet shook her more violently and carelessly, water cresting over the hot tub’s sides and slapping against wood, echoing Annette’s skin smacking the hot tub’s lining. “Come onnnnnnnn. Come on.”
The screen door leading deckside rattled open as Scarlet intoned this mantra, and through it stepped lightly Gregor, her weirdo brother, holding a lime rickey in one hand and the end of a towel, the rest of which was draped over its respective shoulder, in the other. “What the hell is going on back here,” he said desultorily, half-raising an eyebrow in surprise and laconic amusement. “Need some help?”
“No! I mean, yes! I mean, GOD!” Scarlet exhaled this at the top of her lungs and register, releasing Annette, who slumped forwards so that the tip of her nose met the water and formed an arch with her body, graceful somehow even in torpor. It was at this time that Annette chose to wake up.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, calmmmthe. Fuuuuuck-down, everything’s okay, everything’s okay,” she mumbled to her belly button as she ran her own (pruny) hands up and down her torso, just to check if everything was still there.
“WHAT!?!?”
“I said, ‘calm down,’ is what I said.” Annette rolled her eyes. “Bitch.”
“Well. Looks like you two are having fun. Again. Do the… parents… know about these, ‘shenanigans’?” He was grinning, still, but he was always grinning, and now grinning while leaning against the screen door, arms folded, towel-hand now free and idly scratching its matching arm’s bicep. He was wearing a kelly-green short-sleeve button-up that he insisted had been bought as a touch of irony but that Scarlet insisted was proof against the 100%-effectiveness of stereotyping. It did not match anything, ever.
“Can’t you see how much fun we’re having here?” Then sideways, “Come on, let’s get out.” Annette was struggling to pull herself out of the tub by pushing against its edges with her elbows, but every time her body was partially emerged its weight returned and she faltered like a newborn animal only to splash back in. “Help her out, Gregor. Please?”
“Ugh. Fine.” Gregor ambled over to Annette’s side, grabbed her by her biceps, and pulled her up straight, holding her there for a second as she deliberated over which leg was best to hoist onto the deck. “Right leg, Annie. Right leg, girl. There you go.” He waited until she had plopped into one of the nearby plastic-and-aluminum chairs, then draped the towel that he’d been holding over her shoulders. “Oh-kayy. So, on that note, I. Am. Headed… Out.”
Scarlet glared. “Fine.”
He pushed open the screen door.
“Where?”
Scarlet transferred her glare to Annette. “Not where you’re going.” Annette gave her a blank look, as if to repeat the question. “Which is nowhere.”
Gregor sighed. “I don’t think either of you would be interested, anyway. Work thing.”
Annette, aggrieved, rolled her eyes. “Get on with it then.”
“With your permission.” He slid the door shut, his body somehow pulled backwards through it and away into another room, another place.
Annette looked at Scarlet. “Let’s take the convertible. He never takes the convertible. Let’s go out and do something for a change.”
“If you think you’re driving, you’ve been brain-damaged by the hot tub. Not that it matters at this point, I guess. Whatever brains are left in that skull were mush long before.”
“Thanks, bitch.”
“You’re welcome, slutjockey.”
“That makes no sense.”
“You make no sense.” And so forth and so on, back through the house like tape played in reverse, drying off, getting dressed, being made up again, flitting in and out of the bathroom and bedroom until finally the fragile constancy of composure was restored to their likenesses.

