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Peruse. enjoy yourselves.
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good to have you. Stay awhile.
love, world wide dirt

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Acid Fizz - 16

three stories in a trunk,
one made of paper,
the other of Maker's,
the other of ammonium-isobutane-acteldahyde vapor.


I could be in a bottomless pit except for a bitty streak of Shell Oasis neon from the window.  I peak out and all I can see are the power lines and the corner of the pumps’ overhang.  A lot of times I look out that window and all I want is to be is fucking out there.
Where the fuck is Dickie?  I’m stranded in these corridors without him.  I just want to go to bed.  Dickie, Dickie, where the fuck are you?  How about I just sleep in the fucking hallway and wait until the warden comes by in the morning and explain to him how you let me out of my cell for a fucking eight ball?  Jesus, I can’t believe I talked him down to that.  Let me out of my cell to kill somebody and I’ll give you an eight ball.  Jesus, what do I get for a half a key, your soul in a cake box?  That’s the kind of idiot should be in jail and they make him a guard.  Like this world ever made any fucking sense at fucking all.
            Now I can’t even find him.  Jesus, just put me back in my cell.  Dick, Dick, Dickie.  Where the fuck is he?  What am I supposed to do?
            “Dickie,” I whisper.  “Dickie.”
            “What?” he says, not even whispering.  Fucking idiot is gonna end up in here one day and I’ll laugh when the MS13s fucking chew him up and spit out the bones.
            “What you mean what?  Put me back in my cell.”
            “How’d it go?”
            “It went fine.”
            “He dead?”
            “Yes.  Where the fuck were you?”
            “Texting this girl I met at Moe’s.  I could tell she wasn’t 21 so I flash my badge like I’m a police and she buys it.  Take her outside the bar like I’m gonna arrest her but do her the kindness of letting her off just this once so long as she does me a favor.”             “That’s great, Dickie.  My cell is this way.”
            “I’m gonna snort some of that shit and get with her all night.  Bet you miss that, huh?”
            He finally starts following me down the corridor.  I wait outside my cell door and he’s not even reaching for his keys.  Just having a lazy Sunday stroll over there.
            “So Quirino’s dead.  That’s got to be an improvement for him, huh?”
            “What do you care whether it’s an improvement or not?  You got your blow.”
            “Can you get me any more?”
            I look at my cell lock, then back at him.  “Later, yeah.”
            “Cool.  You know, it’s funny seeing you outside of your cell at this hour.  You look so natural.”
            “Yeah, well.”
            “I guess you better get in your cell.”
            “Good idea.”
            He finally opens the cell and I shuffle in faster than I ever have before.
            “Night, Jackie.  Thanks for the shit,” he says and locks the door.
            It’s cold in here and I suddenly I realize that my breath is haywire.  I can’t even think about what the fuck just happened.
            “Rob,” I say.  “Rob, are you fucking awake?  Rob?  Rob, wake the fuck up.”
            “What?” he says.  “What?”
            I don’t know.  “Fucking imbecile guard is gonna keep me in here another twenty years.”
            “What happened?”
            “I should cut his throat before he fucking derails me.”
            He clears the sleep out of his throat.  “What are you talking about?”
            “Nothing you’d fucking understand.  Get down here.”
            He hops down and he’s next to me in about ten seconds.  I want to throw him into the wall and instead I put my arm around him.
            “You ever see a ghost?” I say.
            “I don’t think so.  My ma used to see her ma, she thought.  Grandma used to bleach her teeth so much they’d glow in the dark and after she died my ma would see them sometimes in the middle of the night.”
            “Well, that weren’t no fucking ghost.  A ghost is everything, face and eyes and hands and clothes, a watch even.  Glowing teeth could just as easily be some rouse of the mind.  A person popping out of nowhere, what the fuck else could that be but a ghost?”
            “Yeah,” he says like he knows what the fuck I’m talking about.
            “I saw it with my own eyes.  A man walked out of nothing.”
            “Three minutes ago.  I paid off Dickless and went into the medical ward to take care of that business with Paulo.”
