Ken McElroy was a town bully in rural Skidmore, Missouri. He’d been accused of dozens of felonies- pedophilia, rape, arson, burglary and cattle rustling. He was prosecuted twenty-two times, but avoided conviction on all but his last charge. He was shot in broad daylight, and his murder was never solved.

It was the shock of real time, how fast and gory it was, seeing a mass of animated muscle and nerve- a mass that spoke in words, drove, interacted with the people around him even if those interactions were frequently, well, unpleasant- reduced to an inanimate, reduced to just a messy something that would either rot and stink or burn. There was the shock of how simultaneously awkward and graceful it was, how the blood arced out of Kenny McGill’s head and chest as he staggered like bull that’d been sideswiped by a semi.
   Before he fell, he looked down and laughed as his chest flesh hung off of him, as if attached by hinges. “You fucking cowards,” he laughed. And it was true, this was a guerilla attack by three men. With their hunting rifles, they’d fired from behind Kenny’s baby blue pick-up, his stack of lumber, the forked tree beside his house.
   However, they’d argue this wasn’t an act of revenge. This was a long running problem, and it had to go, and there was only one way to get rid of it, a way that didn’t require pride or honor. No pride or honor was involved in this sort of thing anyway.
  When he finally went down, the bleeding would stop for a while, then resume, like it was timed. There seemed to be something eerily controlled about all the bleeding, like the blood had a mind of it’s own and knew what it was doing, or like it was being pulled by magnets underground.
   The principals in the act, Ron Miller, Cory Huck and Dennis Leroy, nursed tall boys of Old Style around a small wooden table in the dark of Meyer’s Tavern. Carl, the diminutive, bartender, bald, ruddy and shriveled, gave them a grim, knowing look as he bought them their first round. They wouldn’t have to pay for a drink the rest of the day, they may never have to pay for one again.
  “I don’t know fellas,” Cory said, looking down into the open tab in the top of his beer can, like it’s a keyhole with a view to some sort of escape. “Maybe I’m not so tough, but this doesn’t sit right.”
   “Think of it this way,” Ron swigged from his beer. “Will you miss it? Poisoned livestock, stolen livestock, our fucking barns and houses being burned down, being chased out of our own fucking yards with shotguns?”
  “Our fucking wives and daughters being raped?” Dennis chimed in with an incredulous sneer.
   “That’s all…I know,” Cory sighed. “Something…I can’t help thinking he was a human being, though. Like, he’d have grown old and feeble eventually, maybe would have come around, maybe would have been under our thumbs or something somehow.”
   “Yeah,” Dennis nodded. “But how long would you be willing to wait? I mean, did he have to kill somebody before it came to this? He about has. There’s at least one guy who can’t walk again because of him, another guy who’ll never have full range of his arms.”
  “Truth be told,” Ron looked out the bar’s window, “nobody would’ve wanted to see that anyway. Thinking about it now, it was about as much for him as it was for us.”
  “How do you figure that?” Dennis asked.
  “Think he wanted to go out quiet and peaceful? No. This is all about who he was.”
  “Still doesn’t sit right,” Cory mumbled.
  “Don’t say that anymore,” Dennis pointed at Cory. “Never say that again. Okay, no, it doesn’t sit right. And you know what? It won’t. Not ever, not with any of us, so just stop saying it.”
   “Well what should I do?”
  “Just shut the fuck up about it,” Dennis said in a harsh whisper. “Forget about it.”
  “You have to let it go,” Ron said quietly, in an even patient tone. “I know, this hangs over all of us. But we have to move on.”
  “What if somebody comes through asking about him, though?”
  Ron and Dennis looked at each other.
  “Cory, this is BFE man. We’re basically invisible here.”
  “Is this how we’re gonna handle everything, though?”
  “There was nothing the law could do for us, man. No. This, we had to.”
   Cory looked away, then down at his beer.
  “I know what you’re thinking Cory,” Dennis said in a warning tone. “Just don’t say it. And for that matter, best not say anything. Understood?”
  Cory nodded while looking down, and the three men continued drinking in silence.

