By Jim Meirose
It wasn’t supposed to start this way, but since you insisted, here are your team’s assigned purposes. Nyah, nyah; get, from the kitchen, a raritangle of chopped bosnias served on a belch of kleenex on a clean plate toward each paying customer—who will be labeled as such—because, Das Minotour, risen in off the sea, told each quite clearly; here it is, citizens; Pacha’ pounded on, pounding, pounding out with, but ended up nonetheless shouting, like always, Everybody! All of you! Come here, get this drip; anyphase, after my establishblink up Back City, they said what d’we do for foodie and drankdowns, but—they are stupid. With rare exception—always very stupid. And, even though the big senior class mathematically specialized finals are over, but, still, always; yes, always. No egg’sathrecisation! Plus, my God, ‘s being me ‘ly myself, of course, as usual, it’s spilled out all over here. At exactly the next six p.m., like all of you do once a day. All of you, ‘cause of you.
Spill it all out over here once a day!
Jesus Christ! Swear to God! As D’ Spanish Tyrant’s big Rant’n Rave! Why must it take this to teach you? Why? Why? So? What the ‘uck?
Even so, we’re confident the more robust among you, your quietly solid core of noncomplainants, will crisply start over, as, new fresh; so; so-o, this; so-o-o he, new fresh; as’d this; and as’d ‘it off-gain; so-o-o, and this restart’s well-advised at this juncture, partly because two time signatures are normally used in this kind of attempt, yas yas, so-o, to provide a satisfying end for each and every listener with no sexteptions.
You should not find this necessity surprising, since we all swore to God, then, that ess, God hun-self had made it so-so, guvvernmendt men thrust f’um his bush, stating, We know your plight, we are here to help, like all’s of those always react, of course. That’s their reason—though it seems most laborious, twisty and non-intuitiviteed. And, most of you already may know what we said, what they said, back then, that, Your Back City is speckulumly unicornique, and muss’ be hairy-served, often as daily r’ hourly or more, so—you need to know, eh, new fresh; got to know, eck eh, new fresh; will be told, rip, ‘cause that’s my mission. This swamp’s a devil; does not want you here; strains to—no, no, look into the black greenie face of the solidified stinking rotmass o’ Back City swamp and we won’t need to tell you, you’ll see for yourself, that it’s coming. It and all its big stink of a past implies, entails, or—quite simply, means. For God’s sake, insurer. You’ve a brain, you will see; day and night, it strives to take you. New fresh. It’s coming. Sure as knot soup. New fresh. Take you. Take you. What hard words these; it comes to take you.
That simple. Simple as;
‘m new lin-n’geries, to b-bail!
As this’s-ll perfectly circular and intentavittebelle right now, contact local law enforcement immediately local law immediate-hic local enforcement. Local. Hic. Of the law.
Yes! I said! Enforcement! With an e! Because, if Das Minotour risen in off the sea comes up to save, but can’t never, if that’s ‘t, all’s done for. You, too. Run fast now.
Run fast. Right now—buh huh, wuss; huh. New fresh. Uh! B-b’, s’ ‘ot soo f’st; so what, ess, ‘s, so. Move over there just a tiny ‘fore you go, though, would you? I need to reach those things over there. Sure. But, I may not go. I really do feel good, but—someplace down deeper, I’m not glad I do. You know?
You know? You know? You—
Han’ d’ d’ palmup!
Okay, Willy. Stop. Calm down. Der booster’s widdyu, okay? Now, anyway; so since you’re too stubborn to take the easy way out, gi’in that, then so, know that much like you, struggling Pachasandrim pushed on relentlessly with that very same shriek-type, waving down all the while; ‘cause it sank into her there’s a sea on the tipside, and a swamp on the glandside. If they press together, she might just canc-l-null downdyflop. Abracadabra! And so, then imagine, if their deeply elemental untiring strive to engulf Back City crashed together right ‘top your great big central city hall, and whirlwring yo’ round themselves big and tight, you’ll all engulf each other, and all you two ‘s well, transforming most instantly into multiple deep flows of peagreen calm slush!
