Angel as Bird on Fire, Falling

We have seen what happens when the birds are turned off.

Children keep their heads to the stone. No mouths come formally, covered in shit and cursing while scraping tongue with a silken cravat. No fairy to ever find a feather,  twist it about while spiraling down and down on abandoned wings. I pay a boy now, not a crow, to bring me jewelry at dawn.

And the off switch had been there the whole time, like a town hall clock, but no one cared. Birds seemed like such a delightful thing (when they weren’t stuck in their death songs in your car’s grill.) They could be peripheral. A man could walk in the city and take no note of the birds all day, yammering to himself and flicking spit on the ground where the little birds danced and fought over detritus. Human spit, at some velocities, with wrap around eyes, may often and sometimes look like a disappointing worm.

Do you suppose the birds, where ever they were taken when the switch was finally pulled, ever think back on human spit with longing? Perhaps no bird ever tasted human twice. Ostriches, perhaps, in their quarterly rages took an ear here and there. Undocumented ears, now digested or buried in head holes, growing new and illegal humans to take the birds’ place in the sky.

 

Paleothanatology

“Come back in. You’ll catch Death out there.”

I stood on the deck of the iron cruise ship, counting rust sprites and trying to slow my vision enough to see the secret of their industry. The overseer of my play group had allowed me one ibogaine soda pop as an afternoon pick me up, even though my mother had told me I was becoming a different person, a bit changed every time I drank one. The raspberry syrup covered the bitterness well.

My overseer had offered me watermelon flavored ibogaine soda pop once and I nearly lost the brain from my skull so active was my rage. “Have you ever tasted watermelon?” I had screamed and he had replied, “No. Only watermelon soda pop.”

I forgave his ignorance as he forgave my tantrum.

“Billy! Now! You’ll catch Death out there!”

I almost caught a rust sprite resting, but the moment my eye flickered slantwise, she was away and once again moving at vision blurring speed. The sprites did not fear Death. Perhaps they were too fast for him. Yet, my mother implied that it was I that would take Death into a net or a jar, or perhaps my hands if I were brave in that moment. Death was my prey then and mother knew it. I had been searching for meaning among the beauty of the rust sprites, but I had been on the journey all along; not just the cruise my mother had so patiently saved for, but the journey to put Death on display.

That was it then. When I left kindergarten, I would become a paleothanatologist by trade and learn the history and current whereabouts of Death and how to care for him or her while in captivity.

Perhaps I would find many Deaths. A nice breeding pair.

The wind moved over the ship in salted gusts. My mother’s hand fell on my shoulder and I jumped.

“Come inside. Right now,” she looked into my lidless eyes, dirty blonde eyes. “You’ve had soda before bed again, haven’t you? I am going to have to have a chat with little miss priss down at the daycare. This is supposed to be my vacation. Now I’ve got to deal with this.”

“I will dream now, mother. I will dream whether I sleep or not.”

Lunar Obsolescence

Her voice echoed down the barrel of the shotgun and got thrown to the treetops when she fired it, hollering. The sky staggered, nearly dropped the moon into the lake outside of town where Lacey kept guard over camping grounds. Nearly dropped it right at her feet. Instead it recovered, kept the moon in orbit, and slid behind the horizon where Lacey’s buckshot couldn’t go.

“Damn.” She spit a baby carrot into a coffee can full of detritus.

Unless.

Unless she bought the shell a ticket on a one way bullet train to Kyoto, one of the Ocean Treaders with the really nice legs sticking out the bottom. They’d kick you off if you whistled at them beauties, but her shell didn’t have any lips (she’d made sure of that.)

Well shit, she couldn’t just sit there and wait for the money for the train ticket to fall in her lake. She’d have to grow her shell a brother, take it to the bank, kill herself a money man and catch his golden blood in a siphon bag.

She’d have to move quickly or that sky would be back with a new moon and none of her growings would work no way.

