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Old Dream 2002

More miscellaneous shit. What about Jack's compound? Wasn't that one of the most bizarre dreams you've ever had? Were you the actual arsonist who exploded the gas-line, or were you a horrified observer? It was excruciating when the city began to fall, and there was no where for me to go. Rob didn't make it. He still worked as an Intern for Fifth Third in downtown Lexington. That entire building shrugged its shoulders, as if to say, Who the fuck cares?, and tumbled. I think he was in there, along with all the trust fund documents. I had to get to the Safehaven, but separating me from the Safe- haven was miles and miles of wasted city engorged with angry killers. And they were all so bright. I found temporary rest and solace and sustenance in Jack's compound on the way to the haven. It was there that I realized that Weckham not only owned the land upon which my family had built their home, but he also owned the World. Even though I knew him, there was nothing he could do personally to transport me to the Haven. We stood and talked just within the gates of the compound, and I learned that Ralph had purchased a home not a mile from my family's, and for a moment I was filled with a strange joy and anticipation. I had no friends left. I thought how wonderful it would be to visit Ralph, to talk about some of our old adventures, taking flowers to pretty girls' front doors in the small hours of summer mornings, with a safe margin between us and dawn. But then I dismissed it as impossible. I left the compound and mounted a tram to Safe-Haven. It moved very slow, but the doors locked and I was safe along with a dozen people with muddled profiles. We traveled through the eery wastelands. The angry killers climbed on the tram like ants, and shouted and shrieked and cursed and cried. They all had terrible weapons clenched in their hands or attached to their bodies. I remember one man in particular. He stood alone, wearing nothing but red overalls. He had blonde hair and his mouth stayed open in a toothy snarl. A splintered baseball bat rested, aware, upon his shoulder. As we passed him by, I pressed against the glass of the tram and it yielded. It stretched against my hand like cellophane. My hand bumped against this guy's head and he howled. He glared at me and told me he was going to kill me, pushing his face into the elastic glass. I quickly apologized and his wild anger disappeared. He said, "Okay." He boarded the tram and sat down next to a profile and became another profile. We moved on.


The Commerce of Judgment

The Commerce of Judgment.

I planned to meet with the Regional Manager at Crackhead Barrel Thursday morning to eat eggs and babble.

So, I sit in a rocking chair to read Stephen King's Everything's Eventual. I rock back and forth, reading about Dinky Earnshaw and his fatal geometry while locals and dapper businessmen walk up to the front doors for a breakfast.

While caressing the edges of the pages with the tips of my fingers, enthralled with Mr. King's imaginings, I notice movement beyond the reading tunnel and look up to see an old man striding out of the restaurant. His face is creased from the weight of the work he has done and the weight of the work he is thinking about doing. He picks his teeth with a toothpick.

Two feet and three moments later, an old lady emerges behind him. She's dressed in a pink paisley wrap-thing that was probably designed by a committee reeking of Palmolive and baby powder. A smile is on her face, but dark speckles gather in her eyes. Speckles of guilt.

I didn't make the biscuits today! It's another day I didn't make the biscuits!

Her hair is piled atop her head like an iceberg thrusting out of the Arctic Ocean. As she passes before me, her eyes alight on my paperback book.

"Oh!" she exclaims. "Is that a Lillian Braun?" Peering closer, she freezes. Her mouth goes slack, and a lone breeze makes the sparse hairs emerging from the crust of makeup around her lips stir. The lady's hand presses against her pink paisley heart, and I feel the horrified exhalation from everyone in the committee. It is a horde swollen and neutralized by entropy. My spine cracks in the wind of that exhalation.

Rising from her stoop, her face crumples as if she discovered the Cracker Barrel breakfast had been fried in shit.

"Oh," she says. "Stephen King." She turns to follow her husband. Her eyes catch mine. "I'll pray for you."

As she floats away, her shoulders square. The speckles of guilt rise from her head like bats on fire. She has been scoured by her good deed. And within her peanut mind, an angel who looks too much like GW is knitting her pink paisley wings.