They headed south on 101 out of Larkspur towards the city. It was a warm night, and Scarlet’s father’s 1987 red BMW 325i convertible- a car he had driven in his youth before her- seemed to drip around turns, stuttering in and out of 3rd and 4th gears, its hum providing accompaniment to the wind chopping through their expertly-conditioned ‘dos. Annette reached for the radio, only to have her hand flicked away.
“We’ll be in town soon; give it a rest, ‘kay?”
“But I’m booooored.”
“You’re always bored unless you’re doing something you aren’t ‘supposed to’.”
“Your point?”
“Be bored, for once. Come join the rest of us on this boring little rock.”
Annette sighed and stretched her hand out off the side of the car, forming a claw with her fingers and grabbing the air that rushed past. “Bahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Bah humbug.”
Scarlet snorted. “Christmas coming early this year?”
“It fucking better be coming as soon as we get into town.”
“What does that even mean?”
Annette stared at herself in the sideview mirror for an interval of several seconds, before she turned and responded as if she was interjecting as soon as she could, as if there was a tape-delay between the two of them, as if they were on different continents. “-I dunno.”
Scarlet smiled and, the narcissism contagious, quickly checked her smile for flaws in the rearview mirror. These were the mannerisms formed by old friendships, and although each could almost predict the onset of the other’s tics, it was less like deja vu and more like rewatching a favorite movie for the hundredth time- saying the lines as or before the characters onscreen spoke them, laughing at sight gags that have yet to unfold, sighing at the mise en scene of a beautiful establishing shot while we are still in the closeup of a preceding scene.

The next scene: Annette falling asleep, Scarlet prodding her awake half an hour later when they pulled into a space at her father’s office building. We are there yet. Two doors opened, two sets of legs and feet hauled themselves over the last bit of car before slumping gratefully onto pavement and straightening to support the bodies which unfolded diagonally to almost meet the low, sloping horizon of the walls surrounding the lot.
“So, where do we go? “
“Out. I don’t know, Annette.”

They went to a restaurant and ordered drinks with their fake I.D.’s. When the drinks came, Scarlet found that the sky’s color had changed from old mauve to that of a velvety plum and that it didn’t match her cocktail at all.

They were in the back seat of his car. Maybe It was just Scarlet there, but she did not know who or where she was, really. She felt the carpet’s stubble flush against her fingers as her body rolled with the car’s body, as the car turned right, as they glided with dark muffled sound wordlessly, his fingers scuttling through her outer layers and peeling her like an onion. Scarlet’s head flopped so that it was off of the seat, and he repositioned it. Nobody spoke. Annette was slumped against the door, chin to her chest, head lolling. It was dark inside of the car.
There was coagulated vomit and mucus coating Scarlet’s bare chest, and Annette’s torso was horizontal, propped against the back of the driver’s seat, perpendicular to her legs- one of which splayed towards him and over his left leg. He held the bridge of Scarlet’s nose between his thumb and forefinger like the handle of a thin knife. Nobody spoke. Scarlet’s right eye was shiftless and meandering; her left was half-obscured by a drooping eyelid.
Annette’s head was resting on the car floor, her arms in front of her as if she was reaching for something. She was not. The interior of the car became briefly illuminated by a passing streetlight, and then it was dark again. Scarlet was rotating her right hand against the carpet, giving herself rug burn to remain conscious. She was looking at him. He was looking at Annette. He said something to the driver, but she did not understand it.
Annette was not in the car anymore. Scarlet was alone in the back seat, her legs towards him, her back against the car door like Annette had been earlier. She was very tired, and it was dark inside of the car. He moved over her like a shadow, and she did not know he was a person at first until he held the side of her face in his palm.
Scarlet attempted pushing herself up with her elbow, but it was floating somewhere far away. The inside of the car was so large, and his hand held the side of her head so she could not see anything but a faint greenish cloud of light from the console. She tried to turn to the right, to turn her back to him. She was very tired.
His face was very close to Scarlet’s. His eyes were two dark planets, but she could not figure craters, could not see their circumference. Her eyes were flickering and blurring whatever she saw, so she could not see the expression on his face. He said something, not to her or the driver or himself but to say something, but she didn’t know what he was saying. She could not feel vomit on her chest anymore.
It was dark and she could not see, but Scarlet could feel something poking her inches below the ribs. She felt a dull pain from somewhere far away. He was holding her face still. The prodding was insistent and deep within her, like the pounding of a bass drum from within a deep cave. Like giant raindrops on a warehouse ceiling. She felt warmth seeping outwards into her clothing from there. She was very tired and hollow and the warmth led her into a wormhole.

