Archive | April, 2016

Dear Pants

29 Apr

purple rain

 

Dear Pants,

 

I’m sorry I haven’t washed you lately. You smell sorta upset about it, but I swear I can fix this. There’s plenty of detergent just flopping around in the basement. It’s just, I’ve been busy lately. Ok, not busy really. Despondent perhaps. If only because I’m afraid I’m going to misspell depressed.

And I know there are a couple of pairs of perfectly clean pants downstairs beside the washing machine but it’s just, I haven’t felt like going downstairs. So I’ve been wearing you all week and it isn’t necessary to start nagging me about the underwear again because I know I should start wearing underwear again. I’ll totally start wearing underwear again. I even bought a new pair of silk boxers last week. They were on sale for $4. So maybe they aren’t actually made out of silk.

Forgive me, I’m unsophisticated. Anything that feels slippery I tend to write off as being bullshit or silk. They’re sitting there in the closet next to the front door but I’ve just been sorta too sad to deal with that closet lately. And besides that mornings can be the hardest–if you don’t count late mornings, mid afternoons, all goddamn evening, and the middle of the nights (darlin’ don’t even get me started about those middle of the nights)—and when you throw wearing underwear into the mix it just feels like I’m putting my pants on twice, which feels: exhausting. So I haven’t been wearing underwear. Ok? Sue me. Or please don’t. Because I don’t feel like being the guy who doesn’t wear any underwear in court………

But at least I bought some. (underwear).

Right?

Yes

Baby steps?

Fuck you.

I mean, I apologize.

I’ll do laundry soon. I promise. Just let me check my……….

Ahhhhhh!

We’re so alone.

But we knew that so what else is going on?

It’s snowing outside like a souvenir globe right now.

The TV is suggesting vigilance

This past week is suggesting the world

isn’t the world anymore

 

it’s something else

because Prince is dead

 

and in the space of this absence

things are appearing regularly

in their original form of unraveled

to the point where on my way home

earlier this evening I watched a dove

pick a fight with a Corvette

 

everyone’s fucking like angry guitar solos

Except me.

because I’m all alone

so I jerked off like I was playing

something really complicated

on trombone

 

and when I’m done doing that

I take my pants the rest of the way off

because they’re dirty

 

I mean you’re dirty

I mean everything’s dirty

He means “That ain’t Lake Minnetonka”

I mean that’s right

 

nothing’s gonna get washed tonight

because I’m watching

Purple Rain

on manual repeat

instead

Richard Gere Effigy

9 Apr

Richard-Gere-richard-gere-8692950-1600-1200

 

Richard Gere Effigy

 

 

written after reading Richard Gere scandal where he got in trouble and almost arrested and/or beheaded for publicly kissing a woman in public. 

 

I find that shit facinating.

     -Dennis Hopper, True Romance

 

 

