Davis scratched at his belly as he slept, absently thinking that gum was stuck to his stomach, but it was a clump of clotted blood. It was a spider bite. The bite became red, spreading across his abdomen. It hurt to scratch. And he was hungry, terribly so, constant and painful, a need he could not satisfy, He put ointment on the bite, and then the scab was firm, impossible to get off. Davis would not give up and finally dug it out. Hundreds of things fell out, tiny black dots that grew legs, and scampered away, baby spiders. He woke up at that, terrified that his stomach was full of baby spiders and then relieved it was only a dream. The scab was still there, and he picked at the edges, until it finally came off. Nothing fell out, but there was a bit that came out from inside, and that looked like a dead spider. He thought he would wake up again but didn’t.
The platform was crowded, people on their way home for work, a woman with her two girls, one holding a half-eaten apple, a man slouched forward over his phone, three young women talking excitedly to each other, a man walking through, all of them waiting with her, on the platform across the tracks, the local and express, some glancing up into the tunnel, others barely aware they were there, the electronic board stuck at three minutes and then flashing orange. Ashe closed her eyes. The sound was distant, moving away, echoing out of the tunnel, and then it was above, heavy over the joists, coming through the cement block ceiling and walls. The train was here. It was odd, standing there, as if in a dream, going nowhere, dark and crowded, not scared, not anything, just there. They pushed past one another, some patient, and filled the train. She pressed back against the door to the next car, the cool of metal against her hip, and the train doors closed. It was slow at first, starting, only to lose momentum, starting again, slowing, and then began to gain speed, moving alongside the local train, pulling even, looking back at the people looking at them, and them moving ahead fast, swaying back and forth, clacking over the switches and breaks, flashing past the cement pillars, yellow lights and local stations, until it was almost too fast, and then braking, the woman’s mechanized voice announcing Grand Central, clicking into the station, slowing hard, stopping and the door’s opening for the swell to go out and in. She stayed as she was and watched, the little man dash of the one empty seat, the older woman pause and stand over him, the young women, still there, rotating around their pole, still talking, the young man moving his head side to side with his music, the hand reach in to stop the doors, waiting him and then another, before moving again, deep into the tunnel.
It’s not like I don’t believe in something. I treasure the moment of my eyes coming open, seeing that I am still here, that collection of drugs of knowing something. And then realizing that, that it’s not what it’s supposed to be, knowing it’s a lie. I’m going to be dead, just that. A mantra of sorts. I wait for the next thing in fear, tense and in delight. Everything is now. And if not, in a bit. It will come again. And I will have it then. That’s what I tell myself again and again.
Davis stood in the back corner of the convenience store, nervously eyeing the owner. She was old, an Asian woman, who probably didn’t care. Or maybe she did. Maybe she would lecture him and call his step-mother.
Heart pounding, he snapped the Penthouse from the rack and approached. The woman took the magazine, slid it into a paper bag and waited to be paid. He walked outside, pausing at the corner of the parking lot to slide the magazine into his pant leg.
“Hey.” His step-brother, Flynn, appeared behind him. “Can I see that after you’re done?”
Davis redid his shoelace. “Huh?”
Davis couldn’t understand how he had appeared, where he had come from. “Yeah, okay.”
It was a good issue, four pictorials, lipstick lesbians, the centerfold Pet leaning back with a cigarette in her hand. He took the magazine to Flynn and went back to his room, laying uneasily on his bed. He never spoke with Flynn. They had nothing to say to each other. And now this. Was this some kind of turning point? Would they talk about the naked women? Which was best? What they liked? What they did as they looked at them? What were they supposed to say? There was a knock. Davis sat up abruptly, crossing the room and opening the door to find the magazine, face down on the beige carpet, Flynn’s door closing down the hall.
Darren Dreger sits back, trying not to look too jowly, in his faux European cafe. Darren Dreger wants to be someone important by casting aspersions, or stirring the shit, as he might say. He wonders aloud if there is a rift between Coach Mike Babcock and Auston Matthews. Babcock replies with civility because that is the business. But the truth is that Dreger’s methods – TSN’s desire for ratings – are nothing more than muck-racking. This tendency in sports journalism is nothing new – noted for its low bar – but why can’t it be hosted in a place where we will all get the point, loud and clear?
Buffoon is a comic adventure script that follows Harl, an Englishman, on his search through Europe for his doppelgänger.Harl’s poor language skills (“Tutti vestiti!”) and his meeting with a Werner Herzog doppelgänger in Prague marks the beginning of the hijinks to follow.
Or is this too much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?
I won the Q107 SuperSet Competition as a 15-year-old with my entry “The Greatest Emotions of man” which included David Bowie’s Five Years, Led Zeppelin’s Celebration Day and Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. The idea of the Q107 Superset was to create a set of songs and see if the radio station would play it. And, yes, my high-fallutin’ concept of being sad, happy and mad won that night. I couldn’t believe it. I might have even screamed and jumped up and down.
I went down to the station the next morning to collect my prize – my own album from the Q107 collection – and was directed into a drab office by an indifferent secretary to pick something out of a cardboard box. “Take whatever you want.” I flicked through the discards – the telltale rectangular notch in the upper right corner – and begrudgingly took something yellow. It was as I descended the cement staircase that I realized that there was an emotion I had neglected to cite – disappointment – but there were no songs for that.
It’s the old buildings you don’t look at, the underside of the bridge, the fat woman eating chips, the cemetery rows, the lonely of lonely eating you out. It’s not a big thing. It’s a nothing thing. It’s the shit of existence, stuff we don’t want and paint and smile about and drink. It’s where those existentialist fucks got their start. It’s just death, realizing that. But my spin goes deeper than that. It’s wonder in the nothingness, thinking, praying, believing it might be there, my eyes coming open, remembering I found something in my life, that surge and flight, that collection of drugs we call love. I have that. Knowing it’s not what it’s supposed to be, knowing it’s a lie that I hold. I am going to be dead. That is my mantra. At least I pretend it is. It should be. I would do things the way I want if it was. I treasure this moment. I wait for the next moment in fear, in delight. Everything is now. And if not, in a bit.
The animals started their plan with the giraffe enclosure; the bars were minimal and so not so easy to notice. It was done in an hour, mostly by the baboons. And sure enough, nobody noticed. The kids pointed as usual, the adults on their phones, management more concerned with developing a new logo for the zoo. And so the animals removed the barrier to the Galapagos Tortoise habitat. And nobody noticed. The animals removed the netting from the African Pavilion, the moat from the Arctic and the fence from the Americas. They were all free to go wherever they liked, but they stayed and were fed, like nothing had changed, and then they were gone – on the winter solstice, the longest of nights – and were never seen or heard of again.