Sneaking into the Loo
I judge the personal character my high school teachers solely on how their pea smells.
It's seven o clock. I'm pacing around the doorway of my room, rambling off to my friend about the one eyed dog who ate Russian olives like a curious house cat. At first I can't tell if that lightheaded energy in my chest is a side effect of my enthusiasm or a symptom of something else. When I go to the kitchen my entire body is sprouting in light convulsion. My hands shake a bit when I put them in front of me, but my stomach isn't growling despite all of this. I haven't eaten since lunch, seven hours. I'm not starving, I've just got the shakes. That confusion your body gets when it misses its scheduled meal for a few hours too long after little to no physical activity. The stomach wants something, but doesn't know what it is. In turn, it sends a nebulous message to the brain to have the whole system sputter. The shakes are generally calmed down by frozen pad tai and a slice of pretzel bread. It all feels not needed, but the digestion wants it. The lack of work confuses it.
The Brass Mug is a classic establishment for the hard drunk, hard smoked, hard of hearing, and hard for any Floridian jock of the upper middle class to understand or appreciate. Only positive violence is allowed within its black plywood walls. Bloated feedback, pagan growling, and pits every Friday. Several regular the joint. The others show up with Marlboros and the occasional blunt. Each corner is filled with a fresh haze by midnight between the cigs and smoke machines. Within the cancer miasma is a swirling mass of bodies. Most pack sardine tight at the stage while a dozen others sprint in circles around its periphery. Anyone standing outside of this dance of flailing arms and body slams must be wary of the unexpected limp torso being flung at them, possibly ramming their tail bone into one of the small wooden beer tables bolted to the floor. For those who can look past the chaos will notice an old stripper pole on a platform of rotted black and white tiles. This is where the geezers, soaked moshers, and gassed bodies over three hundred pounds make their narrow retreat to sit. From afternoon till one am, the lights never come on in the venue. Only two small bulbs on the porch provide enough to see the sweat beads on the black shirted figures. The crowd flocks there between sets for more smokes. Outside, they are provided with a view of North Tampa, pits of wetlands stirred with Wendy's bags, hot cars rushing past moldy strip malls and car dealerships. By night it all melts into the humid black and conversational puffs.
Without the banging inside, the venue would seem moderately abandoned with its lack of signage and tinted windows. Once in, anyone with sensitive ears is bombarded between roaring amps and a yelling man with a clipboard. He always asks what band the person came to see, a question most have no clear answer for. After an hour of beers, they may meander to the incoherent bathrooms, each with a black door and their gender labels covered in stickers. Within them are white stalls showing each pen and marker stroke in its full glory; butt fucks, regular fucks, tongue, cocaine. Drunk screeds slashed on the damp plastic. For the bathroom, purple portable fans are the antidote to its stagnancy. They sit on the bar for anyone rejoining the tight crowd. There newcomers will stand. Their hair will blow into their nose as they try to avoid being drenched in nicotine. But it's to no avail. Standing at the mercy of the haze, more motely caravans will peel into the parking lot. Each faded section is filled with yellowed Winnebagos from the 80's, sputtering pickup trucks, and roached minivans. Monster energy cans bounce to the pavement before tipsy feet leave the front car doors. It's a comical scene that borderlines on stereotype. They all amble to the door in their patched vests and dark shirts. Blood of Angels, Promethean Horde, Scorch, The Convalescence, Athiest, Obituary; just a few of the names that sticker the windows and splatter the clothing of these buzzed wanderers. All are there for one simple thing, to roll their heads to the undulating rhythm of the strings and bust sixty dollars on patches, tapestries, cup holders, and more shirts.
Walls flash a hyper blue through beer sweat
Two aqua suns swirling against panting lips
Several drunk chicks totter against the disjointed mob
Shaking the neon glow bracelets
Sapping every last ounce of their game day energy
A wrestler's mask flames crinkle in a playful sneer
Its dark body below thrashes against contorted limbs in front of the stage
Exploding through the desperate fingers
Finding their end on the soaked floor
Sticking to shirtless, writhing torsos
They gleam and shake in rhythm of harsh amplifiers
Wet male hair flings out its salty dew like dogs
The mask continues to growl and convulse
Open spitting mouth hole not stopped by the sudden shoves
"What's the big deal with these guys
They get way more attention than they deserve
Come on, headliners, really?
