Posts Tagged ‘ People of Interest’

Touching Without Feeling and Other Near Impossibilities.

Posted on July 17, 2010

This Noose was Designed to Break on ImpAct.

This Noose was Designed to Break on ImpAct.

It’s half past dawn and already blazing hot when the treacherous villain called Creature and his villainous sidekick named Harlot scale the fence and drop headlong into the town square. It is Sunday.

“This is a slippery kind of place,” she says.

“That explains the warm welcome,” he replies.

He isn’t being sarcastic either. There is a disarming sense of surrealism here.

She feels it too.

Primitive, smiling types everywhere…

Robust work-a-day men, proud of their sweat and bathing in their stench drink liquor from flasks and wipe their foreheads with rancid bandannas.

They are fatuous creatures, the kind who shout even when speaking softly. They rub their swollen guts and gnaw on their stubby fingers and when they belch, it smells like vomit.

Diminutive women bustle to and fro with gaggles of children nipping at their heels. They regurgitate damaged ideologies with irrepressible pride and the children mimic their words by rote with no discernible emotion and then they violently scramble to fetch the birdseed and moldy breadcrumbs tossed at them as a reward for learning their lessons well.

The townspeople are possessed by the demands of the moment. It is all they know. There are no memories here, which works out well for rogue interlopers trying to quietly assimilate and remain under the radar. In this place there are no cynical suspicions.

Here, everyone’s been here all along.

And so, with none of the usual tense curiosities regarding their past to account for, the chiseled Creature with filthy hands and the Harlot made of fiery dust, pause for a breath. Warily, at first…

“We should call this home for a time,” he states, as though it were a suggestion.

As if I had an option, she thinks, knowing full well that she hasn’t.

“Sounds swell,” she says, in way that suggests that it isn’t.

“You have a bad attitude,” he snarls while simultaneously swatting at an errant ash, which is drafting downward, threatening her ruddy cheek.

She instinctively ducks which infuriates him, and so he clasps four dirty fingers and one disjointed thumb around her neck and twists her head toward the fallout so that she will understand that he was being heroic. That he was trying to save her.

She is unimpressed by his attempt, and also slightly reactive and she responds to his brutality with a sucker punch straight to his beautiful face “Don’t be a jerk,” she snaps in conclusion, as a verbal punctuation of sorts…

And when she pauses for a long moment, considering what’s next, he becomes enraptured by her irrational fury and by the heaving of her chest.

Then she is ready, and she continues:

“I remember a time when people like us didn’t mix. You might do well to remember that yourself once in awhile.”

She says this in tones laced equally with ire and syrupy sweetness and he suddenly feels the stirrings of an erection. His insides writhe beneath his flesh and he imagines the tiny, trampy cat-girl pouncing upon him, knocking him over and then passionately licking his sweat and his fever.

His excitement turns to heated arousal and so he turns and slaps her, boorishly and hard.

His calloused fingers coil and release and then violently impact her face.

A series of red, pock-like blisters appear almost immediately, marring her otherwise angelic countenance, causing it to swell and distend awkwardly and her wounds erupt in a curious pattern; one that is oddly reminiscent of The Big Dipper.

“This could go on for days,” she says in a manner that reveals nothing.

She makes a show of stifling a yawn before languidly sinking to the ground where she begins digging a hole in the sand with her fingers.

“I got nothing but time” he says sinking alongside her and starting in on his own hole.

They sigh in unison. In reckoning. He thinks her a spooky little scout and she regards him as a dastardly crook and a charlatan. They are a match made in hell, these two; digging holes in quick sand, bound together by hatred and necessity and psychotic twisted admiration.

The air is heavy with water and soot and shame and she considers the ocean and the trees. She considers this in spite of her mightiest efforts not to.

She longs for a moment so far gone that it feels dream-like in nature.

Creature recognizes her absent gaze.

“Remember all those days…” he says carefully as the sand sifts dramatically through his fingers, “…those days when all we did was sit and wait for death?”

She smiles at nothing and then turns toward him. Her eyes pierce his neck and she indulges a throaty laugh. And then: “No. I remember living.”

This is her reply and with her words still hanging low in the air she averts her gaze so she will not have to look at him.

