August 23

Helpz Lotion

 

They paid me in lotion.

I thought about climbing out the window, just like I had climbed in the night before. Grandma doesn’t know I’m staying there, and she can’t, because it would be an awkward conversation. The window, which is covered by the vines of a kiwi tree, faces East. Long blue curtains conver the mud on the wall from previous entries. It’s an easy climb, but the sharp vines are shredding my skin. I would have done it, but it would have made too much noise, and besides, I needed my laundry. Or did I? Perhaps I could leave in my pajamas and return an hour later after the editor was gone. I had to take a phone call at 9. One way or another, the editor would know I was there.

 

“You look nice today!” said my boss, “are you going to an event?” No I just look like this today. These are the clothes I didn’t put in the laundry. They were stuffed in the back of the roll I hide under the bed, from Grandma. Grandma comes on Wednesdays, and sometimes other days. Yesterday she picked grapes, and I heard a rat scurry across the roof over the kitchen, where I saw the Perseids.

 

I tried to lie, but the editor is too keen. He’s a favorite in the narcissist’s collection. We all collect the same. So off I went, without brushing my teeth, but fortunately I had a brush and paste in my pack from the night I prepared to go camping with a stranger from Japan. Once again I brushed my teeth in the bathroom next door to work, an occurrence so common it’s become a resting place. 

 

There was no driving the New Yorker today. The phone call was short, and he seemed more frazzled than me. So I replied to another gig and printed ink for two hours.

 

I don’t eat chips, but they wanted my favorite kind, so I picked Jalapeno. It was a good choice. The band from 2002 really likes jalapeno chips and fruit loop vapor. I downloaded their song and pressed play 12 times. Tomorrow they play it themselves.

 

My card was declined when I purchased the chips. But I can’t use the New Yorker’s 200 or the landlord’s 200. I hope I get paid soon. Who knows when the New Yorker will pay me. Maybe I should spend more hours printing and blow off this gig.

 

Maybe this gig will thank me with a cash bonus.

Category: Stories | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 21

The Shot Nazi

 

The Nazi staggered toward me, clutching at his gut. He’d taken at least six bullets, a few to the gut, two in the chest, one in his right shoulder. He bled profusely. I had a hard time believing he was still able to walk, even if wearily.

He came right up to me and grabbed my lapels for support.

“Tell me… something… would you?” he squeaked out breathily.

“What do you want to know?” I asked, not sure what else to do.

“Do you think… my uniform… is ruined?” he said weakly, then started to wheeze with laughter, collapsing onto the asphalt, which was still not completely dry.

“Well, it is now, you idiot!” I chided.

“I’m fucking with you!” He laughed and laughed at his own stupid joke until he started to cough up blood. Then he coughed up something that looked like a hermit crab and fell motionless.

I still have the hermit crab-looking thing.

July 7

Sucker, the Sun Run and I Sit

 

My skin didn’t crawl exactly (as the sky crystallized, solidified, and crucified itself to the outside of the Earth Defense Ovular Laser Wall), but rather, I would say, slid. I tried to pull it tight and regain some sense of composure, but there it slid and slid right down into the grass. Cold down there (if you look, if you can see so fine in this small air we’ve been given, you’ll see the puffiest fluff of a nervous system still intact and communicating with the skin, much like, cut off from her holy light, we moon mad men communicate with the Blue Mother.)

I would do other than sit bleeding in my seat, but I think we, and by we I mean me and you and all of your babies and dogs, are A-Triple F U Fucked. They wouldn’t turn on the EDO Laser Wall unless the sun had turned tail and run back in its black fox hole when the bombs began to go off at the galactic rim. I’ve seen it. Not lately, but I’ve seen it. And I don’t have thick enough skin anymore to resist.

June 29

Escape the bedroom

 

I woke up with a tiger prowling sideways in my belly. Surrounding bees laughed and went about their whorish business. A trumpet sounded, loudly, then with raspberry inaccuracy as if it had been snapped like a bean, boiled like a bad idea in a teabag.

Two children madly colored insane dictation given them by an eclipsed game of hangman. An old alter boy sought communion wine at the hands of puppets, rung through patchwork dish towels. An angel brought a napkin to the dinner table, wiping tears, and telling jokes. The smallest child laughed, to distract random weeping.
A small mechanical man sat telling the occupants if they could drink,and if so, what, when, and how much.He doubled as a candle.

The grandfather clock, the overseer of the entire affair, spoke only once. Only time can tell.

