Friday, April 30, 2010

PSYCHOPOMP - CHAPTER TEN (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shousetsu)

To start at Chapter One, click here

KG walks into Phuket and stands over by the cash register, waiting to be seated as the sign politely requests. It takes several moments before he can be seen to, and his stomach begins turning and the skin under his collar starts to itch and he starts feeling that he is being forced to wait, that they are fucking with him. And he reminds himself again that this is just the effect of the chemicals in his brain, that this is what happens to him when he goes out in public. He starts to wonder, then, when does this stop? Is the Comaxyn even working? How long is this going to go on? He becomes increasingly self-conscious at being seated singly on a Friday night when everyone else is coupled or part of a larger party. Then he sees a younger girl seated all alone, hair colored a deep blue, scribbling intently in a notebook. He feels strangely better for a moment and then, suddenly, Boi is there beside him.

“Hello, Mr. KG! How are you tonight?”

“Hi, Boi. I’m good, thank you.” KG always has great difficulty saying the restaurant manager’s name without feeling he is somehow insulting the man. He always continues on to finish “Boi with an ‘i’” when he pronounces it in his mind. Boi grabs a menu, beams at KG and leads him over to a small booth, gesturing extravagantly.

“The usual tonight, Mr. KG?"

“Yes, please. And a Singha, please, Boi.” With an ‘i’.

“Ah, yes. I think it will be extra hot tonight. I think...” Boi mimes thinking in his endearing way. “I think 2 Singha tonight, Mr. KG!” And he laughs, and KG laughs with him, and then Boi sweeps off still holding the menu to the busy kitchen. A couple of other diners look over at KG as he was referred to by name, and of course KG quickly deflects their interest by pulling out his copy of Rolling Stone and pretending to read. It seems only moments later when Boi returns with a steaming bowl of chicken and coconut milk soup and a glistening bottle of Singha, minus the glass which KG never uses. He sets it all down with a flourish. “It’s all okay for you, Mr. KG?”

KG smiles tightly. “Boi, it’s okay for you to just call me KG, really. We know each other now, right?”

Boi smiles broadly. “Right.” He quickly sits down opposite KG, which surprises him and, oddly enough, doesn’t bother him. “What do you do for a living, KG?”

KG picks up the porcelain spoon from the plate beneath the steaming bowl. “I’m a musician.”

“Oh, really? What kind of music do you play?”

KG grimaces. “Well, I don’t really play music, I mean, I don’t play out ever. Like at a club, where you could come see me.”

Boi looks confused.

“I just record music, at my house, and then the label puts out my CDs.”

Boi still looks confused. “But, what kind of music is it?”

KG laughs, shakes his head. “I play ambient music.”


“It’s like...very relaxing music that you can use for meditation, or thinking, or just as a background coloring. Some people use it for romantic dinners, things like that.” KG shrugs.

Boi perks up. “Oh, like Kenny G?”

KG grits his teeth. “No, no, not really. Have you ever heard of Brian Eno?”

Boi shakes his head.

“It’s more serious, not so...” KG has a brainstorm. “This music, what you have playing now?” He points up to the restaurant’s speakers, currently pulsing with light Asian pop.


“Is this satellite radio?”

Boi nods.

“Can you show me? The receiver, I mean?”

Boi, still confused, gets up and leads KG across the restaurant to the satellite radio receiver. KG gestures to it, askance, and Boi nods his assent.

“Don’t worry, it’s not raucous or anything.”

KG fiddles with the dial for a few moments until the channel readout displays “Soundscapes”. The speakers fill with a lush, atmospheric, barely musical sound. A couple of the other diners look up, but after a few seconds return to their meals and conversation. Eventually the display shows the artist and title: KG – “Off Koh Samui”.

KG laughs. “This is me. This is my music.”

Boi listens for a few moments, then smiles with recognition. “Oh, yes, this is like Enya! I love her!”

KG winces again. “It’s not like Enya. It’s much more...” He pauses, gives up. “Yeah. It’s like Enya.”

“I like this! This is good.” KG moves to switch the receiver back, but Boi stops him. “No, no, leave it. This is good for the restaurant.” Boi shudders. “I hate that J-pop, but the customers, they...they expect it.”

“Yeah, I hear you.” KG smiles, then walks back to his table. Boi follows.

“Well, you just enjoy your Tom Kha Gai now, okay?”

KG sits, nods uncomfortably, unsure of how to end this. “Sure will.”

“You like it the extra hot, right?” Boi smiles, expectantly.

Again, uncomfortable nod, feeling repetitious. “Sure do.” Boi smiles, nods, leaves. KG goes to work on the Tom Kha Gai and it is excellent, as it has been every other visit to Phuket. The strange combination of the lemon grass, coconut milk, chicken and various herbs blend into that optimum Thai swirl of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. As KG is eating, something catches his eye on a high shelf above where the satellite receiver is kept. He finally finishes the soup, and as he does so Boi arrives with the Pad Kee Mow and another Singha. “So, KG, do I open this or not?” he asks while placing the noodle dish in front of KG, having pushed the emptied soup bowl out of the way.