I decided to watch my hands as I write this. They extinguished. They are young too, but they are dry. They advanced to the ugly and old. It happened in the service of others, so it's painful, but off and that's it. There is no turning back.

We decided to stop to change things, but it was nothing. How can it, when they find out? I would like to have a better story to tell with them ... Something about the victim or to change, but it is not. Not at all. I wonder, if at all. It is as boring as reality.

It has taken centuries of overwhelming. I really do not know how long ... Impression. I did. At least they are a symbol. Can I use my past for them because they have flags. They come with photos.

I do not know why I bother. I am vicious. Impotent. Feel bad word, but is so similar. A friend is the practice of posting and I said OK, what works. But it seems to work. It seems fair to gray. I think this is one fantasy versions of distraction, become the type of abuse then it stops sensory function. You could say perhaps that this is a version of that, but it has its own peculiarities. It's easy to get lost in them.

I know nothing, really, about to dig around there. _in There_ I started, so it is very strange to me. Maybe others are too. I'm confused.

But look at my hands. They are strange and a little order. I do not know what to do with them. We tried to minimize. I have to catch at the right time. Lotion helps, but it is constant and continues to slide. I do not know how to stop them, they feel like my enemy. I do not understand: My tools are my useless techniques, which is new to me. But I mean friends. Well, we must seek reconciliation.

Is, they are conspiring against me (remember, are two of them, and I). Wars are not safe there? What if I loaded all the color and trained on the Swiss referee? Are wrong? They do things behind my back, you know. Itch ... ...

(Not in Switzerland)

I am referring to radical tactics. What happens if I remove? Sounds extreme? Listen: I could give it to someone more appropriate. I have a pale now. I can not wait. I need help. Oh, I have energy for it. I will do it themselves.

You know how you deal with memories that hurt, man? Think back further to the ones that don’t. Inevitably, yeah, that’ll lead you back to more memories that hurt again, so you have to think back past those as well. Just keep thinking back and thinking back until you’ve got cosmic dust particles clinging together to form the big bad world you live in, the big bad world that alternately pumps you up then fucks you up. Actually, since you’re thinking backward, those dust particles are being pulled apart- pulled apart and sucked back into space, and then all of space, the whole big bang, is sucked up into a tiny point. And that tiny point is on the verge, then it isn’t, then it’s gone. And where are you? You’re where you were, so long after the big bang already happened, after dinosaur extinction, after all the births of your grandparents and parents and you and all of your friends and enemies and all of your parents’ and grandparents’ friends and enemies. And all those stinging memories lead you to the present, cuffed in the back of a police cruiser, face red and wet, not even trying to explain anything to the cops because there’s no way you could anyway.

1.) Ouyay owknay owhay you ealday ithway emoriesmay atthay urthay, anmay? Inkthay ackbay urtherfay o-tay the ones atthay on’tday. Evitablyinay, eahyay, at’llthay eadlay ouyay ackbay o-tay oremay emoriesmay atthay urthay ainagay, o-say ouyay avehay o-tay inkthay ackbay astpay osethay say ellway. Ustjay eepkay inkingthay ackbay tilunay ou’veyay otgay osmiccay ustday articlespay ingingclay ogthertay o-tay ormfay the igbay adbay orldway  ouyay ivelay in, the igbay adbay orldway atthay ternatelyalay umpspay ouyyay up and ucksfay ouyay up. Uallyactay, incesay ou’reyay inkingthay ackwardbay, odethay ustday articlespay are eingbay ulledpay artapay- ulledpay artapay and uckedsay ackbay toinay acespay, and enthay all of acespay, the olewhay igbay angbay, say uckedsay puay  toinay a inytay ointpay. And atthay inytay ointpay say on the ergevay, enthay it ntisay, enthat it’s onegay. And erewhay are ouyay? Ou’reyay erewhey ouyay ereway, o-say onglay terafay the igbay angbay readyalay appenedhay, terafay inosaurday tinctionexay, terafay all the irthsbay foay ouryay nadparentsgray and arentspay and ouyay and all foay ouryay riendsfay and miesenay and all foay ouryay  andparents’gray and arents’pay riendsfay and miesenay. And all osethay ingingstay emoriesmay eadlay ouyay o-tay the resentpay, uffedcay in the ackbay foay a olicepay uisercray. Acefay edray and etway, otnay enevay ryingtay o-tay plainexay the opscay ecausebay ere’stahy  o-nay ayway ouyay ouldcay wayanyay.

