Monday, February 27, 2006

13: Storyline 1.7

Never one to overlook nature's more practical offerings, I breakfasted on strawberries, slowly picking my way to a full stomach in no particular direction and leaving a berryless swath behind me. The strawberries were delicious. The morning sun was warm but not unpleasant. White fluffy clouds were stuck on the fishless sky above like felt on velcro. After a while I realized the clouds actually were felt. I jumped up and grabbed one, and it pulled off of the sky with a rip. Then I drank it.

At this point, I had just about had it with this overgrown strawberry patch with its elementary school project sky. It was time to go. Tossing the spent cloud aside, I picked a direction and started walking.

The hills were gentle and rolling, and covered in strawberry plants. Now, some of you may not know what strawberry plants look like in the wild, so I'll describe them. They're somewhere between ankle and knee height (closer to ankle, really) and they have dark green leaves and fuzzy stems. Here and there, the strawberries themselves stick up above the leaves. Now put that carpeting on low rolling hills beneath a Crayola sky with felt clouds and you'll have a pretty good idea of what the landscape was like. I felt like I was in some sort of Rankin/Bass production.

Onward I trudged for what seemed like hours (but was actually less than a second) when suddenly a door appeared at the bottom of the next hill. Yes, that kind of door. It may seem a bit cliché, but I think you'll realize, like I did, that this was the easiest and best way.

I approached the door and paused, sensing the end of an episode.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

12: Interlude 6

Matilda, Heather, Sara, and Gertrude are in the room at the top of the stairs. I don't know what they're doing up there, but it sounds like they're having fun, and I'm downstairs, separate, apart, alone.

Perhaps they're solving the world's problems. Maybe they're discovering the joys of homosexual sex. Perhaps they're phoning their analysts. It could be that they are making a quilt using the fur of various small rodents. Chipmunks, squirrels, rats, mice, moles, shrews. Needle and thread. Stab and wrap, placement and precision. They might be performing dark rituals and summoning demons to come and bake them casseroles. They could be surfing the web. They could be building a replica. They could be shaving the furniture. They could be bleeding the monkey.

The point is, I don't know what they're doing. And if I don't accept my ignorance, I'll become insane. Mad, I tell you. Or at least a bit troubled, as though I had a run in my tapestry. I pace in a circle at the foot of the stairs. I hear their voices, muffled by the closed door, rising and falling. Outside, it's rain mixed with snow.

In the end, I go to the couch and park my hips. The cushions yield, as ever they should. It feels like new money. It feels like a well-oiled baseball glove. It's my couch, and I am secure in its embrace. Everyone else can only borrow time from it. I give them my permission to do so.

The women in my upstairs room will have their time apart, and nothing will change that. Fortunately, I have a couch. I bask in the adequate luxury of sufficiency.

Monday, February 20, 2006

11: Storyline 1.6

I collected myself and rose to my feet in the field of strawberries. I noticed my right pinky finger, fire axe, and mysterious glowing orb lying on the ground nearby next to a rip in the fabric of space-time. (I figured the latter to be the hole in the stairs.) I retrieved my belongings and put them away, all the while contemplating my options.

There are a number of things one can do when confronted by a rip in the fabric of space-time, but I think my choice was the most obvious: I decided to dance. To rock out. To strut my funky stuff. As I began, music erupted from every tiny leaf and berry around me, a ringing endorsement of my choice.

Funny thing about dancing: When you're dancing, you don't worry about rats eating your rotting corpse. The idea of the sun going nova doesn't really enter your mind. When the music is pumping and you know exactly what to do about it, you achieve temporary immortality.

Now, I have a confession to make: I like using colons, but I'm starting to worry that I'm overdoing it. Fuck. In my feistiness I've written a self-referential paragraph. I must end it immediately.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I can't dance worth a shit. But there, on that day, in that strawberry field, it was right. I don't know how to describe it. But I know that I was kicking ass, and had they been there, the finest dancers the world has ever known would have been envying my chops.

I danced for a while, and then I stopped. The music ended in a finale timed perfectly with my cessation. There were some trampled strawberry plants, but the rip had vanished.

I contemplated my next move.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

10: Storyline 1.5

I spent many days in the toaster factory, wandering aimlessly down the production lines praying to whatever higher beings would listen, praying for guidance. Or at least a suggestion. I did find one suggestion scrawled on the wall of one of the stalls in the men's bathroom. "Fuck you," it suggested. I didn't find it terribly helpful.

As there were no windows, I soon lost track of the passage of day to night and back. I simply slept where I fell. Always, when I woke, there was a half-loaf of toast on a plate with a selection of toppings arrayed alongside. The toppings included butter, various jellies, marmalade, lemon curd, kippers, cream cheese, peanut butter, and other substances, some of which I did not recognize. The toast was of such quality, however, that as often as not I would eat it plain; it was sufficient unto itself. It was noteworthy toast. Always I would thank the available higher beings, eat my fill, and then resume my wandering. It became a routine. I count this as the happiest time of my life.

The seventy-fifth time I woke up in the toaster factory, there was someone with me. Without understanding how, I knew that I found myself in the presence of the god of toast. I spent some time, perhaps days, with the god of toast, but I can't remember any of the details. The only thing I remember for certain is hearing the words, "You will remember nothing of the god of toast" spoken from somewhere behind me. An instant later, everything went black.

I awoke lying in a field of strawberries. You remember the field of strawberries, don't you? Well, I got there in the end.

As I sat up and began to get my bearings, the possibility occurred to me that the toaster factory and the god of toast had all been a dream. But no, the soles of my shoes were inordinately more worn than they had been when I put them on in the morning, back where the sky was full of fish. The toaster factory had been real. But I began to realize that I had not visited a mere toaster factory. No, I had wandered the aisles of the one true toaster factory. To this day I am awed and humbled by this honor.

I still wonder who wrote "fuck you" in the bathroom, though.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

9: Interlude 5

I want to hold it in my hands. I want to press my fingers around it and feel it living beneath my touch. I want it against me so I can feel the blood moving through the capillaries that nestle just below the surface of the smooth soft skin.

Capillaries are so small that the red blood cells move through them in single file. When I was in school, they showed a movie about the circulatory system that had footage of this happening-- the little torus-y objects shuffling through the tiny, tiny tubes like kids in an amusement park line.

That's what I want to feel happening beneath my fingers, in your skin, in your body, as I hold you, touch you, listen to your heart, test your pulses, give you orgasms.

Everything is about flow. The wind, rivers, your blood, time, diffusion, electricity, sexual secretions, life, thought. It's all about flow.

What poisons have we pedaled to make it seem otherwise?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

8: Interlude 4

There isn't much to say. Hampered with a lack of material, the author struggles on in the face of meaningless absence. If meaningless absence were a rodent, it would be a squirrel. Jumping around, darting here and there on the hunt for its next nut, without a care for those observing-- unless they get too close. Then zoom, it flees. You can't put your finger on it.

A shame, really, since what you most want to do is hold it, hug it, turn it into something tangible in the hopes that the transition from absence to presence will at the same time render it meaningful.

Let's try another metaphor.

Imagine someone ripped out one of your teeth for no reason. Then you would know the pain of a meaningless absence. A meaningless absence can really drive your actions. You'd spend some time chasing the lunatic who took your tooth out of your head, but he'd outrun you. They always do. Then you'd spend some time at the dentist getting a bridge and stuff. Time and money, baby. Time and money.

Maybe it's worth it. But then, maybe it isn't. And what then?