Posted in Uncategorized on December 10, 2008 by 14chances

I have lived a thousand thousand lives. I have seen a thousand thousand suns and a thousand thousand moons cross in a thousand thousand ways in a thousand thousand skies. I have placed a thousand thousand soles of feet on a thousand thousand blades of grass, and squares of marble, grains of desert sand and sea sand and stones and dusty backwoods roads. I have pressed a thousand thousand upper lips against a thousand thousand lower lips and had a thousand thousand orgies. I have taken a thousand thousand breaths in clear air, fog, and air aflame with heat and the last breaths of dying men; in air that smelled of babies’ hair, and thick, heady perfumes, and plastic pine trees with white, tiny  bulbs aglow. I have worn a thousand thousand pairs of sandals, a thousand thousand pairs of Nikes and a thousand thousand times nothing. A thousand thousand mouthfuls I have swallowed of roast pheasant and roast duck and grapes and wine, and wonder bread.  I have known a thousand thousand honorable men, and dishonorable men and illiterate men and scholars. I have known a thousand thousand honorable women and dishonorable women and disreputable women and scholars. I have known dogs and beasts of the field and eagles and the interminable roach. Across the room my eyes have met the cloudy, the clear, the blue, the brown, the bright, the dull eyes of Laura, of Tristan, of Meg, of Tom, of Noam, of Quentin. And I have loved. I have been held by mothers and fathers and nieces and sons. I have seen daughters wed and nephews sent to war. My hand has been bruised and cut and dropped and held; licked and kissed and wrinkled and embalmed. I was burned a widow and widower and scattered in the oceans and lakes and woods. I was buried in churchyards and graveyards and the blood-red, whistling , winded moors. I have known and not known the photon. I have known and not known Christ. I have known and not known my heritage. And in a thousand thousand lives I have  not known me. But I know the page, the pen, the screen.


An Experiment

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2008 by 14chances

Scene I

Dirk shares his name with an infamous movie character. That is all he shares, and all he wants to share (Three inches, and damn proud of them). Dirk has a tiny apartment above a dirty street in a mid-west city with a name but no character and a state-wide recognized troupe of square-dancers. In his tiny apartment above the dirty street in the Midwest city with a name but no character and a state-wide recognized troupe of square-dancers is a closet full of jean jackets , denim trousers, plaid shirts in a variety of colors and a cowboy hat, a single computer with a blank screen and an occasional spark rising from behind it, and some peanut brittle stored in a tin featuring Santa and company preparing for a Christmas journey south (where they will stop at every Christian city except this, the one with a name and no character– Christmas never comes here).  Dirk dressed in a red plaid shirt, denim trousers but not a jean jacket or a cowboy hat is lying back onto a couch that matches the mocha brown of the shag carpet. He is speaking into a telephone receiver that almost but does not quite match the carpet or the couch, and every so often he pauses to listen—not to the phone but to the air.

Dirk: I’m telling you, Mort, goddamn it He’s followed me here. I can hear him out there, hear his knuckles cracking. Mort, you know I ain’t got the bread. And I ain’t got no way to get it neither. I’m up the goddamn creek without a paddle or not even a flat-ended stick to get me out. He ain’t going to be satisfied with just my nuts this time, He’s going to take me, goddamn it and torture me like ain’t no man ever been able to torture another man. Well, ‘course, Mortimer he ain’t a man, not one-half of him has got humanity in it, not one quarter nor one fifth. You seen his eyes, man? They got the devil whooped seven ways ‘til the black Sabbath. Beet-red. Not blood red, any man with half a bottle in him can have eyes of blood; it takes a monster to color his eyes after a root vegetable; to make them dead as a root vegetable. They ain’t angered or saddened or disappointed, they just are. They just are.

(Pause, the wind turns around in the apartment, spirals gently before gliding through the opened window.)

Dirk: How’s Pamela, Mort? Is She good?

The wind spirals, less gently. The tin of peanut brittle swoops forward from the kitchenette counter and smacks against the distant wall with a clang and a just audible crumbling sound.

Dirk: Well, dang-it-all, Mort I’ve got to go. I’ll get you my new number.

