Wednesday, December 29, 2010


            It was ninety-five degrees and the previous night’s rain was turning the day into an ungodly schvitz. The atmosphere waved and trailed above the street. Each car and big rig zooming past the chandelier outlet slapped Invidio with a noxious gust of hot exhaust. His fuzzy camel suit provided little protection and, in fact, threatened the onset of heat stroke. Invidio relied on licking the sweat from his lips for hydration. His boss, a swarthy man of indeterminate Eastern European extraction, fed his beloved malamute bottled Evian out the palm of his hand.
            “Mr. Cicadas,” Invidio started, his voice muffled by the layers of cotton ensconcing his head, “perchance would you be inclined to part with a single bottle of water? I am prepared to provide fair remuneration.”
            “No!” barked Cicadas in his unidentifiable accent. “Bottles for puppy. You use sink – later. Now you juggle.” With that Cicadas retired inside the store.
            For the past thirty minutes Invidio had been performing card tricks. Before that he had been making balloon animals. He was a certifiable mediocrity at both skills and his fat fuzzy camel hooves made both activities significantly more challenging. Now he was juggling – first baseballs, then bananas, then iPhones. He was careful with the various props. Cicadas had made it known that he would garnish Invidio’s wages if he were to drop the iPhones or lose the baseballs or eat the bananas. Invidio had once asked, “Mr. Cicadas, the bananas with which I entertain the goodly passers-by unfailingly wilt and over-ripen in the blistering forge of the sun. And as you know, said bananas are, alas, rendered useless for the following day’s merriment. For Sol Invictus is a fickle master and takes life as easily as he gifts it. Owing to such, might I have your permission to augment my daily repast with the fruit before they go the way of poor foolish Icarus’s wings?”
            “No!” Cicadas had barked. “You eat this,” and had slapped into Invidio’s beseeching hands two antacid tablets and a pushpin.
            The day was a largely uneventful one for Invidio. He took his spot outside the front door of the chandelier outlet at precisely nine-thirty and proceeded to pant and perspire inside his velutinous tomb. One car brimming with proud suburban ennui after another zoomed past him during the slower periods of traffic. During the periods of heavier volume cars would form a trundling parade of oblivious steel. Invidio waved at each of them. Most motorists never deigned to look at the pitiful little man in the suit. Invidio knew that if one was to meet his cartoonishly large eyes, that motorist would feel compelled to wave back. They would hate to let the pitiful little man’s torturous and ignominious work go to waste. But what an imposition, shaming innocent people going about their day into buying a chandelier. How else to afford this pitiful little man in the camel suit his dignity? No. Better to simply avoid eye contact.
Parents would deposit their ill-behaved children onto his back and, in accordance with Cicadas’s orders, Invidio would give them camel rides. The kids would whip him with their hands, pantomiming what they had seen on television, while their parents would pose to him the most earnest questions, like: “Is it hard for little people to shop for clothes?” Older children and young adults sauntered past and shouted their typical brand of encouragement: “Faster, Camel!” “Stop hogging all the water, Camel!” “Suck my dick, Camel!” “Fucking raghead!” Invidio took only scant comfort in the protection the camel suit provided from spit, sundries, and assorted solid projectiles. It was his responsibility on his day off to clean the remnants of whatever had been lobbed at him throughout the week. Invidio took every slight, intentional or otherwise, in stride. Everyone values their dignity, he thought. But some have to go in search of theirs.
            At five o’ clock, one hour before Invidio’s shift ended, a 1988 Grand National turned into the parking lot, nearly jumping the curb in the process, and broke with a screech just in front of Invidio. A simian-looking creature with tattoos running the length of his neck and an assortment of unorthodox piercings, was behind the wheel. The passenger-side door swung open and out stepped Cicadas’s daughter. She was sixteen-going-on-thirty and looked the part. From afar one could almost mistake her shorts for a bikini bottom and up close they looked primed to tear. Her tank top bore a striking resemblance to a loincloth and it amply displayed her fittingly ample breasts. Invidio could not help but notice the slightest penumbra of areola peeking out the top of the shirt yet again. Same nipple, different day. Invidio liked to refer to it as Kilroy – at least he would have had he known anyone with which to share the joke.
            Cicadas’s daughter closed the door and the car sped to the other end of the parking lot. As she approached Invidio, her legs visibly undulating like rubber bands, she lilted, “Hi, Invidio.”
            Invidio replied chivalrously, “Good afternoon, Miss Nuzzles.”
            Nuzzles stopped and expelled a single breathy chortle. “When are you going introduce me to your girlfriend?”
            Invidio blushed behind his mask. “Miss Nuzzles, the transparency of your jest bellies the formidability of your faculties. You know that, come six of the clock, I will retire to my domicile sans paramour.”
            Invidio watched Nuzzles start toward him, mischievously planting one long toned leg before the other with each accentuated sashay of her hips. “I don’t believe that,” she intoned. “I’ve seen you out of costume. You’re telling me the girls can’t see what a catch you are?”
            Invidio bowed his camel head and quietly said, “Tragically the entirety of the fairer sex does not share your talent for badinage or flattery.”
            “It’s only flattery if you’re lying.”
            Invidio tensed within his costume. “You are too kind, Miss Nuzzles.”
            Nuzzles gently laid her hands on his furry chest. “I like when you call me, ‘Miss Nuzzles.’”
            Invidio raised his head by an inch. “Do you?”
            Nuzzles bit her lower lip. “I like when you talk to me.”
            “Pray tell why, Miss Nuzzles.”
            “I like your big words. Even the ones I don’t know.”
            “It would be my privilege and honor to augment your vocabulary were you so inclined.”
            “You like talking to me?” Nuzzles asked through pursed lips.
            “I do.”
“Do you like when I talk to you?” she asked.
            Invidio looked into her eyes from behind his laughably simplistic visage of a camel. “Were I flanked by Venus, Ishtar and Scheherezade; I would think only of you, Nuzzles.”
            Nuzzles giggled, then whipped around her head to face the parking lot. She cried out, “Drew!”
            The Cro-Magnon from the Grand National marched up to them. He grabbed Nuzzles by the arm without stopping and continued toward the chandelier outlet, pulling the girl with him. “C’mon,” he said. “I want to play with your tits some more.”
            Invidio watched them disappear into the store. He had allowed the little harlot to manipulate him again. He knew he would fall for her game again. That was when Invidio reminded himself that, like many others, he had to fight for his pride. Unlike others, however, he was uniquely gifted for capturing his pride. He had mastered his talent long ago. He had used it many times and he would use it again that night.
He felt something the size of a soda can collide with the back of his head and heard a male voice scream, “Fuck your mother, you humpbacked dune coon!”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