            “Yeah.  Just like that crazy note of Paulo’s said, eleven o’clock on the dot I was standing over his hospital bed, holding a scalpel to his throat.  I watched the artery in his neck twitch and I took a breath and said to myself, next twitch is the last.  So it twitched again and then Paulo’s eyes opened.  He fucking woke up just like that.  And this black ball the size of a dime bounces off his chest, hard like it slammed him into the bed, even though it was just a little ball.”
            It was all black in this cell at first but now I guess my eyes are adjusted because I can see Rob there, his curly head hanging, not even looking at me while I’m talking, afraid if he says the wrong thing I’ll sock him.  Is he even listening?
            “The ball bounces up and then it fucking unfolds midair like a spring-loaded kite, into a shadow of something that isn’t there, a man’s shadow, and then the shadow fills in and turns into the man it was a shadow of.  He was a real man, dressed like he just walked right off the street. He had combed blond hair, sort of Californian-seeming, a pink dress shirt, a nice watch.  He took shape so fast it knocked me back and I tripped over the life support system.  I cut the back of my head falling down.”
            I run my finger over the cut.  It’s already stopped bleeding.  Rob leans behind me and kisses the back of my head.  It feels nice.
            “I was trapped in a corner by this Californian guy, ready to cut him but he doesn’t even look at me.  He stares down Paulo and Paulo looks scared shitless.  He closes his eyes tight like he’s gonna shut himself back into his fucking coma.  The California guy leans over Paulo and says, ‘If you leave again, I won’t slam you back into your body like I just did.  I’ll drag you into the middle of the black sludge and leave you there.’
            “Paulo opens his eyes at that and stares at the California guy like he’s a fucking oncoming car.  ‘You’ll lose your mind,’ the guy says to Paulo.  ‘You’ll lose yourself, you’ll forget why you ever wanted to leave your body in the first place, maybe the fact that you even have a body, and if you ever get what you want, you won’t know what to do with it because your mind will be gone.’
            “Whatever the fuck that means, Paulo takes it seriously and he gets real defensive.  He says, all pissy, “I crossed the world.  I went through the village and I saw gods and I did what no man has ever done so I could be like you.  It’s not fair for you to keep me out.’
            “California guy says, “No one’s like me and I don’t care what it is you want, I’m just here to make sure you don’t get it.  That girl you went through on your trip, you ripped her right out of the world and that’s why you’re staying in it.’
            “Paulo looked like he was gonna cry.  He says, ‘There’s nothing for me here.’
            “California guy says, “I’ll be standing just outside this world, making sure that the life you’re living right now is your last.  Stay here, find a life.  There’s a lot more of it here than out there, anyway.’
            “Paulo thinks for a moment and then he shuts his eyes again, starts chanting to himself like a fucking witch or something and the California guy gives him one more chance, says, ‘I’m telling you.  I will do it and you don’t want that.’  Paulo just chants faster, shuts his eyes tighter and a second later, he just cuts out, like someone pulled the plug on him.
            “California guy shakes his head and then he looks at me for the first time.  He says to me, ‘Lucky you,’ and then he kind of jumps and he turns back into that little black ball and it shrinks until it’s a speck of dust and I can’t even see it but I’m sure it goes right into Paulo and then I’m alone again.
            “I didn’t know what to do so I checked Paulo’s pulse, he was still alive, so I did like he asked me to, I went ahead and slit his throat and then I stumbled back into the hallway like I was in a fucking dream.  All I could think was that I wanted to get back in this cell, get away from all that craziness.”
            I lie down and Rob lies down next to me, holding me.  Just a little line of yellow from the Shell sign outside and everything is okay, maybe even good.  A fucking ghost, a fucking ghost, I want to say, but I don’t and then I don’t even want to say it anymore.  I feel him against me and that’s enough.  I can’t believe it, but I think I’m about to fall asleep.  Someplace I can’t see, there’s a convict and a ghost from California fighting it out in a world of black sludge.  I can almost see it.  Maybe I can’t.  I don’t know.  No reason to fucking think on it now.  Fucking morning’s only four hours away.