Hark! A Fellow

I saw him shambling down from the trail above, hook fisted and terror-eyed. Had never seen a man dressed such: not out here, not this high up. He had a golden suit, not of metal, but a linen suit that sparkled in the sun. His conservative black tie hung loose on his neck, like he’d out run a hangman. His boots were some sort of mollusk, but also boasted very obvious rockets.

In his left hand, a book. In his right hand, a gun.

So I raised my stick in front of me and shouted, “Yoohoo!”

His face exploded into a grin; he dropped to his knees as he shouted, “Bless my dirty ass, a human! You have no idea how long I’ve waited to meet one of you.” He looked human himself and I stood confused. “Oh, don’t worry about this form, I didn’t possess anyone. I simply run on interesting times and am composed of a thousand thousand sentient mirrors. Mirrors so intricate they can see behind the blood that carries your thoughts to your brain. Don’t be frightened! This form is simply what your mind most needs to see right now. You must have been extremely bored. I normally appear as a kind old friend from Anytown.”

“Well, you don’t seem to be having a good go of it. Why were you out here searching for humans?”

“You see, I thought humans were wild animals that lurked on mountain tops, searching for birds to sacrifice to their devil god. But that’s why you are such a miracle! You’re here to help! Here, let me just shoot you in the brains with this psyche-teleportation ray and record your consciousness in this here book of mine, and you can be on your way!”

“No thanks. I can show you a way back to town, but no thanks on the brain ray. I’m good. Follow me if you want. I’m heading back.”

I never felt anything, and the man didn’t follow, but whose to say whether or not I’m just walking through a book at this point, body in some ravine, living just to be studied by weirdos.

Pee Eye

I was meeting him for coffee and drugs and something called a “Martian Ectodefibrillator.” For a client.

I wasn’t sure if he had what I was looking for. The picture he had sent looked like a hammer made of sausage innards with a blurry, glowing hole going up into the shaft. Occasionally, he claimed, a purple laser would shoot out and form itself into a sentient light curtain that would immediately insult the nearest person and try to blind anyone who laughed. I had never seen a real Martian Ectodefibrillator and whatever the man had sounded weird enough to peak my interest, so I went to meet him at Winky Tink Donuts & Wine Bar.

I very well knew that he could be lying. He could have made the pictured object out of actual hammers, sausage innards and LEDs. And the story about the laser, that sounded embellished if not bullshit. Why would the laser blind the people who liked his insult comedy? Was this a simple agent of chaos or was whatshisname taking a fuck out of a piss on me?

I’ve been in the game a while and most of my detective work has come down to this: listening to liars tell lies about nothing much in an attempt to make life more interesting. And it does. So I keep the lights on in the office and my door wide the fuck open.

Hollow Graph of Future Meat Uses

I don’t wait for sun to shine about me in the woods when I walk. Late and blackness still part when I move and I’ve never seen anything like lights in the hill or flashing knives. No junky shuffling about the trees, rape hardened claws white with wet. I did see, however, a procession of nearly eighteen riding lawn mowers come over the hill, dragging behind them yoked duos of tattooed deer. They came slowly and, at the bottom of the hill, single file, so that I could have time to process the pictographs inked into their flesh. They looked at me, the mowers, as if I had purpose and they were links in the chain of my success. And the deer stared blankly and beaten, a flesh book of cartoons about nothing (as far as I could tell.)

Rats chased cats with scissors and stuffed cheese and peanut butter into their swollen crevices. It continued from shorn deer hide to shorn deer hide. If this were a message from the future, or from space, or from the fungi, they picked a rather dull interpreter in me, but I took a piece of their proffered paper and wrote upon it:

VIOLENCE AND GLUTTONY WITHOUT END? At which they laughed, bowed their heads in apology, and went about their way, mistaken.

