Saturday, July 07, 2007

Twenty-two







"I have to go," I say. I'm standing in the ice-arena parking-lot and my feet are buried in snow and ice and my feet are cold and thin and I fear that if I move my feet my feet will shatter slowly so that I'm wobblingly standing on ankle-stumps and dark frozen blood. "What are we doing here?"

"Necromancy."

"What?"

"Make the dog live and stuff…"

"Hmm."

"Why not? Like necro-surgery with chemicals and shit," the voice says. It moves. "I've got nitrogen and, nuclear salts…anyway, I'm lying. Dog's dead. Dead-dog and buried. Time to revitalize the security-guard."

"I have to go home, okay?"

"Just a second. Todd's coming. Todd's meeting us here."

"Who's Todd?"

"Erik."

I think about Erik and in my brain Erik's a faceless shape in a shapeless fog and there's a mouth and the mouth's moving so I listen for words but there are no words and only a gray shapeless face and a gigantic mechanical mouth opening and closing.

"Besides, promised the security-guard he could fuck you."

"I don't fuck security-guards."

"Just this once," the voice says. "In the ass."

"I don't have time for this. Merna's waiting," I say. "Merna needs me."

"She'll be fine. Just a few minutes. We promised the security-guard, okay. Part of the deal."

"I don't care."

"Don't you care about my good word?"

"Have to help plan my grandfather's funeral."

"Don't make me your fucking liar. I promised. Liars should be mutilated, randomly, with fire-axes or something. With pole-axes."

I begin walking. I walk in a circle. I circle the voice and the car. My feet form a narrow snow-rut and don't shatter and slowly my feet warm until the warmth's almost unbearable and I wonder why my feet aren't melting the snow and dissolving the snow and slowly turning the snow into steam because, I think, 'My feet are steam-engines, steam-engine, steam-shovels, my feet are steam-shovels.' I picture my feet as steam-shovels with nothing to shovel. The car's angle-parked and low and the voice's leaning against the car and above me the sky's low and very nearby and the parking-lot's snow-covered and not recognizable as a parking-lot and distantly the ice-arena waits with wide reflective-windows. Near the windows stands a thin gray figure and the figure's arms are raised and immobile with shadowy spread-fingered hands.

"Come on," the voice says.

"Merna needs me," I say. "I want to go home. I want to see Merna."

"It's just an errand. Five minutes. Maybe ten. Grandpa's not going anywhere." The voice laughs.

I follow the voice and we walk narrowly and at angles and as I watch the snowy ground our progress is slow and inefficient, but when I look up I see we're approaching the thin gray figure quickly and mechanically so that the figure looms large and shadowy before the windows. "Why?" I say aloud.

"What?" The voice's irritated.

I don't answer. My brain tries to answer but my mouth's silent. 'Why follow?' I think. I push and prod my brain but my brain stops and my brain has no answers and my brain waits quietly for further input.

We stand before the figure. The figure's face's a gigantic mouth and the mouth's open and wide with a wide row of thin shiny teeth. "Back to the ice-palace," the figure says.

"Let's go inside," the voice says.

I watch the pair. "Okay, I have to go now." My cell-phone plays a little song. "That's Merna and I have to leave but it's good seeing you and stuff."

"Just grab her arm," the voice says. "I'll grab the other arm."

"Do it carefully," the figure says. "Don't bruise the arm."

"I'll call you later maybe. We can get a snack or something tonight. See a movie."

"Get the door."

"I have your phone-numbers in my cell-phone probably. Or you could write them down for me. I probably have a pad you could write your numbers on, if you have a pen, or pencil, or I might have a pencil in my pocket."

"Be quiet," the voice says. "Can't concentrate."

The ice-arena door opens.

"I'll get the lights," the figure says. The figure departs.

"You could take me home now," I say. "Just you and me."

"Be quiet. No time for that." The voice locks the door.

"What about Lisbon and the dog?"

"Sshhh."

I try to move my arm but the voice holds it stiffly in place. "My arm hurts," I say. "What if my arm falls off or something? You don't want to be responsible for that? You'd be holding it. Detached arm. Bleeding."

"I said shut the fuck up."

"We could go together and rob banks or something. You could hang out with my grandmother and with Merna and we could watch tv. Something, something," I say. "We could do something, something."