She continues, more softly now: “I want to go back.”

He shakes his head in mock empathy. “That’ll end,” he says, “You’ll learn to forget.”

“Not without a fight,” she replies, but already her constitution has weakened and her delivery lacks its trademark vigour.

She sinks further into the mire of life and love and truth unrequited and begins to contemplate the ironic freedom of acceptance.

While she knows he is right, she prays he is not. This vague longing for a time not so far gone is all she has to remind her of who she’d been before the beast she is now; back before some vile, decrepit animal infiltrated her blood and being, effectively exorcising her humanity and forcing her to exist in this glitchy, scattered and heinously morbid, alterna-world.

The thick night air is decomposing quickly, giving way to stale mustiness. The townspeople are tucked safely away in cottages made of ash and stone, and the darkness provides suitable disguise for the two specters silently digging graves with mud-caked faces. They contemplate memories that they are not supposed to think of because the memories make them human and they are anything but. Now they are the past. They exist as voids in space, bereft of hopes and dreams and hindered by the remoteness of the lives they’d lived and the ones they’ve stolen. They are goblins feeding in the shadows, slogging and toiling and scouring the ground in obscurity. Though they disregard daybreak, it always comes and is always the same: steaming, toneless, aggravated. They kiss the sun as they sweat in their sins. They woozily cluck and hiss while sitting against the rock wall, chained inexorably to the other vagabonds and exceptionally unacceptable types. They are the stars of an exclusive reunion, conceived of and played out in hell.

“I don’t belong here,” Harlot cries suddenly, without warning. She is panicked and thrashing.

“But you do,” Creature replies evenly. “You do belong here. That’s why they welcomed you. They only welcome what they know.”

He pauses. And then:

“And if you aren’t actually what you seem to be, I must say that you fake it alarmingly well.”

“I am…haltingly honest,” she says less convincingly than intended.

“If this is about him…we could always keep him safe, you know…”

He attempts to sound casual but his efforts are futile, for she is hip to his game.

“How long has it been since you actually believed that?” (Scorn.)

“You will leave him alone.” Her words are a command and her tone pricks him; it is suddenly deep, guttural and unfamiliar; rooted in evil.

In that moment, Creature feels a creeping sludge begin to well up from his insides. It heats his spleen and begins to bubble up through his windpipe and he feels the tightness of fatal asphyxiation descending.

He fears that his Harlot with her purple face and her blood orange revelations might never truly learn to be gracious and still in his picturesque underworld.

In his periphery, Creature spies a pale horse crawling toward a water trough in the distance, squawking in desperation. The trough is just a mirage, but Creature sees no reason to impart such heartbreaking knowledge upon the brute.

Soon enough, he thinks.

Calmer, he is now ready to re-approach the girl.

“Given enough time, all love fades,” he says, “And then it ends and then we move on. It’s inevitable. I just cut out the middleman. Saved you some trouble. Procrastination is the Devil’s playground, you know…”

He says this and must immediately quell his overwhelming instinct to laugh gaily at his endlessly clever wit.

“I know,” Harlot replies, “but the process is in place for a reason. It enables resolution. He needed to love me so that I could learn to not love him.”

“Come now…you would’ve quit anyway. While it isn’t a terribly unique exit strategy, you certainly perfected it.”

“I never quit! I just left. Leaving isn’t quitting. Leaving is leaving. Quitting is final…It’s…different.” She is sputtering now. (Chord. Struck.)

“Don’t be simple! It’s no different at all. It’s exactly the same. You were born to quit and you can gel the lens and turn it the color of roses, you can sheathe it in riddles and perplex the senseless masses but you can’t hide what you are from your kin because we smell your intention. And while circumstances provide reason and allow the unthinkable to be forgiven, your intention is your truth. And even you cannot hide from your truth. That is why you belong here and that’s why I helped you. I did for you what you couldn’t for yourself.”

“Well, thanks for that then. Next time you should just help me right over a cliff…”

“That can certainly be arranged.”