Anterior Daring Cairn Antennae

October 3, 2011

Fingering through ulcer pills, discarded dayplanners with half-legible sentences half-writ in margins, neoprene-tipped ex-binderguards whose dejection is infinite against the scarred and smudgy faux-wood bin where they lie, Norman Perbandyshamp-Kentfurdel is reminded of nobody’s past in particular. Certainly not his own, which, as he recalls, is completely devoid of anything not completely singular.

Then, through the thrift-store wall, there comes a trumpeting, and an Afric King atop a majestic pachyderm appears at will through an aperture of rubble where once there was the exact same wall.

“YOU HAVE ELUDED ME, NORMAN. COME TO THE WATERING-HOLE. AT ONCE.” The Afric King speaks in Norman’s mind- a chorus of voices both stern and cajoling, and Norman ejaculates in his pants at the extreme sensation of total psychic communication with a bejeweled black man upon an elephant.

Then, just as soon, he is being prodded with a yardstick in his sodden crotch by a child-

his child?

He doesn’t have children. Shit.

“Mommy, mommy! The bad man peed himself, look! Look!”

“No, no, I have not. I have not… peed myself. I must escape. Excuse me.” Norman blunders forward to grab a large children’s dictionary with a picture of a smiling octopus on it, aware that he is still halfway in a state of arousal and feeling the need to hide it fully. The child, however, is tenacious in his conviction that there are others, adults even, that engage in ritual self-soilage, and will not be turned back so easily.

“It’s okay, mister, I pee myself a lot too. Sometimes when I see a car, or when mister muffins surprises me.” The child’s grubby little hand snatches for Norman’s sleeve. His facial expression is shockingly sincere, and Norman chokes back his anger a little, but not enough.

“Look. Look here, boy. Look, I will give you a dollar if you leave me alone; I was not taken unawares by a car or a cat.” He waves the dollar in the tyke’s face.

“Mister muffins isn’t a cat. He’s my daddy’s special friend, who daddy says not to talk about in front of-” and the little boy realizes his gaffe as his mother’s face reddens, but he still manages to snatch the dollar before fleeing, mother in hot pursuit.

“Ricky! RICKY! Tell me more about daddy’s special playtime! Is that why we can’t have hamsters! IS THAT WHY THERE WAS THE MOUTH-BALL!!!???”

Norman stumbles out of the thrift store as quickly as his mind can buoy him. He is in the parking lot when he attempts to find his keys; scrabbles his fingers about in his pockets when he cannot. He begins to feel awash with anxiety- little pockets of hypoglycemic seizures intermittently firing at random in his forehead- and breaks into a sprint, across the four-lane thruway and onto whatever car-dealership’s lot it is, throws down a fellow about to test-drive a new Mercedes, snatches the keys, guns the fucker over the sidewalk and into the road, chucks over the traffic island, and sets himself into oncoming traffic. “Elephant… elephant…” his lips form these words. Sweat. He is covered in glorious sweat, which reflects the midday sun into the windshield, creating glare. Still, his form is perfect. He dodges all comers, most of whom are at a standstill anyhow. They are a blur of horns and gloss packages, newly-wiped mufflers, etc.

 

12-15 Funky Bitches

September 15, 2011

I do not often have the luxury of being visited by Sherman, especially not in broad daylight- I have no desire to learn any of these rules she spoke of years ago, you see, and because of this particular lack of covetousness I tend to avoid places and times where the aftershock of history impinges upon the present, cordoning off singular reality and washing me in sensations I’m not entirely familiar with. Had I ever felt the curiosity prerequisite to visiting reenactments then I would better know these things. Terrycloth, odd dialects, sulfur and sweet disease bleeding into one another. Speaking of bleeding, here’s a dead union soldier underneath my right foot as I speak.

“H-help me! Brave, noble sir!”

“No. I don’t like you. Your moustache is frightening, and I am leaving.”

“I beg you! please, please! TELL ROSE I LOVE HER!”