The End

Thank you everybody for reading this.  Since it is kind of long, I feel justified in writing some more specific thank-yous.  Thank you to Bethany, Kristen, Nathan, Nick, and especially Mary.  Thank you to ERA and WMSE for radio insights, Michael Conway and the UWM Chemistry Department, and Jim Wafer for writing the book The Taste of Blood: Spirit Possession in Brazilian Candomble.  And Dirt, of course.  That's all, mama.

The Pantoum Kaboom

Mary the lady,
She makes the boys crazy.
The roads are closed lately
For Mary the lady.

The roads are closed lately,
They're covered in daisies.
The boys go crazy
For Mary the lady.

Acid Fizz - 15

Tomorrow is September, which makes it more or less the end of summer today.  I finished gutting the building I've worked at for over a year and there's nothing left but the trash.  And this is the second to last installment of our online serial Acid Fizz.  End times.
Here's what's happened so far:
Acid Fizz - 1

click picture & open link in a new tab for a song while you read


You travel the whole world just to get to one place.  It doesn’t seem like the world should be that big, like everyplace I want to go could just as easily be around the corner.  I walk through Tulio’s backyard and through the bonfire’s smoke I can see Verona in the grass, breaking from her seizure while they dance and chant around her.  She opens her eyes and she’s not Verona, she’s Pomba Gira.  She stands and drinks the Earth in, eager.  It’s a wonderful feeling to wake into the world in a new body.
She catches the chant and puffs off the cigar of the man next to her.  The thick smoke buries her but then it clears and she exhales the tobacco at Rodrigo.  The smoke hits him and he drops and she cackles as he seizures into trance.  One of his two heads of saint, Sete Facadas or Zé-Pelintra, has descended from the village to hatch inside him.
            I lose myself in the charry smoke .  A light glints through, it is Oxalá’s face.  The young initiate has finished his walking rite and put on Oxalá’s mirror mask.   Oxalá will ride in his body for rest of the night.
            I find him on a bench, his back against the wall of Tulio’s house.  We’re the only ones here not dancing or chanting.  “Hello, Oxalá,” I say.  His face is Marcos’, reversed.  “I humbly thank you for allowing me to follow the path here.”  Travel the whole world until your feet bleed to find a reflection.  The path behind you doesn’t even look that long.
            Oxalá says nothing.  Orixás like him, they never speak.  They’re as inscrutable as an Alzheimer’s patient.  You never know if anything gets past the mirror.  I shake his hand, limp as a fresh corpse.  All I get from Oxalá is the heavy breathing from whoever he’s riding.  I nod like it means something and walk away.  The next time I see him, it will be in his house before his true and awesome form, not like this.
            I check my watch.  It’s five till one.  On the other side of the universe, in Milwaukee, Heast should be on his way down to the medical ward, the snores of my wax-skinned, comatose body echoing through the room, moments from being silenced.
There’s nothing left to do but go meet Joana.  Back through the smoke cloud, toward the back of the yard.  I climb a woodpile and don’t bother to look back at the ceremony as I jump the fence.  I land on my left foot in a bad way, fall, and crush one of the dead doves in Joana’s yard.  Joana puts two pieces of melon on the altar, sighs, and walks over to help me up, but I’m already back on my feet before she gets to me.
            She nods and then goes back to building the altar.  Everything is caught up now, this is the mountain peak and there’s nowhere else to go.  I guess there are these few steps to the altar.  I try not to step on any birds.
I brush the dove guts off my shirt and wipe my hand on my pants.  I trace the outline of Joana’s ass in her skirt.  She’s too hard to make love to, the lines in her face too deep.  Not that she’s ugly, not that she’s beautiful, but if I didn’t know her, I might want to.  Her sister, I should have really tried harder to sleep with her.  It’s a shame I never will.  It’s a shame to think of all the people I’ll never fuck, but it won’t matter much soon.
I hear orchestrated brass and strings, something cracking and crumbling.  I turn and see a TV through a neighbor’s window.  There’s a movie, a little girl stands alone on a city street with a stuffed dinosaur in her hand.  A skyscraper collapses, its torso exploding while the head and shoulders sink intact.  It’s a disaster movie I’ve seen before.  The girl stares up at the plummeting cloud of CGI debris.  It’s a callback to a game of Jenga she played with her half-brother earlier in the movie.
In prison I heard a rumor that I have a daughter down here.  I don’t know if it’s true.  The cloud is just about to close in on the girl when a whining comes from her left.  A Yamaha bike zooms past and the rider, whose identity is concealed by a helmet, whisks the girl into their arms.  I turn back to Joana, who comes to me with a live dove in one hand and a long skinny knife in the other.
I wonder where Ginny ended up?  Will I see her again one day?  I was going to send her a care package a minute before.  Weird how things turn out.
I remember they outrun the cloud on the motorcycle and they pull into a park and the rider takes off his helmet and it’s her half-brother, Greg or something.  It seems obvious now, but they make you think he’d already died in a capsized oilrig.
I lie down in the clearing by the altar.  Joana stands over me and cuts the dove’s neck, its wings burst open and closed and the feathers drift down to me and then she drizzles the blood over the feathers.  I smell barbecue from another backyard.  It reminds me of when I first came here eleven years ago, of hot nights and being full of meat and bubbly beer.  I remember them being happy, but maybe I’m wrong.  It’s hard for me to keep my mind on tasks at hand today.  I don’t know what that’s about.
She tips the dove above my head and I drink the blood from its throat.  You travel the whole world, from up in the clouds to lying in the ground with the dirt in your back.
Joana picks the gun up off of the ground next to me.  This is it, really, really it.  She chants with me:  “Oxalá, my head is yours, now and forever.  Oxalá, these offerings are yours.”  I add: “This body is a sacrifice, a trade for my place in the exu village.  Thank you.”
The Yamaha zooms, the little girl screams.  I remember them being safe already.  Where are they?  I can’t see the screen but I picture a chunk of granite smashing in their path, the bike flattening against it, a simple thunk of his helmet on the pavement, the girl sailing through the air with her dinosaur next to her, while right above them is an even bigger chunk of falling granite.  Joana points the gun at my forehead.  She closes one eye and centers the other over the barrel’s center.  This is really it now.  Really, really, really, really, really, really, uh, really