June 27

Don’t Forget Your Passport

 

DON’ FORGET YOUR PASSPORT

Today began like any other, well…except for the survey crew in my room.
The conch shell on the nightstand chimed. It was my mother calling from, what used to be our den. She was informing me that, if I wanted to eat breakfast with her, I needed to come now before the border closed. Oh, and I needed to grab my passport if I was planning a stop in the bathroom.
“It seems that the neighbors to our north have annexed the south side of our bungalow“, she said
“Huh,??“, I replied, confused. “wait, we have no neighbors“, I continued. “We live on an island”.
She apologized. What she meant to say, was the neighboring island, some thirty miles to the east.
So I rolled off the bunk, donned my armor and grabbed a kitbag. With passport in hand, I sauntered into the kitchen. The lackey at the turnstile checked my papers as I sat down at the table. “Anything else I should know??”, I grumbled.
“Dad morphed last night”, Mom replied, matter-of-factly.
“Finally!!” I shouted. “I’m so tired of mopping up slug pus!” For that, I earned a withering, but sympathetic look from Mom.
Scarfing down my Bag-O-Meal, I happened to glance up at the Captain, who had just emerged from the wheelhouse of his ship that he plowed into the leeward side of the house only a moment ago.
He shouted “Eight bells!!”, then declared a mutiny and scrambled over the rail and into the den.
“Oh my gosh!! Eight bells already?? I’ve gotta go!!” I declared.
As I shimmied down the pole to the waiting dingy, Mom shouted “Don’t forget your passport!!”

May 13

Summer

 

Summer stands on the corner of Union Avenue. He’s an Asian this year, homosexual and proud.

For the time of year, the days and nights are particularly cool. I think perhaps that he is waiting for a friend. He watches a turbulent relationship leaving apartment B. They are going to the shops. They’re too engrossed in each other’s problems to be aware of his eyes all over them. They need new batteries for their radio, it’s a priority, written at the top of pocketed lines of paper:

3 AA batteries

milk (3 pts.)

1 doz. eggs

cucumber

1 cranberry bushel

It’s a very long list. They’ll probably be out all afternoon. Perhaps she’ll make a phone call plea to her mother. I am watching all this from the bedroom window.

They disappear around the corner. The neighbor’s cat sits on my wall. It’s a vantage point from which she makes calculations. I’m not sure of the exact nature of these. Apparently they involve food, comfort and the relationship between darkness and distances. Summer chucks a leaf at her. It misses.

My current sexual neutrality comes through from the other room and joins me at the window. She is full of words.

“That movie you wanted to see is on in a few minutes. Do you still want to go out for a drink tonight? I’m pretty tired, could do with an early night. You’re quiet today. I see old Summer’s out there again. Looks like he’s off up Alta Vista road. Do you want more coffee?”

She leaves and I glance around the room. This morning’s jerk is curled up and asleep in my unmade bed. Her fact-and-fantasy body seems incongruous, even slightly pathetic, when set against the proper world.

“It’s on the counter, hun. I’ve not put any sugar in. The movie’s starting. Are you coming in?”

What this place needs is a real woman’s touch. She’d see that the windows didn’t distract me so easily. She’d do something about the days and nights. She’d not make coffee that tasted like dirty carpet. Sometimes when I lie in bed I hear her footsteps outside, It’s late and she’s hurrying along on her way home. Other nights she’s someone else and is too far away to be heard.

Perhaps I’ll ask her out for a meal. Perhaps we’ll be drunk at a party and I’ll fuck her as a formality before finding out that she’s a typist or a student or a trainee something. Perhaps she’ll suddenly say “Hey you comma how’ve you been question mark I didn’t know that you still lived around here exclamation point” and we’ll both be pleased to see each other after so long, and I never expected it would turn out to be her.

“Can we have 3 AA batteries, please?”

Simultaneously, Summer reaches the top of Alta Vista road. I stir in one teaspoonful of sugar and go in to watch the movie. She’s sitting on a bus somewhere, vaguely wondering what I’m going to look like and when. The cat is having problems with a particularly awkward calculation and decides to sleep on it.

Mid-afternoon pulls up in his car and opens the door for Summer to get in: “Where the hell have you been?”

May 2

Another Horse

 

She noticed that there was another horse here, in this pasture. Odd that horses should appear so often, so regularly. They were around an awful lot in spite of the fact that she had no real feelings about them. They seemed kind of boring to her, really. What–she often wondered peripherally whenever she considered horses–was the big deal? What good were they to anyone anymore?

She had just been somewhere else with a horse. Hadn’t she? Hadn’t this been a thing lately?

She couldn’t be sure. Memory is an odd thing. She decided to orient herself. To become alert and aware.

