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 our, pausing at the corner of the parking lot, and slide the magazine into his pant leg before going down the cement steps.
“Hey.” His step-brother, Flynn, appeared behind him. “Can I see that after you’re done?”
Davis couldn’t understand how he knew, how he had seen him slip it into his sock. “Yeah, okay.”
It was a good issue, four pictorials, lipstick lesbians, the centerfold Pet leaning back with a cigarette in her hand. He finished and went to Flynn’s room with the magazine before going back to his room, and 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? How they masturbated? What were they supposed to say? There was a knock. Davis sat up abruptly, crossing the beige carpet and opening the door to find the magazine, face down, Flynn’s door closing.
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.
I think that I remember something that I have to know. I remembered it. It was there. I had it in my head. With it, everything made perfect sense. I was there. I knew it. And then I forgot it. I was awake, not as aware. I let it escape.I need to sleep. I know that. And I will. But not now. I’ve whittled the unnecessary parts out of my head. I’ve made my head vulnerable, the heliocentric core exposed, the truth of my existence right there. I only have to remember it again. It’s that fucking easy.
The beautiful drift, muttering those words to myself, thinking I knew something real, a fundamental truth or at least a way inside to where I had never been let in, the godsend or baby with shining stars, something beyond me, beyond the game that I insisted on playing to prove I was right. That was what was going through my head as I accosted the family cat.
I hadn’t seen him for too long. It was like he was gone. And then he was there. I was in the land of the dead, something like that. He was quiet. There was a show he was in, on stage. He was tired of that. We talked like he had never left. I asked if he would speak at my father’s funeral. It wasn’t dark out, not yet. We talked about the things we hadn’t done. It was difficult to understand what he said. I couldn’t figure out if he was tired or just forgotten. I had texted and emailed for years. That wasn’t it. It was more of an exhaustion. He spoke well. He understood what it was to lose someone. I was sorry to see him go.
We walked around the carpet, following the story of Samra. The Duck Machine was in the back corner, an odd contraption with a lever that looked like a duck-bill and a bird floating inside the plastic tub.
“You quack into it,” the guide explained.
I did, and the duck burst to life, flapping its wings, wiggling its way out through the duck-bill opening, almost attacking me, flying at the peanut machine. The machine took pennies, which I fed it, and peanuts shot out, except that the duck was no longer a duck but an otter or a marten, something like that, and dove out of sight, now more of a snake. I still had two pennies left.
“That is the story of Samra,” the guide explained. “First one thing and then another.”