Thursday, April 9, 2009


"Have you ever seen something so daunting it has to be fake, like there's no way it could be real, but is?"

"What like photoshop Mali?"

"Sure, if you want, but that's in rather simple terms and I'd like to think of it much more intensely than that. Something that you'd never think to exist, but mankind somehow brought it to be."

"Does this have a point love?"

"Well Gordon, I have story."

They were but players, in a book, a novel who's writer refrained from recognition but who's reader was visible if only one were to look hard enough. the tome they danced was of a journey, no,
the journey that takes a lifetime to complete and Peter was aware of this, so much so the knowledge sometimes causes nausea.

It was different for others, they would simply waltz and tango as if they had no form, uninhibited by the relentless passing of second, their constant visitor never receiving a passing glance.

He wanted to educate them, to inform them of their fate, but what good would that do? Futility set in and Peter bowed to his audience, a body that gazed at him with scrutiny, a sea of eyes discerning his every move and gesture as if he were the overseer, the reader of the novel.

At that moment a woman disappeared, as if her lot were drawn. The figures bowed and transitioned to the next partner and deftly moved, unaware of their own boundaries. Some audience members left, but still they went on until there was not an eye upon them. Only then could they rest and die.


It's not that they couldn't, but that they wouldn't. It was intrinsic to dance, no different than breathing. It was a window and they were the view, yet only Peter recognized the figure before them. That is what it meant to be a source of eternal entertainment, that is what it meant to be the dance macabre.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Love Penny (Part Two of Two).

"Good Humor Man, I'm certain that I'm just telling you what you already know," Penny began, her scattered voice whispering between heavy pants for breath. "But you are the finest miner ever to excavate my deepests. You even saved the canary - that was so thoughtful of you, though between you and me, I think he talks too damn much."

She chortled for a moment before burying her face in the stained, damp pillows. She breathed in the cold musk of a hundred years without detergent and let the sweet, sticky scent recharge the blood in her veins. A shiver of electricity tickled her nerves and she wondered if this was how she felt all those decades ago, a bright-eyed and wide-legged schoolgirl with dreams of babies and bar fights drifting through her adolescent mind, until she realized she was absently fingering a light socket near the headboard. She didn't seem to mind, and continued to flick as her thoughts began to drift.

A tumult of phantasms waxed and waned in her mind's eye until she finally settled on the faces of all the husbands she could remember, most a slight variation or simple tweak on Paul Harvey's visage. A pang of guilt struck her heart and she began to chew at the cuticles of her left hand, studying the ceiling and trying to force the demons from her head. Their condemning eyes traced up and down her billowy, rumpling body, sizing up her sex while simultaneously accusing her of all the nastiness in the world.

She felt a whore. She also felt an astronaut once, at space camp, but no fond memory could substitute the guilt.

"Mr. Good Humor Man!" she exclaimed, sitting upright in bed with a snap. "I've made a terrible mistake."

Crem's muddy eyes stared back at her from the safety of the rocking chair at the foot of the bed, motionless and lifeless.

"Don't give me that look! You knew what this was from the start: a rumpfuck in the rough, a humorless hump, don't you see? My heart belongs to Chauncey." She nodded fervently, then paused. "Or was it Clancey?" Her head felt muddy. She clawed at the memories but they wouldn't stay, leaving her confused and nude in a strange hillbilly's bed.

Crem offered no reply.

"Damnation! All this time spent in the sulfurous sin of your sex has robbed me of my memory!" Penny clapsed the bedsheets and pulled them up to her chin, conceiling her naked form from Crem's stare. "Haven you a potion? An antidote? A serum? Mr. Good Humor Man, your ice cream treats cannot restore what you have robbed from me." She was shrieking now, hissing and spitting like a feral cat, the knots in her hair bouncing left and right as she sharply shook her head in furor.

When no apology came, or any words at all, Penny kicked Crem square in the chest, sending he and the rocking hair sprawling to the floor. His limp, lifeless body drapped across the upturned chair, his legs sticking nearly straight into the air, his eyes turned toward the front door, though they saw nothing anymore. Penny leapt from the bed like a spider and landed on top of him - the old bat was agile for her age, there was no denying this - and clasped the sides of his head, pulling his face toward hers. His tongue rolled lazily from his bloated blue lips.