            A car sped by and vomited a wave of rainwater out the gutter. Invidio Fast caught the wave in his back and braced himself against the impact. The diminutive man shivered within the cold, wet cocoon his clothes had been reduced to. Only the tops of his scuffed wingtips remained dry under the umbrella provided by his orbicular belly. He fought to keep his neck from bowing under the dampened weight of his thick mesh of beard. The precipitation mingled with the dank urban air and Invidio bristled at the sting inside his wide spherical nose.
            The city of Madsen, New Jersey was uniquely antagonistic that night. There was not only the splash-by from the passing car and the ceaseless rain. In the process of buying his subway pass the vending machine had eaten Invidio’s first five dollars. He was forced to break a sawbuck for the second ticket and fill his pocket with the resultant change, which was mostly comprised of dimes. On the subway Invidio had found himself sandwiched between a panhandling hippie emanating a funk of patchouli and cloves and a morbidly obese woman badly in need of a decongestant. He had been forced to endure a few moments of agony after his desperate squirming had caused him to sit on his testicles. Upon exiting the subway he had been beset by a six-year old boy who expected the dwarfish Invidio Fast to grant him a wish. Upon calmly explaining to the disagreeable cherub that he was not in fact a magical being of slight stature, the boy’s mother, a scowling harpy of an insufferable temperament, ordered him to humor the boy. Invidio promptly blessed the boy with a long life free of injustice or indignity. As he continued toward his destination, his trouser pocket full of dimes, Invidio had taken comfort in the knowledge that his wish would not come true.
            He now stood before a gargantuan brownstone. It was architecturally authoritative and its accompanying masonry stood as a bulwark against any who would dare to interrupt the inviolable sanctity of the happy homes within. Invidio blinked away the drops of water falling through his bushy eyebrows. He stood at the foot of a marble planter, peeped between the twin yews standing guard and through the window beyond. The kitchen was florid and sumptuously autumnal in flavor, equally capable of entertaining a gathering of the hoi polloi or preparing a simple meal for an intimate family. Invidio saw the man in the kitchen ladle piping broth into a bowl, retrieve a spoon from a drawer and exit the room.
            Invidio Fast had first encountered the name Moses Olpian one morning two weeks previous. He had been sitting at his simple reconditioned desk reading the latest news stories from his favorite sites, the mouse in one hand and his fault-riddled mug of coffee in the other. An attempted escape from the nearby McKeever Correctional Facility had resulted in the death of two prisoners and the recapture of Babyface Paskind. Convicted on six counts of mass poaching and sentenced to no less than eighteen years, Babyface’s lawyer was quoted in the Associated Press piece:

