Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Even The Goddamned Computer Screen

Found the meme above on Facebook.  

There were around 130 likes and some near dozen comments, all to the Pro-King.

And why not?  Who doesn't love Stephen King?  And memes suffice as the new Little Golden Books for adults, for our rapidly dwindling capacity to process the daily, the second-by-second torrent.  

I'm a dick.  For a lot of reasons.  

But in this instance --

A) Not to give the Donald a pass, but every male most people know is a sexual predator in one form or another.  The difference between active and inactive sexual predators are varying responses to opportunity and the capacity for keeping that conscience clean.  

In part it's genetic.  Even though most dudes wisely keep their seed to their nether regions, they are on a constant lookout.  In a world infiltrated by yoga tights and with Google's image search feature within constant reach, it's The Eye Candy Store, 24/7.  Any guy who claims he isn't looking is lying.  

B)  People need to shut the fuck up about the electoral college.  I'm old.  I recall folks losing it over the 2000 election.  If it was such a big deal then, if it's such a big deal now, interested parties would converge and join forces a la the X-men and Avengers and Fantastic Four, and fuck it, even the Great Lakes Avengers, too, and kick the proverbial power cord out from the wall outlet, and then Yes!, the whole Presidential dealie-bob would be decided by the popular vote. 

16 years transpired between Bush/Gore and Trump/Clinton. This MoveOn petition stands ready and waiting for launch somewhere into the great and powerful cloud likely to do-fuck-all who knows how much effective reorganizing of our collective voting DNA.

Meme-text out of the way, here's my deal.  Evidence of how far off the reservation I've wandered at this point.  

That leather jacket Steve's got on.  I look at the meme and all I see is the leather jacket.  

Everybody else looks at it, reads the fist pump worthy salvo, processes the world's best selling author looking tight and fight-trim as any 70-year-old can possibly appear...And I'm wondering how many goddamned cows lost their lives for the sake of Grandpa Horror Story's ump-billionth professional photoshoot.  

Jim Harrison has a poem -- God help me I don't recall the title -- but a couple lines deal with dogs -- just regular lovable, dumb old pooches -- ripping open the belly of a pregnant housecat.  

Every time I feed the cats, clean their food bowls, wash out used cat food tins, I say -- aloud -- "Thank you for feeding these cats."  

I don't say grace before my meals.  But I speak a kind of grace around the rituals of filling the tummies of little sociopaths.  And I know it's weird to do it.  It doesn't change the short, brutal lives of the critters that got pulverized into Mr. Whisker's latest gnosh but it seems necessary anymore.  Acknowledging the lost.  The processed.

I can't call myself 'vegan.'  It still sounds too much like a race of aliens the Enterprise encountered and not TOS, but that animated shit die-hards insist counts for canon.  

The problem with planting any flag is wearing the right armor.  I don't wear armor.  I don't plant flags because I know I don't do the due diligence-thing very well.  

For instance, like a dummy, I hadn't considered the fact that book bindings include animal products.  From Wikipedia:

Rabbit-skin glue is more flexible when dry than typical hide glues...It also is used in bookbinding and as the adhesive component of some recipes for gesso and compo.

But horror-upon-horror, going the e-route is no safe route to a blame-free conscience either:

Liquid crystals found in screens on TVs, computers and cell phones may be based on cholesterol taken from animals.

So, blood more or less on my hands, why piss and moan about one lousy leather jacket?  At this moment I'm surrounded by books and I'm composing a text upon a screen containing the by-product of some life/lives lived likely not very well.  

I think it gets to me because it doesn't get to other people.  Because I know all of life orbits consumption but I can't let go of the fact that human beings bear a responsibility to treat the lowest of the low so much better than our current subpar output.  

2020, electoral is going to swing it true.  2020, I'm going to be checking out women half my age.  2020, I'll still own books bound by bunny rabbit-skin...Depending on my distance from the reservation.  Squinting, I can still see some outbuildings.  I can't guarantee they won't soon resemble specks on a horizon.  