It’s too late for him, though. By the time my derisive laughter at the poor stupid bastard’s pathetic last words reaches him in Hell, I’ll be slowly weaning myself off of whatever was in those microdots, drinking bottled water at the official Gettysburg gift shop and stealing furtive glances at that 37(?)-year-old lady in the Mom Jeans who’s got her 4(?)-year-old son Robert firmly by his left hand, pulling him around by it hard enough to dislocate his shoulder. I’m not sure what excites me more, the prospect of a toddler dislocating his arm or the Mom Jeans. Wolfish, I slide my Wayfarers down the bridge of nose. What have we here?

You’re probably wondering how I know the little bastard’s name. Robert. Robert. Robert. Well, first off, it’s kind of a fag-name. I mean, Robert??! Really, lady? It’s 2011, almost 2012. You’re giving this whimpering scrap of barely-locomotive scum that little to work with? He can’t even pronounce his own name, and I know better than most that speech impediments form early, and never ever change, no, not ever. He keeps echoing “Wobbewt. Wobbewt,” whenever she says his name, like in an example sentence I’ll show below, labelled “fig 1.”

FIG 1: “Robert. Robert, honey-”

“-Wobbewt. Wobbewt.”

Not missing a beat, “-honey, don’t touch that. It’s antique.

WRONG, LADY. It’s a mass-produced replica, as if everything made out of wood in the Civil War had a glossy sheen over it. I mean, uh, it’s a pop gun, so obviously those were only invented in like 1997 to scam foolish tourists anyway. Moot point. Cunt.

Now that I know she’s so much more dumb than I am she’s beginning to lose her allure, though. Still, it’d be a waste of a perfectly-good secondhand designer handkerchief not to finish myself off in the gift-shop bathroom, so I go and do exactly that, and when I emerge victorious I find that the entire place is soaked in viscera, and that there are perfect halves of humans cast about its aisles, twisting and making a kind of “gawp, gawp,” sound. But much louder than you’re probably imagining.

This is all hypothetical, though. I’m still staring down at a union soldier with a musket-ball in his shoulder. It doesn’t look that bad, but… he still thinks he’s dying, I still think he’s there, and my tour guide’s mildly perplexed at why I have my foot on top of a downed scarecrow’s chest in the middle of The World’s Smallest Commercial Cornfield ™, which isn’t located anywhere Gettysburg but somewhere in Nebraska.

Uh.

Reviewing The Past Ten Minutes Objectively

September 7, 2011

For the first ten seconds of the first minute of the ten minutes I’ll be reviewing, I don’t really remember, because at the time I didn’t know I was reviewing them and so couldn’t take notes- this is akin to any other type of critic perhaps being dragged into an unmarked, windowless van and being forced to experience something they barely recognize as the medium they usually criticize anyway- but forgive me, I’ll try to summarize the remaining nine minutes fifty seconds more carefully.

Saying the last ten minutes- does that mean from the point at which I began writing? The point at which it was published? The point at which you started, or finished, reading?

I guess I’ll keep it vague.

The first 30 seconds (after the first ten seconds, so really the thirty seconds after [although, wait- I think we can assume, as an educated audience, that on the whole such measurements of time often bleed into one another, and since I cannot recall exactly what those ten seconds consisted of it is safe to say they were wholly like the subsequent thirty {which means, really, not the first 30 seconds after the real first ten seconds, but actually the first forty seconds}]) were completely ordinary. Maybe a bit cliche, in fact. But where there’s cliche, perhaps there’s also a knowing nod to the conventionality of it all. Perhaps those first forty seconds were homage if anything, a loving yet sarcastic fourth-wall-crumbling rendition of hoary old tropes presented anew, so that we might realize at last what these ten minutes, in context of the commonplace, truly mean? These opening moments establish tone so vitally that we, the observer, must never overlook any hidden authorial intent behind the true observer (that is, to say, that in order to objectively criticize my own reality I must absolutely divorce myself from the process that is memory and simply float backwards in time-space until there is a ghost-copy of myself superimposed inside of, around, atop, and below the me that was/is experiencing it, experience it simultaneously and compare my own thoughts against those of my simultaneous self, who is also aware of the fact that in nine and a half minutes [give or take] he will be partaking in the same process now/then as we/him are also doing at the point in time of writing/experiencing). It is absolutely essential to realize the will of reality is imposing itself completely and ruthlessly upon itself, as played out through infinite objective observances concurrent to one another at every given time, always.

