Monthly Archives: December 2013

Achingly Familiar

You don’t know anything about me. None of this is real. Inside my real head is a tiny head and the tiny head is being controlled by a pygmy terrier. But let me start at the beginning. When we first met and I said you reminded me of Schwagrovsky the classical pianist I wasn’t talking about the real Schwagrovsky and I wasn’t talking to you- I was talking to the girl seated directly behind you. So that was the start of our relationship and it’s gone around the bend ever since. What I’m telling you is, judging the book by the cover of the book is a terrible mistake. You open the book and it’s not a book at all, it’s a piece of pastry shaped just like a book.

But let me begin at the beginning. There was a tremendous void and then life happened and, before long, there were the two of us entwined in a slippery, drippy, love embrace. You were you but I was being remote-controlled by a little boy with a red hat topped with a blue spinning propeller. Eventually he lost interest and that’s where the pygmy terrier came in.

This may sound strange the first time you hear it. But believe me, on your second read-through it all starts sounding achingly familiar.

I was once a boy, you were once a girl, but beyond that it’s all invention and a precarious muddle of the mechanical and the biological. How did I get bionic eyes? It’s a long story. But that’s how I spotted you walking down the gangplank to dry land. You and your little dog Greenie with the mysterious toothy grin.

I’ve said this before but I’ve never seen anyone quite as enchanting as you and if just once all my parts and pieces could come to attention and form an actual, non-mechanical man I would make love to you and you wouldn’t soon forget it.



Take Only What You Need

When the seagulls started getting big we took to riding them, fashioning saddles so as many as nine of us could ride at a time. We’d fly over the icy ocean or up the snowy cliffs, looking for more survivors to airlift back to the encampments.

Today I found six survivors, all women, who were just north of the Cape, trekking single file along the ridge. We swooped down and landed some yards ahead of them. I dismounted and waited, smiling to show that I meant no harm.

The first one came straight up to me and swung some kind of an ax, cutting clear through the front of my suit. I collapsed to my knees and fell forward as the six mounted the seagull and took off without me.

I lay there bloody until the sun spun to the horizon. I had no intention of letting the night radiation transform me, so I decided to end it all.

I took out my blade and went to cut my suit’s life support tube but just then I saw a miniature blue fairy hovering inches above the ground. Don’t, she said. She motioned toward a hundred other blue fairies hovering nearby. We need you alive.

I stared at them, the little naked hovering pixies, looking so innocent and harmless. But I knew the minute I fell asleep they would divide up my consciousness and consume it like candy.

I cut the tube and the exiting suit air hissed and whistled. The blue fairy shook her little fairy braids. Minutes later five of her fairy friends had sewn the tubes back together. The loss of air made me drowsy and just as I was dropping off I heard one say, This one has enough layers of consciousness for all of us. No one get greedy. Take only what you need…



Going Up

This is the longest escalator- I feel like I’ve been on it forever. I’m not even halfway up. And it’s moving so slowly. The backs of the people ahead of me- not very flattering. And behind me there is an ocean of people staring silently up at me- their faces frozen a kind of hollow derision. My left hand grips my briefcase, my right rests on the oily rubber handrail, which is moving annoyingly slower than the metal steps I’m standing on.

The down escalator is within view across a stainless steel median, and now and then I’ll inadvertently catch someone’s eye. What a collection of doomed souls. They look to me like they’re begging me to take them with me, up instead of down. I stare back blankly. What can I do for them? Sooner or later our roles will be reversed anyway and I’ll be going down and they’ll be going up. I’ll be the one with the pleading eyes. At least then I’ll have been to the surface, inhaled some fresh air that was not recirculated ad infinitum. At that point I may as well be going down.

I look over and find myself inadvertently locking eyes with this red-headed girl on the down escalator. We’re locked in this stare when both escalators jerk to a stop. There’s an awkward moment where we both look away and then back. Then all the lights go out.

I feel a moment of clarity while everyone’s shouting and crying in the darkness. I calmly set down my briefcase and climb over the handrail, unsteadily spanning the median in the black void until I make it to the other side. I move towards where I think the girl was just standing and hear a voice that sounds like it could match her face. Hey, pardon me, I’m the guy from the up escalator. I was just staring at you before the lights went out. I’m reaching out my hand. At this point someone below us starts screaming a truly horrific scream. Maybe that’s what causes the girl to unquestioningly reach out and find my hand. I pull her up and, as the volume of panic increases all around us, we carefully climb the steel median, our hands locked together. Occasionally the steep grade causes us to slip but we don’t let go. We don’t even talk, we just hold each other’s hands like school kids and keep going up.