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hang A Number

Photo By Erik Ljung

The world will hang a number on you, that’s for sure. Between how much your worth, or not worth, between where you fell or where you began. There’s busted flats and shattered blocks and a million treasure piles of endlessly discarded hope. The tape unwinds and leaves only questions.

Age lines run faster and roads stretch longer, and the wrinkled dust collects, pooling in a swirling bowl of after-closed and sinking thought.

The world will hang a number on you between Caddys and other beautiful things all gone, where once we had a lot to say and dreams for things that would not be returned.

There are instances where the love is lost and fewer matched in full. It won’t be like this now cause we aint into that. The world will hang a number on that too. It will quantify what you think is precious and big.

No marriage, no dice, no money, no handshakes, no headshakes, no smiles and for miles and miles you can ask the same questions, ask the same reasons, ask the same pullouts and punchouts and crunch outs.

The world will hang a number on you, in your opinion, less or more, no matter. It a number, it’s yours.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview With Milwaukee Filmmaker Drew Rosas

Hey Guys! A couple cool dudes from milwaukee are making a film. Director/Producer Drew Rosas sat down with WWD for a couple minutes and answered some questions. Enjoy!


WWD: How bout you give us a quick rundown about what your new movie Billy Club is all about:

A mind-bending journey into the world of a serial killer, Billy Club brings a terrifying new vision to independent horror cinema.

Four little league teammates reunite after fifteen years and try to solve the mystery behind a horrible killing from their childhood. A mysterious letter, sends the gang on a mission to unearth the grave of their old coach and find out if their incarcerated friend is actually innocent. Little do they know the real killer is stalking them in the nearby woods.

WWD: How’s the reaction been to your first movie Blood Junkie?

Blood Junkie has received an incredible amount of positive reviews and articles. You can read them all at The movie is spreading though independent horror fan networks and almost everyone who watches it has good things to say. We released the film through Troma Entertainment, which has been a great match because their fan base is exactly the demographic that will love Blood Junkie. However, they release a lot of movies, so it has been a challenge to get the personal attention we wanted with that film. Overall, it has been a great success for a first feature and helped pave the way for our new project Billy Club.

WWD: You guys are co-directing this film. Do you have specific tasks you both handle separately as directors? Or do you plan on doing things by committee?

Nick is playing one of the lead characters, so he asked me on as a co-director to help overall, but also to direct when he is in front of the camera. I handle more of the producer/ director roles, and Nick is more Writer/ Director. We work incredibly well together and see eye to eye on 90% of the filmmaking decisions. I’m sure we will make most of the decisions together as a team.

WWD: Sounds like you have a fun fundraising party planned for next week, what’s the details on that?

We are throwing a little fundraising party at Jackpot Gallery on Center Street to wrap up our kickstarter campaign. It is a chance to thank everyone in the community that has pledged their support for the film, and give people who have been meaning to pledge a great venue to come out and join in on the fun. It is open to the public. We'll have free drinks for all our backers, computers set up to pledge on kickstarter, a bunch of cool raffle prizes to give aways, and a dance party with music by local DJ "The Hammer". Come by and check it out between 6pm - Midnight Thursday August 25th


- So check it out dirtonians! Here is the link to the Billy Club Kickstarter account. Help these dudes out if you can, they are working really hard to make a film happen in Milwaukee.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

hem hem

It’s raining this morning and I feel like the wreckage is finally settling on what has been a topsy turvy summer. Milwaukee really knows how to party. It seems like so many opportunities came and went this summer and in any instance I can’t tell if that was good or bad.