The next thirty seconds were spent sneezing, I think, which given the establishment may be a way of decontextualizing the observer from the proceedings: what better way to shake loose the merciless foundations of pastiche by wallowing further in it with a gesture so deeply rooted in non sequitur? The only possible explanation at this given moment in time (the moment, as we’ve seen, is every given moment leading from ten minutes ago until any trace of this conscious thought is completely voided), sneezing was a violent rejection of the core principles emphasized mere seconds beforehand (or, afterwards, in constructing this criticism or experiencing it through inverse memorization techniques, which are faulty but useful mnemonically) which was completely necessary in order to fully embrace dipolarity in structure: what, then, less of a deliberate silence and ennui, than the furor of total involuntary action? The ten minutes (or nine minutes, although the ten are sovereign to them [de-establishing linear time as a modality of critical observation is important in this aperture, for any block of time is neither progressing or regressing, but simply a categorized set of values in which actions are measured, recorded, and set against eachother]) cannot fully be realized without such basic foundations, after all.

The next five and a half minutes were eaten by a small stroke. We will treat this as it was: a small stroke. I almost fucking died, guys. Could that have been precipitated by the sneezing? Perhaps utilizing a dipolar scheme of existence forced us to consider mortality as a constant within the microcosm of the Human Experience. Possible, possible. Let us agree on it.

 

 

So, assholes, when you tell me I never stop talking in real life, just thank your fucking pathetic annoying non-God/ patron saint of retards (because most rational people with religion would be polite, or avoid me) that I can’t just throw walls of text like this at you and force you to read them. Because I can go for-fucking-ever. LET THIS BE A SHOT ACROSS THE BOWS, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Gunk In Drains, Drunken Grains

August 28, 2011

“This is in the forest, core porridge-spoon lickers with malt liquors and bum tickers,” and then a ladybug landed on his arm and he crushed it between his forefinger and thumb before looking at it and realizing it was a ladybug, but he didn’t feel sad, “ugly dykes in tandem banned from the supermarket, harvest bargoers’ worst liver-sanctions, dank bankin’, on a beached barge drinking guarded harvey wallbangers,” but another ladybug landed on  his other arm and he paused before squishing it against his skin, “let the track roll, man. let the track roll.” shiiiiiit. do it again? I can’t remember that shit. Fuck.” his eyes turned to the clock; it was four-fifteen in the morning; he hadn’t slept for at least twenty hours. “let’s get some food. let’s get some grub, dawg. pizza, pizza” when they walked out in the parking lot, it was raining; his shirt got wet. he looked up at the sky, and because he was underneath an electric lamp he saw the rain coming down in a slanted, jazzy pattern. his brain, because it was swimming in hash-smoke and half-remembered rhymes, accepted the shirt’s wetness. he ruffled its broad helm with his palms and ducked into a waiting Kia. they didn’t get pizza, actually. they got ribs.

Part Deux Where There Was No Un

July 7, 2011

Dredging up from the cenote more abortive early attempts at one-acts, this one more surefooted in its conceit but probably less workable, seeing as the plot really gets bottlenecked right inside of the starting gate, breaking its leg and forcing trainers to come out onto the track with a shotgun, and, well, you can guess the rest…

(enter the family, stage right. The Dentist is situated with his back to the audience and the family, muttering quietly to himself over some type of instruments or whatnot).

(DADDY clears his throat).

DADDY: ahem! Excuse me, sir, but the receptionist’s office was empty. Are you the dentist?

(DENTIST continues to putter, as though he has not heard anything)

SHIRLEY: Daddy, maybe he’s not the dentist. Maybe it’s a holiday.

MOMMY: It could be. What day is it again, dear?

DADDDY: I think it’s the eleventh.

