Saturday, September 27, 2008
The sun has gone out. It hangs in the heavens like a broken Christmas ornament. The huge, bat-winged creatures slowly flap their way across the darkened sky, lit from beneath by the ubiquitous fires. Screams and sirens echo around the valley beneath the mountain pass where the four young men stand, watching the butchery below.
They are members of a pop group, ALL 4 U; the name is embossed in tiny diamonds on the back of each of their uniquely colored velvet jumpsuits. Every one of them has a distinctively ridiculous haircut. The first, a deep baritone, turns to the others and states flatly, “So this is it. It has fully and truly come down.”
Another, voice much higher, tone much sweeter, responds with a sigh. “It would appear so. The real work begins now.”
The third pats his cornrows, grabs his balls and grunts out of the side of his mouth. “Yo yo yo, this shit is off the hizzy! Fo’shizzle my home nizzles! Niggas be all up in this shit, and shit. What what!”
The second turns to him, his tone scornful. “You don’t have to do that anymore. The end has begun. You can be yourself now.”
The third’s cartoonish grimace fades and he straightens up, embarrassed, rubs his neck. “Yeah. That’s right, isn’t it?”
The fourth, his pronunciation clipped and almost feminine, exclaims and points into the distance. “There! Look there.”
A creature made only of bones strides across the horizon, its four legs hundreds of feet tall. The thing’s body is much smaller, relatively speaking; its ribcage has only the mass of a mid-size automobile. The beast’s skull is long and thin, like that of a great horse. On the bone creature’s back rides a human skeleton of nearly the same proportions, arms and legs at least three times as long as they would be on a normal man. The skeleton holds a great flat sword at the end of his elongated arm and swings it through the open air, cackling. The high-pitched laughter is audible even over the echoing cacophony rising from the valley below.
The fourth purrs with satisfaction: “Bone Lord.” He nearly pronounces each word as a separate sentence for the gravity placed upon them.
The first claps his thighs and responds almost jauntily, “Well, I had better get down there, hadn’t I?”
The second nods, looks to the others. “We had all better. There is much work to be done.”
The third sighs. “I need to get the scales up and running to be able to separate the living remainder. Those bats and the Bone Lord will be done before you know it.”
The fourth smiles his pinched, autocratic smile. “And the concentration camps aren’t going to just fill themselves.”
They all laugh.
With a small shrug, the first moves towards the pass leading to the valley below. “Wait,” requests the second, raising his hand. The first looks back askance. “Let’s do the hit. Just one more time, the chorus, okay? We might not have another chance.”
The others exchange glances, laugh, nod bashfully. They pull in close, hit C, then fall into their pre-programmed dance steps as they sing their first and biggest hit.
Fighting and fussin’, cheating and cussin’
Days when I was hungry and did not know what to do
Putting up a day’s pay for a bottle of Courvoisier
Girl, you know I’m giving it up a-all for you-u
The step ends with all four crouched in position, making silly ultra-macho faces and they immediately break into hysterics, clapping each other on the back and falling about. The second is the first to stand up, helping the others to their feet.
“That was fun.”
The fourth nods. “It was a good run, wasn’t it?”
“Hells, yes,” punctuates the third.
The first dusts off his knees and spreads his hands wordlessly to the others. They nod and slowly fall into line, walking towards the break in the trees that leads to the pass below. Four horses are tied there, each to its own post, and each with a banner corresponding to its individual rider. One of the bat-things passes close overhead and the ensuing wind ruffles the group members’ jumpsuits, the colors shimmering in the available fire-light: white, red, black and, lastly, a pale, pale green.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Ted: Okay, so, it’s this Pro-Life March on Washington, right? And there’s hundreds of ‘em, the fat and the deformed and the religious and the crazy, all together in a huge mass with their signs and their bibles and their billboard-sized pictures of discarded fetuses in garbage cans. So, they’re really whooping it up, right? They’re chanting their slogans and screaming at passersby and it is a real toodle-oo. So they walk all the way from…from I don’t fuckin’ know, but basically they end up rallying at the Washington Monument, all arrayed around the reflecting pool, pointing towards this huge stage at the base. Yeah, right, the one where the famous civil rights march one was and shit.