KG smiles, nods. “Yes, please, Boi. I’m sure I’ll need it if the Pad Kee Mow is anything like it has been in the past.”

Boi pulls out a bottle opener and stoops slightly over the bottle. KG asks him, “Um, Boi, can you tell me what that little house is, over there on the top shelf?” Boi pops the top, looks back briefly.

“Oh, that’s the Spirit House I keep for the restaurant.”

“Spirit House...?”

Boi smiles indulgently. “Spirit Houses are common where I come from. They are left out in front of homes or stores or restaurants, and they are for the dangerous spirits. We leave offerings to the spirits and they leave us be.” Boi points up to the Spirit House in the restaurant, and indeed there is a bottle of orange Fanta in front of the tiny house with a straw in the bottleneck.

KG is fascinated. “So do the spirits, like, live in the Spirit Houses or do they just...take the offerings and go?”

Boi just shrugs happily. “It is a very old tradition. I can tell you that if it doesn’t work, if the bad spirits keep bothering you, there is a place that you take your Spirit House and leave it by the roadside. And if you keep leaving offerings, sometimes the spirits will stay there instead of coming back to your house.” Boi shrugs again, smiles.

KG raises his eyebrows. “That’s really cool. Are there any places like that around here, where you could leave your Spirit House if it...stops working?”

Boi laughs, waves KG off. “No, not here! Please, enjoy your Pad Kee Mow, it gets cold!” Boi shakes his head and moves to speak with some other customers.

KG begins the process of slowly eating the drunken noodles. As Boi had warned, they are extra hot, and it takes KG a very long time to eat them without completely scorching his taste buds, even with the help of another Singha and an additional glass of water. While he progresses through the familiar eat, pause, drink, eat, pause, drink cycle, he again notices the blue-haired girl sitting on her own. She apparently notices KG as well, as she peers at him through what are apparently very thick glasses and subsequently scribbles in her notebook. As he looks closer, KG observes that her hair is kind of greasy and she has a bit of acne as well, slightly dampening the striking initial impression. After a little while, KG begins to squirm under her gaze and calls for the check.

Next! Chapter Eleven

Friday, April 23, 2010

PSYCHOPOMP - CHAPTER NINE (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shousetsu)

To start at Chapter One, click here

It’s when you smell that smell that you know that you’re back. Then you hear the whirr and the clank and that omnipresent hum, and you realize that the nightmare factories are operating again, an endless shift with an unchanging workforce. And then you see. You see the nightmare factories from your regular perspective on the ground, dimly lit with jaundiced yellow phosphor, and then somehow you are above them, almost, but this quickly becomes inside them. And you see the things that work the machines, and what they make with the machines, and then you see the other things that scuttle out to trim off the waste. And they throw the waste into little gutters that run down the sides of the nightmare factory floor where a tide of filth sweeps the scraps along and through a grate and into the pipes that lead to the outside.

And then you are outside, and you are before the bad house, isolated in the spotlight in its strange alcove surrounded by the nightmare factories. And you see the pipes that rise from the ground and into the bad house, and you make the connection. And you don’t go into the bad house, any more than you went into the nightmare factory, but nonetheless you are there. And you see the irrigation system that waters a monstrous garden with the runoff from the factory floor, and you see the tanks filled with that same murky substance and the things that swim in it and live in it, and then, further back in the bad house you see the shadows. Three shades flit back and forth impatiently inside the bad house, and behind them another shadow, vaguer, larger, subsumes the other three in its darkness when it rises. And you can feel the impatience, and you can feel the anticipation, and you can feel the joy in the knowledge that a time of waiting is finally over.

Then you wake up, oddly suffused with that vicarious joy, and when it slowly dawns on you why that joy exists you begin to shake and you can’t stop.

Go to Chapter Ten

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Hey folks! Once again, Rhoda Penmarq has turned my Hap Dixon story (kind of a Hardy Boys set in Twin Peaks) into a thing of surreal beauty. Chapter Two is up
here right now! Please go see!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

PSYCHOPOMP - CHAPTER EIGHT (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shousetsu)

To start at Chapter One, click here

Over the course of the next few days KG learns that he had every right to be apprehensive about the Paxil withdrawal. It’s not as bad as it was made out to be on the depression / anxiety boards; it’s actually worse. The constant crying jags and the feeling of being on the edge of losing control at any time would be enough in itself. What pushes Paxil withdrawal up and over into a whole new world of “discomfort” are the physical effects, which are formidable. Walking results in strange electric shocks that shoot up from KG’s heel in a direct line to the top of his skull. His skin becomes so hot and prickly at times that he wishes he could just tear it all off. His jaw aches with a strange feeling akin to chewing on tinfoil, and needless to add, his sleep is disturbed in several different, original ways.