There is a smile on my face. I continue to read Stephen King, a man aware of darkness, but more aware of the light we need to keep the darkness at bay.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A.

Something tickled the back of my neck. A fleeting note of wrongness on the plane, a new window into some vast absurdity.
I closed Killer Angels and slowly turned my head to look for that absurdity over my left shoulder. An elderly woman, perhaps in her mid-seventies, sat in an aisle seat. She had not succumbed to the Old-Lady-Bob-Hair-Trend. Her hair hung long and limp across bone-sharp shoulders, and the sunlight from the portals discovered an ancient gleam of strawberry at the roots.
The object upon her dessicated lap inverted rightness.
The woman was hunched over a number 10 can of chopped spinach. The can had been raggedly opened; a serrated circle gleamed with green juice. While her toothless jaws repeatedly mashed together, dripping juice, she dug into the huge container with a wooden spoon.
A little boy sat in the seat next to her. He wore a blue cap that read: WILBUR. The top of his bewildered eyes had disappeared above the brim of the cap. He gradually tried to become both one-dimensional and transparent.
The woman caught me staring at her. She finished her mouthful and stabbed her spoon into the can.
She had rainbow eyes, somewhere over which mutant birds flew.
"Is there something here you see which makes you stop and think? Some curiosity?" She indicated the spinach. "I will not dry up in time! I will no longer dust the floor with my breasts!" She grinned at me, a green and leafy grin. "The creams don't work. This once worked for a cartoon sailor. Thought I'd try."

I have since learned that minding one's business is the core of wisdom.

The Day the Towers Fell

I wrote this on the evening of the terrible event.

September 11, 2001

"The Day the Towers Fell"

I was adjusting inventory for my brother's business when ---, the good-natured racist sot walked through my office, asking me if I was watching what happened. It was a little after nine am.
"Watching what," I asked him. I was busy and wishing that he wouldn't interrupt my concentration.
"They got us. They bombed us."
"Say what?"
"Check it out."
I didn't turn on the small television immediately. I prided myself on being immune to news, to all the media shit that floats in and out of our country every moment of the day. But the magnitude of his statement was just too much for me to ignore. I switched on the set and saw the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center smoking heavily from close to the top of the buildings. Right beside this image in a split screen was the Pentagon, smoking as well.
The newscasters jabbered away. Two planes had crashed into the Towers, and one into the Pentagon. Believed to be a terrorist act. Befuddlement settled over me at first. Disasters like this, offensive disasters projected from a foreign state don't happen on United States soil. Pearl Harbor was the last time our country was hit, but even that was safely hundreds of miles into the South Pacific, away from the mainland.
But this was New York City and Washington, D.C. D.C. carries the title of capital, where our leader resides. Although, John Lennon put it best, "The United States is the Roman Empire and NYC is Rome." The Towers of the World Trade Center are the pulse of our Economic Sovereignty.
As I thought this screams emanated from the television. With a rumbling, the South Tower collapsed. To see a building collapse is nothing new to any American privy to the movies. But I was watching it live, and I swiftly imagined the thousands of people within those Tower walls, all of whom oblivious to any kind of script or cut in action. The last moments of their lives tumbled with the behemoth. Before I could try to understand what had just happened that second of my life the North Tower fell. I think I blinked.
On the heels of my thoughts for the horde of lives just vanquished in a few leaps of a second-hand came a selfish,selfish thought.
There will be a war. And the war will take your brothers.
I pushed it away, but felt it lingering outside the perimeter of my thoughts.
There were others in the office with me, watching the news. A Palestinian terrorist group claimed responsibility for the tragedy. "Raghead," and "Sand Nigger" were bandied about. The words were said with both anger and glee, as if those expressions had always been boiling deep inside, and this terror had prompted and reconciled such responses. I remember one bold statement from within the office in particular: "Would any of you allow a stranger into your house? Then how come our country don't take up that policy? It's all because we're letting them in and the Democrats. The democrats are giving away our country!" The tirade shifted to the computer and how he thought it was the Beast of Revelation.
I am not refuting the anger. Anger was justified. Of course, I was just as angry at whoever had done the ferocious thing. But that anger must be directed at those responsible. We have too much history of casting blame where blame does not lie. As I listened to him I began to feel another layer of fear atop what I had just seen blanket me. I began to sense history creeping up on us again. The repetition of damaging history thrives within an environment of anger and ignorance. I thought of the recent German removal of Jews. I thought of the sequestering of Japanese-Americans after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Are we going to do it again? How many Americans of Middle-Eastern descent are going to find that their lives are changed tomorrow? How many bruises on children's faces? How many jobs lost?
Of the one who refuses strangers into his house I wanted to ask, How many generations can you count back to he who first came here? How was he received?
The Falling of the Towers is already too strong an anchor on our hearts. We must make sure to end the misery between our shores there, rather than fall prey to our anger and spread that misery within. Let's make sure those who planned the hijacking of the planes have the regrets. We don't need any more.