MOMMY: No, I meant to say, what day of the week is it?

DADDY: Ah! It’s Wednesday, of course.

SHIRLEY: Daddy, it’s Tuesday.

MOMMY: Oh! I have my yoga class on Tuesdays! Why couldn’t you have taken her alone?

DADDY: dear, we canceled the yoga classes a month ago, when you said that your orange chakra was sufficiently replenished.

MOMMY: (to herself) then whose house am I going to every Tuesday?

DADDY: (to himself) wait, then what’s that expense on our credit card bill?

SHIRLEY: Daddy! Mommy! Can’t we just leave?

DADDY: not so fast, young lady. Excuse me, sir!

(the Dentist is still absorbed in his puttering and muttering).

SHIRLEY: maybe he’s deaf.

DADDY: Perhaps. He certainly looks like a dentist, though. Whoever heard of a deaf dentist?

(the family prepares to leave. The dentist whips around, clutching a pair of pliers in his hand.)

DENTIST: Ha-ha! My number-one pair of tooth-pulling pliers, at last! I thought I’d lost you, my little darlings! Now who wants to get a tooth pulled?

DADDY: (outraged) have you completely lost your mind? What kind of dentist are you?

SHIRLEY: Daddy, let’s just go!

MOMMY: Shirley, you’re here to get your teeth pulled? Bad girl! Stop eating so much ice cream!

DENTIST: (brandishing pliers) Yes! Ice cream is bad for your teeth! All of them!

DADDY: You must have things mistaken, sir. Our little girl is here for a routine check-up.

DENTIST: In the world of medicine, there’s no such thing as (beat) “routine,” no “wrong” or “right.” Just unclean teeth… and the drill. (beat) Now hop up here and let’s see about all those horrible cavities I’m sure you have!

MOMMY: (examining Shirley) I don’t know, dear, she does look a little sickly.

SHIRLEY: Mommy! I don’t need any teeth pulled!

DADDY: That’s completely out of the question. You do know what you’re doing, don’t you?

DENTIST: of course, of course. My DDS certificate is just at the cleaner’s, that’s all. Just because the frame gets a little (beat) blood on it, apparently THAT means it needs to be cleaned. Or at least that’s what that harpy receptionist said…

SHIRLEY: (frightened) I don’t like this. Please, can we go?

DADDY: (to wife) I’m not sure this is a good idea…

MOMMY: I agree. Shirley certainly needs to get a tooth pulled or two; she’s getting a bit of an attitude.

DADDY: no, dear. The dental procedure in general.

MOMMY: Well, we need our teeth, don’t we?

SHIRLEY: why do you want to pull mine out so much, then?

MOMMY: mommy needs you not to contradict her right now, okay? Can you do that for me, honey?

SHIRLEY: b-but I like my teeth! (lower lip quivers, is about to cry).

DADDY: Shirley, nobody is going to pull your teeth.

DENTIST: Today. Maybe. Possibly.

DADDY: (ignoring him) this nice dentist is going to check you for cavities or bad things in your mouth, and then we’re going to go and get some ice cream, all right?

DENTIST: ICE CREAM!?? THE SILENT KILLER?  

Disregard The Fact That

July 5, 2011

women never take shit jobs like this.

 

Curtains up on girl in hot dog costume.

 

MANAGER: Now, your job is to do exactly what I tell you. Which is… uh… well, just wait a second. I need to go get the sheet telling me what to tell you to do. Wait here ’til I get back.

 

(Exit MANAGER)

 

(HDW stands alone on the sidewalk, looking equal parts disgusted, dejected, and bored).

 

HDW: (to nobody in particular) Oh, man. This job already blows, and I haven’t even started yet.

 

(A passerby enters stage right, whistling to themselves)

 

HDW: Oh boy. Here it comes.

 

PASSERBY 1: Hey! It’s a hot dog person! (laughing, pointing)

 

HDW: Damn it.

 

PASSERBY 1: Aren’t hot dogs s’posed to be happy?! Act like a real hot dog!