Is the hype that big?
What even is a Wharflurch anyways?!"
The room buzzes with feedback
The large lanky figure of the Wharflurch front man comes out of the crowd
He towers over the midget in tight leather with an aggressive grin
His big hands grasp the metal trash can
A fast tin sheen slicing through the hot air
Whack! It dents against mask and bone like an empty coca cola
The leather champion has fallen
Red ooze coming through the eye holes
Soon all the men are crawling over each other
Pale soft Japanese beetles sliding back to the wood floor in their excrement
Salty coagulation against leather lips
The shocked tongue spills forward into the microphone
The champion is back up, ready for the next challenger
But the rest of them lurch forward in a grinding tide
Boomer bellies pancaked against the stage
A BLM punk ripping loose horse style through the core mosh
Everyone picking surprise fights
All spun backwards from a quintuplet armed beast
hanging denim spikes
flattened booze cups
thick guitar vibrations
stoned bass rumble
funneling into a disjointed adrenaline whirlpool
supreme violent ecstasy
G.G Allin Lives: The Fest, Halloween 2019
The rare crisp Florida night
The plaza crowd buzzes before the lonely stage
All patched in primitive stiches, gathered in black
Devils Lettuce rising in thick plumes
Loose groups in drunk conversation
I sit by one
One of several with the GG paraphernalia
A dazed stare is the only response
Dazed but amused
An inside joke only his twisted state could understand
A woman beside him chuckles, sharing his warped vibrations
The stale air tingles
The moonless stars churn with the clouds
They dance in his eyes, a set of childish pupils
He stares through my receding forehead
Only stuck gears behind those sockets
His body drags behind him as the head swivels around my figure
A man pulling a rusted stiff bicycle brain across the sidewalk
Eyelid freckle, nose zit, fluttering split end, repeat
Moving the head to each place, not the eyes
"Your pupils are big, you look high."
He says this, not me
I redirect his attention to his backpatch
GG Allin; Big white sewed on letters to the frayed denim vest
Wrapped around in a tight circle, a bold insignia
Dusted and wrinkled with marsh dirt, sewn on loud
Enough to even make the late shit slinger proud
He makes no mention of it and takes out his billfold instead
A grey kitten within the clear card sleeve
"His name is GG Calin!"
I smile and nod
The woman states the question
Their hysterical laughter dissipates in the monotone sea of voices
Lost to the cooling breeze
Churning with the skunk fog haze
Understood by no one
And yet they still holler out
A disjointed music
I miss the 90’s
God I miss the nineties. We had Nirvana, CDs, cars that looked like plastic jelly beans with headlights, people weren't on their phones all the time, Gameboys and huge computers that were all retro and shit, Sonic wasn't bastardized by the internet yet, it was all good. There's plenty of good reasons to go back to the nineties, especially considering that last one. But I wouldn't go back for any of these meager luxuries, I would go straight for the piece de resistance, the ultimate key to life's meaning that time has left behind, Heaven's Gate.
Just calm down for a second and hear me out. Say what you want about alien cults, but they were poppin back in the day. They had all of these cool patches, shirts, and shoes. Don't forget the classic lifetime movie and alien crossover aesthetic. Iconic style. These guys meant business too. They weren't just going to sit there and wait for the aliens to come to them, they were taking matters into their own hands. Sure that Bo guy was running around and getting himself castrated and what not, but he was a man of action. He wasn't going to stop looking for answers until he slapped those alien cheeks. Even if it meant drinking the Kool-Aid he was in it to win it and be fly in Nikes on his way out.