She ignores his offer. “Sometimes you just want to be important to someone. But you aren’t. And no matter how you try, you won’t be. And once you know that…once you really own it, it’s simpler to remove yourself altogether. It’s provocative. And when I couldn’t be important, I could always be provocative. I’d rather be hated and remembered than disregarded and forgotten…”

“Then you should thank me. You were a wound...an infected sore, with an incomplete story. But tragedy is trite. And now, because of me, you will exist as a mystery until the end of time. I gave you a legacy.”

***

The two continue punching and jabbing and quibbling and quarreling until suddenly, with no discernable impetus or reason, she kisses him. Her outburst reeks of a trenchant, deep and falsified passion. She runs her lips up his bloodless arm. She accosts his neck and licks his face before abruptly switching directions and making her way toward his despicable chest, which she slurps at for a spell. He stares straight ahead, determined to remain unmoved and unaffected by this hellion and her transparent manipulations. But finally he can stand it no longer and so he yanks her hair and begins to delicately maul her. This is the exact moment that she tires of the charade and wordlessly turns back to her hole, which, sadly, has refilled itself, almost to the top.

She angrily sets about digging it out all over again. (Poor thing.)

A China man appears from God knows where and dashes hurriedly past them. He carries three plastic bags bearing yellow smiley faces. He kicks up dust and rubble; leaving a waft of sweet and sour in his wake.

“I’m hungry,” Harlot whines.

“I could eat,” Creature replies, “got any cash?”

“Not a dime.”

He stands quickly and moves toward the Asian yelling and waving his arms, “Sir, excuse me sir…” The man stops as Creature approaches and with no further dialogue, the Creature reaches out and snaps the man’s neck. The Asian falls to ground and Creature removes the bags from his still-clenched fist as his ferocious little cohort claps from the sidelines.

“Never saw it coming…” he mutters proudly returning to her and pawing through the bags.

“Way to stay under the radar,” Harlot remarks.

Then they fall silent. They slurp their delicious lo mien. It is too late for words.

While Creature’s solution to funds run dry could appear callous and injudicious to the layman, it’s actually quite sensible when one considers the rules of survival singed into the collective psyche of thugs and dames and delinquents of their kind: They are taught not to make plans and never to become attached. Reality is in a constant state of flux and there is no time for comfort when everything is ephemeral. There is no space for belief. When existence itself is transient, there is no need for forethought.

There is only blind action. Hurl it quickly. There is no tomorrow.

And they are the result…

Like some less mystical, unsophisticated form of a maenad, they indulge without thought or concern for consequence. It is all they know.

Yes, Creature and Harlot and the other untouchables merely exist in this dustbowl. Even “survival,” with all of its mediocre connotations, is far too grand a term to properly depict the depths of hollow nothingness associated with their subsistence. There is no life left here. Not for them. They’ve sold their souls to savages and moths in exchange for nothing. Now they watch from afar as tiny children play Battleship and Jacks in alleyways; content and unaware of the hurricane force winds threatening their milieu.

Schoolgirls skip stones across riverbeds that have long since run dry; their hair ribbons, once tied prettily and shaped like bones, have been violently whipped and turned and unfurled and now lie limp, draped across their tiny ears. Yet still they remain blissful, traipsing gallantly through time; hurtling toward the infinite oblivion without care. All too soon they will grow into foolish, foul-mouthed adults whose only desire is to rule the world, qualifications be damned. Though flowering trees may perish in the frost, plants will bloom again in a year or so; human beings aren’t as resilient.

There are no resources here. The terrain is desolate and nearly untenable now. It bears a horrifying resemblance to the minds and hearts and souls of the discarded denizens who flock to it and pitch their tents in the night. There is no justice and they have no shame. They are all puss filled wounds; they are martyrs and pawns.

They are the powerless and the indecent.

They are disabled big rigs and derailed trains…built with purpose and strength, but suddenly sidelined and awaiting repair. The passengers are starving on the side of the road; munching on some stale CornNuts they were lucky enough to find in the glove box and between the seats just before the engine exploded and incinerated the framework. They are saddled with the tyranny of choice, the problem of promise…

They are terminally ill and gruesomely falling, expecting a net that will not appear.

***

Some weeks or minutes pass, and no-one knows which. The sun sets as it does and night dawns. It is neither unusual nor special.