Dirk slips to his feet, crosses the room in a sort of fast-motion mosey and grabs a jean jacket and his cowboy hat from the closet. In another mosey he’s out of the door of his tiny apartment and into the narrow hall that connects it to the dismal lobby that connects it to the dirt street. Three fast-motion moseys to the street. The wind now has accelerated to speeds that some Midwest Storm Watch team should surely have been made aware of and is circling Dirk as collie might tossing out of his way chairs, children and antique china cabinets. He walks in and out of allies, zigzags though street vendors and parking meters. His pace is picking up. He’s running out of breath. He pauses against an old stone wall, dust flies into his eyes and mouth.

Dirk: I got ESP, y’all don’t have to shout. Or if you could shout some sort of descriptor,” bad, bad, it’s coming, bad” only helps me so much.

Dirk tilts his head and listens to the whirling dervish.

Dirk: “Bad, bad, it’s coming soon, bad,” much better.

Soon, as it turns out, is now. The wall Dirk is leaning against erupts in blue and white lights and dissolves beneath his fingertips. A night appears suddenly in the Midwest city with a name but no character, and its statewide recognized dancers are tinted purple and velvet black, their breath has stopped. The air around Dirk has stopped.  A woman/girl emerges from the light, dressed as a Geisha and with a Geisha’s poise but lacking that subdued, quiet sensuality that Geisha exude– She exudes no sensuality.

Miriam: Ohayo. Je m’appelle Miriam. Venire con me, il signore, Sie sind ausegewahlt worden. Come with me to claim your prize.

Dirk: I ain’t thinking so. Now, ma’am I don’t like to fight women, I was brought up straight, but if my choice is defy my mother or get an eye gouged I’m going to—

He punches. She blocks. She proceeds to push his elbow into his face.

Miriam: English. Sort of. Good, this will be easier. It’s my native tongue, don’t you know?

He punches again. She slips beneath it and knocks his feet out from under him with her leg.

Miriam: You wouldn’t believe how many times he sends me out to like Kenya or somewhere and I have to learn something like Burji. Do you know how hard Burji is to learn? My tongue doesn’t make that “!” noise.

Dirk tries to sweep his leg across and knock her over but she skips the swing and lands with a foot on his chest.

Miriam: Or maybe that’s Swahili? To be honest I have trouble keeping track of the African languages. That’s a little racist right? Screw it. You’re Dirk as in Diggler?

Dirk: I’m Dirk, yeah. No relation to Diggler.

Miriam: Must suck having a name with that much sexual baggage, huh?

Dirk: Could be called Monica. So what are you going to do to me? I can’t get the bread so what, going to put me to work? I ain’t got a talent in me that he don’t have himself in triplicate. And I don’t scream, not at least satisfactorily, so torturing me ain’t going to be near as entertaining as “Dancing with the Stars.” So you’d be better off not even trying that. Seriously, don’t try that. Just get me good and quick; I’m ready to meet my maker, though imaginary he may be. Go on, shoot. Shoot goddamn it.

Miriam: huhの何か、今?Who do you think I am? What do you think I am?

Dirk: Mystical bounty hunter. Aren’t you?

Miriam: I always thought of myself more as a Mystical Ed McMahan. I mean, I guess my job involves a lot of hitting so I guess I can see how you’d misconstrue but you hit me first, you know? I had to subdue you, yeah?

Dirk: You blew up a wall.

Miriam: Not intentionally. Jeez, do I come off sociopathic? I didn’t enjoy hitting you, it was just so unbelievably easy, that I had a little, kind of, internal orgasm. I fight people who usually punch a lot harder than you did. I was relieved.

Dirk: Yeah, well, what are you here to do for me Ed?

Miriam: I mean you’ve got a decent left but come on Stevie Wonder could have seen it coming.

Dirk: Ed?

Miriam: What? Right. Right. I work for a powerful man with powerful, powerful adversaries. Adversaries in all places, in all times, with every imaginable advantage over him. They know what he’s thinking, feeling, wanting, and eating for breakfast. They knew what moves he would make a thousand years before he had conceived of them and used those thousand years very, very wisely. These are not forces to be meddled with;  These forces meddle with you. My boss is opposed to meddling. He is reckoning an army.