“How the fuck am I supposed to burn this? It looks nothing like him!” Prakash is displeased with me.  We are burning  effigies of the American actor Richard Gere on account of he kissed a woman several times in public at an recent Aids awareness event. Prakash says such displays of public affection are forbidden. “They are gross and disgusting.” Prakash rages. “And besides that it’s taboo.” Prakash is displeased with me because he believes that the effigy that I have just built for the purpose of burning does not closely enough resemble the likeness of the real life Richard Gere. I have tried to explain to Prakash that I was attempting to capture his image as he appeared in the film Doctor T and the Women, but Prakash says this is bullshit. He insists nobody has seen Doctor T and the Women and will not understand what we are burning if we set fire to this thing that I have made here, if we set fire to it right now as it has been made. “Make it look like he did in Pretty Woman.” Prakash scolds me. “And step on it!” Prakash barks some other orders to his brother Bharatiya and then goes back to beating the burning effigy of Richard Gere (the one that he’d been beating previously before noticing that my own effigy of Richard Gere which I’d worked hard on for the purpose of burning did not meet his approval, causing him to pause in his own beating in order to instruct me on the need for me to make the appropriate corrections to my own Richard Gere effigy, before he’d allow it to be set fire too and beaten in protest and stuff like that) with a stick.  “Die Public Lip Kisser!” I hear Prakash scream, his stick striking the life sized figure made from farm straw and borrowed pillow cases that is meant to represent the actual body of the American thespian heathen. Sparks shoot far into the sky as I look around to find that I am almost the only one involved in this angry mob who has not yet lit my own Richard Gere effigy on fire and proceeded to beat the flaming crap out of it with a stick. Quickly I take the magic marker that I have recently inherited from my father and attempt to smug up my Richard Gere’s facial expression by shading a little extra smirkyness around his lips. Also I fix it’s hairstyle. And as an additional touch, one which it turns out that I am extremely proud of and came to me in an inspired rush, I add what is supposed to be lipstick marks on the side of his face. Then I get Prakash. “I am finished.” I tell him. “Could you please bring the torch and set it on fire now?” Prakash is sweating and breathing heavily.  He inspects my effigy carefully with a zealous glaze that has covered his eyes. “That’s better.” Prakash tells me. “Yes. I like what you’ve done to the nose as well. It’s nice and big.” “Thank you Prakash.” I tell him, attempting to hide the new pride that I can now feel within myself. “Yes, you have captured the character of Edward Lewis quite well.” Prakash says this, but then he pauses for a moment. “Perhaps too well. We don’t want to confuse anyone into thinking we’re burning the character Edward Lewis that he played in the movie Pretty Woman in effigy.  It is not the character of Edward Lewis who has disgraced us. It is the actor who potrayed Edward Lewis that we have the intolerable beef with. Write something like “This effigy is Richard Gere, not Edward Lewis” across his forehead or something. In this way we will be clear. I do as Prakash instructs and as I am doing this he notices the markered lipstick marks that I had previously added to the side of its face. “What is that?” Prakash asks. “Those are meant to be lipstick marks, placed their in pretend earlier days by the infidel’s on screen movie partner the lovely Julia Roberts.” Prakash thinks about this for a couple of seconds. “You say lovely? Do you really mean lovely? Do you not instead think that this Julia Roberts has a face that looks like a Bambi which has been crossed with a horse?” “Yes Prakash, you are right. I meant to say horse face.” “Doe eyed horse face.” “Yes. Doe eyed horse face.” Together we both laugh. Then Prakash stiffens as if he’s just thought of something, because he has. “These lipstick marks that you have placed on the cheek of your Richard Gere effigy, they were not make believe placed their by the lips of Julia Roberts while your effigy and this pretend Julia Roberts were in public, where they?” Holy shit! Why the hell didn’t I think about that? “No Prakash.” I assure him. “These lip marks were make believe placed on this particular Richard Gere effigy by Julia Roberts when the two of them were in a basement or something like that, behind locked doors, where God intended people to kiss one another in the first place.” “Good.” Prakash is visibly relieved. “I don’t know what we’d have done if the effigy that we are burning of Richard Gere for kissing a woman in public was itself kissed in public by a woman. Shit. We’d have to also start burning effigies of the effigy, and that could get weird.” “Do you have your stick?” I pick a large stick from the ground and tell Prakash that I do. “Let’s do this then.” And with that he lights my Richard Gere effigy on fire. “Go to hell grope fucker!” Prakash screams, striking the first blow with his own stick against the side of the now flaming effigy’s head. “Yes. What Prakash said!” I scream, striking the effigy in what would be its scrotal area if it had nuts. As I continue to beat the Richard Gere effigy I can see Prakash watching from the corner of my eye. He seems pleased, until he notices the effigy that Janata is attempting to set fire too behind me. “Wait!” Prakash screams as he storms towards Janata. They are behind me now, so I can not see them. I am beginning to get caught up in my own Richard Gere effigy beating. I can hear Prakash though, scolding Janata in that way that Prakash does. “What the fuck do you have against Matthew McConahay?!” Prakash asks Janata. “Nothing Prakash.” Janata assures him. “Then why the hell does your effigy look like Matthew McConahay?! We are not burning Matthew McConahay today! We’re burning Richard Gere! Now get too it!” Janata gets too it, while the rest of us continue to beat these goddamned effigies, well into the bowels of another strange and holy night.

 

(a one paragraph fucked up formatted version of something originally published in one of the Fast Forward Press flash fiction anthologies.)

The Sky Was Dark Like It Was Going To Rain

1 Apr

elmore-leonard-1983-file-photo

The Sky Was Dark Like It Was Going To Rain

for Elmore Leonard

 

The sky was dark like it was going to rain and it hadn’t rained for awhile when Leo put the book down that he’d intended on reading and mumbled something in Latin that he’d always thought to mean ‘shit’.

It was a horror story and Leo loved horror stories but this one had to start off with a description of the weather and, like Elmore Leonard, Leo never read things that started off with descriptions of the weather.