She hummed. It seemed like a good thing to do to ensure that the conscious experience that was happening now was indeed centered on her, on this body that seemed to be doing all the perceiving around here. The humming test checked out. She felt like she was in this body, making sounds of her own volition. Pretty sounds. She kept making the sounds, and as she did, she turned slowly around and took everything in.

It was a pasture. It seemed to be boundless. It was covered in deep green grass, accented with yellow and gold patches, and a few varieties of wildflowers. The air was warm and soft, as if a gentle rain might fall out of it at some point if it felt like it. There were low clouds drifting by. There was no one here but her. And the horse. The horse was chestnut brown. The horse was grazing on the grass and didn’t seem to be concerned in any way by her presence.

And then she heard a voice behind her.

The voice was faint, but it sounded male, and old, and was saying something about “the damned caterpillars… The damned nuisance of caterpillars…”

She turned around and noticed a thatch roofed mud hut in the pasture. The horse glided over towards it, stood looking at it. Stamped twice. Whinnied.

She wondered if that meant something and she opened the door. Inside it was dark. She pulled off her backpack. There was something large and heavy inside that she had to struggle to get out. The backpack didn’t want to slide off of it all the way. When she finally dislodged it, she realized it was a large flashlight, the kind that took a big six volt battery. The kind you never see anymore. But it was even bigger and heavier. She switched it on and somehow the room didn’t light up. The bulb glowed, but it just didn’t reach the walls or the floor. Then she noticed the caterpillars crawling on her. They were crawling in that weird way she had seen somewhere, where groups of them crawl in unison and then all stop, and then all crawl again, but they were doing it all quick and jerky, and coming up her legs. It wasn’t long at all before it became terrifying. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t scream. The lights were on now and she could see them all over the walls, all over the floor, all jerking in and out of motion in horrible synchrony. And a vaguely human-shaped pillar of caterpillars stood in the center of the room as well. It must be the old man she’d heard!

She hissed at it: “Help!”

There was no response. It stood there. So still. So still apart from the jerking of the caterpillars.

She ran.

She ran and ran and the caterpillars were falling off and she ran and she ran and the front door to a house she knew as well as her own came into view. A red door with green trim around the decorative, faceted window. How often she had stood and gazed out of it, except that she never had. Not once. Not that she actually remembered, she just felt certain that she had.

She couldn’t bear to open the door now. Not like this. It would be wrong. Not with the caterpillars. She had to deal with them first.

She saw the horse outside, unaware of her, blissfully chomping on the lush green grass. She felt more relaxed, seeing it. She breathed. Her jaw released. The more relaxed she felt, the more caterpillars dropped off of her. But not all of them did. No matter how long she stood and tried to relax. So she allowed them to crawl into her legs. She would let go of herself and join them. Use them. She said it out loud, ceremonially: “I will add your instinctiveness to my own. I will make you my servants and drawing room attendants.” Her voice sounded regal.

The caterpillars joined her legs. She could pick up on their twitchy thoughts inside of her. But the twitchiness, she soon realized, was only the form of the thoughts, and belied a gentle flowing peace in content. It was as if the caterpillar thoughts contained a symphony, but it was played only a few notes at a time, sped up, slowed down, sped up. To a human it was alien and frightening, but once you stopped trying to hear human playback and learned how to listen like a caterpillar, it was beautiful. She sank into it and lay on the floor, drooling, looking closely at the clay tiles, taking in their coolness on her skin. Time dissolved into boundless experience.

The door opened and she crawled outside. The horse stood next to her and nudged her gently, over and over and over. The children were coming. They would be here soon.

April 29

The Spiders and the Water Spouts

 

On a normal street, there were houses of all sorts of colours. There were red bricked homes, orange bricked, purple bricked homes and well you get the picture.

Every single one of these houses had a spider climbing up and tumbling down a water spout. It rained a lot on this street.

So another day came, where an itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout of its white-bricked home. As usual, down came the rain washing the spider out. Then right on time, the sun came out and cleared the path and so the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again and again and again.

One day another spider came along. It was also an itsy bitsy spider. It had come from the water spout of the house next door. The house next door was a red brick house. Apparently the water spout had become damaged, so the spider could no longer go up that spout again and again.

The spider saw this itsy bitsy spider going up the water spout as spiders do and decided to make this its new home. Besides, the itsy bitsy spider didn’t mind. It was too busy going up and down that beautiful water spout again and again.

The new spider waited till the itsy bitsy spider came tumbling down the water spout before it began its first journey up the water spout. It found the first journey odd, as the water spout smelled different to the water spout back at its red bricked home.

The rain came, and the new spider came tumbling down. So, this cycle continued and continued. Eventually the new spider became so accustomed to the water spout that it forgot it used to have another home with red bricks.