STRANGE EMAIL: its a combination of many reasons AND ITS TIME YOU FACED IT YOU ASSHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

do't care if you dont want to talk about it you better call me back or im going to ask Sharon to take away Michael and the BIMBIMS! you wouldn't last a week without the BIMBIMS!!!!!! last time you were away from the BIMBIMS, you remember, you went to gap at the mall and shit all over the shoes. i'm the one who gave them to you and you NEVER say thanks. michael doesn't really love you, you know that? when he left the military, he wanted stability and he wanted to be close to the BIMBIMS and away from people who pretend to know how to use guns but really want to play with laserguns. anytime now i can call michael and he will run away from you. sharon told me that you threw her squirrel babies off the bridge right after you fed them!!!!! how could you do that????? they trusted you because you gave them pecanbutter and then you just killed them like that!!! oh my god your fucking sick in the head!!!!! i should just call the fbi instead of asking you to call me, but i felt like i have to try to help you one last time before i wash you out of my wig. after all, i wont forget how you helped Meemot lay her eggs in the desert last year. nobody else would help her because of her slobber and teeth. so, yes, i thanks you for that, BUT YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT YOU CANT BUY A FUTURE OF FAVORS JUST FOR HELPING AN UGLY CHICKENBITCH IN HER TIME OF NEEEED!!!!!!!@!!!!! you have one last chance, so call me call me call me call me OR ILL TURN THOSE BIMBIMS AGAINST YOU FOREVER!!!!!!

Sun Dreams: Pain and strange mutation.

There is a garden in my mind and it grows on both sides of the soil. That means roots and flowers intertwining. Dreams when I'm not sleeping.

These are a couple of my chronic images of pain and strange mutation.

Because of Cerebral Palsy, I had three operations when I was a kid. They cut into my heels. They cut into my thigh. They cut into my shin. They did it for free and it helped a lot. However, after the last surgery where they jiggled around my tibia, the nerves there ended up a little fucked up and confused. The lower part of the shin is extremely sensitive. The slightest pressure causes a locomotive of pain to roar down to my foot. Consequently, I began to imagine a scenario of hurt. In some dark wood of Eastern Europe, I stand in shadow, unable to move. A wolf approaches (in 2003 it became a Martin Direwolf). My left leg is exposed and the wolf bares its teeth; its right canine is absurdly long, some seven inches. The beast punctures the top of my shin and slowly rips down, digging a canal of agony. I scream a lot.

That hurts, doesn't it?

The second is about mutation.

I sit on a couch in a quiet room reading a book facing a door. I feel a sudden itch at the right base of my jaw. Reaching to scratch it, my fingers find a hard, plastic tab. Naturally, I pull it. My perspective changes and I'm watching from the wall. The Me pulls at the tab and it divides my skin along a wax track from my jaw, over my chin, up the center of my face over my scalp, and down the back of my head to the base of my neck. The two sides of my divided head fall away to my shoulders. Perched atop my shoulders is a perfect sphere of orange cheese. A knock sounds at the door. The Me stands up and opens the door. A very thin child is there, shaking. The Me takes the ball of cheese in both hands and gives it to him. The child hides it in his long coat and runs away. The door shuts.

More of these later.

