Five naked women had been lined up against the wall. Something about the one in the middle caught the captain’s eye, whether a tattoo or the way she shyly covered her breasts with her hands. “May I offer you some candy?” he asked. It was only then she remembered that Kafka was buried in a plain wooden coffin, a curious fact that under other circumstances might have been interesting to share. That’s just the sort of place this is, no time for a chat, not even about who it was that tracked in blood on the bottom of their shoes.
Chili Con Carnage
There were always more volunteers than spots available on the riot squad. I covered my ears, but I still heard them anyway, a sound like pit bulls tearing screaming children to pieces. After that, I realized something I probably should have realized long before – it isn’t the monsters we need to fear most; it’s their enablers. So I started sleeping with a butcher knife under my pillow and a loaded gun on the night table. My mistake. One night, just as I was falling asleep, some teeth got knocked out. Winking, the angel of death promised to stay in touch.
The Fireworks Galaxy
People my age, we don't think something like this is ever going to happen. And then it happens. By midnight there were so many stars that the sky looked more white than dark. It was a long night. It was a long day. We saw satellites, meteors. The next thing I knew bodies were hitting the floor. Hundreds of people could be dead today. Three or four minutes, and that could have been us shielding our baby from bullets. Oh, America, how can this be? The light changes, the sea level changes, even birdsong goes back to just being noise.
What happens after you pass this border? After you enter this gate? One guy is like: “Oh, not a big deal. Nothing will happen. Sit down.” Wrong. The police are throwing dissenters off roofs, out windows, from speeding cars. Under the mud, I’m sure there must be more. “You better look at a gun,” she tells me. “You don’t know what a gun really looks like.” So for my birthday she got me a plastic AK-47. And that was just fine with me. Growing up, I spent a lot of time watching TV alone in the basement in the dark.
Still Life with Firearms
It’s now a whole year later, and we still haven’t returned, haven’t even tried. Some of us carry a capsule of sand or a seashell as a keepsake. Some wake up every morning hoping to be surrounded by family, only to discover drool and sweat and worse on their sheets. I just want it to be over already. At the traffic light, a man with cruddy teeth limps over to my car. He offers to sell me a fully functioning surplus Army flamethrower. Funny, right? This is our revolution. People have started naming their kids after guns: Kalashnikov, Markov, Remington.
Season 2 Episode 3
Back then, almost everyone seemed to be spying on someone, the Reds or the queers or the KKK. We would go to five bars a night just to see who was there. It’s more doable than you might think, especially if there’s money involved and no weather. Some nights we would wind up in a place where we couldn’t tell at first what the hell was going on, like the time we saw pit bulls being posed for a rap album cover amid abandoned buildings. A breeze swept in, and debris with it, and enough nasty laughter to surround us.
Written with a Twig
You never know when you might be part of a nationwide telephone survey about the aesthetics of teenagers’ bedrooms. So use discretion in arranging your time. Just today I was punched in the face outside the supermarket by a man yelling, “Trump 2016!” Give it a few more months, and millions of us will be living on crap from bus station vending machines. Already the one-percenters are regularly helicoptering over traffic jams. “Government,” a tearful 11-year-old girl pleads, “please show some heart.” I can see for myself that nothing grows back at the many spots where old people have fallen.
It was like my legs had carried me there by mistake. The little black dots I’d seen in the distance turned out to be the farmer’s wife beating a tramp with a garden hoe. “Hey, man,” I was just about to say, “you all right?” when I went over the waterfall. I didn’t expect that, or that sirens would be wailing and dictators humping dead boys. Even the birds had all kinds of problems staying aloft in the hot, dirty air. One person in six hadn’t heard yet, didn’t know what it was, a planet of funeral homes and cemeteries.
Some long suffering person brought a full container of gasoline to the museum and emptied it slowly, ever so slowly, in order to achieve the maximum destructive effect. “You die!” he howled. This will continue. This will be allowed to happen again and again and again. It doesn’t have to make sense. Why, right now, as I wait at the doctor’s for my name to be called, a thick black boot crushes a guy's skull on the wall-mounted TV. Given the choice, I’d prefer to live in a peace-loving place like Switzerland, but, if possible, without all the cows and glaciers.
Hope Is Kind of Like Dominoes
What dust will rise! Saucy cherubs with adorable smiles, self-anointed experts on most things. Donald Trump shouldn’t exist, or if exist, shouldn’t compete in volume with the German opera blasting from the kitchen radio, music to invade Poland to. Miss Plum in the bedroom with the candlestick strains to recall the exact words of Adorno’s much-cited dictum, “White man got no dreaming.” Our mothers were sisters, both dead now. The flesh was theirs, the bones are ours. It’s these kinds of thoughts that make us dark. Then the wind rolls in and I feel the rain that hasn’t fallen yet.