It was fun though and a good learning experience. As Gordon Parks says (paraphrase) don’t fall for things that die easy.

How have ya’ll been enjoying Acid Fizz? pretty rad huh? I also love the drawings. Parker’s a talented guy thats for sure.

So we both have a lot of things going on. I’ll be sending another round of film into the lab for Heavy Hands and Parker has screen plays, stories and rocket ships to build.

Maybe I’ll get breakfast this morning.

Congrats to my friends Nacho and Molly and their dog Lola, who just had puppies! I got to name one and I named it Wallace.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Acid Fizz - 14

only two more episodes left.  you're not reading?  you got to be keeding.  well, all the earlier ones are right here:

click picture & open link in a new tab for a song while you read


i’m not too dumb to know this is a bad idea.  i guess i don’t care.  ashley’s crazy, everyone knows that.  maybe she’s obsessed with me.  what if she makes some kind of scene and chambers finds out what we’re doing?  fuck it.  oh jesus.  the damage is already done.
            Tyler Li again.  I can’t keep coming back like this.
god fuck just like that.  can’t believe five minutes ago i was blinking at my data, she asks me can i kill a spider for her? she looks up at me and i drop the smeared tissue in the trash and kiss her and it’s just downhill momentum after that.
Metal clacks.  The doorknob revolves.
oh fuck!  her head bobs off of me and my dick is a sore thumb in the middle of this room, as big and central as the sun in our solar system.  she pops me eyes that say, “shit!”  she grabs my dick hard and bends it under the flap of my unzipped shorts.
Andrew is in the doorway, not looking at us, at the afm/stm machine.  A pen hangs between his lips like a cigarette.  He holds some wrinkled papers.
he hasn’t seen us.  he turns so slow.  but not slow enough.  ashley grabs my zipper.  i can’t move, i’m too stupefied by my own assheadedness.
Andrew’s eyes turn onto us just as Ashley zips us up.  She’s still on her knees, head level with our lap.
“Uh…” we say.
“Are you kidding?”  Andrew asks.  His eyebrows lift and his mouth opens into a shape like a baggy smile, his bemused expression.  “I don’t suppose either of you noticed the afm/stm is leaking again?”
We bite our thumbnail.
“Professor Chambers, we’re both very stressed about whether or not you’ll get that grant.  We’re just trying to relieve some of the tension,” Ashley says.  shut up, you crazy motherfucker.  you’re going to get me kicked out of the program.
“Excuse me?”  Andrew says.  He huffs in an imitation of a laugh.  “Get out.  I’m going to talk to both of you tomorrow.”
Tyler wants to exit the room as fast as possible.  We push Ashley aside and stand up.
“I’m sorry, Professor Chambers,” we say as we walk past Andrew.
“Take this,” he says and slaps the wrinkled papers into our hand.  “If you could have this make sense before tomorrow because I don’t understand your conclusions at all.  Also page thirteen is missing.”
“Okay,” we whisper.
I escape in Tyler’s breath, all the colors of the room seep together into one and I can’t see it, but I feel it.  I knock something and then I’m sitting at the back of Andrew’s head, staring out his pupils.
Ashley stands up.  “It was just a couple of minutes.  We were almost done.”
“Leave,” we say.
She walks out of the room.  We’re alone.  We go to the afm/stm, careful to shy away from the steam and to clear the drops on the floor, though it’s just reflex, Andrew isn’t truly scared of it anymore.  We flick a switch and the meters flatten out.  The steam thins.
We step away from the machine, sit down at a desk, sigh.  We watch a drop of condensation fall from the ceiling and break apart on the floor tiles.  How many times is this going to happen?
when is enough enough?  how many times do i clean the same mess?
A memory opens in our head like a folded letter.  Two beer stains on my pants, linked like an infinity symbol and also a little like a piss stain.  I thought it was love at first sight.  Uki.  She was sly, Japanese, smiled supremely at my jokes and asked me for everything, Would you get me a beer?  That sandwich?  Little things and I liked doing them for her.  I was so nervous around her I chain-drank High Life all night.
We were at that hostel right off the beach in San Luis Obispo.  It was Dad’s third wedding and we flew out early to hang out before the rest of the Chambers came and surrounded us.
We met Uki the first night.  She had locked her key in her room and shut the door on her purse strap.  We found her in the middle of the hallway yanking on her purse, leaning diagonally to put her entire ninety pounds into it.  I pulled it out for her.  Eric invited her to dinner with us.  I was worried the two of them would hit it off.  He had come back from the Peace Corps with a tan and a confidence he’d never had before.  He had blond hair and a white smile like Don Johnson.