"Our affair ends here, Mr. Good Humor Man. And if you ever tell anyone, I'll kill you!" she screamed, thick yellow spit gathering in pools at the corners of her lips. He said nothing, and Penny, satisfied, pulled the carving knife free from his sternum and laid it on the bedsheets.

She climbed to her feet and stepped carefully over the badly-mutilated corpse of Crem, the low-down trash who had the surprise of his life twice in one evening; once upon discovering a batshit old bag hiding under a crate of oranges and twice upon realizing the role of cat and mouse was never his choice to begin with.

Penny half-padded, half-waltzed her way toward the front door, not bothering to dress herself again. She hummed softly to herself an unrecognizable tune as she gazed upon the fresh morning dawning from the east outside. A fine day, she thought to herself.

An envelope taped to the screen door caught her attention and she approached cautiously, watching the curiosity like a wolf would sneer upon its prey. She snatched it from its place and tore the envelope open, wondering to herself if it could be pull of candy, or possibly the antidote for her memory loss.

Instead, she discovered a note within. She walked briskly toward Crem's workbench and collected a yellowing pair of goggles from around the neck of a jigsaw and held them over her eyes like reading glasses.

Dearest Penny,

Your talents are required.

Relocate yourself to Chicago by the first of June and await further instructions.

There you will find Misses Buttersocks and the remedy to your memory loss.

And for Christ's sake, put some clothes on.

He Who Watches

Penny gummed her bottom lip and studied the note over once more before crumpling it up and tossing it over her shoulder. "Damn thing's in French, Crem, I can't understand a word of it," she muttered.

Without a glance back, she exited through the screen door and approached Crem's battered pick up left sitting in the gravel drive. Upon discovering the keys tucked snuggly into the overhead visor, Penny turned the ignition and stole away down the road, still as naked as the day she was born - however long ago that may have been.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rest Stop Paintings

They pulled into a rest stop and got out to stretch their legs. They followed Joe inside to a little diner where men were talking in growling voices over coffee and half smoked cigarettes. They took seats next to a couple who were arguing over money and settled into a couple of menus.

"Did you guys ever see the Guernica?" Parker asked through the laminated paper of his menu, "I would guess not," he continued not waiting. "The Guernica is a painting that sort of symbolizes all of Colorado,"


"It's a word," Parker said putting his menu down. Joe was laughing at him.

"I'm sure,"

"I've heard of the Guernica but I've never seen it," Mali added.

"Its this painting by Picasso that really only makes it in Europe. Its supposed to be about violent tragedy. That is Colorado,"

"Colorado is beautiful," Said Gordon and Parker nodded.

"Yeah but beautiful is a lot of things, you know?"

"Ah fuck, are you being born again on our table because I don't think they've got enough napkins for your cesarean," Gordon said.

No, but I'm trying to tell you that what Picasso was showing with his painting is exactly what we have here. colorado is a mixture of too many things. There is so much going on at one time you wonder how anything can be going on at all. Look at the mountains. They are covered in snow and cold and beauty. But if you stood on that mountain and looked down you'd see the valley below, warm, snowless, green and equally wonderful. Its a nightmare of beauty, so to speak. Everything that exists here shouldn't exist. You can ski and swim in the same day. You can ride a horse the same day you sit in a kayak. Its senseless place where anything can be the same thing. Violence can be peace, love can be hatred and all of it in the same moment. The Colorado you wake up to one morning could be the paradise you learn to hate the next. Its an embodiment of what struggles God and the Devil must go through every moment of the day. You can get anything you want here. Take Boulder for instance. Where else can you get prostitutes and preachers together in such close quarters?

"Vegas?" Mali interjected and Parker sighed.

Yeah but doesn't that just add to this? Colorado is God's country, through and through. A real Mecca, an American Jerusalem. The Brethren Church meets here every year for a worship fest yet it isn't much better than living in Vegas and praising the lord, you know? People flock here to have an evangelical moment and are confronted by the reality of, well, the world I guess. People come here to seek God and the Devil at the same time.

"So Guernica?" 

"Yeah," Parker sighed, "Just like that painting," 

"I think you need some sleep or something mate," Gordon laughed, "Soon as you start seeing God in the paint you need to have a lay in,"

"Maybe," Parker admitted, "but I'm not letting up on this. I'm going to show you guys how it works,"

Mali put a hand on his arm and smiled, "I'm sure you will, why don't you order first," she said and Parker smiled.