Now compare that to all of these...ughh...starseeds. These trust fund twenty something women who look like Victoria's secret models, making all these qualms about "channeling", "manifesting", and "self improvement for the saving of humanity". If you were reincarnated from an alien you should at least make an effort to look like one. Bo knew where it was at, he was bald, had that buggy eyed look going, talked like sedated televangelist. What do these people do? Dress like rich hippies? Talk about...gag!...finding themselves? Lame. Booo! Get out of town and park your fancy converter van in the driveway of your two million dollar house. People these days are no match for the big leagues.
If you've gotten this far, this is where time travel comes in. There was supposedly an alien spaceship following comet Hale-Bopp that Heaven's Gate members tried to teleport to by doing the final deed. Putting aside the extreme measures taken, the whole thing sounds like a ball. Think about it, those guys might be out there somewhere slaying alien pussy since 97. Sure, it's 99.99 percent likely the the ship isn't real, but I'm a positive kind of guy. Who knows, maybe they're looking down on us now, being fed Zigamorph grapes from the vine. I don't care if it's a waste of everyone's time and resources, we need to know the answer. Time travel would be the ultimate solution. All I'd need to do is go to a time when the comet is close to earth.
Of course this would lead to two potential solutions with two different outcomes. The first option would be to go to 97 when the comet last past. While I'd have some company on my alien quest then, I'd have to go to the future and clone myself and then convince that clone to join a suicide cult in the past and then have them travel back to the present to tell me of the aliens if the "teleportation" method worked. There are infinite ways this plan would end in a horrible failure or unnecessary death so I'll likely scrap it for the alternative. The other option is to travel to 4385 when the comet is supposed to pass again. If the earth hasn't baked itself into a puddle of ice cream, they'll probably have more assessable ways to space travel. I'll just go to whom ever runs the spaceships and bother them about my alien quest until they give in and give me a ride. This is my preferred method. The only con would be that the Heaven's Gate folks won't probably be around by then if I ever find the ship. I'll just be stuck with one guy whose pissed off that I won't shut up about the 90's. It still beats dealing with a dead clone or shenanigan's from another one of me.
Then comes the question, what will happen if I find the ship? Best case scenario the cult's descendants have interbred with the aliens into some ultra intelligent hybrid. I'd just hang out with them for a while because I got nothing better to do and freeload off of whatever subscription service they have for extraterrestrials. That's about it. No lofty goals after that. I could probably just live there and not have to do any chores. To them I would be like tending an ant. Say what you want about it being an over elaborate scheme to be lazy for the rest of my life. It's a cool plan and nobody's thought of it but me.
Inspiration isn't simple for me. It must be obtained from the unobtainable. My life is not an exciting one, so I must make do with what I have and savor the stranger moments. I come from the strong opinion that good tales come from feeling, not the actual events. That's how most things work out for me. Emotions; the keystone to literary intrigue that few bother to mention. No matter the adventures in life, the telling (and perhaps the doing) of them will remain tasteless without their ultimate components, the "in the moment" experience. No matter how mundane many things seem, the complicated emotions captured in these moments is what creates great pieces of writing. I believe writing (well at least) is more of a meditative exercise than a creative skill. To understand an intriguing situation to the fullest, the people, things, and inner world must be observed to their microscopic details. Feelings are more than the standard anger, sadness, boredom, or happiness. Each moment of emotion is a complex alloy of many factors. The inner world is a fluid place. Certain variants of an emotion may never be felt again after their brief presence in the mind. Many others might be so unique to the individual that trying to describe them would be like trying to describe flavor to a person with no taste buds.
Any ill fated attempts to understand ones emotions at the highest degree is a frustratingly inspirational task. This curious phenomena is what motivates me to write. To describe pieces of my inner world is something I aspire to explore to the best of my abilities. It's an aimless task, one hundred percent chance of ending in failure. No matter the effort, the genuine states of an individuals mind cannot be experienced through writing. Despite this, I write on.
This path of mine is more of a realm kept well tread rather than well understood. The best times for writing are fresh out of a rare moment. Those times when something felt much different. Anything that catches my attention is fair game for a story's base ingredients. The story itself doesn't have to do anything with the events that conjured those emotions in the first place. To get to the ends is the goal, no matter the means.