2.) Ah shit, dawg, you gotta roll wit’ that shit. Get your head back to before shit went all crazy. Bitches ain’t nothin’ but a thing no-how. Then you start thinking all cosmic shit like how you roll wit’ dinosaurs and the big bang and shit. Nawbuffarilldo, jail ain’t nothin’ but a thang, dawg, like bitches.

3.) .... .... .... ..... ..... ..... ..... .... ..... ..... .... ..... ..... .... .... .... .... .... .... ....(it's mime).... ..... ..... .... ..... .... .
4.) Social networking sites are an illness. It’s like every high school after high school, every chapter of your extended adolescence. Fuck'em.  

She puts this in front of me to keep me honest,”so says the one who has all collapse around him.
Patter, patterpatter--A mouse came walking across his desk. Across his desk to his done pile and stood on to legs. Although seated on the chair, the mouse still looked up at Munx. Mouse groomed himself and the rolled up his cuff. “One “arm”then the other. Munx looked down at the Mouse and said, “Are you done?”

And the mouse said, “No, but are you?”

Then Munx says, “I know your name, your voice: it’s late and I have work to do rather, I am not finished yet. “
The mouse said, “I know. You have kept me awake with this thing” And the mouse ran over and kicked Munx’s typewriter. Cringing while the bell rang
And then continued”And that sound."

Munx speaks, "The mouse became "unperched" and ran the forearms length to the typewriter and kicked it hard enough to ring the bell and returned to his spot sleeves still rolled up, but breathing heavy.”
The white shit NOT snow falls from the sky stops

It took me two years. Two years. I'd have the day for you, but I'm not that picky; two years is enough to scream about it. I'd best find a gun or at least something sharp.

Thing is, you know yourself well in advance, to the fact that you damn well won't have any use for it when you get it. What? Doesn't it go that you get angry, look her in the eye, she spontaneously explodes, and then... ... ...? Where'd the knife go? Hmm, sonny? She explodes and suddenly you're in Costa Rica dancing with a moonbeam? Or in the middle of a bridge in God-knows-where? Or... fuck... I dunno. I've no idea... See! I'm me talking to you (also me), and I can't even think this through. Ineffective's the problem. Completely ineffective. You get these ideas in your head and they seem so grand, but they fizzle out like cheap butter... you ought to try harder.

Anyway, the book. That bitch, my book. I should look up. She was there a second ago, screaming. Where'd she go? I'm trying the door but it won't open. Imagine that. I suppose I'll climb the fence, then? You know, I'm not that bothered. I'm busy remembering the one before that. It was about a dragon named knob. Or knobby. Not sure. I figured I needed a push in the deep end and didn't care what way it went. Fix it as you go along, damage control, steer up... Except it was more like a Messerschmitt right toward the ground. 100 feet and approaching... trying to remember my prayers so I can say them... oh what's the use....

Fantasy... ugh... wait, that was the one before, when I was...?... I'd have to be pretty fucking young to take something like that seriously. Was it the one before THAT? It's been four, right? There was the noir wherein he chased that dame who what maybe killed her husband and I was aiming for a faux generic thingy with a big twist in the second part. See, a nice generic turd to ease you in and after that you get dynamic. Start 'changing the game' and so on. Except, our hero was a little too clever and figured it all out by the third chapter. I really stretched them out, too, you know.
I tried looking to The Orient after that, you know. Hit upon some arcane mixture of never before combined combinations in my deviousness. I jumped into the Bhagavad Gita AND looked into some old samurai tales (Shang dynasty? Sheeyang?). I even took up a Tao stage! Though, that lasted just slightly less than that second samurai story. Something about a fat jap who spent 20 pages cramming his hole with rice-cakes and talking about nature. The sooner he'd go and shit in the woods, the sooner we could get back to scheduled programming i.e. samurais, honour, that sort of thing. If a fat chinaman shits in the wood, does anyone really finish the book? Ask yourself that...