 

HDW: (Grimaces and does a little jig unenthusiastically)

 

PASSERBY 1: (Laughs like a moron) A dancing hot dog! And I thought I see’d everything! (Laughs again, leaves)

 

(Enter MANAGER)

 

MANAGER: (reading from a sheet robotically and far too loudly) GREETINGS NEW EMPLOYEE TO THIS HOT DOG VENDING FRANCHISE! HERE AT HOT DOGS WORLD WE ALWAYS LIKE TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN DOING IT FOR THE CUSTOMER AND OURSELVES! (laughs stiffly) THIS JOB CAN BE VERY HARD. (beat) BUT IT IS WORTH IT FOR THE SENSE OF SATISFACTION YOU WILL FEEL AT THE END OF EACH WORK DAY HAVING EARNED EXACTLY FIVE REAL AMERICAN DOLLARS AN HOUR! IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THIS JOB CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS AND SO EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY BE TEMPTED TO HAVE LOTS OF FUN IN YOUR NEW HOT DOGS WORLD REGULATION HOT DOG WEAR, YOU SHOULD REMAIN SERIOUS AND DEDICATED TO CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AT ALL TIMES THAT IS ALL. (eagerly) didja get all that? Should I read it again?

 

HDW: (beat, then hurriedly) No, no, that’s okay, really.

 

Guessing Game

July 1, 2011

Unlike pretty much every other post on this here thing, the title is related to the main body this time- specifically, guess what piece of music I was listening to on repeat while writing the below, which I shall start writing exactly now:

 

Her eyes, which are normally the first and second things anybody notices about her (first, then again on a double take at, well, the point-blank eyeness of them), seem tonight to be totally different ones that are the same color and size. Not only to people who’ve known those eyes before, but anybody in the cheesy faux red-velvet tack-carpet converted ballroom that she’s sitting across from a currently empty seat inside of. Her dress is horrifically inappropriate as well; it’s some kind of polyester/rayon combo, “sea-blue,” bought half-off from an already discount outlet. It’s clashing with pretty much everything. She imagined, inside of the fitting room, that within her fantasy-prom-context it would work, but she’d never been in the particular hotel ballroom that she was now in and couldn’t have known that outside of a neutral location, outside of the stentorian mirror’s frame that this thing would look so tacky and cheap. Her date, Alan, a nice quiet kid that earlier on the ride here touched her knee and looked at her in the rearview mirror, because he thought she wouldn’t notice, has been in the bathroom a while. She can’t shake the feeling that maybe people are looking at her and pitying her for being alone and in a stupid dress.

Back to her eyes. They hurt, because it’s smoky inside the ballroom. It’s smoky because prom committee allowed real, honest-to-god candles to be burnt in the name of atmosphere, and some asshole kids in the far corner where chaperones weren’t looking started burning programs quickly and efficiently, so that by the time they’d been dragged out the room was much more sway with the nightclub-ambience those popular kids on prom committee had so secretly yearned for in the first place. Out of stubbornness, the whole ceremony remained, as did the smoke, which put a smeary lens on the proceedings like it was a Lifetime (c) original joint. She’s never watched the Lifetime channel, though, and so she sits unaware of the potential comedy of the situation, eyes sore. If you asked Alan (who considers her owning a functional vagina her best feature, her not having grotesque facial features her second-best, and perhaps taking for granted the eyes’ very existence) what he thought of her eyes tonight, he would look at them and go, “Huh. Yeah, I guess they do look kind of different.”

It’s because she’d forgotten until the smoke began to fill the room to put in her new contacts- she has requested them specifically for this occasion, because finally this is “the most important moment of my life, maybe… you know, nothing big,” and so Mom and Dad begrudgingly empty their coffers for an early birthday present, and so she hasn’t wore glasses for over 30 hours, and so she felt great, pretty, normal even at first; that is, until nobody noticed or said anything other than, “…you, you look… different today.” Her beautiful eyes, unsheathed for you, maybe? And now Alan, who has been harboring illicit sexual fantasies of which she is the subject, beginning anywhere between a month and four hours ago, can’t place what exactly is different about the girl who he was sitting across from.