So, anyway, everybody does their little speeches, and there’s a couple of terrible Christian rock bands that everybody pretends are good, and then they get to the headliner, Reverend Phillip Ansley, and he is a piece of work. So he hits the stage and these Pro-Life fuckers go bananas like he was the second coming of Elvis or something. And he’s working it, stalking back and forth, mopping his brow, calling out for “Amen”s and testification. And they are eating it up. So then he brings it down for a minute so they can murmur quiet prayers for the hellbound souls of these malformed chitterlings, and in the middle of that quiet suddenly intrudes the “meep meep meep” of a truck backing up. And there it is, a great big eighteen-wheeler, at the opposite end of the reflecting pool. The unseen driver hits the hydraulics and the trailer tilts back until it empties its load into the pool, and what a load it is.
Hundreds of thousands of blood-soaked fetuses dump into the water with a great and terrible schlupping sound, and the water turns red, and the air is filled with a nauseating, coppery stench. The crowd screams as one, but this soon turns to an almost silent awe as the undead fetuses begin swimming towards the monument. Like a thousand little tadpoles they wriggle back and forth through the water, occasionally breaking the surface like playful little dolphins. And the crowd is totally speechless, right? Mouths agape, eyes blank with horror. So the fetuses make it to the other end and crowd the pool near the front of the stage, and one of them literally flops its way up onto the platform. So then it wriggles up the side of the podium like some horny teenage romeo trying to shinny up a drainpipe and hobbles to the microphone while the Right Reverend Ansley actually shits his pants.
And then the tiny creature begins to speak, a terrible, lisping high-pitched cross between Mickey Mouse and Carol Channing. And it tells the crowd that it is their obsessive attention that is keeping the fetuses alive, that it is their constant prayer and worry and energy that is keeping them from attaining what little rest they can get by passing from this hellish half-life of unremitting pain. And the little bugger basically asks them to knock this shit off so they can all die in peace. So, finally the Reverend recovers from soiling himself and leans into the microphone over the homunculus and tells the crowd to disregard what is obviously the work of the unholy Pro-Choice left, and the fetus looks up at him, and do you know what it says?
Ed: I. Don’t. Know.
Monday, September 8, 2008
The playground at dusk
"Will the swing hold both of us?"
Steel joints groan also
Sweat lashes her thigh
Been down there an hour now
The clock is ticking
Your breasts are sentries
Before the slope of your sex
Must stop at each first
(This is my favorite part)
Soft intake of breath
Each one says the other's name
It won't be long now
Sunday, September 7, 2008
There is a place, a house, and it sits at the edge of your dreams, and it is a bad house. It’s in the industrial part of town, and it is situated between the factories where they make the nightmares. No one works in these factories, but the factories operate all day long and all night long. You can hear them, all day long, all night long, miles outside the city in your dreams where the people live. In the industrial part of town there is no one for miles, just the endless cranking and clunking of the nightmare factories. The bad house sits among them, silent. There may be people in there, but you can’t tell. No one ever goes in, and no one ever comes out.
The bad house is a house, but it doesn’t look like other houses. It has no number. It is very small, as if it only has one room. There may be a basement, but you don’t want to think about that. Several pipes come up from the ground and go into the house and they may come from the factories that surround it. There are no windows, and there is no light visible under the door. There is just one great spotlight that shines on it from above at night, isolating it in the dark. The dimly lit factories around it add nothing to the light. There is only the one door, in the front. It might be locked. You don’t know.
The bad house is painted a pale yellow, and the paint is old and flaking. No smells emanate from the nightmare factories, but the bad house has a smell. It is the smell of all the bad places in your dreams, a nauseating human smell like old sweat between folds of flesh, coppery and tangy and riddled with decay. You stand before the bad house in your dreams, as you have many times before. The smell is strong, and it makes you want to run, but you don’t run. You stare at the door, isolated by the light, listening to the cranking and clanking of the surrounding factories. You are afraid in a way you haven’t been since you were eight years old, an all-encompassing afraid that makes you want to scream until you wake up. But you don’t do that. You walk towards the door of the bad house. As you are walking, you are afraid, and you tell yourself to stop, but you keep walking towards that door. There is a part of you that isn’t afraid, or if it is afraid it wants that smell more than it wants to run away. It wants to inhale that smell, to eat that smell, to get that smell all over you, to roll in it until you become it. And you are afraid of this part of you, and you are afraid of the bad house. But you keep walking towards that door.
And then you wake up. And you see people, and you do your job, and you eat your lunch, and you talk on the phone. But all day long you can still smell that smell of the bad house, lingering, at the edges of things, always there.