Many days later, a bitsy itsy spider came along. It used to climb the water spout at its home across the street. That was before, the spout became damaged at the orange brick home. The Bitsy itsy spider came across this new white brick home where two itsy bitsy spiders were busy climbing up the water spout and tumbling down, as spiders do. Bitsy itsy decided to make this spout its new home. The other spiders didn’t mind. Besides, they were too busy going up and falling down the beautiful water spout, to notice anything else.

Bitsy itsy waited till the other two spiders came tumbling down the water spout before it began its first journey up the water spout. At first, it didn’t like the journey. The water spout wasn’t as smooth as its water spout back home.

The rain came, and so bitsy itsy came tumbling down. The cycle continued and continued. Soon, bitsy itsy forgot about his old water spout which was smoother than this one and his old orange bricked home.

Several days later, when all three spiders grew to love sharing the white brick home and the beautiful water spout together something odd happened. Whilst each spider climbed up the water spout together in single file, they heard a sudden creak. That didn’t usually happen.

Then they heard a loud bang, and this time before they were prepared the rain came rushing down the water spout like a tsunami, washing the spiders out as usual.

However this time, not only did they hear the sweet sound of the water rushing down that spout, they also heard creaks and bangs until to their horror the bottom part of the spout snapped off the bottom edge of the home and became like a pendulum. It swung to and fro ever so slowly, creaking as it did so.

The two itsy bitsy spiders and the bitsy itsy spider froze in their movements, when they saw that the water spout was damaged. Each spider tried to climb up the spout, but it was impossible. The spiders froze in their movements and looked up.

They grew weary when they noticed how big the water spout was. Had it always been this big?

They grew weary when they noticed how long and dark the water spout was. Had it always been this long and dark?

They grew weary as they noticed how ugly the spout was. Had it always been this ugly?

They grew weary as they noticed how much it rained. Had it always rained this much?

The spiders had frozen in their movements, they had grown weary and now they grew scared.

The spiders scattered away.

The homes on this unnameable street later all had their water spouts repaired.

And so it came to be, that no itsy bitsy or bitsy itsy or spiders of any kind climbed up water spouts of that street anymore.

What happened to the spiders?

We’ll never know.

What about the spiders of the other homes (green brick, pink brick, purple brick and more) of that street? Did those spiders all share their own water spout till those spouts became damaged and scared the spiders off?

Maybe they all found a new street with new homes of different colours to live in and new wonderful water spouts to climb.

Or maybe they found something else to amuse their lives with.

Every day it would rain on the unnameable street and it would always clear with a bright, burning sun.

Though there were never any spiders.

Only empty water spouts.

Category: Zohal | LEAVE A COMMENT
April 24

Spiky Lotus

 

Life is a lotus that grows out of the mud; but when the stormy weather strikes, it falls down, back to the same mud. Day by day; effort-fully, it gets up with the sun rays in a form of a lotus flower covered with the spikes, counting days to pass by, drown in a dark wave tumbling and stumbling. One morning, I was getting up from my bed, then I saw another person, having brushed her teeth, was on her way to the bed. Suddenly; the Armageddon strikes outside the garden and blows away the eagles. The sun awaits the second sun and dissapars with it from a gloomy sky. The plants turn into black, the ants hide under the ground; avoiding beasts’ footsteps. The wind whispers words in black and white.You and I inside a big dark cage. I don’t know who exactly you are; but with an irony, I guessed you are nothing but an unwanted Armageddon. I laughed, yet you could not tell me who you are; and I exploded in an anger, kept roaming around the big cage, nervously counting my nails starting from number 10 to 1. I can strongly feel how you feel, yet, cant understand your presence. Oh, without any doubts, you are nothing but an armegadon in a form of human with an inner of a Picasso blue, confusingly, enjoying the division of black and white wall. I kept asking who are you exactly, but you were ignoring me like a naked body who leads the blind. I can hear you complaining to a grown up child. Repeating same words again and again…I can clearly see how you are turning yourself into a knife, experimenting yourself, angrily; trying to hurt the grown up child, yet unable to attempt a crime, since the mirror is blocking your attempt

. Slowly, I am getting terrified of the scene, and I see myself, yet confused, if is it you or me. I see cats crawling and I wish to send dogs, so they bite them. Out of a terror, I screamed and called one monk, I hear the voice, then i tries to call another monk and I hear nothing but a void. I am trying to observe myself more, yet I look at you and confused who you are. You are still for me a knife, cutting me inside and leaving me with an unanswered question. I ran to the room, trying to find the comfort zone in an open prison, then I saw insects crawling towards me with a group of other insects , trying to touch and taste my body. They crawled onto my hand, doubling in numbers and crawled to the rest of my body with an attempt to take out my heart and soul. My aim, is to find you again and reveal who exactly you are. Why you cant tell me who you are.
I am in my room, so terrified with the insects and in need for your help, screaming out of pain, squeezing the insects and falling down to the ground, yet you are not there for me. You are not here anymore, and the insects cant stop increasing and eating up my body.