Yep! Like slap! And then, like probably, this Big One Production operation will, then, ‘ig its vacuum t’ rush in takin’ your surviving crowd, if any, down a murmur or two; here or there. Or partial, if s’. But—hope’s her-e, and hey. Read that off that tallyscroll up there. It says;
Current denizens. Do it now. S’create non-account.
S’create non-account. S’create it now. All current denizens.
All currently registered denizens use “TFFKJXC376BQM24K37M89KMWM” to s’create your non-account now, or, yes be denied, yes, be denied, yes be-ee-e-e-e, denie—d-d-d-d—
Schratcha-count newly cr-reated! Gosh oh gee. So jot down these details. Oop. Where’s my sharpened das yellowish pinckle? An m’ blankiedink’d-papro? There—one of those—of those nonessential kinds. That whole stack can be wasted without a worry. Write that down. That code’ll always get you in, but, my God, again. It’s spilled out all over here, again; what the ‘uc’? Oh, hokay. Blue bumble, by gosh, I always—
Calm down. Sit that slap-panel.
What? There? Why?
Because. Do not always run off with yourself—stop! Bad habit. Here, do not worry. By use of your own fully exact unique key, regardless of your tote or your styles, you’ll always be let back in.
Yas, see. See? Do you see?
Of maybe, but.
Oh, come on; what I mean, Martin. Get it up. Think a little.
But; why? They said Das Minotour’s risen in off the sea.
It’s—nah, nah. But hey. My God it spilled out all over here; what the ‘u’? That happens every single time. Don’t you care? Yes, of course; that happening every single time’s why we the guvernoir-mente hass com to bail from you. New fresh. ‘cause, Das terrible Minotour’s risen in off the sea. Eighteen-sixteen for the—wait, oh mosh, we need to survive, eh, but we just hit the bricks, eh, ahhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhh! Das terrible! Oh, Minotour’s mosh risen in we just off the t’ hit the sea bricks, ahhhhhhh. Too weak! Too weak! Why does this happen again and again?
Who’s to blame?
Y’ know. But—poor Martin. Good God, he ought of got it. Knew better. Y’ know?
Yes. But not all can always be saved.
‘n the truth. New fresh. Tube. Poor Martin indeed. But he’s only the first. When the killer which cuts its own arms with its knife makes long wet red lines down its forearms, it’s time then to immediately call the police. But, yet; it’s funny how I feel that’d also be—wrong.
Overkill? That, you mean?
Yep. The first.
Nah. Nonsense. No one’s ever that simple; only Begobah.
New fresh. New fresh.
By Laurence Raphael Brothers
For a long time, I used to go to bed early….
I shut the book. The opening of Swann’s Way was so familiar that I could summon an image of the first page from memory. There was hardly any point to reading the printed words.
“Hey,” said the woman. “I was in the middle of that.”
She was reading over my shoulder in bed. I realized this was a dream, one of the sort that Proust wrote about on the first page of his great work. Marcel (not Proust!) describes how he used to summon imaginary women into his dreams as a sickly youth.
Having realized I was dreaming, I took stock of my situation. The linen undersheet was cool and smooth, and the white quilted comforter which covered the two of us was even more pleasant. I could feel her breath in my ear. I didn’t know who the woman was. I didn’t want to turn to face her. I was afraid of what I might see.
“Hey!” She poked me in the side, not hard, though. “The book,” she said. “Open the book.”
“What?” This was more initiative than I was used to from people in dreams.
“I was in the middle,” she said. “Open it back up and let me read it.”
The book’s gilt-edged pages gleamed in the dim candlelight. It was heavy for its size, with maroon leather covers chased in gold. There was no title or other printing on the cover or spine, but I knew it was mine and that I’d had it for a long time.
I felt a little uneasy about the situation, so I temporized. “Why do you want to read it? There’s no way we’re getting through even a single volume of Proust in one night.”