The second night we had a party at the hostel.  Eric wore a Hawaiin shirt he found in our room.  I wished that I had found it.  I thought it was awesome and he wore it as a joke, but I still thought I looked cool in my fedora.  Eric squawked notes on the saxophone with that eleven-piece brass band that gave an impromptu concert in the garage.  I’d dreamt of Uki the night before and when I saw her there alone on a couch it felt the way it did during an earthquake once when the Earth bounced me up and I didn’t know why I couldn’t feel the ground beneath my feet.
I sat down next to her, probably too close.  I spilled half my beer on myself I was so drunk.  That couldn’t have helped anything.  I tried to sop it up with somebody else’s sweatshirt.  What kind of idiot would do that?  We talked about Elvis Costello, quantum mechanics, airports, airplanes.  I got up to pee, spilled on myself again and apologized to her for no reason.  She smiled.  I told myself while I swayed at the urinal that I would make my move when I got back.  I walked into the garage and she was gone.  I wandered between drunkenly blurted brass notes.  I went to the lobby.  She wasn’t there.  Two guys from Canada asked me to play pool.  I walked outside and down to the beach where a few people were hanging out, but she wasn’t there either.  Gus the always-shirtless maintenance man asked if I wanted to check out a party with him down the beach and I said I was looking for someone.  I checked out the garage again, then the kitchen, then the lobby, then walked the halls for a few minutes and I couldn’t find her so I went to bed.
“Andrew, is that you?” she said after I stumbled into my room.  I looked over at Eric’s bed and couldn’t see anything.  “I can’t see your face in the dark,” she said.  I heard a kiss.
“Lucky you,” I said.
“Have a good night, bro?”  Eric asked.
“Mm,” I said.
I thought I was drunk enough to pass out but I lay awake for about a minute, hearing them whisper and neck.  I thought I was going to go insane.
“I’ll be right back,” I said and walked out the door.  In the halls I thought, “please don’t fuck her, please don’t fuck her, please don’t fuck her.”
I went to the beach and Gus was alone, sitting in the sand, smoking a joint.  I smoked it with him though I’d only smoked one other time in my life.
He asked me if I’d seen Uki around and I said, “No.”  He said how beautiful she was and what an amazing person she was and how he thought he could bang her.  I got the spins.  He asked me if I was okay and through gritted teeth I said, “Yes.”
He left and my head churned and I closed my eyes.  Waves, salt, wet sand, saxophone, no order in my head.  I couldn’t bear to open my eyes but I imagined myself from the outside, vomit rising in a mote around me.  I thought I would never make it back to the hostel.
Then there was this hand on my back.  It was like it massaged my whole body at once.
“What did you do to yourself?” I said.
“Fuck this,” I said.
“I’m gonna get you some water.”
He left and I puked a couple more times and dry-heaved so hard I cried and I hated the waves like it was them that was making me sick.
I came back with an empty beer can full of water.
I asked him where Uki was.
I said she was asleep in the room.
I asked if she still had her pants on.
“What?” I said.  I thought he was just drunk and not making sense.  “Yes.  She fell asleep right after you left.”
I thanked God.  I vomited again.  I thanked Eric for taking care of me.  I apologized for being a mess.
“It happens to everyone,” I told him.  I told him about the time in Guatemala I was almost stabbed by a man for vomiting in his front lawn.
I laughed.  I don’t remember anything after but I woke up under the covers in my bed.  He must have cleaned the vomit off of me.
It was gross.
Now we’re pumping solvent into the afm/stm to neutralize the Chambers compound.  i was hesitant right up until the second i started pumping it in, but i feel good about it now.  i can patch up the machine right, start with a new batch and do real work.  but i feel like i’m losing something.  it’s just the past, i guess.  one day i’ll feel the same way about the new batch.
That’s me steaming into nothing.  I don’t feel anything.  Sorrow, perhaps, for dragging down Andrew all these years since the accident.  I told that girl in the woods that her family would find her when they died.  I hope I didn’t lie to her.
I want to say something to him or do something for him before I leave.  I can think of nothing fitting.  We had our times together and now I suppose we’ll have our times alone.  I love you, Andrew.
one day these will be the good old days.
Goodbye.  I drift out of him and I know this time I won’t come back.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Acid Fizz - 13

