Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A is for Adventure

The office was electric with the hum of anticipation; everyone in a frenzy to finish paperwork and head out for Social. 

They reminded Irene of ants. 

Circles of people crouched and sprawled around the floor, filling out cards, tallying numbers, handing in cash up to the next echelon, hunched figures perched on stools, bent over counters and clipboards who filed the cards, compiled the numbers and traced colored lines on maps marked with myriad notations.

Above them, two queens circled the room, one with a beatific smile, the other bored, twirling a curl of hair and staring at the clock--Athena and Ariel.

The smiling one would gravitate almost naturally to the downcast face of one of the lower ants scrabbling about on the floor. Sometimes she would crouch beside them, always smiling. Sometimes she would wrap an arm around their shoulders and steer them towards a door at the back where her private office lay.

Irene was the only one without a task; it was her first day. She had been hired that morning after going through the job listings in the paper and beginning with the letter, 'A' and found, "Activism!"

"A is for ant," she whispered.

"Hey!" A man who called himself Tree clapped a hand on her shoulder. Tree was one of those who got to sit on a stool. "How was your first day? Do you need help?"

"Uh, yeah, it was great." It had been hot. They, she and her trainer--Ariel, the queen with the bored look-- had walked for four hours in utter humidity.

The bored queen walked up then, her mouth twitched. It might have been a smile. "She made eighty dollars on her own, Tree." 

Tree grinned, "made your scratch on your first day! You're going to be a Turf Manager in a week!" He still hadn't taken his hand off Irene's shoulder. "I'm a Turf Manager." 

The words hung there, as if a cue for her to say something. 

Irene nodded.

"You need to add up the total knocks and the ones you spoke with and which ones were benies," Ariel explained and handed her the clipboard she had been carrying with them all day. "Then give it to Cars. I already gave him the money and our map." And then she wandered away, leaving Irene to find a place on the floor with the lower ants. Tree had evaporated into the hive somewhere, she wasn't sad about it.

"C'mere, I'll help you," called a girl in a short skirt on the floor a few feet away.

Irene wove her way past a smelly boy with a nose ring like a bull and another person with a black pixie cut and indeterminate gender to sit by the girl who had spoken.

"I'm Jo," she continued with a blunt stare. 

"I'm Irene," the new girl answered, tucking up the ragged bottoms of her jeans beneath her to balance the clipboard across her lap. She glanced at Jo's neatly tallied columns and began to fill in her own. "Are benies people who gave you money?"

Jo leaned over to check her work and nodded.

"Short for benefactors?"

"Yep." Jo glanced up from her own sheet, smiled around an unlit cigarette and a jewel embedded in her cheek twinkled in florescent light magic.

Around them the floor ants were beginning to clear out, having turned in their day's work to the Turf Managers on the stools.

A shadow fell across Irene's clipboard.

She looked up into the beaming and dimpled face of Athena, the queen-mother of the colony.

"Hi, Irene. Heard you had a great night. We're having a Social at my place, I hope you'll come. Jo knows how to get there." And then Athena too headed out, leaving Ariel to herd the strays out of the office and lock up.

Outside, Jo lit her cigarette and eyed Irene, a shorter girl with long reddish hair and large eyes. 

"Where are you from?" Jo asked, blowing smoke out the side of her mouth with a practiced sexiness. The moonlight seemed to like the gem stud in her cheek, and it glowed in the dark.


Jo's dark brows shot up, highlighting the contrast in color between them and her platinum blond bob. "Ha! Iowa. We were practically neighbors. What brings you to the south?"

"Finished school, didn't want to be in the Midwest anymore," Irene shrugged and hugged her arms to herself, her thin poet's shirt inadequate. "You?"

"Came to seek my fortune," Jo smirked, "and a boy." She paused, "I think I like you. You're not like the others." 

"What are the others like?"

"They're...you'll find out." Jo tossed down her cigarette, stepping on it with the heel of a black boot. "Hey, you gotta car?"


"You wanna go somewhere?"

"Isn't there a party or something?"

"There's a party every night. C'mon, let's go." Jo liked her arm around the shorter one's elbow


"Anywhere! Where's your spirit of adventure?"

Later, Irene would look back and mark the beginning of all that came after with these words:

"A is for Adventure."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Jack is Called Daniel


Shit. Babies ain't got souls, even a little, til they are like seven years old. They have plenty of life force though. But they are soulless.

What was I gunna say?

If the transcribed memory could have been lifted from the page, it might have begun something like this...

The bar sagged around the patrons in aging sheet-rock, uneven floors liked to trip the drunken and disorderly alike, and dingy cobwebbed light dangled a strung-out luminescence. Even the light looked weary, yellowed and old. Regulars lined the bar in a row of slumped shoulders and ragged profiles. At a lone table, a man occupied the only chair for a ten foot radius. The Regulars respected the man's space and were happier to be at a distance from his muttering. No one knew who he was, but a trek to the bathroom was often narrated by an uneasy mixture of truth and delusion.

"Benjamin fucking Franklin..." the lone man growled and drank.

This was not the place for the young. This was a place where old alcoholics went to drown the emptiness and in doing so, hollowed out more of their hearts. When the swing of the door opened, a few heads turned as if the sharp protest of the hinges had already tattled: Stranger!

A young woman walked out of the crisp, clean night and into the stale brown air of the bar, and, despite her dark hair and dark pea-coat, brought something of a brightness with her. Cold air crept in at her heels, seeping into the stuffiness and sweetening it. Shoulders straightened. Eyes lifted and blinked. The Regular's collective gravity stirred the length of the bar visibly, some lethargic lamprey coming awake. The young woman smiled and strolled unhurried to the table with the lone man.

The bartender picked up a glass and wiped the rim with a less-than-sanitary towel and lifted his chin.