Mr. Paskind’s attempted egress was a direct result of a cruel and unusual punishment handed down by Judge Olpian. In no other court would a judge find my client’s punishment to be commensurate with his crime. And anyone who is the least bit familiar with Judge Olpian’s years on the bench is well aware of His Honor’s draconian tendencies.

            Invidio’s curiosity had been piqued. He googled the name and had soon found a photo of Moses Olpian. The photo depicted a man seemingly forged from bronze. His lightly salted hair cast a metallic glow. The sheen from his Rolex cast flair into the lens of the camera. His suit was immaculately tailored and revealed a man of fifty-six fit enough for one thirty years his junior. It was his face, however, that had caught Invidio’s imagination. Olpian’s cheekbones stood in relief amidst the tanned skin of his chiseled face. His blue-gray eyes revealed a razor-sharp constitution. His jaw line was transplanted from the bust of an antiquarian statesman. Invidio had looked upon the face of a man who could spin the world against its axis. His subsequent research had borne out Invidio’s initial impression. Moses Olpian’s many years on the bench had made him a local celebrity across the tri-state area and a source of legendary hyperbole throughout the entire legal profession. His encyclopedic acumen was well documented and it had flawlessly ensured that not one of his imaginatively punitive sentences would be overturned on appeal. He had been called before the Bar Association on two separate occasions for alleged abuses of his judicial authority and had twice walked away not only free of censure but smelling of roses. Death threats were not uncommon and he had survived one previous attempt on his. But Olpian was known not just for his iron-fisted enforcement of the law but for his ceaseless adherence to its spirit as well. Overzealous prosecutors who did not wish to see their cases thrown out proceeded cautiously in his courtroom. Olpian crushed assaults on the liberties of even the most unapologetic defendants with extreme prejudice. He was known to reduce lesser prosecutors to tears and had once sent a young assistant district attorney fiending for a high-profile conviction running from the courtroom. Moses Olpian was a respected and feared paragon of judicial sovereignty.
            Invidio Fast, his eyes cutting through the statical downpour, shadowed the paragon outside his home as he made his way from the window of the kitchen to the window of the den. He saw the robust warmth of the room vibrating with pine, green and gold. The floor-to-ceiling bookcases stentorianly lined the back wall. The shelves were full of years of rhetoric. It was almost uncannily similar to what he had pictured. In the center of the room stood a hospital bed affixed to a score of tanks and machines. In the bed slept a seven-year old girl with a porcelain face covered by an oxygen mask. He watched Olpian gingerly close the door to the den and sit beside the hospital bed. He watched Olpian set the bowl of broth on a hospital tray before the girl.  Invidio watched him take the little girl’s hand, bow his head, and plant on it the slightest feathery kiss. Through the rushing sheets of rain Invidio Fast saw Moses Olpian raise his head as a single tear escaped the jurist’s eye. The honeycomb glow from inside poured through the panes of glass. Invidio’s whiskers stretched into an upside-down arch. His smile peaked through the hair. The diminutive man turned and started down the street, secure in the knowledge that in twenty-four hours he would be standing a little taller.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