Alan is in the bathroom, patiently squeezing a zit between his fingers while looking  in the spacious mirror above (where else) the bathroom’s row of Hotel-branded sinks, which are faux-marble and somewhat daunting to a 17-year-old whose only prior experience with such luxury has been cursory at most. An acquaintance, Zac, has just stated while fixing his hair to Alan’s side, “Merisa looks different tonight. She wearing a lot of makeup or something?” Alan doesn’t know, and kind of shrugs, makes a grunting sound.

The bathroom is mostly furnished with faux marble and brushed steel.

Zac finishes his hair. “You get some?”

“Uh. Yeah, like, way before this. Jeez.”

Zac seems satisfied and leaves. Alan gives up on the zit and washes his face in the sink, surprised nobody else is coming in.

 

UPCOMING: PART TWO, IN WHICH EACH CHARACTER DIES A HORRIBLE AND LENGTHY DEATH.

 

If you get the song right, you can choose who goes which way! Don’t say I never did nuffin’ for ya.

Disintegrating Cupboard

June 28, 2011

Your time in County can either be thought of as one long stretch of lots of little stretches, or lots of little long stretches. It really don’t matter as much as people say it does, because either way it’s the same amount of time counted the same amount of days. Back when I did do the time, there wasn’t anything quite like what I hear is on T.V. and the likes now- shanking, moonshine, anal rape, so forth and so on. It was just a long, whiling time to think about what I done, why I done it, and whether I done it to myself or if they done it to me, or if God was somehow implicitly involved; or some combination of the three I couldn’t wrap my head around, maybe. It didn’t signify much because I never did really figure it out at all, actually- I just put my head down and waited, did the time, kept fit. I didn’t read none, but I never did like reading.

Setting in the grassy patch of lawn that passed for a “courtyard” was about what we had as passed for entertainment save for reading, and it wasn’t much shaped up to resemble anything I ever heard like doing hard time or nothing, but it worked out all right. We weren’t allowed whittling tools, and I didn’t need none because it was Pa who’d taught me whittling, and I didn’t want to think about Pa much due to why I was setting in the courtyard in the first place, looking through the bits of wire that made, well, trapezoids, maybe. I don’t know, maybe trapezoids. The fences weren’t electrified, but there were guards looking at you day in, day out, so there wasn’t much point in figuring about getting through ’em.

Pa wasn’t mean, and I don’t blame him none for any crimes neither future nor past I have committed or will commit. I mean, I guess nowadays “mean” ain’t what it used to be, but still, I never once think of Pa being mean or unfair or any of that stuff; just common-sensed and stubborn. Like Ma said all the men from his side of the family are, but Ma didn’t have herself any brothers, so she wasn’t exactly qualified to tell whether all men are like that or just them who’re descended from my paternal grandaddy, I guess. Pa taught me that stubbornness isn’t manliness but it does in a pinch, and Pa taught me whittling, and anything else I conclude I didn’t learn from Pa so much as the world itself, the world outside my childhood home, that is.

Whittling occupies the hands, I guess, and that does pass the time.

Body Butter

June 20, 2011

Here’s how it’ll be:
There is a man’s body in the corner. You won’t, at first, be able to tell whether he’s alive or not- you could probably bide your time, wait ’til he makes a move, but you think maybe if you shake him or place your hand firmly on his chest that’ll do quicker. You do not get the chance. There will be tremors spreading through your nervous system in seventeen seconds. In twenty-three seconds you will begin salivating an unusual amount, and in thirty-six seconds you will find you’ve lost control of your eyes’ movement. You will, focussing and unfocussing, find that the lights in this room are growing brighter and more numerous. This is not an optical illusion. As you slump against the wall, forty-nine seconds later, your hearing will become more acute and you will realize there is no sound in this room save that of your lungs, which are rattling slightly. This is due to alvioli bursting as you breathe. Do not panic in this circumstance, although you will most likely feel a preternatural sense of calm. I will be in to tend to you shortly.