There is an arrow and a bow and a pumpkin they think, but it could easily be an oversized gourd. There is a small tussle involving a ninja star hurled by the increasingly ornery Harlot in response to a shower of shrapnel set off by a Redheaded Minx who blatantly disregarded a large, neon sign bearing the words:

“Active Land Mines. KEEP OUT.”

The Minx is new in town, having just arrived as the sun fell from the sky. She admits she was overly exuberant and smidge cavalier (but she was “just so excited to be here!”) and she feels awful for the trouble she’s caused. But Harlot is in no mood for mercy.

This is somewhat reasonable however, considering that it is because of this Minx that she and Creature have a long night ahead of plucking thousands of shell casings from her legs and stomach.

Harlot has become increasingly important within their strange caste system (though she claims to care nothing for the power,) and she banishes the Redhead to the horrid and untamed Western-front, which is where the surliest of the filth-mongers and hate-mongers are sent to dwell. They fight and kill for sport. They are outlaws amongst the outlaws; forever engaged in pointless territorial crusades egged on by adrenaline and unrelenting bloodlust.

After most of the flotsam has been eliminated from Harlot, she and Creature sit in the sand sucking helium from balloons in the moonlight. They do some blow and then eat some pills that make them nauseous at first, but their brains quickly detach from their feeling and nerve centers and they float higher and higher still…far, far (far, far, far) above the Earth. Now they dance wildly and without inhibition, tearing their clothes from their flesh and replacing them with carcasses of the vermin they’d burned for fun that afternoon. They spin dizzily and fall to the ground gasping for air as the last balloon disappears into the rotting, red sky. Their thoughts tread the air and then sink back into the dune before finally smashing and scattering into indelicate, watery graves.

“We are a sad cliché,” Harlot says, finally.

Creature misses this however, as he is vomiting violently into a burning bush they’d set aflame hours earlier.

Finally, when there is nothing left inside of him, the Creature crawls to his Harlot, who is now lying in the sand scowling at the stars, and he lies next to her. He peels the remains of a muskrat from his left thigh and places it over her bony arm, for the night has turned frigid and they’d destroyed their tent during a mishap with a hand grenade earlier in the evening.

And so they stare at the sky, disappointed and bored and somehow ignorant of the swarming buzzards feasting delightedly on their cadaverous clothing. They wait without hope for something mystical to happen which might give them some ever-elusive reason to continue.

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Giving Up the Ghost

Posted on March 9, 2010

The view is nice. It has character. He said.

I agreed. Halfheartedly (foolhardily) at first.

Then I give over.

Logic and whim become peaceful, if foreign, bedmates.

And so it goes.

And then it went.

The cryptic creeks become comfortably familiar.

The yellowed walls are now coated in the highest-grade semi-gloss.

Inaccurate photos portraying moments from the lives of the wistful, witless insouciant’s we wish to be are framed and placed in haphazard clusters throughout the space. These clusters are planned and re-planned with immaculate thought.

Their graceless effect, extremely affected.

As are we.

And so it goes.

The Nordic looking Russian in suspenders pushes a type written note under the door early one Sunday morning and then lobs away, giggling gaily.

Ever conservative, likely because of his experience standing in bread lines as a youth, the man has trimmed the standard slip of copy paper to 1/8 of its original size. This is sense, when one considers that just three words comprised of nine letters (ten including punctuation) are inscribed upon it.

See Me Soon.

We find the note sometime later (we do not find it together. He did or I did, but in the end the actual discovery of the thing is of little import.) We set about the task of its comprehension.

See Me Soon.

Very well then.

But who is it that we must see he asks.

I don’t know I reply honestly.

We independently indulge simultaneous shivers of musty excitement.

He nods the question.

I nod the answer.

He drags the 10-foot ladder from the crawl space and then I scale it and stand en pointe while digging through the top-secret custom cubbyhole which lurks behind an oversized framed photo of some old people we pretend to know. The frame (like most things) is a façade. It swings open via imperceptible hinges adorning its left side.

Be careful he says from below and I glare in response from above…

My very life is threatened each time this process becomes necessary because he is afraid of heights…

Look alive I call just before I drop the 17-pound relic from my perch.

He is used to my impetuous nature. He is alive and makes the catch with ease.