“But we were reading together,” she said. “Please.” She moved her hand to my shoulder. It felt nice, but I hesitated anyway.
Maybe she sensed my reluctance because she sighed. “It’s not really Proust. But it’s got all of Proust in it that you remember, and all of every other book you remember too. And more besides.”
“And you want me to give it to you.”
“No!” she cried. “You mustn’t do that!”
“What? First you say you want it, then you don’t.”
“I want to read it with you. You could guide me through it.”
“Please,” I said. “Give me a hint, at least. I don’t understand at all.” Talking over my shoulder at her was annoying, but I had the feeling I shouldn’t turn toward her. It was a very strong feeling.
“Look,” she said, “if you have an infinite thing and you give it to me, you won’t have infinity yourself anymore. You wouldn’t like that. It would be bad for you.”
“That’s kind of you, I guess, but I still don’t know why you want to read it.”
“All I know is I’ve lost something. And I think maybe you can help me find it again.”
“Lost something? Like a memory? That’s the only thing you can find in a book.”
She hugged me then and laughed in delight.
“Yes! Now I remember. I don’t have a book of my own. I lost it, somehow.”
“I get it,” I said. “Proust is all about recalling lost memories. The madeleine. His mother’s kiss goodnight. Gilberte; Mademoiselle Swann. And if you read the book–”
“If I read your book. Everyone has a book that contains all the things they know, all the things they care about. Well, almost everyone. I guess I lost mine. But I bet your book has lots about memory and stuff like that in it. Because you love Proust so much. And if I read it–”
“You can find your own book again?”
“I hope so.”
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s read it together.”
She scooched up to better look over my shoulder, and I moved the book to where she could read it more easily. And then I felt it happening. The dream was coming to an end. Things were already turning gray and fuzzy. Soon I’d lose her and she’d lose me and the book too.
I turned to face her and I had no problem doing that, but my vision had deteriorated to the point I could barely make her out; just a vague silhouette. And yet I thought I knew her. I thought I remembered her from a time long gone. From when I was young, perhaps. I held the book out to her.
“Quick! Take it!”
“I know! Just do it! This could be your only chance!”
She reached out and I let her take the book…. Her fingers brushed against mine, and we fell away from one another into darkness.
I awoke in my own real bed, alone, with no woman, and no– what? I couldn’t remember. I managed to get to my feet despite the gaping hole in my head where things I’d treasured had once resided. As I rose the dream faded and I could barely recall it at all. Something to do with Proust…. I fumbled for my copy of Swann’s Way there on the nightstand. It seemed I’d never read the final page before. Tears ran down my face and I didn’t know why. I blinked them away and the last line came clear in my vision.
…remembrance of a particular form is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.
An Attempt at a Hitchhike (Part 2)
The bug quashed. The short rewired. The pipes rerouted. The rooves reshingled and the matter agreed to being resolved, which agreement must be fully documented in two perfectly-matched Times New Roman single-spaced documents no less than three reams thick, respectively—and word for word manually matched and certified identical, then! Then stamped thusly.
—twice the distance to here as well, hippo; con hippo con sweet sweet she maintained her verbal headlock on the Kevin, to keep him within range of her perceptions of the law; but all was half-formed re her—while all round re Kevin was full-formed by tradition, so. Being a hitchhacker the big square chrome grille shed the last shimmer of distance, and its hazy aspect became all sharp “Horse”’s truck, though Kevin could not know this; his wigglin’ thumbnub grasped down “Horse”’s quickdriverin’ eye as what had been all chrome grille just became it pulled clean one feature of “Horse”’s all-truck, and over, and in got Kevin and it pulled—
Then and only then! May the rest of the checklist checkover be resumed, until be resumed until finally. Yes, be resumed, until finally. Yes, finally. Finally.
—pulled clean finally over after pulling down the latch.