For Mr. Bradbury - Bless 'im.

Today I've been reading a multitude of thoughts and memories about the great and recently passed Ray Bradbury. So many great writers and film makers sharing how the gifts of this man's colossal imagination helped to shape their futures. Of course, he created futures and fantasies on the page, yet the power of this singular voice spoke like an oracle to the minds of those whose creative gardens we enjoy today.

Of my own influences, Bradbury resonates louder than that famous foghorn.

I discovered Bradbury relatively late. "There Will Come Soft Rains" was the first story of his I read; it was in my high school sophomore literature book. I found that apocalyptic masterpiece beautiful and eloquent and absolutely chilling. It's a ghost story, it's a work about absence and death and promises our damnation if we don't remember it.

Since elementary school, I had always been a strong writer. My teachers often read what I wrote aloud. I loved words and making stuff up, but it wasn't until late in high school that my mind turned seriously to writing. In the spring of my senior year, I read Fahrenheit 451 and picked up Ray Bradbury's 100 Greatest Stories.

Oh my God, these stories!

I was overwhelmed by the thousands of windows he opened within my imagination. It was like spirits nobody has ever seen spoke to him! I felt like I had been given a ticket to everywhere I thought I would never go. His wondrous stories touched a deep loneliness, a sadness within me, and made it lighter. He made me better. One summer night after reading "Jack in the Box," I stood under the clear night sky, exhilirated, gazing up at the stars, and that infinite cluster of light was the closest representation of how I felt, a reflection of Bradbury's genius and my excitement about wanting to write stories too. The galactic possibilities!

Probably more than any writer who influenced me creatively, Mr. Bradbury was the voice of hope and joy and perseverance in the face of disappointment, of insatiable curiosity and excitement! Although I never met him personally, I was awarded an Honorable Mention in one of his Waukegan Library writing contests and received a certificate with his signature.

Oh boy.

If not for Ray Bradbury, I might have given up. He shared his wonder and immortal childhood.

He made me better.

Game Show Oceandeath Dream

Dream May 25, 2012

“It’s not only a game show; it’s a theme park!” said the invisible announcer.

An old friend and I stood at the bottom of stadium bleachers, which were filled with loud audience members and contestants. One stairwell to the right of the seats rose up to the top.

My friend looked up, and I followed her eyes, seeing a gargantuan sign with huge illuminated letters. I had no idea what they said.

“God, I hate game shows,” I said. “I hate the Price is Right the most.” Everyone in the audience began to shout, “HURRY UP! HURRY UP!”

An old-fashioned microphone was stapled to a grassy hillock by my feet. I realized what I’d said had been amplified.

She grabbed my hand. “I hate them, too, but both of us love slides. Come on!” I trudged up while she ran to the highest row of seats. The audience scowled at me, continued grumbling, “Hurry up! Hurry up!”

The stairs were lined by a railing on the right, and far, far below were the rippling waves of an iron-colored ocean. The altitude dizzied me, and I could see enormous shadows of creatures swimming in its depths. As I approached the top, the air to my left exploded, and the host appeared floating in a blazing starburst. His head was much bigger than his body. He startled me and I fell against the railing, which stretched like soft rubber out over the water.

“Whoa!” he said, pulling my arm and me to safety. “Hello there! Are you our first contestant?”

I glanced at my companion, who gestured it was okay for me to go.

“Okay.” The rules of the game were foreign to me. I shrugged.

The host picked me up and we floated to the highest step. He turned me around so I was facing below. For a moment I caught a glimpse of what bordered the other side of the stadium. It resembled a cluster of dirty buildings in the poorer sections of London.

A grating sound erupted from below and the audience roared. The stairs folded, merged together to create a flat, sloping surface. The host pushed me and I fell on my rear and slid down and down through the crowd. However, despite the incline, my descent was slow and hitched with pauses. From all around resonated, “Hurry up! Hurry up!”

I finally came to rest where we had started. The host pointed to the strange sign. “Now, Son, pick a category.”