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Work In Progress

Despite (or because of) Ian's aggressive promotional efforts, none of the major music magazines reviewed PsychoSexual's self-titled release.  A half-page ad towards the back of an issue of Alternative Press went haywire in the print separation process.  The album cover swirl of white and black stripes reproduced in a moosh that reportedly ignited nausea in a certain segment of nearsighted magazine connoisseurs. 
More jarring, Ian's reputation as one of the leading irritating little spuds of the Palouse proved so solid, neither the WSU or U of I student-run radio stations would give the record a spin let alone contribute valuable radio show time to interview any of the band members, in person or by phone.  
Despite hemorrhaging platitudes towards Sixboots, The Muddle, Karrot, and other blink-and-they're-gone acts, Seattle's homegrown music newspaper The Rocket ignored PsychoSexual.  Due to the pick-and-choose freedom allowed by caller id, Ian's ever more petulant phone calls to the paper's editorial offices eventually went unanswered unless an intern was feeling particularly bored with that day's paper shuffling.
Those were the infant days of the Internet.  Dial-up.  Netscape Navigator.  Mark Zuckerberg hadn't even sprouted a curlie.  There were few doors for the band to try and wriggle through.  One by one, they all slammed shut.  

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Work In Progress

Thompson's Twin guffawed.  Cord remembered the word.  High school.  Mr. Huer calling out his Algebra note sharers and secret lookers paying attention to their hormones rather than the lesson. 
"Take your groins and your guffaws and put 'em in your pocket."
Cord couldn't remember who did the best Huer impression.  It was easy.  A dab of turtle, a dash of Don Knotts.  
Cord wanted to warn Thompson's Twin to zip it up.  Put 'em in his pocket.  The woman in their midst...there was fire in her eyes.  And a vein the size of Cord's pinkie kept pulsating on her neck.  Cord could imagine it erupting like the little fucker in those Alien movies, tearing a high hard one down the woman's back and across the carpet smackdab into his co-worker's otherwise carefree afternoon. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Work In Progress

"Let me see your face," said Autumn. 
"What?  Why?"
"All right, all right.  Geez."
It seemed like hours before Zenda appeared on Autumn's phone.  The elder Mercer daughter held the phone tilted down in the typical selfie pole position.  She waved.  Fluttered her eyelids. 
"There you go.  Through the magic of technology, here I am in all my glory, twenty crow's feet deep.  Happy?"
"You don't sound happy."
"Are you alone?"
"'Am I alone?'  Um.  Do you mean in the practical, physical aspect of aloneness or are you delving deeper, like, philosophically, yes, I am alone the same way we're all alone, little sister."
"Where are you?"
"At work.  Trying to be productive."
"You're in Portland?"
"Um.  Ye-ah." 
"Do you have a gun?"
"'Do I have a...'  Ok.  No.  Now, right now, Autumn, tell me what the fuck, I mean, seriously, what the fuck is going on?  You're being weird like Uncle Jim weird, and I can tell you, we really don't need another were-schizophrenic in the clan."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Work In Progress

Putney rubbed a liver-spotted hand across his jaw.  His eyes were a peerless clear blue.  Griffin had read Olan's jottings, theorizing about why Gunderson's Horn would exist as an entry and exit spot between realities.  Olan posited eyes as bright and clear as Putney's could see into all the realities.  They just hooded all that extra-dimensional goodness from the brain.  Packed the information overload up into crates and stacked them deep into the shadows.  Otherwise, glory upon glory going off like a fireworks show without end, Putney would be reduced to a gibbering drooling idiot. 
"I don't know about coming to see me," said Putney.  "Think your friend liked people about as much as I like going to the toilet.  Tell you this though, he liked Cody."
At the sound of his name, the Australian sheepdog mix barked, picked up his overly soiled tennis ball of choice, and ears perked, studied the two men, trying to determine which was the more likely to step up and huck the ball the length of Putney's fenced in property.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Work In Progress

Neither man stared at Sam's left cheek.  At the ravaged flesh.  She had come to the conclusion the wounds looked like a topographic map, a satellite camera looking down on ruins, or some hedge garden, the green going red, nature infected by poisoned soil. 
Sam looked over her left shoulder.  Dad and Mom stood in the dining room, more or less all of ten feet away from the living room.  A chair turned away from the dining room table, facing the living room like Mom had been sitting, waiting for Sam to appear. 
Mom smiled.  Her quick smile.  There and gone. 
Pete and Mr. Krill sat back down on the couch.
Pete looked at the recliner just to Sam's left but didn't ask her if she wanted to sit down.  That earned him a point.  Since the cops had found her and since the first of many trips to a hospital, Sam had lost count of the people asking her if she didn't want to sit down. 
The gesture had worn out its welcome.  
"The asshole cut my fucking face off," she'd kept wanting to say.  "Not my fucking legs."