Dirk: And?

Miriam: He wants you to be, you know, reckoned. You have strength, not as I’ve mentioned physical strength, but strength of character and strength of desire. Plus you have that kickass whirling dervish thing. All of which my boss feels merits a position in his army. You’d start out as private, of course.

Dirk: Yes, well thank you for the kind offer but I have my own forces to avoid being meddled by so if you would kindly turn the sun back on and be on your merry way I’ve got to be on mine. In fact if you could drop me off in Kansas city on your merry way, I would be most appreciative.

Miriam: Time portal stretches out to only one place at one time, sorry.  If you’re not coming with me than I’ll have to leave you to your soon-to-be unexplained death.

Dirk: You know that for a fact? For a stone cold fact?

Miriam: Stone Cold.

Dirk: Damn time traveling. Know anything about the torture that happens before the fact?

Miriam: He’s going to take your testicles.

Dirk: Again?

Miriam: Over and over again, kind of like an X-rated Prometheus.

Dirk: Where did you say this time portal went, ma’am?

Miriam: Everywhere and only where.

Miriam extends her hand and Dirk pulls himself up.

Dirk: Thank you ma’am. If this was a diabolical trap, you would tell me, wouldn’t you, Ed?

Miriam: If I were really stupid I would, yeah.

Dirk: One way or another I guess.

Miriam: After you.

Dirk steps into the ball of blue and white lights, his silhouette is just visible and then collapses like a dying computer screen. Miriam steps into the ball of blue and white lights, her silhouette is just visible and then is gone like leaves tossed in the air. The night recedes from the Midwest city with a name and no character, and the children in the dirty street catch their breath. In a tiny apartment above them a man with beet-red eyes and lips that drift together and apart like a goldfish’s wanders. He goes to the computer with a blank screen and solitary spark and to the tin of peanut brittle that is now mixing its own particular shade of brown with the mocha shag. He inhales deeply, blinks twice.

Beet-red eyes: Darn.

Scene II

   At the center of space-time is a teapot. Around this teapot is a linoleum counter top colored a pale baby-blue and covered in broad rings of black grease and peanut-butter yellow lines (though nothing resembling jelly, not even strawberry jelly). Around the linoleum counter top are four poorly matched individuals. A boy with wildly blond hair and depressingly brown roots inserts bits of cookie into his mouth, balancing half of his butt on the counter top and keeping the other aloft by pushing his foot down hard into a wood chair. Next to him is a woman with sleepy brown curls, which if they could speak would make excellent use of a drawl; their owner makes only sparing use of her middle-class Briton accent. She moves her hands quickly through cabinets and grabs two mugs and a glass jar. Two men, one middle aged with cropped hair and the other almost middle-aged with glasses are bent in near each other marking spaces with Xs and Os in pencil. Eleanor, the woman,  takes the mugs and the jar to a barely standing table in the center of the room, then walks back to the center of space –time and grabs the teapot.

Eleanor: Tea’s on, everybody. Are you sure you don’t want any Karl, dear?

Karl, the boy with the bad dye job swings off the counter top and pours whatever crumbs remain from his fist into his mouth.

Karl: No thanks; I’m good.

Karl then proceeds to rummage through cabinets.

 Eleanor: You remind me a bit of my boy, never could stay at the table for a family meal. Just an awful specimen of modern youth, my boy. Always out with his friends in those automobiles, oh I will never grow used to their dratted noise. It’s quite like a—O I haven’t an Idea what.

Karl: Wait until you hear Britney Spears, then you’ll have something to compare it to.

The man with glasses lifts his head.

Dancer: I like Britney.

Karl gives him such a look of disgust that Dancer almost turns to stone behind the frames of his glasses.

Dancer: A little.

Sky Scott: Keep your eyes on the board, Dancer.

Dancer: Put me down there, Sky.

Sky: Alright. What do you say when you win at this?

Dancer: Tic-tac-toe, three in a row.

Sky: Jeesus, Say it, then.

Dancer:Tic-tac-toe, three in a row.

Karl: Is he joining us tonight? Eleanor? Is he joining us?

