A man in a wrinkled, black suit entered the fairgrounds. He was tall and lean, his skin the color of drying leather. He wore a faded sport shirt underneath his suit coat, white with yellow stripes. His hair was black and greasy, parted in the middle and brushed back flat on each side. His eyes were pale blue. There was no expression on his face. It was a hundred and two degrees in the sun but he was not perspiring.
Category: Drabblecast B-Sides Page 3 of 5
If you could shrink tiny, and drop down your own throat
Like the tiniest of captains on the tiniest of boats
I bet you’d be shocked at the things that you saw
In the dark and the damp of your damp and dark maw.
Your body’s a marvel, it’s one of a kind
Which is why countless scary small things live inside!
They can’t live in houses, as most of us do
So they climb inside people– like me and like you!
Do you hear the band playing– that merry old song?
While the horns play the chorus and the crowd sings along?
Down Main Street they march, that gay promenade
Which float is your favorite in the Parasite Parade?
I nestle the video camera on its makeshift tripod, carefully centering my daughter’s image. She tucks her hair behind her ear and gives a strained smile. She is sixteen, and that hair is long and golden–kissed light brown and straight; she has the gangly grace only teenagers have, that sleek gazelle form. She is wearing khaki shorts and a striped tank top, and the bite mark on her arm is already putrefying.
There was a black, one-way window between me and my father, watching my interrogation. I imagined he was looking down at me with the rest of the generals on the second story. Their room looked down into empty cement room where I sat, alone, on a white chair, watching a black video screen. The decision to move them to another floor had been made recently after one of their interrogations became violent. That is, the person being interrogated became violent.
There were always bright rings on the doorbell and smiling faces carrying covered dishes. There was always a peck on the cheek for us kids when grandma came, and always a strong handshake from grandpa. His big warm hands always convinced us that he was as strong as he was wise. All of them would pile in, cherry red cheeks and warm mittens. They would brush off all the snow from outside and remind us how cold it was where we lived. It was true, we lived in one of the coldest parts of the country, and there was always a blizzard on Christmas Eve.
Life on the moon sucks. Dad got home early from the air factory today and I wasn’t done cleaning the dishes from breakfast so he broke my breakfast bowl over my head. Guess I’ll have to eat out of his bowl tomorrow.
Dad says he’s gonna have to get a new job. Not that he told me. He told Melinda, the girl he’s been bringing home lately. They drank the last of his screech — that’s this nasty rum like they used to make back on Earth — then started poking each other on the bottom bunk while I sat on the top. Dad caught me peaking and near took my eye out when he threw his boot. Melinda calmed him down at least, and they got back to poking at each other.
After she lost interest in the green eggs—yes, green chicken eggs (taste the same, look dyed, so what’s the point?)—my neighbor Johanna started raising black chickens. Yes, black ones. They’re popular in China for reasons ranging from nutrition to superstition, and she’d gotten three hens and a rooster from a guy in Chinatown—in exchange for the last two green-egg chickens she had.
“Green is good now in China,” he said. “Helps make a man’s pole longer.”
“Right,” she told him. “Don’t need to kill rhinoceros and go to jail for long pole anymore.”
“Everything on the list,” says Quentin.
“Expensive,” says Dr. Derwent. “You’re sure?”
“Dave, I own this fucking place,” says Quentin. He’s taken to swearing more as the decades have worn on. An inhibition thing disappears out of the brain with age, he’s read that somewhere. Angry old men capering around in their institutional PJs, dribbling pee and yelling at the nurses. That won’t be me.
“So, everything?” says Dr. Derwent, smiling his unctuous ass-kissing smile. He seems nervous. Hope he’s not on drugs, wouldn’t want those pricey fingers to slip.
The grass is cool against my skin. A nice contrast from the burning hot sun hanging in a sky the color of pale skin, sickly and suffocating. I’m naked but I think I’ve always been this way. There’s a moment of comfort, like everything is going to be OK, before I remember that nothing is going to be OK, and everything is fucked.
Testimony of Witness No. 5671 before the Special Presidential Investigative Commission. Leonard Drucker, thirty-one years old, unmarried, of 238 West 10th Street, New York City, Borough of Manhattan, employed as a salesman by the Har-Bern Office Partition Company of 205 East 42nd Street, New York City, Borough of Manhattan. Witness, being placed under oath, does swear and depose:
Well, I don’t know, the telephone woke me up about eight A.M. on that Wednesday morning. I grabbed at it, half falling out of bed, and finally managed to juggle it up to my ear. A girl’s voice was saying, “Hello, Lennie? Is that you, Lennie? Hello?”
Tim already had his bag and overcoat on and his keys in his hand and was about to leave when Diane stopped him at the door.
“I just got this thing working. You have to come and see it.”
“I have a bus to catch.”
“You can get the next one.”
“They’re every half an hour,” he objected. “This had better be good…”
The horrible conclusion which had been gradually obtruding itself upon my confused and reluctant mind was now an awful certainty. I was lost, completely, hopelessly lost in the vast and labyrinthine recesses of the Mammoth Cave. Turn as I might, in no direction could my straining vision seize on any object capable of serving as a guidepost to set me on the outward path. That nevermore should I behold the blessed light of day, or scan the pleasant hills and dales of the beautiful world outside, my reason could no longer entertain the slightest unbelief…