Grease in the Warp Drive

They made the little fried sausages, covered them in void wrap to preserve them against the inevitable Time we were up against, and put them deep in the hold, behind the cooling units of the nav computers. When I say they, I mean the Cooks. We were sent two cooks on our million year mission, but we ever only saw one. The other appeared exclusively in special treats: a bit of cheesecake for a birthday, three eggs in the omelet for the crew member that had their arm gnawed off by radiation burglars.

Where they put those sausages, there was a fan, a great, galactic fan, capable of blowing in the most alien of winds. But we had found nothing here. Nothing but space and time and the sausage winds that blew when we flew near a heat source and that great, big fan turned on. The entire void craft would turn into a holiday stroll from sausage cart to sausage cart down some forgotten European riviera. Everyone would go mad, talking about all the times they’d encountered sausages in their lives. Cutting themselves to ebb the flow of memories. Talking incessantly in five languages, none of which the others knew, ending their speeches with grand gestures which seemed to imply that the speaker would like to be turned themselves into a sausage.

Take my thinking meat, they seemed to say, and stuff it into my innards, along with the rest of my innards and some blood for good measure. We had all been around each other long enough to get the gist of their ravings.

No one thought to track down the invisible cook and simply ask for the sausages, though of course, that might require teamwork, and we were all dreaming of a greasy, piled-on plate of tube steak all our own. No one talked of murder, of course, but talk is little but pregnant vibrations. We would never talk the sausages into our mouths. A sausage was a tooth’s business, tooth and arm, fist and feet. The hard parts of the body had no subtle language.

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.”

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.