Eleanor: I’m not sure. He was waiting for Miriam, and I suppose he’ll continue to wait until she’s returned. It all depends on timing, really.

Karl: You would think that we’d have an advantage there; our front yard being fucking proof of Einstein’s space-time continuum.

Eleanor: Language, Karl. I don’t know,  It all comes down to perspective doesn’t it?

Karl: No what it all comes down to is that everything is going to be fine, fine, fine.

Dancer: And you give me shit for liking Brittany.

Karl: Alanis Morisette never shaved her head.

Dancer is about to say something.

Karl: If you tell me to leave Brittany alone, Dancer I will light your head on fire. (To Eleanor) So we’re down two maybe four?

Eleanor: Two maybe…Yes,  two maybe four.

Karl: Shit.

Dancer: Happens.

Karl: Fire, Dancer, fire. Is anyone else against this? I mean we’re a team. Kibwe and Ebele should not have to be in the 1980’s alone, they’re good but, I mean, there are grave situations and there are graver situations. All I’m saying is maybe in the graver situations six would be better than two. And Mari?

Sky: Mari has been doing this longer than any of us. If she wanted back up she would damn well have back up. Now, if you would close your mouth, I’m winning. Eleanor could you bring me my tea, sweetheart?

Eleanor makes a third trip to the center of space-time.  She turns to the table and finds Miriam standing in full Geisha regalia with a still nauseous Dirk held to her side.

Dirk: You are a god-awful Bitch of a woman; you said there wouldn’t be torture.

Miriam: There wasn’t any torture. Was the trip hard for you? Most people don’t feel a thing.

Dirk:  Ma’am you’ve succeeded in calling me a pussy; you could be a high school boy.  

Eleanor: Hello, sir. Hello, Miriam. Did you see that he was waiting for you?

Miriam: Was he? I guess I missed him, I came through the back.

Eleanor: You’d better tell him you’ve arrived.

Karl: What’d you bring us, Mari? Is this Dirk?

Miriam: Yeah, doesn’t he look like Dirk?

Karl: He’s a little greener than his picture.

Dancer: But, yeah, put Heath Ledger on him and He’s the poster for Brokeback Mountain, that’s the picture to a T.

Dirk: Shit, man, Heath Ledger’s dead.

Dancer: Is he? That’s a shame. I always liked him. So, you read the wind, huh?

Dancer adjusts his glasses.

Dancer: Half as good as Harry Potter or what?

Dirk: Can I j-just get my bearings here for a second. Anyone of y’all want to introduce yourselves? I got Ed’s name.

Dirk pats Miriam’s shoulder, and rises like Bambi to face the group.

Dirk: But I don’t know y’all. Or come to think of it what y’all are supposed to be doing here or what I’m doing here.

Dancer: You’re here because you have an ability that we need. You’re familiar with the occult to a point so another point along the line plot of occult stuff won’t be as stressful. And your accent is kickass.

Dirk: Whose ass does it kick?

Dancer: I’ll get to that. Mari, didn’t you explain anything?

Miriam: I know you love to so I thought I’d leave it to you.

Dancer: I do love to. I’m Arthur Dancer, after Mari and of course our noble leader, here I’m the oldest one of us. Each of us was chosen because we have natural abilities, like yours, that tend to come in handy in a supernatural fire fight. I’ve got strength, Sky, there has got brains, Eleanor does some stuff with dead people and Karl is the human equivalent of Napalm. What are we fighting?

Dirk: Yes; what are you fighting?

Dancer: That was meant to be rhetorical but okay. We are fighting—

Dancer then blinks out of existence. “Blinks” meaning he so completely ceased to exist in this particular continuity that to fully describe the way he appeared to disappear would take not only far more paper but a different way of conceptualizing reality. Sky, Eleanor, Karl, and Miriam each then blink out of existence. Dirk pauses a moment to process this, and reaches a conclusion but then he too blinks out of existence.

In a small country just southwest of Russia and to the right of Turkey a little girl in pigtails with deep brown eyes, is drawing water from a well. From the bottom of the well comes low rumblings and a shout.

Dirk: Hot damn, I should have just let him have my balls!






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Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2008 by 14chances

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