It's 1:43 PM and my head is a little stuffy from work stuff, but I like this thing I'm giving you right now.  If you haven't been reading our ongoing online serial Acid Fizz, you can start with the earliest installments and catch up.

click picture & open link in a new tab for a song while you read


KkKkKkKkKkKkKkKk – a key: bronze, a “15” etched in its side, between my left thumb and forefinger.  In my right hand, the fob, a flat green diamond painted with a “15” and in italics, under the number: “Casa Do Mundo.”  The key slides between the fob’s metal rings and they sync together.  I drop the entwined pair into a shoebox lid with other sets and pick up fob 16 from a pile on the desk.
            “Bloodaloop.”  I have an AOL instant message.  It says, in Portugese, “Pregnant again.  Third time this year!” The chat window is framed on all sides by a gray Google Earth map of Rio.  My fingers press into the keys to type back.  I don’t bother to focus on what I write back.
            What the fuck just happened?  I struggled through that black pond where something grabbed me again.  I got loose and then came out of Ginny as a death rattle, vibrated through the microphone until I raised into electric volts and slid into a single data bit.  I shot through space, bounced off a satellite, and fucked a zillion wires until I was in this computer thousands of miles away, then crackled out of its speakers as that terrible sound.  That whole time, only a few long seconds really, I was in the world, but I wasn’t a part of it any more than a submarine is a part of the ocean.  I was just an unthinking, unliving, neverending “KkKkKkKkKk,” the sound of blood being gargled.  Suddenly now I’m unfrozen, a man again, pairing keys and fobs and chatting on my computer and listening to the dead air that must be Ginny’s show.  I’m in the world and breathing air and on solid ground and wearing clothes, but I don’t remember what’s so good about these things. They’re supposed to keep me alive, but do I really need them?
            This guy I’m in, Marcos, his mind is in five different directions.  The keys, the online conversation, Google directions to Páoderia Maria, tuning in and out of the dead air hiss from the speaker, and thinking, in Portugese: What was that sound?  Was Ginny choking?  No.  She probably just fucked up her show again.  So what was the sound?  Should I call again?  To say what?  Are you choking?  I apologize for my terrible English.  Let me give you over-the-phone Heimlich.   I’d probably just hang up again.  If they have caller ID, she wouldn’t even pick up.  Why can’t I say something to her?  I need a new station.
            He stops typing his AIM message mid-sentence to open another browser window and search for “WFMU streaming.”  Before the search results come back, he’s typing and sending his message.  He sifts through a bowl for a key with “16” on it.
            The busyness of it makes me sick.  He looks at the world through little periscopes without having to get out of his chair.  This room doesn’t even have windows, nothing on the cracked walls.  A desk, a cot, a hot plate.  I’d say this guy was poor but for the computer.
            I don’t for one second believe I need this.  I need a smelly room and a pudgy, balding body?  I need water, gravity, light, air?
            I shove Marcos into the middle of his brain and hold my breath.  I can get by without it.  A new message bloodaloops: “But she’ll die if she keeps popping them out like that,” it says.  I decide to type back to whoever this is, though I have no idea what she’s talking about.  “Did you know there are octopi that have litters of like 8,000 and they die raising them because it’s so exhausting?” I write.  What do you say to that?  I probably just killed the conversation.
            The need to breath starts for no good reason and pulls at me.  Marcos’ face reflects in the computer monitor.  He seems okay without oxygen so far.  The guy lives like a slob.  Dried gunk sticks food wrappers together.  Soda cans lie on their side.  One corner of his mattress is bared under twisted-away sheets.
My throat contracts like it’s taking in air, but it’s not.  Can’t it stop trying?  My head feels like it’s bruising.  It’s a big myth that we need anything not to die or that we live at all.
            The telephone on the desk rings.  Maybe there is no such thing as air.  There is no sun.  I could live on Neptune if I wanted to.
            My nose tries to take in air and I have to clench it harder.  The phone rings.
            My head is light, there’s pressure on my temples.  What does that have to do with me?  The phone rings.
            My throat is tense and painful.  I convulse in very slight ways like my mouth is fighting me to open up.  Hold it.  Hold it.  Fuck.  My mouth pops open and I gulp a mouthful of air.
            I run to the door, the only way out, and swing it open.  Into a dark hallway and I stub my toe on something hard.  It’s a stair.  I hop onto it, then up and up from nothing but a phone ringing in the middle of nowhere.
            I hear a woman scream something.  A slit of gray light shines from under a door at the top of the stairs.  Another scream.  Something awful is beyond the door.  I don’t want to see it, but I am scared that somehow I’m trapped down here, that the door is sealed from the outside.