Oh, I really wish she hadn't put it through the woodchipper. Look at it. All this pale history. It's like the ghost of dalliance past. You know, when we ordered this thing I couldn't stop imagining what I'd put in there. I dug out the old basketballs and shoes from the basement and saved them by the door. One a day. I even snuck one of her old handbags. She never used it. Gave me much pleasure. I'd stretch out my breakfast routine, just to pace the excitement, and on weekends I'd have a field day. My own personal holiday. Except, of course, the days after the nights I'd have those dreams. The awful, awful, awful ones where I'd stand for days in front of it, beckoning me, book in hand, afraid some invisible wind would come and knock it away ---> straight forward into the jaws. Bastard. Absolute bastard. In the worst ones I'd manage to get away; somehow find myself a house or two over, safe and sound, but then I'd blink (once) and I'd be back there, a foot closer, beckoning... Me before it! Me before it! Bastard.



American Sissy


Hey, that's not bad. I should use that... "American, Sissy"...
It "flows" quite well, actually. Say, a man is disillusioned with society, this modern one, alienated, cornered, trying to free himself from capitalism, trying to find a way. Out from under the beast. Trying to survive. Maybe... maybe. Out from under the beast!!

I should get rid of the woodchipper first, though. I can't work with it out here.


Actually, it was particularly bad the past few nights. We left the curtains open for the breeze and I could see the moonlight glinting off it from my side of the bed. She looked at me like I was a fool when I asked her to switch sides. Told me not to wake her again "or else". Twat. I did wake up, though. What would you expect? It was taunting me, out there, in the cruele night. Fiend. I ended up pacing the floor at 4am. Too wound up. I tried to psychoanalyze myself and stood in the kitchen in my underwear, ate a schnitzel. That made me laugh, actually; peculiar. I woke her up to tell her. She wouldn't budge the first while, so I accidentally poked her a few times, elbowed her as I turned over from where I was sitting on the bed. It cheered me up to no end, though she didn't seem to "get it". The fool...

And so: The virgin’s sinewy golden frame was stretched taut over the grey stone alter. Her wrists and ankles bound in gold cuffs attached to leather chains pegged into the alter’s sides. A line was drawn with indigo ink above her heaving chest- her tan orbs like generous scoops of coffee flavored ice cream topped with chocolate cherries- from armpit to armpit.
   The priest donned his ceremonial headgear- the head of a gold-plated badger- and stood above the quivering virgin.
  “Fear not, young virgin,” the priest told the girl chained to the alter. “You exist for a higher purpose than any that could be bestowed upon you here.”
   It was true, the girl bore a full, healthy mane of dark hair and skin that seemed sculpted of polished bronze.
   Adhering to the inky blue guideline, the henchman swung the axe.

  White flakes had been descending down for days, though it was the thick of summer, and the temperatures remained hot.
   However, while temperatures around the jungle were usually humid, this summer was exceptionally dry. The usually lush vegetation was growing brown, wilted.
   The village medicine man was summoned. He’d determined a drought was due, because the harvest god contracted dandruff.