           Alone among the conquering sovereigns who have tread the path of human history, Bulbous Magnanimity is doubtlessly the most pointless and entertaining. His motivations remain shrouded in secrecy, as do large portions of his biography. His ambitions always dwarfed his abilities, and historians continue to pontificate on what our world would be had any of his pointlessly grandiose dreams been brought to fruition.
Bulbous Magnanimity was born at 12:47 am on June 19th, 57 B.C., then crawled back in and refused to come out. Two months later he was born again, this time accidentally as his mother was attempting to pass a kidney stone. His parents returned him to the womb once Bulbous refused to acknowledge them beyond giving them the finger. He was born for the third and final time on January 1st and immediately declared his intention to secede from the Union.
            His father was Pulcher Magnanimity, an accomplished aedile and runway model who came from good chicken stock and enjoyed nothing more than composing verse in airport restrooms. By all accounts he was a warm and generous man who doted on his son and often read to him from lists of decommissioned naval vessels. His mother, Caribou However, had little time for him. Heiress to a wheelbarrow full of nickels Caribou devoted her entire life to the creation of an unpronounceable language that could not be written by human hand. Bulbous would posthumously publish her life’s work: The Complete Guide to a Language You Don’t Deserve to Know – fourteen hundred blank pages. Michiko Kakutani would call it, “a dazzling new pinnacle of linguistic invention.”
            At the age of eight Bulbous’s life was set in a startling new direction. An enigmatic X-Ray technician claiming to be a forward for the San Antonio Spurs told Bulbous that he was the cosmically conceived offspring of the eternal souls of Robespierre and the Kyoto Accord. According to contemporary reports Bulbous nodded quietly, made himself a cup of tea, played some Madden, read Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, revolutionized gastric bypass surgery, discovered cheese, swallowed a bug, took a deep breath, counted to ten, then to six, said, “Very well,” and walked out of the house.
            Bulbous would not be seen for another seventeen years, but rumors of his goings-on continued to circulate. Migrant workers in Bakersfield, California reported seeing Bulbous hitching a ride in a clown car while a laundromat in Sarasota, Florida claimed to have seen him inquiring into the whereabouts of a suspicious-looking Quaker with a hard-on. Crackheads said that he was raising an army in the East, Mormons said that his senses of sight and touch had been reversed, and Nancy Pelosi claimed to have sired a child by him – a manticore that she subsequently killed when it proved unable to carry a tune.
            In 1894 Bulbous re-emerged in Buenos Aires and immediately announced to the world his intention to run for Emperor of Everything. It is commonly believed that Bulbous’s thinking was that, since the office did not exist, he would run unopposed and win by a landslide. But just one month before the election, the Republicans nominated Calvin Julius Horsefinder, president and CEO of Multinational Conglomerate Incorporated Clownshoes. Bulbous, however, was prepared to fight dirty to ensure victory and resorted to inundating Horsefinder with prank phone calls, putting pineapples in his underwear, making fun of his furniture, and pelting him with Chinamen. The dual nails in Horsefinder’s coffin were Bulbous’s impenetrable defense against his critics – responding to their questions and criticisms with the phrase, “Oh no you di’in’t!” – and the smear campaign he launched against Horsefinder. This campaign consisted of blanketing media outlets with commercials and print ads insinuating that Horsefinder had participated in one scandalous activity or another, such as: “Guess what CJ did on MLK?” or “Guess what customs found inside CJ on his way back from Amsterdam?” The two-pronged attack of the Guess What Campaign and the Oh No You Di’in’t Policy destroyed Horsefinder’s career and six months after the election he was found dead inside an ashtray factory, having strangled himself with his bare hands.