I consider a flashy dismount but decide that fun must be reserved for later, after this bastard note hath been decoded. I climb down the old fashioned way.

I wash my hands in a nearby sink and by the time I return to him he is already plugging the equipment into the wall socket while wearing his argyle super sleuth hat.

A wooden pipe is clenched betwixt his teeth.

This gets me in the mood, so I run to another cabinet and unearth a trench coat. It smells like mothballs but I don’t really care. I take off all my other clothes and slip it over my naked body. We eye one another critically and then, suddenly, we allow the smiles we’d purposefully been masking. Just for old times sake…

Been too long he says

You can say that again I reply

Been too long he says again.

I ignore him.

We dim the lights and flip the switch on the dusty slide projector. We are attempting to look official. We must determine the nature of what we do (not) know. He passes me a blank transparency which I place atop the projection window.

So…I say, the red erasable marker poised in my right hand.

We silently stare at the illumination of light on the shiny wall.

We should have gone satin I say.

You were feeling Draper he replies.

Fuck I say.

What a disaster. The walls are ablaze in my stupid post-modern caprice and now we have this note to contend with. And even in our full character garb, we have no clue what any of it means.

What a disappointment he says.

I know I say.

Maybe its really been too long he says.

That’s so sad I reply.

We have no choice. We both know this.

I pull on my teal, rubber galoshes. Right foot first. Then the left.

A pair of oversized plastic tortoiseshell sunglasses now adorn my face.

He loses the pipe.

And then, inspired by my eyewear, he selects a pair of thick black-framed, reading glasses which have no lenses and he props them on the bridge of his nose while licking his palm and then using its wetness to slick his fuzzy hair into a jazzy cowlick.

Feels good to be home he says.

I smile crookedly in agreement, my brain already running wild; buoyed by thoughts of independence and wielding childish dreams of infinite autonomy.

We silently shut the leaden door and then slink past the elevator, scanning the carpet for clues as we go. We hug the walls, trying to blend. We head for the stairs. Once in the safety of the stairwell, we do a sweep. We do not actually believe that anything is safe.

He swirls his index finger in the air, and then bobs it upward three times, indicating that I should head up the remaining three flights to insure that we are alone and that it is safe to talk. He will secure the perimeter. I do as I am told, only slightly resentful that he is in charge now. I shoo my niggling thoughts which insist that the very conversation we are prepping for, should’ve been held in our living room.

I will not bring this up, however, because his response will irritate me. His insistence that they are onto us and that our living room is unsafe is sheer paranoid tomfoolery.

Our disguises are second-to-none. We are fully incognito.

He disagrees though. And he is in charge now.

I return to him and nod three times indicating that all three floors are clear.

Good he says in Farsi.

Wow Farsi even I state with obvious dismay.

Do not be lulled into complacency he says.

Fine. Now what I ask still somewhat irritated but more entertained than earlier.

We split into two teams he replies.

Ok what are the teams I ask with a straight face

You and me he replies with an equally straight face

That’s exactly what I would’ve done I say

I am glad you approve he replies

And with that he pushes open the door which leads from the stairwell to the great outdoors.

The door is marked with a threatening sign which reads:

Emergency Exit Only. Alarm Will Sound

Obviously, no alarm sounds

We’d taken care of that problem on Day One.

We know the benefit of a secret, silent, side exit, you see.

We emerge from the darkness and step into the overwhelming daylight. Birds chirp. There is the sound of a lawn mower buzzing in the distance.

The temperature is hovering around 74.83 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just this side of ‘too warm for a coat.’

Or it would be, anyway, were I not naked as a jaybird beneath mine.

We set about our exploration of the compound. I have been assigned Sectors E, 7, and Q.

He has Bravo, Tango, and Foxtrot. I fucking hate how his always takes the cool sectors now that he can. I’d always tried to be fair. I’d tried to be a good example and take the stupid sectors now and then. He doesn’t do that.

Smart guy, I think.

After all, I’m still here, exploring fucking Sector 7…just as I had when I was being a ‘fair-and-good-example.’

Dictators do it better, I think.