Last night I had a dream that both stumped and pleased me. I was walking around in a book store that had some sort of local writers convention going on. A stand with several neat piles of beige colored booklets caught my eye. Upon taking a closer look I couldn't believe what I was seeing. They where vintage poetry anthologies. I liked a few of the passages I skimmed through, but that wasn't the interesting part. Each page and cover popped with outsider illustrations. They looked like a warped hybrid of The Far Side and All Tomorrows. Precise stippling, bold pen lines, cartoonish animal grins, twisted creatures, it was all there on the old pages. Fifteen dollars a book, the lime green laminated sheet of paper on the stand made this clear. They were fifteen dollars despite the original six dollars and fifty cents printed on the upper right hand of the covers. I was going to buy one nonetheless.
I could see everything, as clear as the bright florescent lights above allowed. Bears, lizards, snarls, tongues, toothy smiles, the numerous beasts, they all stood there, a family photo pose, their simple forms carved from harsh shading. This is rare for my dreams. Crisp vision is uncommon, perhaps more of a fluke in the sleep realm. Of course, a third of me knew it wasn't real, but the other two thirds wanted to verify their existence. I stared at those covers for a long time. It all stayed put until it didn't. My spirits withered for every second a facial expression or character changed in the blink of an eye. The lines changed, but their clarity remained intact. The idea of them stayed too, a book of perpetual play, a drawing style that would fascinate me enough to emulate it, a perfect textual-artistic layout for the all books I'd wanted to write. I wanted to bring it home. They were thin but not crumpled from age. This satisfied me. Several could fit in my small bag. They were not heavy. I could marvel at their strange nature at my desk and read the times new roman between the curious drawings. Deciding whether to buy two, one, or three, kept me mulling over in that store for a while. The wallet never came to my hand.
I'm still convinced I purchased one. If not, I'd be disregarding my own work. Little did I know at that store, I was looking at a grand design of my sub conscious. I'd been hashing through non workable illustration ideas for months and some inner depths had already done it for me. Then everything went away. I couldn't even pull a piece of it out. Every page of those books will forever be lost, no matter the intricacy of their design. All I can do is create from a shadow of a memory. It's enough for me. The experience is the keystone, the indescribable. It's explaining the unexplainable, or rather showing it.
Beware the ...?
I'm standing at a dilapidated visitors center. The building was condemned in 2008 when a monsoon came and tore off half of the roof. Steel sheets lean on the walls. They're rusted on the sides, an amber red that almost blends in with the painted interior which is peeling off its greying soft wood. Next to me is the rookie; Nez, short for Nezbit, strange name, 150 pounds, Irish face, five one, eyes level with the door knob, tired sun baked cheeks. His low angled gaze doesn't change when I tell him about the stick protocol. The Y stick I call it. I've got a lot of good times with the Y stick. I tell him of the pig like noise the beasts make when I give them a gentle nose press, less than gentle on other occasions. He smiles and nods. I'm not sure if he's lifted his gaze yet or just turned his head to another side of the room. That reddened face is towards the abandoned kiosk now. It was filled with scenic pamphlets before the incident, the mighty komodos in bout on the inside among other photos taken by the elusive C.B Wright. He (or she) always slipped new pictures in our mail slot in the back with contact information. The slot gave its signature two and a half dull creaks when new stuff came in, but I never witnessed the photos pour down from Wright. They always appeared without reason. Nez was spacing without reason. It was time for the reinforcements.
Now it was the front doors turn. It gave off one and three quarters squeaks instead of two and a half. Ahh the memories. It's Gary Walker whose opened it. He's got the youthful tan body and frosted tips of a Jersey Shore wannabe. Blood pools down his lower calf. I'm not sure if he has met Nez yet. The kid seems to notice him. His gaze no longer in half power, now full throttle, the eyes gyrating up and down between Gary's numb eyes and exposed muscle. My brother in arms is now hands and knees to the floor. He's doing a bear crawl that's more of a down dog. Every time his small bundle of pad lock keys falls out of his pocket, he does this awkward motive yoga pose. It's almost embarrassing when he does it. As far as I know he's thirty five and had no hip issues. I give out an alarmed yelp to reassert the shocking nature of the situation. No need it seems. Nez already understands.