He sat in the Kia shaped hospital bed wondering what the hell he was supposed to do now. Outside in the hallway he could hear one of the 3rd shift nurses explaining to who-knows-who everything that she knew about Leo, how he’d been dropped off unconscious four days ago….smelling like blood and overly micro-waved Steak-ums… with an old library card plugging a well read bullet hole in his shoulder…..his clothes wrinkled in sweat and wet mud.

She went on about how he had no idea how he got here. How he wouldn’t eat his oatmeal and got angry real easy and how last night when he asked Dr. Ron if he could leave and Dr. Ron said ‘no’, somewhat emphatically, he’d called him a ‘modified cunt’. Wasn’t that terrible? To call a nice man like Dr. Ron a modified cunt?

Fuck.

She went on like this until she was satisfied her guest knew everything he needed to know relevant to the events that had happened before Leo’d tossed aside the horror book and sat there like he sat there, wondering what he was supposed to do:

Now.

The nurse and the mysterious stranger entered the room. Leo watched it happen and hit the morphine button twice. One time for each of them.

“You are unnecessary!” Leo said to the nurse, conscious of the fact that he’d just used up one of his ‘1 to 3 per 100,000 word’ exclamation points.

“Don’t mind him.” Nurse Prologue said. “He always yells that when I’m in here.”

“That’s because I know you.” Leo said. “You’re to be avoided. But I don’t know this guy. Who’s this?”

The man tried to smile and leaned over to shake hands.

He looked like what Lee Marvin’s face would’ve looked like if it’d been smushed together with Jason Priestley’s and he was wearing some sort of goddamn suit that had all these detail-specific labels sewn on it, describing the color…..what it was fucking made of….the origins of its first North American appearance……shit like that.

Leo had no room for this guy.

“You reek of description man. Get out.”

“Hold on now, I’m not here to make you angry Mr. Leo. We need to talk.” the guy said. But he didn’t just say it. He said it dramatically. Or desperately. And Leo hated that about him too.

Leo liked the room dark so he had the curtains closed and couldn’t see outside, but he could hear things. Things that a minute ago he couldn’t hear. Sounds like overly-accented strangers screaming and honed claws digging into brick.

“Do you hear that?” Leo said.

The stranger stopped trying to look like he was smiling for a minute and tried listening instead. Apparently he couldn’t do both at the same time.

“You’re crazy?” Leo said.”What’s your name again? I’m just going to call you Mr. Prick.”

“No need for that, let me introduce myself.” Mr. Prick said. “My name’s…”

“Shh. I’ve already named you.” Leo said. “That page has now past us. Move on.”

“My you’re feeling stronger today, aren’t you Leo. Barking orders like that” Nurse Prologue said.

Leo noticed for the first time that the Nurse had a nose that looked like cold sausage, but then he realized that it wasn’t her nose. It was an actual sausage. She was holding ground meat against the side of her face. Why would she do that?

“They’re not orders. They’re rules.” Leo said, and then caught himself thinking to himself “How do I know that?”.

“I wouldn’t just say he’s barking orders Ms. Prologue, I’d say he’s barking orders quite manically. Or maybe I wouldn’t even say it, maybe I’d just proclaim it…”

“Flamboyantly!?” Nurse Prologue said flamboyantly. Using up another goddamn exclamation mark.

“Precisely.” Mr Prick said. “Now why don’t you do me a favor and step outside and wait for me in that lovely 8×12 hallway with the purple wallpaper that was installed by a guy who once met the owner of Ikea, between the bronze/plastic framed paintings of odd people from the 1920’s practicing various forms of foreplay by a lake. I’d like to speak to Leo alone.”

The nurse left the room.

“Look,” Prick said. “I’m not really an overly described stranger. That’s just my disguise. Elmore Leonard’s dead. And without him the 10 Rules Of Writing are vulnerable. The monstrous shit that people tend to skip over and have therefore been cut out know this, and they’ve raised an army to take over everything, and goddamn it we need you Leo. You’re our only hope.”

“The Things That Were Left Out.”

“Yes.” Prick said. “The Things That Were Left Out want back in again. And they’re going to tear a goddamn hole in reality doing it.

“They’re outside right now, aren’t they. I can hear them.” Leo said. Everything was coming back to him. He remembered.

“Yep. You were on a secret mission to find Elmore’s last manuscript. The sacred first and a half draft of Pronto said this manuscript had the power to hold the bastards back until we figure out what to do next. But then you know, ‘next’ got fucked up and you got shot and couldn’t remember shit and it took me four days to find you and in between the now and then man, all hell’s broke loose. All, you know, suddenly and….. Shit.”

