Issue 43 – October 2023

On the drive from California to Nebraska to get his girlfriend back, our hero was plus-one’d that she went with him in the first place. He must have had something that she wanted. Oh yeah this one guy was hot shit. Nevermind that she could get anyone she wanted; all she had to do was point. He put that out of his head right quick once it was clear she wanted him and it wasn’t gonna be a fling. Naturally his ego needed to grow no bigger to accommodate his fortune. He knew the truth like it was in his field of view in cutout shapes. Pretending only made it cheaper. They had reached the ne plus ultra of the meld. Only the depressed are ripe to let that go. The new reality wasn’t just good, it was in the flow, it was high-steppin in the brass parade, it was under lights and the applause came long and freely. The couple was beloved performers. Conversations around them changed to being of them. The insecure-aggressive had their say, cellphones like Linus blankets to the cheek, while these lovers let off harmony at once. The world awaited the full showing of their exhaustive release.

He dreamed of forming everyday. It near enough came true. A period of bliss is a Temporary Autonomous Zone, cannot be more. The addict’s brain fiercely disputes this, looking to authority to tell it what to do, the addled. In the pointillist night the embrace of two lovers can stop time. Why can they not regain it? It is where dwells the mind, and nowhere else. One less world for everyone. An effervescence that closed down one whole winter. Every fight dissolves against it. It is beyond the ken, like original memory, that they might spread together.

Often he replaced what he had struck. This he had to hug real tight. The thought was left out always where it could be seen. Men enjoy their fusillade. They all have one. Time itself supplied the calibre. The results were where they could be doubted.

She thought he made for engaged subjecting. If she aged too fast she’d throw herself at genealogy. Where letters were read over many times, and emails only once. Beauty will adorn the bridge that leads us. Final directions are in everything. Most fall in love with one who matches not what they want but what they will accept. Chances for most people are in states of open-mouthed intoxication. Few can join a new couple in their playfulness. It plays out for no benefit. One feels the urge to offer them a mint.


When kids want to know how babies are made, this is what we ought to tell them. Leave the booze out of it, even when it’s true. Meme the parts that are real life fairytales. Nix the turn-key lesson. Those can and will be found out on their own. A two-dawn pool is right; ought else is a let down. Happenstance is like a runaway and there are no brakes. Over these is one equal figure and it wants to be paid. New friends are private and empty. Loneliness is bursting with grief. Conservatives are alienated in an uncomprehending way. It all ties together.

He was determined this relationship would not be lacerated nor exposed to other forces. A child raises both arms, reaching out and walking forward. It’s the most natural bullshit in the world. It’s as common as a girlfriend’s tears. Remember what living last would answer — just about not everything. Something’s the remainder. A child would say, in time.

The war place is still standing where our couple left it. They can pick it up much later and it will not complain. Their heavenly li’lSally stained her calves. The doctor’s afraid they must be broken and reset. Meanwhile she is radiant forever. Having our heroine like this and him like that, lifts up the rest of us, not that we see it like we should. All is limitation. So many’s subconscious thought is, the person talking to me would be better wounded. The little homeslice wonders if he’s regular. Sally owned this money-lookin mofo. This’n here won’t pair up with anyone. Already most of her years had been little lived. The still air stables Sally’s tiny evenings. Them square and slovenly warriors heave their marketing. It satiates their targets briefly. The aim afar stirs our peaceful people strongly. However long they’re registered, that’s how far they’d go.

Think of this as body mannerisms. Asserting the same hero seems to work. Nevermind he was conclusively debunked a hundred-something years ago. He’s our hero! How could you, &c. We are less compassionate than vain.

Propaganda’s useful on the missing-senses. They welcomed their infection, because it came with purpose and affiliation. It would be a snap to take their organizing and send them all to guard the trees from logging.

Rarely does someone lose an argument in their own mind. There danced the passing days. The celestial long face appeared in the night, grew full and cotton-cheeked, then vanished over weeks. Mankind relaxed — now that was over with. But it came back again.

Usually bosses voice the same old out, bigger forces tie their hands. Whatever it was, be assured they had to do it. We’re not talking Germanic discipline here. The carpet quite remembers what it is tacked over.