I remember thinking it was unusually cold for May. I also remember thinking that I might not collect on Little John and Georgie’s tabs. Little John was into me for a pack of squares and Georgie was into me for five bucks for a tube of biscuits and a tall boy of beer. Silly that that’s what I was thinking.
I suppose if my leg actually hurt, that’d be on my mind but it didn’t hurt. It would start hurting soon, though, when my nervous system kicked into gear and the epinephrine levels returned to normal and I could be angry that I’d never walk again, not without a prosthetic.
My body. Irreparably damaged.
“Hal?” I heard Cole from my left, “You sure pulled this one off, Hal. Jesus.”
Cole. Fucking Cole. I remember telling Cole, “Shut up and find my leg.”
“Your leg?”
“Cole?” I was staring up at the sky, watching the flakes, shimmering in the light with cloudy, soft glimmers coming off of them like pearls, waft toward us, “I think my leg is gone, Cole.”
“Bullshit, Hal, your leg aint - Oh, shit.” He must have gotten up; I could hear him coming toward me.
“How bad is it, Cole?”
“It’s gone!”
I hacked something and asked, “Above or below the knee?”
Cole answered. I just didn’t hear him. I just lay there, staring up at the sky, and occasionally hacking a cough that moved my chest and hurt my throat. I then became aware of pressure on my thigh. “What’s that?”
“Closing the pod-bay doors, Hal. Putting a tourniquet on you.”
I just closed my eyes and said, “Good,” thinking that I might have gone to sleep at that moment; I’d probably lost a good deal of blood. I had to fight off sleep; I opened my eyes again to the dancing white flakes in the sky. Soon enough, gravity would have them and they’d be down here, on the ground, decorating us. Covering us.
I tried to keep my eyes open while my leg throbbed, I reached down to Cole’s shoulder, grabbed it and told him, “Gimme a smoke, Cole.”
“Gimme a minute, Hal,” and he finished tying off my leg - well, my stump, now. I could hear him moving about before he said, “Here.”
I reached out and took the smoke from his hand, ever looking up at those pearly flakes dancing and said, “I think I left my light in - in… Where the fuck did I leave my light?” and then I saw the orange flame erupt around a blue heart under my nose and began sucking through the cigarette deeply.
“You’re going to make it, Hal.”
I heard some rustling and Cole was sitting up over me, then, on a box it looked like. I told him I needed a beer.
“We’ll get you a beer when we get back. Some painkillers. Some pussy, too, don’t worry about it.” His face was blackened by dirt and soot, ash in his hair. He lit his own smoke, making a fish-face to suck on the square, and surveyed the damage. He said, “Look at the way they all dance up there,” pointing out across the sky, “You seeing this shit, Hal?”
“Yeah, yeah, I see it.” Against the smoke and storm clouds, they almost seemed to form constellations. I saw the patterns they made - No. I made them into patterns. I made the beer steins down at the Sturm und Drang Lounge. I made Angela’s naked body. I made Johnny Ramone’s guitar. Each one of them, I held for the split second they existed before they all danced apart, off to find new dance partners, new dances, different time signatures, different melodies. I asked, “Do you see my leg anywhere?” before another chest-heaving cough forced my eyes shut again.
“Lemme finish this smoke and I’ll see if it’s near, OK?” Cole’s way of saying to forget it; it’s gone. Probably blown what? fifty? a hundred yards away? “You really did it, man, I gotta tell you.” His dirty paw placed the cigarette back to his lips and he inhaled deeply before blowing out the plume of smoke. My pearls in the sky seemed repelled by the smoke even though they were probably a quarter mile up.
I found it in myself to sit up, if only just to look down at my leg. My stump, I mean. Cole saw me trying to get up and said, “Just stay down.”
I sat up and looked down, finally down, and saw the shreds of flesh below my knee and the tourniquet just above it. My knee I mean. It was an awful sight and it was then that I realized that Cole might have been right all along: No use looking for the other half of my leg. Probably disintegrated. Cole reached around to his back and grabbed his canteen. He uncapped it, took a swig, and handed it to me. “Water?”
Cole. Fucking Cole. I remember telling Cole, “Shut up and find my leg.”
“You OK?”
“I’m fine. I just - ” I looked behind me and then back to Cole and took the canteen, “I just need to lay down.” I took five long gulps off the canteen and handed it back before I laid back down and watched the dancing pearls in the sky. They seemed to be coming closer.

Tannhauser Gate
May 2nd, 2417

I open my journal and scratch at my shin only to feel the prosthetic under my fingers. Ghost itch. I tap my pen to my temple and wonder, “What to explain to my son today?” I haven’t long for this world and the doctor says it’ll be a wonder if I even see the kid born. So now I’ve got to write this thing. Tell him who I am. I may as well get around to it and finally explain how I got sick in the first place. Years ago. At the Tannhauser Gate.