            I climb the last step, just outside the bright and screaming world.  I throw the door open and it bounces off of something.  “Fuck,” someone says.  The door only opens halfway so I jump through it sideways.  It’s a dirty half-light on the other side from dusty and broken ceiling fluorescents.  I close the door and behind it in this narrow hallway is a small old man in a tank top, grabbing his eye where I landed the door.  Marcos’ memory supplies his name for me, Vinicius, and I know, like the knowledge one inherits in a dream, where the scar down his right arm came from and how his wife died and how long he’s had his job as a security guard.
            “Sorry,” I say.
            He looks at me with his good eye.  “Fucking Marcos,” he mutters.
            Behind him, on either side of the hallway, are several doors, all numbered 16-10.  The hallway is full of people standing outside these doors, all of them disheveled, most in their underwear.  At the end of the hall, where it breaks into a lobby is a white-haired man in a wheelchair, a button-up unbuttoned enough to expose most of his chest.  He has a cell phone at his ear.  He’s the only one here who looks like he didn’t just wake up.  Another name feeds into my mind, then shrouds and settles around him: Lourges.
            Lourges sees me and puts down the phone.  “I was trying to call you,” he says.  “They need to leave.”
            I turn around and find Ana Flavia, less than five feet tall, almost crying and cocking her head as she screams at her boyfriend, Joáo.  They’ve been here two weeks and were bad news from the get-go.  He’s a dope, scrawny, over a foot taller than her with clothes sagging off of him.  He gawks and grins at her rage.  Not that I need it to know they’re drunk, but I can smell the cachaça from here.  Behind them, more hallway, more stained and feral carpeting, ten more rooms, each with one or two more interrupted dreamers before them, squinting at the spectacle.
            He clucks in a sort of laugh and calls her a puta and she slaps him.
            “You two,” I say.  “Get the fuck out.”
            He turns and tries to stare at me, but can’t quite focus his eyes.
            “These people are trying to sleep.  Time to go.”
Joáo shrugs his shoulders and walks away, toward the peeling door at the end of the hallway.
            She bites her lip and follows him, punching his back the whole way out.
            They walk out the door and I turn back to Lourges.  “Make sure they leave,” he says.
            I squeeze through the guests as they turn back into their rooms.  I peak through the door and look down from a second story fire escape onto a parking lot next to a noisy street.  Joáo starts his rusty Civic, parked with its nose up to the building, and the tailpipe rattles.  The woman jumps behind the car and kicks it a couple times.  “Don’t leave me, motherfucker!” she says.
The man backs up a few inches, then slams the breaks.  She kicks the car again and again, each kick paired with a “fuck you!”  He straightens his body as he steps out, looking like he’s growing out of the car.  He strides to the back and shoves her to the ground.
            Madeinusa, the cute, tired woman behind me with a ten-month-old in her arms, shakes her head.  She has to work at five this morning.  Lourges sighs and rolls his wheelchair back and forth, idling.  He yawns at me.  I push through the doorway and climb down the steps.
            The woman is back on her feet and screaming, “Just go.  Why don’t you go?”
            “Because you’re standing behind my car.  You want me to run over you?  Huh?  You want fucking treadmarks all over your ass?”
            As I reach the bottom of the steps, he slaps her again.
            “Hey!”  I say.  “You two need to get off the property now.”
            The woman looks at me.  “Why don’t you mind your own fucking business,” she says and I see her fist coming at me but am so surprised I don’t react until the punch connects.  The car’s engine revs high and then low even though no one’s on the gas pedal.
            The hotel door flies open and Vinicius runs down the steps and into Ana Flavia’s face.  The eye I banged the door into is squinted shut.  “Who you think you are, hitting him, you skeazy bitch?” he says.
Joáo butts in between them.  “You gonna start shit with my woman?  I’ll kill you, old man.”
            “Yeah,” she says.  “We’ll burn the whole piece of shit hotel down and lock the doors from the outside so you all choke to death.”
            “Fuck you both,” the old man says and winds up to sock Joáo.
            Joáo punches him in the stomach.  The old man looks to me for help and I look over at the Civic as the revving starts to dip down again.
            Ana Flavia hits Vinicius in the face.  I run around them and jump into the driver’s seat.  I back up like I would run them over.  Maybe I would.  They scatter backwards.  Vinicius falls to the pavement and coughs. I jam it in first and vroom the scraping engine out of the parking lot into the rest of the world so dense with noise and lights.