It pulled clean over clicking phatooey into the Ms.’ Face, and and, she recoiled—he sprang out her in got Kevin she recoiled—he sprang out her and in one blur-up sucked himself after into the truck, slammed the door, and told “Horse”, Hell—as Ms. VonderLee stood out there—thanks for the lift, to which “Horse” said, No problemo, threw ‘er in gear, clutched her out, this time thwarted but trailed by the ranks of her ‘men and ‘menettes rolling gassed her down from whom one or two clipboards sank unused to their clerks’ trouserthighs—but but but but—the transfer from one over into the other maybe done using the muscle of the entire gathered gang of ‘men and ‘menettes. Phew.
So! Then, Kevin—do you now agree to these procedures?
Hey man, said “Horse”, as they rounded up sixty. Where you off to? But—
This driver stopped thinking twice about boldly stating what may be too much to the hitchhacker Kevin, who sat back breathing in hard, but after all out, soft, having cleareared his nostrilholes of the glistening slimecoat it had been six hours eh; ‘men where what we’re alone but “Horse” seemed to see on the road so far about the bigs body but yet soon to be seven after all it had been six hours on the road so far on the road eh; after three pails of ice water’s started in first gasping, then spitting, and; Hey, man, you look like you’ve been through it, my ‘menettes where what why we’re alone after all, but but like you’ve been through something but no matter really no matter at all—then now, thank God, free breathing flowed easy yes ‘s it might even get eight yet easier still oxygen all and soon to be seven on the road might even get eight nine all twenty—sodden straw under, eh, eh—but no forty yet no forty yet no no forty yet no forty yet no not even close yet, though each and every moment looks just like every other day—regardless of the sodden straw stench and the rudely boarded overbuilt nature of your unexpected cabtype, all around—but safe, nonetheless—as the Lent truck stop waitress had said of that biblical Samaritan—so Ms. Brucie-Yon VonderLee sat on her stones, flipped open her sturdy plasticized all-weather emergency sheaves, and made reading left to right down and left to right again, in whatever order desired—do not judge harshly who’s been placed in your path, to aid and comfort—to find how’d her very first day get off from her and hers, so. But so, he sat past it flowing down the road. Yes, the day’d flowed so far through a sauce much different from the others.
Do not judge harshly no.
But, so, he set past it flowing ‘tlast toward July morning.
Hey so. How far you headed?
I, uh. What?
Snakey footchains snaked forward, pulling ‘way under the strawgrassed seemingly properly rubberized footpads—so why?
How far? Where you headed out to?
The hazy winterbreath curling ‘round the barebulbed hanging lamps cleared away, as as if though maybe has been sucked to nothing by “Horse”’s question, which sounded. Yes yes, which sounded. Up clear from down his short-term memory, just in time.
Oh, sorry. Yah. About a state away—and, after having told “Horse” the town name, and milepost number, he’d researched ‘fore leaving, he added, I’m meeting friends for the July morning festival. You know about that?
I, uh—“Horse” then got hit by knowing the answer, which he said this way.
I sure do. At midnight on July first of each year, people gather around fires, play music, and wait for the sunrise on the Black Sea shoreline of Bulgaria.
Kevin brightened fully—easing the fears of the observers beyond he and “Horse”’s confines, that the struggle to board for transport may have been too much for him—they withdrew as he blurted, Eh, ah—you know all about it, then. That’s great! You’re the first I’ve encountered that has heard of July morning.
Sure, yes—I also was told that Uriah Heep’s July Morning is the main refrain.
Kevin turned left, and said fast, Told? Who told you about it?
—mayhaps someonce else may have crossed paths with this trucker, and and if it was on this veryroute, there may be a larger gang of friends a’waiting for when he gets there; more revelers equals more reveling equals—
I got the paperwork a few miles back.
—equals but huh what eh—
Paperwork? What paperwork?
