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Monthly Archives: April 2010

He spits a tangled mess of cords onto my living room floor.

“Jesus,” I say. “You get some twist ties you could keep those organized.”

No, he shakes his head and grunts around the black, yellow, gray wires snaking their way past his teeth. He gropes for the plugs at their end and jams them into my VCR. Three minutes ago: My door slams open and I hear him shout, “Dude, you won’t believe what I saw on the way to work this morning.”

I’m trying to finish my thesis. 100,000 words on the futility of HD vision in a high-altitude environment. “Can it wait?”

“No way, get in here.”

Now: He sits cross-legged in front of the TV. Drool trickles out the corner of his mouth and his fingers and toes twitch in time to flashes on the screen. Still rewinding. I drop onto the couch, impatient, already losing my train of thought. Everyday Tanner shows up with something oh my god you just have to see holy shit you won’t believe it. Sometimes it’s a confidence man spinning snuff clips against the brick walls of a warehouse. Maybe a dog with ‘plants chasing a taxi up the side of the Shanghai piston. It’s like he thinks I don’t watch the news.

He makes a noise like a seal barking, snapping his fingers and pointing at the screen. We’re looking out of the windows of a bus somewhere on… Greenburgh. His morning commute. A few seconds in, Tanner’s head turns and we see a man in bike shorts swallow a woman whole. The bus doesn’t stop, but in a few frames we can clearly see his jaw unhinge; the neck twists out and up and he just drops down over her. I don’t think anyone else noticed.

“What the fuck?”

He holds up a finger. Wait. Fast-forwarding.

“You’ve really gotta upgrade to external outputs. This no-talking thing is a pain in the ass.”

Tanner rubs two fingers together. It’s true, they’re expensive. More wear and tear on the outside.

The next scene we’re standing behind the counter at the video store where he works. Some guy’s buying the second season of Seinfield. We keep looking at the zit on his chin. Over his shoulder we see another man–a different one, in a suit this time–eat another woman. This time we get a good look at the way his skin tone flickers into transparency, and when he turns to look through the window, right at us, his eyes are just a snow of static.

At this point, Tanner yanks his cords out of the VCR and lets them zip along into the back of his throat. “Weird, right?” he says.

“The eating of the women, yes. I’ve seen the static eye before, just happens if your outputs get crossed by another signal.”

“Shit, I got outputs.”

I shake my head. “Nah, I mean the only way they can get crossed is if you got inputs too, so you’ve got nothin’ to worry about.”

“Actually…” He peels the skin off his palm and points to the ports there. The edges of the panel are still raw, red from recent surgery.

Not sure where this one’s going, if anywhere.

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thunder bursts down
through the audio,
splitting waves of bass.
rain stutters to muffled beats,
thickens our steps.

we’re silhouettes,
shadows in strobe.

cool air
and the chill of wet skin,
but when the noise dropped
we spread like fire.

man, i never feel good about poetry.

flaps of skin shake,
slap down with soles.
artillery on wet cement.
lungs balloon, shudder,
shrivel to husks
before the next breath.
sweat cuts a path
down your back to the dirt.
you leave a long enough trail,
streets don’t have signs,
eventually.
run if you have to.
bodies break,
but, i mean,
run if you have to.

tried some poetry tonight–it’s been a looong time, but i want to try some different things. i mean, i could just write fiction everyday, but that wouldn’t be much of a challenge.

I wasn’t expecting to wake up in a straitjacket. So, when I did, I hope it’s not too difficult to understand my panic. I rolled out of bed and landed with my cheek pressed up hard against cold tile.

Have you ever tried to stand without using your arms? It took me a full minute. By the time I was on my feet, I’d started to register a few important notes about my surroundings:

  1. The walls were all white.
  2. The little window in the door had bars across it.
  3. This was not my goddamn apartment.

I heard footsteps in the hall outside and threw myself against the door. “Who’s out there?” I shouted, voice hoarse. “Where am I?”

A little arc of electricity sparked between the bars and landed on my cheek. A few seconds later, after all the work I put into standing up in the first place, I was flat on my back.

“You know not to touch the door, Mr. Harrier.” The voice was calm, quiet, and yet I could still hear it echoing down the hall. “We’re coming in for your morning review.”

The space behind my eyes fizzled with electricity and I was still a little dazed, hazy enough so I could do little but lie back and watch as two men in blue robes opened the door and stepped over my body. They took seats on the bed and I tried to shake myself awake, pushing up so I could sit facing them with my back against the wall.

One was bigger, bald, carrying a little gray rod with two crackling prongs on the end. Probably the one that shocked me. The other was short, also bald, but carrying a clipboard instead. He settled himself and cleared his throat. “Alright, you know the drill. What’s your name?”

I was still too stunned to do anything but respond. “Hal Barrister.”

“And what’s your– Wait, what?”

“Hal Barrister. My name.”

He rubbed his temples and said, “Listen, Mr. Harrier, this doesn’t have to be a hassle.”

“Who the hell is this Harrier? I don’t even know where I am!” I shouted, some of my confusion melting into anger. “Listen, I went to bed in my apartment¬† and I JUST woke up here and I don’t-”

And I was on the floor again. Green flecks of lightning did figure-eights across my eyes and I could just see the big guy bending over above me. He pointed a finger down at my face and said, “Just answer the questions.”

My tongue slapped against the roof of my mouth. “NNnnghhheaaaaa.”

The big guy shook his head and sat down on the bed again. “Okay, let’s try it again,” Clipboard said. “What’s your name?”

I blinked rapidly, shock and, well, possibly the repeated electrocution bringing tears to my eyes. “I’m Hal Barrister, I swear, I don’t know what the hell is going on and-”

“Hold on,” Big guy said. He leaned forward. “Doesn’t he have green eyes?”

“Yes, why-” Clipboard stopped and leaned forward too. “Oh.” He frowned. “Why are your eyes red?”

Okay, I’ve been told by a few people that, during April, there’s a challenge to write at least 500 words of fiction or creative non-fiction everyday. Obviously, I’ve missed a few days already, but I think I’ll try to keep up from this point on. I’ll use this blog as a home for my attempts, failed or otherwise.