I looked to the sign, but I could find nothing on it to guide me. Just moving, shifting letters in a language unknown. This wasn’t the Price is Right. I didn’t know what the fuck this was.

Members of the audience stood up and threw food at me. During my indecision, the host was literally swelling with anger. In desperation, I blurted, “CATERING!”

“Catering?” the host repeated, obviously confused. He and his starburst rose into the sky until the clouds enveloped him.

I walked up to sit by my friend. She had grown old and her nose was a huge wart. Her toenails were long and curled. She scooted closer to me and whispered, “I’m tired of pushing Jonathan away.” I nodded and put my arm around her.

A woman screamed from the poor neighborhood to our right. An emaciated man wearing no shirt had struck her, and she wailed. Half of her face was ripped away. She retreated into an alley, sobbing. The man skulked after her.

On the other side of the dark street was a warehouse, whose wide door was open and visible to everyone in the stadium. The woman’s scream had silenced the crowd. All watched the warehouse. From within emerged alien moans and wails of pain. Disfigured figures tortured monsters inside. The man who had hit the woman stopped at the edge of the alley to peer into the warehouse opening. A mouth came out of the dark and bit off his head, and his body danced in the street and eventually fell. Those within noticed us watching, and began to block the open doorway with what appeared to be giant body parts, fitting them together like stones in a country wall.

A voice called out, “NEXT!” and my friend stood.

Those below had completely walled up the warehouse with limbs, but a monster with amber crusted, external teeth broke through the wall and huffed in the street. Its head rose and fastened on me with spider eyes. It scrambled into the alley.

Shivering, I turned to my friend. She balanced on the railing, her hands clutching the bar of a hang glider. I looked down at the surface of the water. So far down! I got dizzy and begged her not to do it. But she laughed and jumped, and the wind lifted her so high I couldn’t look. I closed my eyes for what seemed like hours while I heard the rustling of her long hair. I eventually opened my eyes, and watched as she landed in the water far off. She abandoned the glider and swam the butterfly form with tremendous speed towards a new shore. The shore was my home driveway in Paris, KY, bordered by the two story garage. She reached the asphalt and climbed out, disappearing behind the garage. After a few moments, a light switched on in the second floor window.

I looked down at my shoes. The stadium, the people, everything had vanished except for a colossal ladder plummeting hundreds of meters down into the water. I clutched the top of the ladder, my shoes on the fourth rung below. It remained completely vertical in the air, and a propeller was affixed to its base beneath the ocean’s surface. The laddership moved at a slow 10 knots in a straight line towards the asphalt beach.

My fear of heights had multiplied, and I trembled, trying to keep my eyes on the destination.

Something jolted the ladder.

I glanced over my shoulder. The creature from the London warehouse was climbing the rungs. The entire bottom half of its large head was rusted teeth. It ascended gradually. I turned around on the ladder, horrified. After several minutes, the thing had reached my feet. I kicked at its head, and it snapped and growled. I kicked again and burst its arachnid eyes.

The laddership stopped and began to sink into the water. The beast snapped again and engulfed my shoe in its dark yellow jaws.

Dream Over

The Shell of Me

Got some stamps with which to send my guts to the pork plant. Who’s gonna mail the package once I scrape myself out? The shell of me. The shell of me can go swimming in a crick of chocklit, and the fake chocklit liquor will seep its way into the holes of my pupils. Because I punched them out with a candy stick I sharpened in my mouth at the Cracker Barrel. I can feel the cocoa butterless ooze ooze all over my insides when I am down at the bottom, and I quiver and shiver at the sensation. My guts at the pork plant are stuffed in an extraordinarily large envelope which sits on the edge of the loading dock, staring off at the skyline of Kansas City, looking like a morose Quasimodo with dry skin and patches of blood and shit sweat popping up all over his damned body. “No!” screams the pork-processing plant manager. He hits the delivery driver with a hammer. “I will not make sausages with these guts! Whose guts are these?” And from the bottom of the creek, I mutter, and the last bubble of air within my shell rises fluidly up and up through the cloying murk, to pop at the surface with a squelch and “Those guts were once mine.” The envelope skin is now seeping wet from containing my guts, his only friends excited flies. It is top-heavy, and falls over onto the concrete dock with another squelch as the loading doors close, leaving him alone with sunshine and flies. Do I have any grief? I have no grief.