            As the newly elected Emperor of Everything Bulbous Magnanimity was determined to put his best foot forward. He started by declaring war on the Aurora Borealis, but the offensive proved to be a debacle as Bulbous was never able to come within striking distance. He tried to start a war with the Harvard School of Business, but they refused to show up. He then turned to domestic issues, cutting taxes on the incontinent and constructing the first transcontinental tree house. He then returned to war and challenged Saudi Arabia to a staring contest. But when a dog barked and broke his concentration, Bulbous decided that he had had enough. So began The Great Purge of 1973. Bulbous and his followers, which consisted of a diminutive Welshman named Duncan and the anthropomorphic personification of Spina Bifida, would travel from village to dell screaming at passersby in German until they went away. Bulbous then redoubled his efforts and declared war on the Dead Sea. Believing the sea to have too depressing a name, he laid siege to the lake and demanded that it change its name. It refused and Bulbous attempted to burn the Dead Sea to the ground. When that did not work, he rounded up five hundred wolves and ordered them to huff and puff until the lake blew down. When that did not work, Bulbous drained the Dead Sea, deposited it into a series of differently colored mason jars and refused to free it until it complied with his demands. These demands now included not being so salty. Abnormal buoyancy, Bulbous claimed, was the work of the Devil. The Dead Sea held firm and, while its current location is unknown, it is believed to still reside in its segmented glass prison.
            The Dead Sea disaster proved to be the nadir of Bulbous’s reign and he quickly returned to domestic affairs. In an effort to combat inflation he replaced all printed and minted currency with live badgers. In response to the badgers running amok – and to reduce unemployment – Bulbous started an imperial program of wild animal handlers. Then the handlers began to run amok. In response Bulbous got them all drunk and allowed the badgers to have their way with them. He had plans to reinvent calculus and then turn it into a musical, but the lure of military conquest beckoned once again. This time Bulbous declared war on war and proceeded to engage anyone who fought anyone anywhere over anything. Then, just for good measure, Bulbous declared war on the past and announced that he had won retroactively.
            On the Ides of March in 2096, Bulbous broke into a Home Depot in Cleveland, Ohio, announced that he was stepping down from the throne, and walked out. He then walked back in, announced that he needed to buy some drywall, went to the appropriate aisle, took the drywall up to the counter, waited for someone to ring up his purchase, realized no one was coming after three hours, and walked out again – this time for good and, once again, without the drywall. Bulbous Magnanimity; the first, last and only Emperor of Everything; was never seen again.
            No historian has ever posited a satisfactory theory as to why Bulbous would inexplicably abdicate. Some believe that his manticore-child by Nancy Pelosi had returned from the grave to challenge him to a duel and Bulbous felt obligated to accept the challenge. Others have asserted that he left to roadie for the Mars Volta or that he decided to start his long-gestating Airborne Afrikaner League. Regardless of his unknown fate Bulbous Magnanimity has proven to be the most inconsequential and amusing despot in human history. He was, by turns, intelligent and unintelligible; frightening and frighteningly funny; necessary and superfluous; loved and begrudgingly tolerated. His legacy is practically non-existent, yet we cannot stop talking about him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