“What the fuck did you just say?” Leo said. He remembered Mr. Prick now. He was a damn fine writer. One who respected the 10 Laws. Someone who’d rather write Russian tampon commercials for a living then say something lame like “All Hell broke loose.” out loud.

“Oh no.” Prick said. “They got em. The 10 Laws must’ve collapsed. Time line’s torn. Bad writing’s rewriting reality. Jordon Doe has the upper foot now! Soon we’ll all be fucked up and rewritten too because hell man we’re all infected.”

“That’s The Walking Dead your thinking of.” Leo said. “They’re all infected. Or George Romero’s zombie universe that he created 35 years before that. Everybody in that was infected too.”

“I know what I’m thinking of but whatever. We don’t have time to argue. Let’s End-Of-The-World agree to disagree. Things things gonna get us all eventually. That’s what I’m saying. Just promise if I start overly explaining hallways again for real this time you’ll put a bullet in me.”

“You were pretending before?” Leo said.

“I was before but I’m not now. Get it? It’s getting to me like it’s already gotten to most everyone else everywhere. I was acting badly-written so I wouldn’t draw attention from the body snatched minions of The Things That Were Left Out that are walking around out there.”

“That’s smart. You were good. I really wanted to hit you.” Leo said. “So it’s that bad?”

“Leo, you’re nurse is a fucking Prologue?! Yes. It’s that bad.”

“You just used another exclamation mark.” Leo said.

“I didn’t mean too!” Prick screamed.

“You did it again man. And I’m pretty sure you just modified.”

“Shit Leo! It’s got me! Shoot me in the fucking face!” Prick said, and then he handed him a gun.

Leo admired Prick and understood the severity of the situation so skipped past the whole part where he could be crying out stuff like ‘No’ and ‘It’s not fair’ or ‘There’s got to be another way’ and went straight to the face shooting. The bastards had got him. There was no saving Prick now.

“Which side of the face?” Leo said. “The Lee Marvin side of the Jason Priestley side?”

“What do you mean ‘What side’?” Prick whined. “My face isn’t cut between the two symmetrically. It looks like what the two faces might look like if they was all mushed together.”

“Not anymore it don’t.” Leo said.

Prick screamed, which Leo took to mean “You choose!” so he did. The Jason Priestley side of his head exploding like rice pudding that had never been born.

Leo took a moment to pay his respects and then, after blockading his hospital room door, walked over to the window and tossed the curtains to the side and then he stood there watching as the citizens of a brand new world made out of bad writing ran around pissing all over each other and worse.

A small horde made its way up to his hospital room window and they stared in. He felt himself go waxy, like his insides were being rewritten in crayon. Not Crayola’s either. The kind that come with kids meals at cheap Mexican restaurants.

As the window cracked Leo caught a glimpse of someone he thought he might know. Like they’d hung out a few times and such. But there was something different about her now. Back then her eyes had been normal and now they’d been replaced by a couple of improperly completed Rubix Cubes. And her breasts had developed this weird overbite. And she was wearing a t-shirt that said “Ben Affleck’s My Batman” and her tongue was flopped out like Miley Cyrus, like she’d gone and gotten herself infected a few weeks ago when shit like that had taken over the news.

Sad. Well written people are not fans of Ben Affleck. She was infected.

“Et tu, Popeye?” Leo said, as the window crashed in and her fangs sunk deep inside his chest. “Hey. Wait. Don’t you go to Naropa?”

Leo went down as a thousand blobs made out of The Unnecessary devoured his eye line, every goddamn one of them overdoing their accents. Regional dialogues raped like a popular foreign movie title pronounced at a family BBQ by former president George W Bush.

As the bad writing took over Leo’s entire body felt like it’d been left in a blender. And then everybody started doing cocaine and somebody said, ‘Hey let’s blow the blender.”. And then the blender lost its mind, as Leo’s every atom was invaded with a poorly-written-brand-new game plan. Everything meant to be exciting, but in the new world of The Things That Were Left Out ‘exciting’ just meant more explosions. Everything intended to be romantic, but came off as slightly gay for George Clooney. Everything meant to be funny, but ending up like every other Adam Sandler movie ever made…comedy throwing up grass in the front yard while Selma Hayek stood off to the side pretending to have fun.

 

(written not so long after Elmore’s death)