Call Down a Gutter Snack

Golly I’m hungry! he thought and there it came, rolling down the gutter, oblong like a cow’s heart. A red, moistened apple with a big, green worm sticking right out of it like in the funny papers. An engorged reproduction organ of the tree at the top of the hill, thrown down the street by wind, sun and gravity, full of life sustaining sugar. He stopped to pick it up and that worm just about jumped down his throat. He caught it and held it up away from his face where it wiggled in the cool air. He’d never seen a worm like that, all eyes and teeth. Barely any slime. The apple looked great. Quite a treat for such a rude and impossible worm.

“If you aren’t careful, I’ll bite your head right off, worm!” He grasped the worm between two fingers and was surprised to hear the worms thoughts echo his own.

At Them Crossroads

They were building a gigantic cross out of fried chicken bones out by the big church out on 71 (south of somewhere or the other) and Calvin couldn’t quite understand what they were using to keep it from toppling over with so many human arms dangling from the damned thing. They’d probably grease him up and let him sit in the hot sun as inspiration if they’d ever heard him refer to the thing as damned (and there was some rumor that the purpose of the project was to collect the thoughts of unbelievers,) but he’d made it this close and no one came to meet him, friendly or otherwise.

He’d go a another mile closer to the damned thing if he could, having spied a good clearing in a local trailer park that would be perfect for his counter-project. His would be pure, however. His hands would be the only hands allowed to place the tacos, one by one, until there grew a satanic ziggurat to dwarf their monument to slavery. And he would stand, high heirophant and sacred architect, and his secret glue would be human blood and the semen of flawless bulls and everyone will know for he shall inform them.

To Bathe in Black Glow

Jimmy tore open the plastic and took the goggles in hand, felt their smooth heat, turned them over. Smiled at their sci-fi vibe. He’d look like a fucking nerd in them, for sure, but so would the other ten-thousand people that had gathered to get weird on drugs and wait for the eclipse.

The glasses were supposed to make it safe to look directly into the eclipse, of course, but they went farther. The eclipse only lasted a few minutes; the glasses promised to extend the psychedelic light show until the sun set in the evening, riffing on patterns and simultaneously playing music through everyone’s eyes, through the brain, and out the ears.

The time came. Some had been wearing the glasses for some time now, clowning. Jimmy  secured his pair onto his head, and looked up. Clicked the button.

The shadow crept across the sun and they all ooh’ed and aww’ed until a long, scab encrusted arm reached out of the shadowed star and snatched up a handful of the crowd. Their screams went unheard, so fast were they taken. Their blood formed clouds as it fell from the lips of the sun.

Jimmy couldn’t take the goggles off. They had locked onto his head and began to squeeze. He took his pocket knife and tried to cut the straps, but ended up only gouging his own skull flesh, making the ever tightening goggles that much more uncomfortable. The hand reached down for more, and now people were trampling and Jimmy set to stabbing his way blindly through the crowd, eyes tortured with diabolical light patterns that were rearranging his memories and preparing his enzymes for ingestion.

He was marinated in the blood, sweat, and piss of others and died never knowing that he was considered a choice bite when his time came to be casually eaten by the sun.

Watch Now and Fuck (Oh, the Comet!)

Most people can’t get past the first word of the phrase Suicide Cult without thinking about depressed, lonely, deluded assholes dressing like angels and tearing apart their insides with sugar-berry strychnine punch. They forget about those of us that know what the fuck we’re doing here.

It isn’t like they say. We didn’t drink the punch unwittingly, masturbate in a circle while holding lightning rods, or even listen to a sermon about how the comet was coming to save us all. Those of us who made it to the final level didn’t need any of that shit. We only drank the poison because our bodies were so pure that our blood was already venom and poison was like a mild narcotic and it tickled your belly just right. Our eyes were already on the comet, and I mean that literally. We plucked them out and shot a whole bag of them out of a space cannon. As a present to the comet, yes, but also so that we could see the icy castles we would be living in for the next few centuries. Know where to put the couch and such. You know.

And we made it, you fucking unbelievers. Throw our bodies in the ocean like you do your trash, Earth-shackled slaves. We ride the void and eat shaved ice for breakfast. We haunt eternity. We’ll be back for more of you and and ready to meat party in spirit form.