The mind spins tales that miss its actuarial reality. Our heroine remembered when parties were the only free space in her life proscribed. Nights on stage singing to PA instrumentals. Her favorite drink which changed after each bad time. Stamp ink on her hand. Paper bands with crazy glue pinching her arm hair. Songs with one drink, different songs with three. Girlfriends ritualing cliquely. They larp’d that flashbulbs followed them. They wore each other’s tops and jewelry. The only way new women could get in was by giving what they didn’t have, diploma’d services. Our heroine’s friends were hermetic together, causing resentment in men. The best looking muscular extrovert couldn’t prick a hole between them. What finally split them wasn’t any jealousy or negativity, it was their wishes coming true. When the young man arrived with all the boxes checked, the deserving gal went off with him. The last one was our heroine. It was a shock to her. She had not expected this position to be hers. She was not bereft — she had our hero. But he wasn’t on the tennis tour, his dad did not have clients, and he didn’t make her eyes raise when he stood. Outside of school it was the first time that she felt she lost. As her dependencies found others, it was puzzling. Broken perceptions will make anybody light upon a public house. The comrade’s diction boys were directing her thoughts. For the first time the self-destructive opened in her path. She had only accidentally set her foot in it to change what youth remained. She did not.

She regrouped by going to her roots. Already she felt some vitality returning, out there in NE. Perhaps she’d realized our hero’s good-nights were tyrannical.When she returned to California it would not be as a sneak house. She’d become a moment. The disbanded clique would be impressed. Then it’d be up to one of themto represent that ill-kempt solitude. Droves of somebodys would try to lay her. That it included a fortune was understood. She thought about it and without our hero. She thought he had potential if someone grandfathered him enormously. But right now, today, he didn’t measure up.

He’d demanded an unspoken confidentiality that she wasn’t sure she could live up to. His terms traced unpleasant visage. The curtains always obliged his inclinations re: what he was able to allow. It seems clear he kept them drawn, but his frugality belied it in the winter, when he’d keep them open in the day to let the wan sun warm the air inside. He kept them shuttered otherwhens. He’d taken so much heat for having childhood intellect that in all of the above he’d reinforced his barrier. Around acquaintances he was required to part his curtains just a little, as social lubrication needs must have a bit of heart. But he drew them round his brain instead. He’d become careful about showing off, seeming to be clever. It had happened too often — enjoying a conversation, he’d say something he thought was funny and he’d watch the other person shut right down. He could see that he had hurt them, then he felt hurt in turn. He’d gone through the list of possible track pistols — he didn’t say offensive things, his humor was if not stellar then at least comprehendible, avoiding cringe and puns, he wasn’t overbearing, talkative, or competitive, and he certainly wasn’t trying to lord ought over. Obviously he was in the wrong room, but he was trying — too bad the conversation partner knew that he repressed his thought. Some insecure-aggressives took this poorly. Seeing insult where there is none is an ego salve. Our hero wanted to express himself, the same as any youth, but to be fair he’d feel bad too if someone was dumbing their speech down to talk to him. He was idiosyncratic without wanting it, because he read old books. Alas the books could not impart the charm to set acquaintances at ease. Nerd talk crushed his chances even among nerds. If he strayed too far from his choice creative teams, he’d get the same reaction as if he were talking to a guy who was required to work late. It sucked being a living reminder of what other people lack. Being curtained off didn’t stop others’ feelings from coming in, it just stopped his from coming out.

He felt as out of place in California as a beaded doctor in an ascot church. There descends remembrance — the path is more a chute, it’s been worn so well. It does not light upon the happy tunes. He felt silly, planting wishes in true vacuum. One of them was headed toward the dreamer’s grave. Such pains never reap renunciation — they continue on their plane.

Expected good makes a man contemptuous. The world is overflowing with it. Our first absorption of atrociousness will make us wee. Then the scab forms and that’s it.

Revolutionary things need not be feared, they need only be subjected to double-blinds and peer reviews to determine their efficacy. Most of us would rather spend our days mining time. Anyone without an anti-social personality disorder would accept a world that offered true passes to peace and plenty. For some that means enough animals to shoot and a variety of evolving weapons with which to assert their neediness. Imagine being born in a such a way and then having the types of parents who raise it up to holy writ. The child will grow up to vote against his own self-interest his whole life. In space it’s asinine. We’re not good at managing things that occupy two states. We better get good at it though, find a way to make a few people a lot of money from its use. That’s the way we get to doin around here, where every embrace is weighed for how it can be shamed. The sun revealed its diffidence a big-ass time ago. Our luminaries canter backwards into everyone. Our visionary now has reached the thresh. But it 1780, the poles and paths of Boston were littered with pamphlets and with broadsides, every one a jeremiad of conjecture and appeals to the Bronze Age. Today we post online but it’s the same, the level of dissension, the vein-popping invective, the hopelessness and separation. We want our little part in history, that’s all. Thus we engage in games that force beliefs on others.