And then wouldn’t you know it? Just when I’d begun to teeter on the slippery slope of cynicism, a clue in the form of a rancid, bedraggled prom queen donning pink taffeta and reeking of Strawberry Hill Boone’s Farm presents herself.

I thought it a ruse at first, for such vital intel is not usually quite so apparent in its nature…

And so when the Rasinette approaches me and openly asks if we’d gotten the summons from the King, I react warily. Instinctually. Though seemingly unnecessary and ludicrous to an outsider, one in my position might easily understand the need to feign ignorance.

“Deed you’s git zee massage? Zee man want see you.”

What massage I ask; my tones steeped in the afore mentioned faux-innocence come ignorance.

How the fuck did she recognize me, I wonder, what with these teal galoshes and everything…

Meanwhile, I am merely biding time. The jig is up. The mystery is solved.

The Road to Boredom beckons once more. Coming! I reply.

She teeters away across the concrete cobblestones. She is hobbling more than a moderate amount. Which makes sense once I see that she wears only one shoe.

Oh well.

I pluck a half smoked cigarette from the ash-can near the border of 7 and Q before ducking into a nearby bush to gather some tinder and then using the lens of my not-so-effective-disguise sunglasses to start a fire and light that beast.

Disgusting I think as I inhale. Menthol. Blech.

A tree rustles from behind. How the fuck is he in charge if he can’t even climb the tree I wonder for the gazillionth time. I know he is watching. Judging. Wondering why the cuss I am practicing my fire-starting skills when there is a case to be solved. He has no idea that I am feeling benevolent. I figure it’d be a shame to tell him the truth and ruin his day too.

And so I create a water filter from an errant palm frond and set about making drinkable water from a teeny puddle of sedentary, melted snow; while humming Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”

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Overall, The Girl has a Crappy Holiday Attitude…

Posted on December 23, 2008

Light Beyond the Tunnel

Light Beyond the Tunnel

The Girl is a pleasure to have in class.
The Girl is very social. Though she occasionally talks during lessons she does get on well with Others.
The Girl is a social butterfly. She always has a smile and a kind word for her classmates.

The Girl makes gnarly-ass mean faces as she walks down the street.
The Girl has a general distrust of people and tends to believe that she is smarter than everyone
The Girl is pretty exclusive regarding who she allows into her inner circle and can’t be bothered to formulate nice things to say about those outside of it. Nor does she say mean things, though… so maybe she is somewhat salvageable….

The Girl is a shadow of who she once was… particularly during the Holidays.

I realize that I make expressly mean faces when in the presence of tourists. Especially in Times Square. Which I should know better than to walk through, pretty much anytime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but certainly just before Christmas. Sadly, Times Square is the main artery that bridges midtown NYC with…well, everywhere else on Earth, so The Girl finds herself trudging and shoving and occasionally grumbling aloud far more often than is recommended by the AMA, AHA, FAA, FDA,NA, AA and the like…

Look, regarding the money tossing tourists… I’m grateful. Please do buy 3 dollar cans of soda from the illegal street vendors and poor imitations of Kate Spade bags from the thief with the bed sheet on the corner. Please enjoy our fine cuisine at luxe establishments like Red Lobster, Bubba Gump’s, and Friday’s. It’s good for the economy. Please, DO stop dead as soon as you get to the top of the subway steps and stare at the sky as you try to get your bearings and figure out if left is North or South. Don’t mind me and my 17 shopping bags. Don’t concern yourself with the 98 pound human who is now being bottle necked by everyone else who is pushing me into your newly purchased I Love NY foam finger. Please! Enjoy the view! I’ll wait.

Seriously, I’m not that angry of a person, but I do get a bit haughty regarding the cultural rules of visiting a new place. Especially a crowded new place. That I have to share with you.

Sigh. For the first time, I am excited for the dark and gray skies of January and February. When the Others leave and I am left to my devices.  When the invasion ends and the lull returns.

But for now, I wait. I dig my heels in and sway in the breeze hoping it blows quickly. Turns out, I just may love the wind.

“Tell me, you go over a man’s house for the first time, do you take off your shoes? Do you put your feet up on his coffee table? Do you walk in the kitchen, eat food that doesn’t belong to you? Open the door to rooms you got no business opening?” ~The Hunting Party

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