As background to this torture, however, are the first stirrings of something else, which KG can only assume is the Comaxyn. Between rushes of withdrawal symptoms he goes through periods of an almost placid centering, and has become self-aware enough (to the point of self-absorption) due to his mental illness that he is able to discern the new pacifying effect of the Comaxyn from a momentary respite from the Paxil withdrawal. KG spends a lot of time on the anxiety/depression boards this week, trying to find anything that can tell him how to shorten/lessen the withdrawal effects, but seemingly the only curative is time. He continues to find little on Comaxyn either except for messages from others who are trying it out for the first time and looking for more information. KG simply joins their ranks and waits until he can gauge how well it is working for him before he posts any kind of personal assessment. Additionally, he sends an e-mail apology to Matty.

Other than this there is work, and work is slow and unsatisfying. KG does more smoking and fretting than usual, and finds his mind drifting to terrible places if he does not quickly take it in hand. He ends up relying on a technique taught to him by an old counselor (not a very good one) who stated that a good way to address intrusive thoughts and painful memories is to get some distance on them by ranking the memories in terms of “most devastating” to “least devastating” and thereby putting yourself in a judgmental position outside the emotional context. KG has had limited success with this technique in the past but has run out of other ideas and energy to fight. So he begins whittling the chaos in his head down into the Top 3 Most Devastating Things Ever Said to KG. After an arduous elimination round, he finally lists them in ascending order:

3. “You don’t fucking love me. You love your...condition.”

2. “You know when would’ve been a better time to figure all this out, Cage? Anytime before right now. Literally anytime.”

And coming in strong at Number One:

1. “We’re all alone, kid. Always.”

By the time the week crawls to a close KG feels that for once he has truly earned his dinner out at Phuket, the only Thai restaurant in town. He only hopes that he is able to enjoy it.

Go to Chapter Nine

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


HEY! Fun collaboration between me (words) and Rhoda Penmarq (amazing childlike, dreamlike visuals) at Cutup Capers! While yr there, check out some of the other amazing work by Rhoda, Bofa and others! Good stuff!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PSYCHOPOMP - CHAPTER SEVEN (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shousetsu)

To start at Chapter One, click here

Selected Entries from KG’s Dream Journals

June 11th

I’m in the City. I’m at an outdoor café, and it’s daytime. I meet a man there. There is something wrong with his eyes. We talk for awhile (don’t know about what) and although he smiles the entire time, I’m pretty sure he wants to hurt me. I wake up upset, like the dream was somehow scarier or sadder than it was.

February 18th

I go to see Mom in the hospital. She’s really pleasant, acting happy, but we both know she’s going to die. Her nurse comes in, blonde, very beautiful, but I think she is retarded. She keeps spilling things, knocking Mom’s tray over. I ask Mom if she wants a new nurse and she just shakes her head and smiles. The nurse replaces her IV, and although it goes into the tube okay by the time it reaches her arm it is gray and polluted. Mom starts shaking, seizing up, her eyes roll back. I scream at the nurse to stop it, I get up and try to pull it out of Mom’s arm but it won’t come. The nurse just giggles. I wake up crying.

April 24th

A party in some attic. Dave and the rest of the band are there, and things are good between all of us. There aren’t many people, but the girls whose house this is are pretty and nice. For some reason, someone goes to the window and says the ride is here to go to the other party. I look out the window and the guy waiting by the car we’re supposed to take is all black with weird white tattoos all over. I don’t want to go with him. The rest of the band leaves and so do the girls. I’m left alone in the attic and I start walking through the house, which is huge with really narrow corridors. I find a girl there and she seems scared and upset that I’m still in the house. I apologize and try to leave. I can’t find a way out.

November 28th

I’m in the industrial part of the City, outside of a bad house (Joe’s house?). I want to go in but I’m afraid to, but I still want to know what’s in there. I walk up to the front, but there’s no windows to look in. I try the door; it’s locked. I start feeling really exposed, start walking away quickly. I hear some people behind the house, and I turn back. They come from around the corner, pointing at me. I start running down the street toward the factories. They chase me. I wake up.

October 19th

I’m at Emerson. It’s a party outside the Student Center. Elliot is there, and he’s talking to that black-haired hippie bitch that cock-blocked me at the last Tent Party. They are pointing at me and laughing. I can’t find anyone I know and when I do they’re not interested or don’t remember me. I think it’s the Menage a Trois party because some people are wearing costumes and I am too, but mine doesn’t fit. This guy and his girlfriend (I don’t remember either of them from Emerson) come up and tell me there’s a better place we can go. I’m so lonely and uptight that I go with them. There’s something wrong with the guy’s eyes. We walk over to their car and the driver gets out. He’s black and gray and has these weird tattoos all over. I get scared and go back to the party; they yell after me. When I come back around the corner the party’s over, but there’s a movie playing outside on the wall back by the Music building (what movie?).

March 27th

I’m hanging out with Mark at a record store (high school?) in the City. It’s not the Record Mine, it’s a lot bigger, but its got the same kind of posters (Blondie, Rundgren) on the walls and the ceiling. I find all the old Funkadelic records, great condition, but I don’t have any money. Mark buys this Electric Prunes record, a double album of “Mass in F Minor, Second Movement” (doesn’t exist). We go back to his mom’s house to play it and there aren’t any records in the jacket. It’s too late to go back, the record store’s closed.

Go to Chapter Eight