            It was quarter to two as I made my way down the Hillfield stretch of Bourbon Drive. I only had fifteen minutes to get to the old Jaundice house on Elder. Sure, I coulda been there at noon. Coulda been there earlier. But I don’t cha-cha. Never had the shoes for it, I guess. Me? I gotta draw ‘em out, make ‘em feel the squeeze. Then they’re primed to pop as I feed ‘em that spoonful of ugly.
            I was slicin’ the cheese thin, for sure. But as I turned onto Acacia, I had to take a moment, had to dig that crazy jazz blowin’ down the street. Thick-top johnnies and their dopey broads arm-in-arm, rugrats in tow, sportin’ their pearly whites and gigglin’ like a hopped-up clown car. They can’t even tell the nancy at the soda fountain from the huckster jonesin’ for a pound of flesh.
            But I can spot the swine among the pearls. I turned onto Elder and watched the houses zip by, spotted the blood in the mortar between the bricks, heard the birds sing Greek chorus. I know what’s brewin’ under those roofs. Trouble’s what it is, double bubble and all. You don’t have to go lookin’ for it neither. It’ll find you and but quick. I found it that day. I had it sussed out from the jump. I pulled into the Jaundice drive and got out of the van. I didn’t know the particulars knockin’ on that front door, but I could spot a hotbed of grift from five towns over.
            The door swung open and there she was. “Eva Jaundice?” I asked.
            I took a last drag, dropped the butt and snuffed it out with my heel. “Hunts Bomark.” I crossed the threshold and shut the door behind me. “You say you’re having some trouble?”
            She eyed me sidewise for a second before the synapses sparked to life. “Oh yeah! C’mon. I’ll show you.”
            She waddled out of the foyer and I followed. She was all muumuus and diabetes. She looked familiar to me. I think I saw her in a movie once. She was engulfed in flames and someone was screaming, oh God the humanity. “She was no looker, that was for sure. You wouldn’t bat an eye if you saw her on safari, coolin’ in a mudhole.”
            Jaundice stopped and looked back at me. “Excuse me?”
             “Never mind, Crumb Cake,” I said.
            “ ‘Crumb cake?’ ”
            “That’s right. Say, you want to show me the problem, or you want to make a friend?”
            Her bovine eyes went sidewise again before she walked on. Guess she had some cud in the wreck room. I followed her in there. We stopped by the davenport, a ratty number soaked through with sundaes and dashed dreams. She pointed at the TV set and said, “The picture’s fuzzy and the cable channels don’t come in at all.”
            I eyed the tube, all thirty-three inches of it. I could beat that. “Fuzzy, huh?” I said.
            She took a beat and said, “Yeah. Fuzzy.”
            I walked over to the set. I was ready for anything. Loose wires, a smokin’ husk, a Chinaman with a slingshot. Anything. The fat old bat wasn’t droppin’ guano on my head. I knelt down at the back and scoped it out. Nada. I peeped the back of the cable box. Again, bupkis. “How long’s this been goin’ on?” I asked.
            “About a week now.”
            I looked up at Jaundice, gave her a glance sidewise – see how she likes it.
            Her mug waxed befuddled. “Maybe ten days,” she added.
            “And you’re just comin’ forward now.” I stood up, crossed my arms. “I’d seen this a hundred times. Maybe a thousand. After a while you go numb. One case starts to fade into another and pretty soon all you got is a big pile of nasty cruddin’ up your head.”
            “What do you mean?” Jaundice piped in.
            “Wasn’t talkin’ to you, Soft Serve,” I piped back. I dropped my arms and faced the broad head on. “Want to know what I think?”
            I started toward her, slowly, windin’ her spring real tight. “I think you saw an opportunity and you took it. You thought, Hey, maybe it’s a bad wire or there’s a glitch with the server. Could be any number of things. What do I know? But why don’t I let this sit on the sly for a while? Make it look worse for the wear. Maybe I’ll get a sucker for a serviceman and this bird can wet her beak a little.”
            “What are you talking about?” she cut in.
            I kept the boot on her neck, “Then after a week – maybe ten days – you call up the company. And they send me around. You feed me this song and dance, and I say, ‘So sorry for the inconvenience, m’lady. Allow me to spot you free cable for a month.’ So you say, ‘Thank you, kind sir. Let me repay you. But I don’t have much in the way of money.’ And then what, Cream Cheese? I introduce you to the beast with two backs, start combin’ your hair? Then you’re paintin’ my fingernails and feedin’ me lines. You get an idea, real spontaneous-like. How we can always be together and never worry about anything again. And I go along for the ride because I’m the sap who fell for your tune. Next thing I know, I’m nappin’ on a railroad track and you’re in Cabo with the president of the company.”
            “Are you crazy?”
            “Like a fox! Who do you think you’re dealin’ with here, Mayonnaise? I had you made the moment you opened the door. ”
            She was yappin’ at my heels as I b-lined for the exit. “Hey! Who the hell do you think you –”
            I spun around and put my finger in her face. “Now see here, Waffles! You’re not pullin’ the wool over my eyes. These eyes are trained and they got your number. I’ve seen your type before. You run roughshod over the straight and narrow, wave your stink under all the clean noses, ‘til they end up bangin’ their heads against the walls of the booby hatch. But I’ll tell ya what I’m gonna do: I’m gonna let this one slide. I’m gonna give you all the rope you need to hang yourself. Then I’ll slip in and kick the stool out from under your feet.”
            I opened the door, crossed back over the threshold, and lit a butt. I took a drag, blew out the smoke and looked back at the crooked broad with the dopey look. “Arrividerci, Stir Fry.”
            I got in the van and amscrayed. I didn’t have time to savor a minor victory. I had to get over to Lakebush, see about some shark’s hinky modem, a lawyer named Clams Casino. He’d be a tough customer.
            The brass at the office was gonna ride me over the Jaundice broad. They were tough customers too. In the end, they’re all tough customers. But when you live by a code, that’s who you gotta sell to. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