For a second, I can assure you that death doesn’t taste good, for now it does not has any flavor, I am still having hopes the insects would leave me and you understand me. I started screaming and calling out for the grown up child’s help. The grown up child gave me the hand and helped. finally; I woke up not finding any insects, nor finding you. I woke up sad; because I could not find out who you are. Are we inside the dream or reality, please come back to me.

Finally, I got up. The big cage turned into a cosy land, the plants turned into green, I have fed the cats with milk. I have finally found you under the rays of sun, and clearly could see that you are a part of me, you are me, and we are one. I wish if I had recognized you before.

Here we are, together again, sitting in the garden, sunbathing with rays of sun, sipping a cup of tea, smiling to the whispers of birds, mixing words of our coversation with the shades of gray, And lastly, ; we are picking up the spikes of lotus flowers, injuring ourselves with its spikes and laughing like a happy kids, until you stabbed my chest with the a long spike, I could not see anything around me but a void, and again you dissapeared from me, as I turned back to find you again, I fell down to the mud.

Category: Sara | LEAVE A COMMENT
April 1

Chang’s

 

We are running slowly through a kind of syrup. Maybe seven of us. We are having a kind of competition.

I am not winning. I think I am in third place. That’s respectable. It’s really hard work. I am a respectable man. I am a man who can get things done and get along in this world and get along in this syrup. Others who may look at me (though it occurs to me that there are no others, just the seven of us, running in a long white space, like a hallway without any distinguishing features) would view me with favor. Would respect me. I am sure of it, they would say to themselves, “there, through the syrup runs a man that is worthy of at least some kind of admiration. There is a man who is doing a respectable job.”

I take comfort in that. It is why I run. For those who may be watching. For those who may notice me. In other words, I run for me. For making me feel important. And when I reflect too much on what I am doing – the whys and the hows and all that – I get angry for some reason. I just get so angry, and I bellow in such impotently slow motion that I get angrier still and bellow more, and I sound like a stupid beast, and I realize that that is just what I am, just all that I am: A stupid beast running pointlessly through syrup. And I bellow and watch the syrup droplets fly slowly out before my nearly frozen, slowly changing, enraged, gaping, straining, hooting maw. And whoever may be watching (and it is not the other runners in syrup, for we are too busy to pay much attention to one another. We are working so hard) must be thinking, “that poor man! That poor, beautiful man, struggling with his deep chaotic, throbbing, twisting, contracting, lurching, bellowing beastself. Leaning so far out to touch his humanity that he falls off of his own edge and into blind animal rage. How very noble. How much he is to be noted and considered and cared about by we witnesses.”

I will win the race. I know this because I already have. I am there at the finish line now and witnesses are witnessing me as I hold my arms up in triumph for a very, very long time. And all the while I am thinking one thing: “What now?”

After that, I remember the race starting right now with the Elephant-Headed Dwarf.
The Other.
An other that is so far beyond us that He doesn’t count as someone else. He walks out before us, wearing a tuxedo with a little tiny rose bud pinned to the lapel, stopping to look each of us quietly in the eyes with an omniscient and unconcerned gaze. Now he stands in the middle of the track and somehow kicks both legs and both arms out wide, simultaneously, as if doing some kind of Russian dance (what is Russian?).

A brief piece of a moment passes. I have time to remember my name for a moment before forgetting it again. He releases a tremendous, thunderous fart and we all run. We all run like Hell, into the deep, cloying syrup. A piece of song drifts through my mind “Oh what fun it is to run for the one hand horse of clay” and I remember P.F. Chang’s and the giant horse butt, and I wonder who I am. And I can’t imagine who I am, or that I can be a who or have a name and then I know, then I see it. The horse butt is so clear! My eyes are open. There is another world out here. I am in it. I feel cold, cold air and wind on my face. I remember the other side of time: I drank too much at the bar at P.F. Chang’s and I passed out after I fell down trying to climb up and kiss the horse’s butt.

As I climb to the butt, I imagine everyone is laughing. All the people around who may see me doing this thing. They all think I am a rare and brave kind of outrageous and hilarious person. And then, I am running eternally in syrup and when I wake up, there are no people here, and none of their laughter. And I don’t remember running in syrup. But I still am, lord knows. I still am.