Fulster Ulster

we want to spread them like butter of course your watermelon won't fit there because it's the thin sheen that we need not big fruit not big fruit layers and layers of squashed squash to revitalize all of them. all the talk is the juice did you drink the juice? this is about nothing - nothing fills it up like poisoned helium in a sheep condom balloon. IT IS SO BIG. and you and I float away on the rim of a nothing chorus like static in yer ear, fragments of titanium whole thoughts pulsing and pulsing. the air will grind up your face and it will rain your face your happy and sad and the dry upheaval of despairing sobs so those below will use it to climb to the ladder. THE LADDER IS BROKEN. HERE. HAVE SOME OF THE SHARDS. SOME DEEP SPLINTERS TO INFECT YOU.

Nightmare 52012

Woke up after a terrible nightmare. I was driving across a dark landscape in my Volkswagen, my passenger somebody I didn’t know. It was night, but so black the road over my shoulder was devoured. We stopped at a nondescript house at the side of the road, shaped like a brick with no windows and one door. An orange light over the door illuminated the night. I was expectant about the house, felt like I knew somebody there. I turned around for a moment staring off into blank fields. When I looked back, she was there, only a few inches away from my face. I think she was ---, I wasn’t sure. Her face was a burnt orange. She held a bundle of blankets in her arms, which she handed to me. “Hey!” I said. She moved her head in a careful circle, slowly examining my face. I felt self-conscious and wondered whether my features had changed so much she wouldn’t recognize me. But then she stopped and kissed me. I might as well have kissed a woman composed of ancient paper, it was so dry and featureless. I got in the car with the bundle and drove off. The dream shifted. I was in the corridor of my apartment building with a dolly, moving phantom objects into my home. Walking through the doorway, my apartment turned into a huge industrial loading dock facing a vast parking lot where my car was parked. The left side of the dock was a metal grill, with panels that collapsed into a sort of huge threshing machine operated by means of a lever emerging from the center of the dock. A high wall divided the grille from the rest of the area. Several men were working and laughing here. I rolled the dolly down a ramp to stow it in my car. “I’m finally done with this, guys,” I said. As I approached the vehicle, I passed a beautiful woman. And from around a corner came running -----. He was exercising. He stopped to give the woman his lightning smile. He told a joke, making us both laugh. But they didn’t hear or see me. I became a ghost, an invisible observer. The workers had gone inside for a break. ---- embraced the woman and they moved up onto the metal portion of the dock, which was blocked from view. The couple lay down on the metal and kissed. Renewed laughter filled the air as the men returned to work. The woman disentangled herself from --- and jumped up, running off into the distance. ---- started to get up, but a man with blonde hair, unaware of his presence, pressed the lever. The grille opened up and the he fell inside. I was horrified but couldn’t say or do anything, only watch as if I was at the cinema. He started to shout from below, but the men were laughing too loud. The blonde man clutched the lever in both hands and pulled, causing the machine to start. Immediately the screams. Oh my God the screams. “Ahhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!” Constant and horrible. The men stopped laughing. The one who had pulled the lever froze for a moment amidst the shrieks, terrified and unsure what to do. To stop the screams, he pulled the lever all the way. Silence. My ghostly form floated above the metal, giving me a horrid close-up of what was left below, the man ground into sections. His severed head faced up through the grille, mouth opened in an eternal howl of misery. The worker had stepped around the wall and looked down into the carnage. His face had transformed into animated clay, blue eyes filling with white tears. “It isn’t my fault,” he said. “I didn’t know he was there. You can’t blame me.” Dream Over

Dream - Fallen Sky

At the edge of America, the world shook and shook, causing the gigantic trees which held up the sky to tremor and crash, to slide into the earth. I saw my sister standing in the shadow of a falling redwood and I grabbed her hair and hurled us both 20 feet to safe ground. From the forest floor we watched the dirt swallow the trees like vermicelli, and thus the roof of the world collapsed down upon us, until all was left was mere crawlspace around wooden corners and the suffocating black ceiling of the solid sky.