Kind of like—I guess like a bill of lading. But—it’s to tell me I can expect to encounter such as you, within five miles of docu-receipt. And so, here we are. I found the concept of this July morning fascinating. So—there’s no such tradition in other parts of the world, eh? And you plan on taking part, eh? But, tell me. This is not Bulgaria. Is the information I was given inaccurate? You better let me know right now, because if I was given a flawed document, we have to stop, and then—and then—we will throw the eggs into neutral—no matter how many or few dozens of fractions thereof may be involved in the what’s my cargo question—and then the top-drawer on-call executive staff men of each regime or regimes will meet regardless—they need to provide contact men on beepercall twenty-four-seven excluding in the middle of ceremonial turkey dinners involving over thirty revelers, or—
Instantly—back down the shoulder’s behind, Kevin’s eyes popped as he knew yes knew more actually realized, he’d blown it. The truck’s potent backwind waked over him, where he stood on the shoulder, still surrounded et et, still unboarded. Surrounded by the Brucie-Yon VonderLee and her ‘men hic ‘menettes hic hic and a downwave of terrified heatered down his front back and sides instantly tempered by relief all at once, but at seeing his bulged over travelpack instantly tempered by, tempered by, relief at seeing his bulged over travelpack by the edge of the shoulder which he had forgotten if he had actually been by the edge of the shoulder up the truck he’d of forgotten and if he’d forgotten which he had forgotten if he had actually been up the truck, all’d have ‘come to be disaster, so. He was grateful to her he was grateful to her and her men he was grateful to her and her men and ‘menettes which swarmed over him her ‘menettes and her men and ‘menettes swarmed swarming him over in his own warmth. In the warmth of their buh buh buh warmth of their relief. Better to have a chance to try again, than to have lost forever. But then chainy snaking out ‘neath the strawgrassed rubbery footpads that she and hers stood on. All readying.
By Jim Meirose
Hold it, stop, said that an innerself anger has been sparked off by frustration, alarmed out all inside the increasingly nervous Kevin, being told hold it, stop, by that same woman Brucie-Yon who, as he stepped out to the shoulder for his next thumbdown, for the first time began to see the Earth have has to have phased over, for else why’s he hearing hold it, stop from that same woman Brucie-Yon VonderLee, and admit to his inside parts he may not make it out, all fazed over, into the July morning festival on time, into the July because here she is with her hold it, stop she’s that same woman Brucie-Yon VonderLee who’s ordering here she was morning festival again on time the Earth has to have phased over on time, for the July morning festival somehow because her bottom line’s hold it, stop she’s that same woman Brucie-Yon VonderLee did it last time while ordering her men to come on time, the Earth has to have fazed over, phased fazed phased over somehow, ‘cause here she is and her hold it, stop says this same woman Brucie-Yon Earth has anger, it has to have has to saying and saying hold it, stop saying have phased over fazed over Earth has to have fazed somehow, ‘cause hold it et et eck Earth has to have fazed over, hold it-eck July morning festival et and that’s where she thwarted Kevin down last time what led him to say this time, Get out of the way, this is ridiculous!
Yes quite very truly!
The idi in ridiculous vibed together all preceding words into one vertically skinned yellow vessel of a kind, which, before he could know he had no idea what was happening, opened a
door from which stepped Brucie-Yon, beside a severely belted apparent lowclerk, whose sharp yellow two sized lead stabber’s held ready to write in his flat brownbacked dull edged slanting back, perfectly positioned for immediate use, clipboard. Apparently, everything Kevin was about to say was to be recorded, albeit in this archaic manner. So, he spoke slow.
I don’t know who you are, or why thumbing a ride has become so difficult, but you blew my ride last time, causing me to lose hours, and now here you are, ready to do the f’uckin’ same. By and let me pass.
To where, she said—there is no receiving vessel even near this port yet.
The lowclerk’s hand disappeared into a blur, longhanding everything down and around on the clipboard.
What is a receiving vessel?
The transport you will be loaded up into by my men. After we make sure all the paperwork has been properly filed, and that the owners have signed off that you should be loaded. After all—with the hundreds and thousands of loads handled in this and all ports daily, careful track must be kept of such as you. And, additionally, once the assigned transport vehicle is selected and arrives for us to transfer you into, no transfer can even be prepared for, much less take place, because two of my team must be selected, screened for suitability, checked for height, weight, and health, and and and and and that they are correctly matched sort of, well, kind of like—actually precisely like the tongued board of a shelf corner meets the grooved board of the same shelf corner, and together they make up something wondrous, yah, all beautiful, and then—
I am sorry Ma’am, shaved the Kevin into her outspouting verbalesque performance—but, why do I have to know all of this? No wait but—there’s a better question. Why is all of this shit necessary at all?