I forgot to implore that I have a gun. It's cold handle is wrapped into my hand, a magnum ready for a fury of lead. The handle has ivory sides. I replaced them from wood ones last month. Lucky me. Gary rushes through the door. One of the beasts is behind him. It looks sunned out and lazy. Perhaps I shouldn't call it an it, it's a diminutive term for the majestic grey creature. With another one and a half creaks, the rotting door slams against its peeling frame.
"Ambulance! Ambulance!" yells Gary.
He's holding a frayed strip of fabric from his yellow Komodo Island shirt. It's really more of an orange brown, but my colorblindness sees it as yellow. They were dyed from the bright mud on the island and pressed with blue lettering and an artist rendered image of the iconic bout photo from none other than the mysterious Wright. The ink used is a little rough to the touch, but stays unflaked after many washes. I appreciate my good quality shirt unlike Gary, whose ripping out more strips of his thirty dollar uniform to make a tourniquet. I take the hand off of the gun and go to my knees to help him tie the strands. Nez joins me on the floor. His red face is now pale. The phone in his pocket slides into his hands. Fingers flick down the cracked screen. Wave of panic. I whack it out of his hand before the number is sent.
"What the hell!" he yelps.
"Don't call, it'll be a waste of their time," I said.
I'm on my knees, looking at Gary's gash. The skin surrounding the bite is rubbery, pale, plastic. While its bloody drippings are different, the general shape of it is the same; a deep gash about my hand's length, three peelings of skin an inch away from its bottom end, the entire surroundings of the wound is raised, a dead giveaway. A get a pair of blue nitrile gloves from the neglected first aid kit by the window.
"Let's see what we got here." I say this like Gary has a splinter up his ass.
When I look back over to Nez, his panicked demeanor hasn't changed. The poor kid hasn't caught on yet. I feel a bit sorry for what I'm about to do next, but it should bring him to reality. With a hard jerk of the hand, I stake my fingers into the wound. Gary shrieks. His blood smells of starch. I pull. A curved black claw comes out of the fleshy ether. It's dripping in my hand, something from the front limb of a velociraptor. Nez jerks back a bit on his hands and knees, more bewildered, confused. I open the door two inches ajar.
"Is this yours?" I ask to the beast outside.
I wave the large claw to it before tossing it out in a rage. With that I take out my gun. For a second, the smooth ivory on my fingers brings pleasure, but then I remember Nez is going to pass out.
"Have this you fat swine!" I take three shots. Their bangs bounce off the metal roofing. I don't know where they went, don't care. The beast has moved to the bushes, a little shocked by the noise and no holes in its hide, but Nez doesn't know that. He's still behind me inside with no proper visual of the event. I slam the door and rush back to Gary. He's still on the floor, groaning. Nez is about close to this point too. I feel a little bad for his state. It's time to complete the hazing.
"All right, lets get this over with," I said to Gary.
Coming back to my knees, I grab the raised area of the wound and pull, hard.
"What are you doing?" yells Nez. By the shaking of his hands and voice, I can tell he's at the near start of hysterics.
As expected the skin is smooth and rubbery. I keep pulling until the whole wound is peeling like a pale scab. Sinews of plastic sticky "flesh" is stretched out as I remove the entire bloody area. It stretches and snaps off into my hand, a bloody skin sticker. No gash is underneath, just a shiny residue. Nez stands there silent. I laugh. Soon the color returns, some of it anyways. I reopen the door and snatch the claw from outside. It's covered with grass clippings and drops of starch blood.
"Can you tell me what this is?" I said in a stern school teacher manner.
"A..a komodo claw?" said Nez.
"This is a dinosaur claw, not a Komodo's. What on earth makes you have that connection? You need some more training rookie. If this were a real scenario, that poor beast out there could've been framed," I scold back.
"Oh shut up!"