The lights above the ice flicker and are bright and thin and fluorescent. All else is dark. The figure returns. The figure's arms are long and narrow and now jacket-less and hairy and the arms are crossed over the figure's chest until the figure's nearby. The arms slowly unfold and release the fingers and the fingers encircle my arm. "Let's go," the figure says.
"To the ice?" the voice asks.

"Yes, to the ice."

"Do you have the plan?"

The figure pats its pocket. "Of course."

"What's the plan?" I ask. "Can I see the plan. I need to call Merna and tell Merna the plan because Merna deserves to know the plan and really she's part of the plan because Merna was here earlier and Merna tried to save the dog and took us to the hospital and to Noah."

"Try and be quiet, okay."

I watch the voice and the figure, and the voice and the figure somehow become mirrored images of one another. But the voice's very fat and wide and with a small shaky head and pudgy dirty hands, and the figure's very thin and long with strangely angled limbs so that it seems impossible that the pair could be mirrored images of one another, but they are mirrored and I think about this and am confused. "Twinned," I say aloud.

"Just be quiet."

My cell-phone ring-tone plays a little song. "I have to answer this," I say. I turn on my cell-phone. "Hello," I say.

"Listen—"

The figure takes my cell-phones and turns off my cell-phone and places the cell-phone in its pocket. "No calls. Not in the plan."

"Let me see the plan," I say.

"She wants to see the plan," the voice says.

"Should we show her the plan?" the figure asks.

"I don't know, she might laugh."

The figure pats its horizontally-striped breast-pocket and the breast-pocket's bulging and the stripes are thin and gray. "What could we do if she laughs?"

I imagine myself as a thin gray stripe.

"She might cry, or try to run."

"I don't want to chase her," the figure says.

"I don't want to chase her either."

"Then we can't show her the plan, can we?"

"No, that'd be disaster," the voice says. The voice turns to me. "You can't see the plan right now. But later, maybe, I'll give it to you. I'll put it in your pocket."

"We can't have you laughing because if you laughed I'd cry and then there'd be laughing and crying, or you might cry and then there'd by crying and crying or crying and laughing."

"We can't have that."

"No, we can't." The figure's fingers grip my arm tightly so that my arm-muscles tighten painfully.

"Come with us."

"Yes, come."

The voice and the figure walk me forward. The ice's ahead and there's a gate and the gate's ajar and wide and the ice beyond is white and rough and dull. Our movement's smooth and conjoined and for a moment I feel like a miniature chrome-sprocket. I picture the chrome-sprocket and the chrome-sprocket's spinning and clicking and I'm the clicking and I am clicking and there's clicking because something clicks. My arms are numb. As we approach the gate, our speed increases until the gate's before me and I'm in the gate and I'm moving upward and sideways and my body's twisting and I want suddenly to see my body from a distance and enjoy the movements of the body as it searches slowly for balance, but all I see is ice and a blurred light and I'm airborne and falling until all there is is the ice and the ice's holding me up. I can't say anything. My lungs are empty. I push until I stop. When I stop, I don't move. 'I don't have to move,' I think. 'I should be motionless and close my eyes.' I close my eyes tightly.






If I could sit with my grandfather I would say, "We should steal like twenty-five llamas and set them free downtown. Or tether the llamas to police-cars and egg the police-cars and then steal potted-plants from cemeteries and corporate-gardens."

"Why," my grandfather might ask.

"I've always wanted to steal potted-plants."

If I said the same things to Merna, Merna would say, "That's illegal."

"I know," I might say. "But what's 'illegal' mean anyway?"

My grandmother might say, "Llamas are filthy animals and they smell bed."

"You smell bad," I'd answer.

If we rode a passenger-train, we'd dine in the dining-car with space-aliens and sit quietly with the space-aliens and discuss politics. "Are you some kind of commie-liberal," I might ask the space-alien. My grandfather would laugh

"What's a 'commie-liberal'?" the space-alien would ask because on the space-alien's planet there are no political-parties.

"Do you like to share your resources and labor and things with other space-aliens so that all space-aliens have basically the same things and work the same amount?" I'd say.

"What are 'things' and 'work'?"