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Work In Progress

Over the phone, Eleanor heard her son exhale.  Heard the moist munching of the residual Fritos paste slickened across his tongue.
"I was here," he said.
"Well, right," said Eleanor.  "But Justin, she didn't know where you were."
"I was here."
She sighed.  She was on her feet, walking in long elliptical loops across her hotel room carpet. 
"So why didn't you tell her where you were?  She was worried, honey.  You don't want people to worry about you, right?"
"I didn't hear her."
"You didn't hear her?"
"You were there, but you didn't hear her?"
Eleanor pushed the tip of her index finger into the space between her eyebrows.  Where a headache was gathering mad force. 
"What were you doing?" she asked.  "If you were there, if you couldn't hear Kendall calling after you, what were you up to?"
"I was following a man," said Justin.
"'A man'?"
"What man?"
"I don't know.  Just a man.  He was in the house." 
"In the house?"
"Is he still there?"
"No," said Justin.  "He's gone.  He told me to let him go so I let him go."
Four-year-olds.  If hiding from a babysitter and fibbing to his mom was the worst Justin would do, that was fine.  So long as it didn't metastasize and result in physical injury or inflict long-term madness.  The less stress he endured the better.  Eleanor didn't want him to repeat any part of her childhood. 
At four, Eleanor had been deep in the throes of not having a mom around anymore, of being bounced between sets of grandparents while Ned came to terms with his spouse's suicide.  Although he was remarried, an admired poet, a tenured professor complete with the estimable shock of bone-white hair, thirty years on Ned was still at a loss, floating in the black, absent one Althea Bluth.  

Friday, January 5, 2018

"Do you remember Humpsweet?"

Isn't Humpsweet the last name of that one guy from the old neighborhood?  We never saw his wife and made up stories that there was no wife, only a series of ever more elaborately dressed mannequins, positioned near windows, moved according to a fastidiously prepared matrix.  One mannequin kept in the car in the garage, the car Humpsweet took out on Saturday night, after dark, supposedly to bingo at the Elks lodge, but in reality he parked in the Shavers grocery store parking lot, towards the back, half-in and half-out of the buttered tinge of the parking post glow, and then slipped down an alley and one shave-and-a-haircut knuckle rap later earned entrance to the basement of the sporting goods where the proprietor and his brother fired up the Super 8 and showed hardcore Bangkok child-on-child action for an honored and pre-selected few. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

"Do you remember Humpsweet?"

For you the name Humpsweet might trigger a long dormant set of taste buds.  Like it was a brand name.  An entire family of products.  Sausage links and patties, sausage crumbles, skillets, stuffed hash browns, and bacon, and bacon and maple stuffed breakfast sandwiches with deep fried cinnamon waffles serving as the toast.  And in your sophomore year of college you not only gave up the familiar Humpsweet line of frozen delicacies but all sources of meat at the behest of a girl of the hippie persuasion, a 'veg' as your dad would say, or, "Hey, hear you went veg to score yourself some vag," as your roommate so eloquently colored the picture.  
And you stayed true, no meat at all for maybe six weeks, until Thanksgiving vacation, and although you promised Ronnie you wouldn't roll back to those old destructive eating habits, first meal, on your own, off her leash, you didn't put up a fight.  The day before turkey day, Mom set the ham down on the dinner table and the promise to the girl with the best knockers you were ever going to touch this lifetime was instantly annihilated.  After you broke up (she could smell the fucking meat in your semen, Mr. Oops), you tried to buck up, ticking off the stats, the sheer dearth of females in the student body and the fact that to that date in time, in your near 20 years of life, although you did look just a little too much like the guy that played Gilligan, boom, you'd already slept with 11 girls (including Ronnie, the veg, the hippie, the owner of considerable armpit hair, fuck her and the vegan dick she rode in on).  
So yeah, you might think Humpsweet references an industry standard, a purveyor of meatie goodness, but that isn't what Humpsweet references, not at all, not that you care, because anytime your hear the name Humpsweet, you think of meat, you think of Ronnie, and you can smell what your mingled sweat smelled like in thin bubbles laced all through the strands of her unshaved armpits.  Heaven, Mr. Oops.  It smelled like Heaven.  You lived there for all of six weeks, once, a very, very long time ago.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Paper Traitor (in progress)

He saved money, sidestepping the necessity of shampoo and soap and shower spray.  His trickster tongue was like a cat tongue, coated in barbs that gathered grime and dirt, polishing his hair and flesh to a gleam.  The taste was awful, gag-inducing, but finished, polished, gleaming, he felt accomplished.  Prepared for the tasks ahead.  Outlasting his doomsayers.