Down Regular Row a string of harumphs and hms traveled like a passing thought, beers and whiskeys lifted.

The woman picked up one of the banished chairs, brought it with her to a place roughly ninety degrees around the table from the man already occupying it and took a straddled seat, forearms triangulated on the back. She lowered her chin to the intersection of her arms and looked right at him.

He did not look back.

"Hi, Jack."


"You gunna ignore me all night?"


"C'mon, Jack, you think these fellas care if you talk to someone they can't see?"


"I know you can see me. I can smell it under the booze. The flickering light of consciousness." She lifted her chin and straightened, arms still draped over the back of the chair. "I need your help. It's getting harder and harder for me to find you, even when you're drunk."

He growled a curse, something older than English and ugly, softened only by the slur of alcohol. One of the regulars along the Row coughed. The bartender muttered. Jack shot a glare over the curve of a brown bottle, a dead aim for her sweet blue eyes. She didn't look like a dream. She looked like life and youth poured into porcelain and wrapped in hair dark as mother earth with endless aching skies for eyes.

She wasn't real.

But she had been dogging his heels in and out of dreams for weeks. He had stopped sleeping and started drinking. Well, started drinking more than usual. A man in his line of work did his fair share of holding down a bar. He squeezed shut his glassy eyes and exhaled through his nose.

"Name's not Jack." It was the first time he had ever answered her.

She beamed. The room brightened.

"S'Daniel." He thumped the empty whiskey bottle onto the table and shoved to his feet.

She laughed. And a glass no one had noticed too close to the edge lost to gravity and cashed behind the back-bar.

"My Jack is called Daniel." She slipped to her feet and reached out for his hand, which he'd not offered. "Call me Jill."

Her touch was cold. Like a bucket of ice water to the face.

Sobriety was gunna suck.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Truth about Babies

From the Logs of Bex Mullin

The truth about babies is that they are demons until they are human.

They live in water, that's a wonderful conductor of electricity, yanno. They feed off their mothers both before and after their births. You could say, since there isn't a word in your useless language for what I might be describing, that they live and feed off of, and are made of, spiritual, electrical, and software potential ones and zero's. 

They are empty, hungry shells that yell and scream and siphon energy from all living things around them, physically, emotionally and psychically. Don't believe me? Take a look at ANY new parent. Haggard, sleepless? That's not just from mid-night crying. The number of day-time naps will never erase what's being sucked from their souls.

And breast-milk...that shit is livewire. Disgusting, but livewire. Without breast-milk babies would decay entirely and succumb to the demon nature and never live up to any human potential. (Makes that red-neck child who breast-fed til six-years-old creepy as fuck and a societal necessary; but more on that later, because that can backfire. You can be too human. Shut up, you don't know shit.)

What about Baby Formula? You ask in fucking horror. Well, you dip-shit, all those babies grew up in a half-life, lazy, entitled, and will-less creatures perfect for the bottom-feeders to latch onto as Riders.

Congrats, Americans, you keep them fucking alive.

All those vampiric sonsabitches immigrated to the New Fucking World, hurrah.

Babies spread the disease. There's a reason government is ANTI ABORTION AND ANTI BIRTH CONTROL (which would reduce abortions, right?). Government ain't yer friend in this war.

I'm telling you, Ben Fucking Franklin is their Grand Fucking Father.

Oh yeah.

Get a drink. Let me tell you a Story.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Love is a Demon

From the Logs of Bex Mullin

Have you ever been in love?

The sort of love that turns you inside-out, steals your breath, alights your smile, makes your skin electric and your pulse erratic?

Has it ever possessed you?

Has it ever infected your blood, burning you to a daily fever til your eyes glossed and your pupils dialiated? Has it ever corrupted your logic until walking across town in the bitter cold without shoes seems just the thing to do? You don't need to call first. Why bother with the doorbell? Why not climb the fire-escape?

Bet that window is open.

The metal doesn't even feel cool, the grate soft and gentle under the soles of your feet.

This will be great. Just climb right in. Shh. Quiet, quiet. She won't even know you're there until you climb into bed. Just hold her close. Don't let go.

That's how the coroner found them two weeks later.

Locked in love and rigor-mortis; her face a portrait of torture, his one of utter bliss. The police located the man's flat across town, the walls plastered with photos and poetry. Cupid had struck, according to his journals one rainy afternoon when he had been walking out of the pharmacy. She had hailed a taxi. He had dropped his medication and followed her home. His entire life after that had been dedicated to her; he quit his job, stopped paying bills, returning phone calls.

Nothing in the woman's apartment or social life indicated that she had been aware of his obsession.

Iconography often depicts cupid with a bow and arrow, and in that they aren't far wrong. But the chubby cherub motif couldn't be more off. Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a deranged and almost untranslatable story from the Renaissance is much closer to the mark. Let's look at that first word, from the Greek hýpnos, ‘sleep’, éros, ‘love’, and máchē, ‘fight’. The fight part here could be attributed to the protagonist's pursuit of unrequited love, or perhaps to the illustrations of women hacked to pieces by cupid for resisting his power.

You be the judge.

Finding unpolluted love these days is a risky and unlikely. There's just so much electrical traffic. Everybody has the internet in their pocket. It's just too easy for them. Love burns so bright and so fast; it's a etheric feast. Why do you think there are so many dating websites? Humans love connection, and it's the perfect exploitation point. Those sites aren't run by real people. They aren't.

I'm telling you, there is no such thing as love at first sight.

You feel like lightning strikes.

You get the fuck outta town.

Love is a demon-bitch that will eat you alive.


Welcome to place where the kite touches the sky and the key on the string opens all the doors. Where the primary question remains, "What If?" And from there the tale unravels.