So we crawled east.

Sometimes when we turned a corner in the maze, we were greeted by a cellophane window close to the floor. At one such turning, I got on my back and pressed my head out against the cellophane, which vanished as my head passed through the line of the window. What I saw caused my hands and fingers to tremble. Before and above my eyes was a slippery dome, upon which myriad creatures of the natural world were climbing and falling down. Mammals and fish and amphibians and reptiles wearing flat-forward eyes and opposable thumbs as they got higher, wearing clothes and developing technologies alien to me on levels that scooped out my brain. Several frogs caught my gaze and returned it. From the throat of one emerged a tad-pole like thing which landed on my face and wiggled under my collar. I quickly pulled my head back inside. We continued to crawl, and I felt the thing under my clothes turning revolutions around my body, as if I were a Sun and it my only planet.

From dark spaces others joined us in these corridors smelling of deadwood. Soon we were a dozen. Upon turning a corner, an Asian man standing at the end of a corridor pointed a bottle- rocket at us and fired. The flaming rocket roared over us and blazed a hole in a wooden wall. My little frog-planet bit my chest and I screamed, rushing forward and grasping the bottle rocket from the man, flipping it and blasting away his head. In the hole that the rocket had gouged in the trunk behind his dissolved head, the tadpole ripped from my clothes. The thing had changed, not into a frog, but a dragonfly with an enormous mouth bristling with circling, needle teeth. It lighted upon my wrist and faced me. A flower bloomed from the crown of its head and it shrieked, flying into the hole and chewing it completely through. Yellow light and smoke drifted through the new tunnel and we scuttled through to find a large room with a ceiling high enough to stand.

Along every wall of the room sat scarecrow versions of thousands of our ancestors, stuffed and poorly made in wooden chairs. Beside each scarecrow ancestor was a small table with a radio that played a singular voice which told a singular dead story.

On the right side of the room, men were sitting at a table discussing unfinished business. I recognized the few that owned all the money in the world. They were red and furious that other men were even trying to negotiate a part of the money chunk.

At the left side of the room was a multitude of women and children smoking and coughing and dying and disappearing from the cubes of yellow smoke that rose from the floor. A bald man with a worried look on his face was prostrate at the right side of the room, his mouth and nose flush against a vent. He inhaled and inhaled, causing his considerable bulk to bulge until he stood and exhaled into a bag, which he carried over to the left side. He shook out the bag onto the cubes, which dissolved any visible, yet as soon as he left, the yellow cubes reappeared and killed more women and children. He returned to the vent.

Above the rising cubes was a cellophane window, the ledge upon which paced the dragonfly- tadpole. It whistled to me and I walked over, holding my breath to avoid the noxious smoke. Standing close to the tadpole, its teeth whirred and bore a hole in my forehead. I felt liquid and drip down my nose and over my lips.

It whistled again and fled out the window. I could no longer hold my breath.

I inhaled.

Dream Over

The Bones in My Face

Vehicle's gone.

Maybe that's incorrect, or partially unright. I am pointing at the body with my magic baseball glove. The body is there, straddling the perforated yellow stripe of this unnamed highway. But it might as well be gone. Me and Leviticus can't go anywhere else, we're stuck out here watching the mutherfuckin antelope prance and dance. Lots of scrub brush.

My name is Viscous Stanley and I was tired. Took a nap at the wheel. Leviticus screamed, and I cuffed him in a dream with Mr. Magic Wilson. Travelers must sleep.

Hey you. Leviticus. Shut up. No hunting. Yet.

We can't go anywhere because of the wheels. I woke up and we were still. No wind whipping my golden locks. I stepped out of the vehicle and saw that the wheels had become teeth. Big, yellow, immobile teeth. This is Sir Crazy, right?

Leviticus says, "Have you ever turned around in the darkness, expecting to see your Father with a grin and an ax?"

Shut up, Leviticus. Polish Mr. Magic Wilson. Yes, thank you.

