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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They took gray molding from the side of the sky and began to form an ark ship. Leaves fell loudly in its hull as it took shape and I stopped ripping snorts of powdered ant long enough to mock them:
“You’ll never make it to Frag Iron Asteroid Waiting Station with a bullshit, hippie ark like that. Where are the death rays? The bionic plague rats? The spikes and fire and tornadoes? I ain’t going nowhere. You guys are crazy.”
God’s asshole sat in the sky like a dirty moon, waiting to shit thunderous venom onto Earth, and these clowns were trying to escape. I knew better. Might as well take your whuppings where you’re comfortable. The void would destroy the minds of these weak willed, life worshipping perverts.
And the celestial asshole in the sky comes to everywhere somewhen.
But maybe I said yes and then no one came to that darkened hall where we sat like two dolls with no hands to manipulate ourselves maybe just a voice between us and maybe they thawed our brains too quickly and no I said no when they painted his eyes shut and maybe this fat cock of a chisel can free us yes by blinding one eye to rub out the other and maybe lightning will fly sideways through us and no one will say yes I can tell that dust from that no but maybe we will be one in the gutters when they flush us away maybe
Sat stumped, wind down my legs. Birds coded hallucinations in intricate song, one tweeting sideways while another ate bugs to scales unknown to earth ears. What, sweat like black blood wipes clear? I thought I’d cut my pineal gland out with a sharpened deer antler earlier to help me sleep, but I must have missed and lobotomized myself. No matter. The stump knows gravity, I know the stump. This is why I come here to these wet woods. Beauty wrapped in death linens, mind gone with the morning rain. When they find me, my hands will have rotted off from exposed prayers to the dark unknown green beyond the edge of my failing vision.
My only hope is that a family of birds make love in my chest to keep my heart company.
You better go to sleep now.
Or the Veggitabull Man gonna come down from the attic and put his fibers in you. That’s right. Gonna pump you full of vitamins and dirt juice. I seen him. He’s real. I saw him up in the attic just the other day when I was looking for my Spring cotton candy machine. You know the one, the one with the bird on it. And the egg. Yes, he was just standing right there like the devil, but he had cucumber horns and corn fangs.
Oh yes I did. It wasn’t an LSD shadow warp or nothing. You know I stopped talking to that old doctor anyway. He always had me trying something or other for my levitating brain disorder. I won’t go into it. You’ve heard enough from me on that. Anyway, I’m telling you, if you don’t go to sleep that Veggitabull Man is going to creep on down with crinkle cut toes and stick his celery fingers right in your mouth and make you chomp down on them. Yes, he’ll hold your jaw up tight against your skull until you have to swallow.
And you’ll be so full on his body parts that you won’t even want sugar fried waffle pops in the morning. I know, I know. Just go to bed and you won’t have to worry about any of that. Everybody knows that the Veggitabull Man can’t go into dreamland and snatch you up. You’re safe there. So go on now.
Get your jammies on.