This is where we'd grow frustrated and stab the space-aliens with our steak-knives and drop the space-alien-bodies from the back of the train where the space-alien-bodies would tumble over dusty train-tracks and bounce a little until the bodies disappear.

"How many eyes do they have?" My grandfather would ask.

"They don't have eyes."

"Then how do the see?" My grandfather would act perplexed.

"With belly-buttons. They have belly-button x-ray machines in their belly-buttons."

"And who will bury their bodies?"

"The government," I would answer. "To hide the space-aliens from the American-people, but only after removing the x-ray machines and experimenting with the x-ray machines and possibly dissecting the space-aliens with little scalpels and lasers maybe."

"I'd put the space-aliens in a museum," my grandfather might answer. "Stuff them taxidermically and model the space-aliens in life-like positions. Cooking. Piloting space-crafts." My grandfather would chuckle and stand very tall and watch the horizon. "I'd leave the steak-knives in their alien-chests and display the aliens in a darkened room and charge a twenty-dollar entry-fee."

Then we'd all agree for a while and imagine the space-alien-museum and drink chocolate-milk in a parking-lot on Mount Everest near a little campfire and the sky would be clear and distant and thick with breathable air.





"Kick her," someone says. "Kick her stupid face."

"Don't move," I say. My eyes are closed.

"Quiet."

I'm curled and still and my body's a soft round ball. My body spins. There's blood on my face probably and blood on other places and these bloody locations are warm.

"My name's fucking Todd."

I slide or my body slides. I think, 'I'm sliding.'

"That's funny. Do it again." There's laughing.

"No, you."

There's silence. 'Face,' I think.

"Cut her fucking fingers off."

"What?"

"Scissors or shears or something."

"Maybe toes."

I cover my head with my arms and from every side I feel sudden sharp kicks or punches or something else even that has no name so that each part of my body hurts and curls into itself until each part of my body's separate and isolated. There's a hand and other hands and tearing and I'm shirtless maybe and cold or my body's cold and shivering but separately in separate parts and I'm dragged awhile. Something slowly removes my hair.

There's laughing.

"Bitch."

"Grab pants. Pants grab."

"Choke her with pants." Laughing. "Choke."

"Funny word."

"Choke, choke." Laughing. "Choke, choke."

I'm naked or I feel naked or somehow my body's isolated parts are naked or unclothed or cold and wet and vibrating or shaking strangely so that I feel detached and nervous and in my brain there's only the image of trembling fingers. My body feels the ice and holds itself in a ball and my body shivers except for where warm blood traces little numb body-parts.

"Cut her fucking nipple off."

I think about Merna for a while. 'Merna's pregnant,' I think. 'I'm not and never will be pregnant.' I stop then I think, 'I want my body to separate into isolated self-sufficient pieces and for the pieces to move to different cities in different countries so that these pieces of me can feel independent and brain-less because brain-less body-parts are efficient or economical or something.' I keep my eyes closed and I wonder if brains can close too. 'Or close down,' I think. I want suddenly to go home and to lay quietly on the couch and to feel the couch-cushions against my body-parts until I sever my body-parts and hide the body-parts beneath couch-cushions or behind the television. 'But Lisbon,' I think. 'Body-parts to Lisbon and beneath dumpsters or hidden in churches or caf├ęs or along dark and useless highways. Body-parts as gifts to the homeless children. Body-parts as food.'

"She's shivering."

"Fuck, that's funny."

I'm a ball.

"Stomp her."

"That, do that. Good."

"I'm shivering," I say. "I'm not shivering my body's shivering and my body-part's shivering and separate and not me and I am not me now but there's something."

"Sshhh. Concentrating here."

"Yes, that."

"Chop off the lips, maybe." Laughing.

I can hardly move. I speak but muffled. I say, "The body shivers is shivering the body's mine and wet and cold and shivers is shivering or something something I am something now or am now something shivering this body the." My mouth's moving and talking and I think about my mouth and concentrate on the mouth-movements and mouth-sounds and for a while other things happen. Then things stop.

4 comments:

amber said...

I didn't see that coming. It makes me sad.

amber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonGlass said...

Holy shit. ...that was good editing. ...fuck.

Miles Newbold Clark said...

Interesting stuff. What's the connection between Lisbon and body parts?