So teeth. I stepped out of the vehicle and the soles of my orange sneakers stuck to the road. Something smelled sweet. It was the road. It was a candy road. FUCK! The teeth were yellow and rotting.

Vehicle's got tooth decay and the cavities aren't going to allow me and Leviticus to go anywhere. The bones in my face are growing, because I am frustrated and angry.

Leviticus says, "I never turned around, so I am alive and I love Dad. But, now, Viscous Stanley, we're fucked. Even if I polish Mr. Magic Wilson, you're not going to be catching dreams anymore. Break your thumbs. This place is now our place. Somebody is brilliant upon the peaks of imaginary mountains in the distance we cannot see."

Dammit, Leviticus, cap your handicapped wisdom. Can't you see that the bones in my face are growing? Soon, I will be a stranger to myself. In the middle of a blighted highway with a vehicle gone, that's especially hard to deal with.

We wait for the wind to blow. After all, something new is soon forgotten.


Drank a lot of beer and Scotch on a bus from Oban to Ft. William back to Oban once, looking for a notebook. Nobody bothered me. It was wet, and the sheep on the hills looked like puddles of cream leaking away.

Lower the Goat

We are leaving Roma after three days of exploration. We are the sons and daughters of Aeneas, and we will forever be looking for him. Perhaps his fleeting soul has found the cool waters of another Flume Tevere stars away far beyond the grasp of any of our machinations. Nonetheless, we search for him and his answers, and we abandon Rome amid the wails of those haggard shades of hags. They may have burned our ships, and fed our squalling offspring to the boars in the hills to detain our wanderlust in order to try for another wave of swollen bellies, but we ride on wings inspired by the gods. So we remove ourselves from these seven hills to the coasts of Amalfi, where the lost dead whisper for us to lower the goat.

After a Lethargic Breakfast

After a Lethargic Breakfast
Todd Austin Hunt

After a lethargic breakfast, the sky exploded. My imaginary horse trainer wiped the grapefruit pulp off his face with a fire napkin he didn’t know was on fire and his moustache ignited. He jumped on the table, shrieking while the ground shook and the thunder from above subsided.

“It’s because I love the taste of horseflesh!” he repeated, pointing at three tremendous holes that had opened in the stratosphere. The holes formed a triangle, and beams of smoky orange light pierced through the apertures.

One of the beams hit a church on a hill, and the church POPPED and transformed into a bank with a vast chimney that spewed ghosts with expired smiles.

Another of the beams landed on my dear castle, and from the edges to its core, my home disintegrated inwards into a ravenous black hole. It ripped the flesh off the horse trainer’s bones, then took his bones as a token. It pulled at the chain mail thread of my imagination. The thread swooped down into a gigantic half loop as it retreated from my forehead, and I watched a flickering Goatman use the stream as a jump rope, skipping it without error as I became less and less interested and unable to foresee the outcome of such sport.

The last beam illuminated MARIO MARIA CHOMSKY’S FREE AND INFINITE HOT TACO STAND. Everything vanished except for Mario Maria. His head grew very large and his hair fell out. As his head swelled, the forms of all his customers emerged in miniature from his scalp, each one emaciated by a greedy disease. The Goatman leaped over the tail end of my imagination thread and Mario Maria’s head blew up, bathing everything in MYSTERIOUS TACO MEAT.

I looked at my hands. My thumbs were gone and I didn’t care.

Giant fingers filled the holes in the sky. The nails were long and dirty and they curved to clutch at the aquamarine roof of the world, causing cracks to radiate outward like poisoned blue blood.

The world moved away from its orbit in a deep arc, and I floated weightlessly above the black hole which was once my castle. The world shifted again in a reverse direction, and I hovered and watched everything roll and roll above and below me with the curiosity inherent in gravel.

The globe collided against obstructions and stopped. I plummeted to the ground next to the hole of my castle face first. My neck was broken. Things that understood that they were people but still looked like things emerged from the hole and began to gather around everything that was familiar, and devouring their familiarity until all countenances and structures became the abysmal Death of my eyes.