THE WALK (LitBits #3)

          There’s an asphalt walk between two houses. It ambles over and down a hill into a field verdant of blades and diamonds. Electric latitudes hover overhead. The walk trembles thin past seesaws and swings. It winds through a thousand spacetimes of vertiginous naïveté. Two half-courts are trampled by a million possibilities. The walk opens up to the harsh light of day. It hooks about, doubles back on itself, swallows its own tail. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'M CLOSE (LitBits #2)

     I'm on my knees amid a roiling ocean. The foam hisses up to my breast, trailing itself with a pregnant shimmering echo. The waves run over my back in pulsating fractals. My nostrils fill with the scent of wet oleander. The current throbs between my knees. The stars wink come-hither above the indigo horizon. I turn my head toward the Bloodhenge and I hear the voice: "Where are you?" Light-years away but the heat from the breath washes over my flesh. I cry back, "I'm close! I'm close!"

Monday, November 1, 2010


Before my eyes are open I'm cold. My eyes grow back in my grandparents' bathroom, a long-extinct species of sepia and bygone conveyance. The tub is filled with ice. And the ice is filled with me. I look at my gut through the crystalline cubes, a wide gleaming splotch of pixilated scarlet. I'm not confused anymore, but the ice has numbed me to the chill snaking through me. I lift my head. He towers over me; stentorian, victorious. His arms across his chest, he holds a scalpel. Crimson rivulets run down the metal and over his fist.

No, I think. No. Not me. Not him.

Then he laughs and says, "I'm just kidding."

Thursday, October 28, 2010


In the beginning, God was bored and threw a tantrum. His furious screams created the light, illuminating the formless wasteland that was the universe. Thus ended the first day. On the second day God was nauseated by His domain’s lack of righteousness. He flailed His arms in anger through the flotsam of lame that was the universe. The cosmic debris settled to form the heavens and the earth. When God looked upon His Creation on the morning of the third day He found it dull. Enraged He slammed His hands onto the surface of the earth, creating the land and the seas. He looked at the earth and said, “That’s better,” and ended the third day. After his beauty sleep, God realized that the earth was colorless and depressing. “This blows,” He said and urinated on the land. From His golden showers grew vegetation of every color and God was sated. So ended the fourth day. On the fifth day God regarded the earth, expecting to be amused. Soon, however, He realized that nothing was happening. He squatted over the world and defecated. From wherever His feces landed rose the menagerie of beasts that populate the land, sea, and sky. God watched as they played and fed and mated and defecated and he was satisfied for the time being.

On the sixth day God discovered that He was still not happy. He decided that he needed a constant source of entertainment, one intelligent enough to make its own decisions yet dumb enough to make the wrong decisions. So from the clay of the land God created Man in his own image. God was very happy with his newest creation and deemed the seventh day be designated for Man to worship Him, for God had created many awesome things and was, Himself, the embodiment of awesomeness.

Over time God saw that Man was unhappy, that Man did not frolic amidst the flora or partake of the fauna with the mirth that he once had. God asked Man, “Hey, what’s your problem?”

Man replied, “I’m sorry, Lord, but I’m lonely.”

God was angry at Man’s ingratitude. He had brought Man into existence and allowed him to dwell amongst His perfection. But Man had found it wanting. Nevertheless God decided to supply Man with a companion, lest Man remain despondent and never entertain Him again. He removed a rib from Man and, over Man’s agonized screams and desperate attempts to stop the bleeding, created Woman. God placed Man and Woman in His most beautiful Garden. “There. Enjoy,” He said to them. “I’ve got only one rule: don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge.”

“Why not that one, Lord?” inquired Man.

“Because I said so, that’s why!” And with that God left Man and Woman to their own devices.

Man and Woman lived together in the Garden for many years and were happy. They frolicked amid the flora and partook of the fauna and copulated so frequently and loudly that many animals found it disturbing. The Tree of Knowledge remained unsullied but never completely out of the minds of Man and Woman. One day Woman was walking through the Garden. A serpent appeared before Woman and spoke to her in Woman’s own voice. “Say, what’s the matter with you?” the serpent asked.