Nez is back on his feet. Without another word, he turns around and rushes out the back door. Gary and I are about ready the burst. The second he leaves we're back on the floor again, nearly choking with laughter. Nez will come around to it, we'll see.
They Multiply and Divide. I map them out as I see them, Write them in my mind; the phylogenetic tree, the fungal veins, the billowing Iron hills. All a pattern, a system, a universal code. Perhaps if I was a Pilot, I could see the whole thing swirling in on itself. River's carve out the trapezoidal mounds at Gunnison. Plateaus of lichen covered rocks top each one like a tooth just emerging from the gum. They are hard lime colored, strewn out Silent, dividing into smaller Bricks. Everything is compact and preserving dimensions, even by the Inch. The hills only Whisper their Rhymes to onlookers through water once flowed and countless quartz cascaded down the slopes. Our only proper Reply to it is marvel at the lines we read between each Fine sketch the hills have carved for no one. It's a repetitive story, but an engaging one, like the repetition of a song. Unlike a song however, this phenomena expands. Nothing is official. No Height, altitude, Grade, or name can be Given to the hills. They are existence itself. They are a complex pattern growing Bigger and smaller to the whims of the River. Each mound branches into smaller mounds which branch to smaller mound sections. The hill is a reptilian skin carved by the rain. So is the lichen. Miniscule green branches fanning out to their lichen twigs on the rocks. They are a microscopic tree within another within another. That last another is the river, a watershed creating a branched network of hills, everything a pattern growing out and folding in. Nothing but a repetitive Safety of design. Nothing but pattern and rhythm. Nothing but Fractals.
To the River
Good grief the saw. It's resting on my shoulder. We hold them like almost like rifles. They're heavier and higher on the body. The leather scabbards sweat oil that smears down my shirt and backpack. I don't like getting my backpack blacked up. The sticky soot smears against the zippers in an unpleasant way. It's unpleasant because it stains the light blue color. I want to keep it blue and sheen. I can't do that. That's a problem. The bigger problem is my shoulder, it screams out for help louder than the blue fabric loosing its sheen. Pulsating from shoulder to bicep is that shrieking wave of nerves I've never felt coalesce until now. Soon I must carry it at my side. The saw pendulum swings past the green and yellow bus that houses a beer bellied hippie, the over flowing lake and its stray logs upstream, and skeletal swaths of half alive tamarisk. They curl their fibrous grey nails across the patch. Always wear face covering. That's my motto. It's a new one among many mottos. Even a thin see through cloth helps buffer the harsh motherly slap of a pulled back branch. Walking through riverside underbrush of Colorado is a cruel concentration game. The player must watch the low stumps and saw as they do a lazy man's jog to the site. Each eye in a different direction is ideal. One to the ground and one to the shoulder, a human chameleon. Only a special few can do this ability. None are with me.
I mean half alive as a reality statement. Tamarisk is a bastard. Coniferous leaves, grey bark, peach stems, all a fine honed machine to keep itself five percent alive. The key is to cut them until their stumps are about level with the ground. When the twisted branches are separated from their stumps a herbicide is applied, an odorless liquid the color and consistency of Kool-Aid. After a few days, the site is covered with red coated stumps. A few days more, they're all obscured by foot travel dirt. Little leopard lizards and the red Moab cliffs are the only thing that raises in morale on these slogs of days. Everyone works far apart, conversation obscured by brush or the shrill groan of chainsaws. Cool relief comes below the cottonwoods, sitting by a few young workers cutting out the tamarisk with handsaws. Each day I sit on the ground and spray stumps on request. Though soon this too becomes mere fantasy. The worksite moves to less shaded areas. Protection from the sun disappears with each loud shred through the invasive brush. Willows sag in mourning to their lost support. Many get snapped by the constant pass throughs of workers. The clearing gets bigger with each hour. Jagged burn piles, flipped cow chips, stranded kindling, it's all there. A torn site. A deadened clearing. All things chopped, flattened, strewn out. No order. Remnants of slow chaos. Wasteland of the botany's damned.