At the gas station where he had to stop during his road trip to see her, our hero met a virus carrier, a young man like him dispensing taradiddles. The carrier would pass his virus on incapable of stopping it. He spoke forcefully and made just enough sense that sometimes his due would be infected. It didn’t work on women, the compassionate, psychonauts, or logicians. (Few understand the basics of logic, since we hardly teach it before college. Fewer still understand that ~100% of public discourse does not adhere to logic and thus is in some portion tripe. This is not important to the overly emotional (of all genders)).

In our hero’s case, he’d listened to enough punk rock to suspect all rhetoric — a fine foundation though it can limit with its strictures, same as any group. Then when the virus carrier, Buddy, mentioned unironically “those people,” our hero inwardly checked out. The question then was how to best extract himself from the sitch. As he hadn’t been given a chance to speak, our hero could decide which role to employ as well as analyze Buddy’s manner for potential threat. He could alpha male him, but this could work sans further conflict on the younger-than and insecure, as our hero was not a true exuding leader, which the experienced could sense. Same with the drill sergeant, same common problem-limitation. There was the unreasonably argumentative, the kind who flipped out at every unmet expectation, but this led to a shouting match and he wasn’t in the mood (our hero almost never was). He could go mousy, but this role was most effective with drill sergeants — the quicker they’re given what they want, a sense of superiority that quells the echoes of their childhood bullying, the quicker they will go away. (Works for command presence utilizers of all kinds.) Our hero could go conspiratorial, but there was no telling yet if Buddy boy was crazy enough to agree and stick. So our hero chose the monosyllabic response, a common one that would not arouse his locutor with the advantage that it implies initiate shut down without expressly saying so. Since he hadn’t spoken, he could appear to be a mute with a hostile undercurrent, something most discouraging.

Buddy’s speech revealed he did not know how to pretend — our hero suspected him an addict, to substance or authority, which meant Buddy could only be as his addiction made.

Stonewalled from conversing, Buddy got to the point of what he wanted. He asked our hero if he was driving east or west. Unnaturally quickly, almost cutting him off, well shortening the natural pause when one conversant finishes and the next one responds, a way of alpha-maling a conversation partner without overtly seeming to, our hero asked, Why which way are you going? This stymied Buddy boy. To insist and redirect the question would snuff out the bonhomie. The low-key beggar knows that giving off the scent of desperation will defeat him. In general at this gas station somewhere in scrub Nevada, the only one in well spaced exits, most people were headed west, toward the coast, from whence our hero came. Buddy went with the odds and in his most affable voice said, San Francisco? When our hero glanced at the changing numbers on the pump, letting the question die, Buddy added, somehow more affably, Or anyplace along the way…? Our hero was formulating his extraction instead of answering, so Buddy got back up to ramming speed, speaking breathlessly about his car trouble and family misfortune. He was eloquent, which surprised our man, but he sensed what was hearing had been often rehearsed.

Buddy attempted to step into our man’s gaze, to put his earnest face in view, increasing his chances of rapport and acquiescence. Our man’s heart fell. This kind of movement showed insistence, that Buddy would not be easily dissuaded. It was looking like a confrontation would be needed. Our man definitely hankered for not that. He still hadn’t got a clear read on Buddy’s potential of threat. The station was devoid of customers, and the snack shop had no door, just an opiated cashier with a bulletproof bank slot. Any time another party could contain rage at the ready, it was prudent to be wary. Just as our man was considering the strategy of crazier-than-you, which scares off and stymies most, the pump handle clicked off. Atop the fading sound, speaking abruptly, our man said, East. Coinciding with the loud click-off, his word was underscored with halt finality. Buddy seemed surprised, asking genuinely, You’re going east? And more plaintively, Really? Our man was already walking from his screwed-in gas cap around the back of his car, furthest from the carrier. He hit the lock-all on the panel as he swung himself inside and shut. Without checking his glass he drove away.



first     previous     next