“What do you mean?” answered Woman.

“Why don’t you eat from the Tree? I know you want to.”

“The Lord told us not to. Duh!”

“Yeah, right. Why would He plop you down next to the Tree and then forbid you to eat from it? He’s got a whole world to choose from and He puts you within spitting distance of it? What sense does that make?”

Woman opened her mouth to speak. But no words came forth. She could not answer the serpent.

“Why would He even make a Tree of Knowledge, huh?” the serpent continued. “What, He’s so smart He needs to put some of it in storage or it’ll go bad?”

“I-I don’t know.”

“He’s freaking God, for God’s sake!”

“I-I…” Woman faltered.

“I mean, He dangles this treasure in front of you like a carrot on a stick and tells you you’re not allowed to have it?”

Woman met the serpent’s eyes. “I have wondered at times what the harm would be.”

“What harm? What does He think, you’re going to take His job? How insecure can a deity be?”

Woman thought long before answering, “It’s not fair,” and struck out through the Garden to find Man.

She found Man reclining under the Garden’s eaves, shamelessly molesting himself. He saw her approach, jumped to his feet, and grabbed Woman by her hips. “Woman,” he said, “if you had clothes I’d be tearing them off you right now.”

“Look, Man,” she began, “you ever think about why we can’t eat from the Tree?”

The question surprised Man because, while he recognized Woman’s form and visage, the voice he heard was his own. He released Woman and said, “No. God’s forbidden it. Isn’t that enough?”

“Is it?” Woman replied.

Man hesitated, then spoke. “Of course. He’s the Lord, all-knowing and all-powerful.”


“What do you mean, ‘So?’ What kind of talk is that, Woman?”

“I’m just thinking out loud.”

“I don’t think you are.”

“Man, why would the Lord create the key to wisdom in our presence and then deny us access to it?”

“We’re not supposed to question God’s motives.”

“Why not?”

Man hesitated once again before answering Woman. “B-Because we’re His creations.”

“Exactly,” countered Woman. “He made us in His own image. He gave us dominion over the earth, just like Him. And just like Him, we think. We’re His only creations capable of independent thought. And He refuses to give us what we need to make intelligent, informed decisions?”

“I don’t think that’s what He intended.”

Woman’s eyes blinked open wide and she pointed a finger at Man. “Look at that. You’re questioning God’s motives, Man.”

“Shut up, Woman! He’ll hear you!”

“Admit it – you have the same questions I do.”


“And what if you’re wrong? What if that’s exactly what He intended?”

Man was scared and unable to speak for several moments. “What if you’re wrong?” he finally uttered.

“Maybe I am,” Woman answered. “But I’d like to know for sure. Wouldn’t you?”

Man paced beneath God’s totally righteous canopy of green. Woman gently took Man by his hands. “I know it’s scary. I’m scared too. But aren’t you curious at all? Wouldn’t you like to know why things are the way they are?”

Man looked into Woman’s eyes. “Only if you’re with me,” he said.

Man and Woman marched to the heart of the Garden where resided the Tree of Knowledge. Man and Woman each plucked an apple from the boughs of the Tree. They looked at each other and, with a nod, bit into their apples. Before they could wipe the juices from their chins, the sky above them opened and roared with God’s wrath. “Jesus Christ,” he bellowed, “I give you one simple instruction!”

“It was her!” cried Man.

“Shut up! You’re out of here, both of you!”

Both Man and Woman pleaded with God for forgiveness. “Please, Lord, give us one more chance!” they implored.

“Forget it! Scram!”

“Lord, we beg you to reconsider!”

“Oh, well, in that case, okay. I’ll reconsider. And… done. No! Get out!”

“Please! Please, My Lord!”

“No. I knew this would happen and it happened.”

Man and Woman were taken aback by this sudden revelation. “You… you knew?”

“Of course. I’m God, stupids!”

“Then… you gave us a test you knew we would fail?”

“You got it.”

“But why?”

“That’s how I roll.”

Man and Woman looked at one another in mutual shock, then turned back to their Creator. “But that’s not fair!”

“Neither am I. Now GET – THE – FUCK – OUT!”