—she only went on with, with that they will be issued brand new checklisting digital virtual clipboards, and one will be sent to your main office, and the other to the transport vehicle’s main office, and then the master of each will be questioned at length, to ensure, yes, to ensure, that your offloading will mate up perfectly with his onboarding, and that there will be no issues after all we do not want a repeat of the chain of grossly ignorant errors that led to the great Bantereenia Bay tragedy, where both pitcher and catcher’s steel spines gave way, and that very port was clogged with quite fatal wreckage for months, which only could be cleared by a million-dollar contract award, to Smitty Smit Da Big Smith’s underblocking and regularizing of any general channel, any car, any color, just seventy-nine ninety-nine from that latenighting Schieb guy, okay, so; any questions so far, mysterian-face Kevin—which name I hope you will not object down onto, because my crew has already grown fond of it as a nick—yah a nickname—namee or nickoo or namenick or it’s opposite which is very close, it will turn out when all is said and done, a quite good guess, good good, guess guess, good. Good. Guess—so—
The Kevin having noticed during this polite listening, that Ms. VonderLee was reading off a time and space quite the other side of him far and farther away—some boilerplate cover-her-ass speech all possible Kevin now and later have to hear to avoid legal action, he moved on a whim. His move was nearly involuntary as a big tic. He pushed out his arm thumb up, thrust it through her, then so emboldened by her lack of interest in this violation, he stepped forward their two spaces, ‘came one and she stood within him he stood within her his arm out to the road thumb up classically hitchhacking American-style, and her arms at her chest her mouth gone on straight on, on and on all proclaiming yon furthermore, But, regardless of what we may call our customers’ cargos in jest, fun, or dead seriousness—hic—once inside your opposing forces, it
will then be my clerks’ full responsibilities to do the following as follows following on, et, et, uh!
As she went on Kevin faced the horizon from which flowed to them the road and kept his thumb high, though it was sorely buffeted by the longshoremanette’s verbal blastery winding super breezily all ‘round ‘bout him, straining to rein him, but he not being horseflesh or any lower stock and purpose than that of an innately superior human blessed so by God in his rules for the Eve in his garden which still apply, though cockeyed blistery and even banned by certain off-center faux-christian sects over the far brink of creation, a square dot appeared glistening and growling, and it was a large—extremely large truck’s front facing him and it came and—
She kept at it with, They will go down the checklist pulling switches, hanging tags, kicking ass, and taking names, to wit; the first major or minor—size in this case does not matter—flaw discrepancy blurred line displaced mulch pile—whether large or small dog territorial marking clawbacks being the cause, non, yes, or maybe. We will halt.
—oblivious he stiffened up his thumb hand toward the ramped-down chute-road up ‘top which the apparent tractor-truck, seeming close, but announced as far by the rippling heatwaves densely padding down a’front of its shimmer, to be some greater than one-half or so miles away yet. His thumbthrust ‘came steely to withstand her. These new procedures, he reasoned, had to be a product of the growing surge of his mind. Hitchhack after the same again he had seemed to get nowhere. And July might as well have been riding out ‘way from him, shot out the back of the approaching seeming truck, and sliding down out of sight behind and off—
We will stop, she said solemnly. We will pause, throw our eggs into neutral—no matter how many or few dozens of fractions thereof may be involved in the what’s my cargo question—and then the top-drawer on-call executive staff men of each regime or regimes will meet
regardless—they need to provide contact men on beepercall twenty-four-seven, excluding in the middle of ceremonial turkey dinners involving over thirty revelers, or.
—from the great wall of the horizon, considered Kevin, upon which no one may stand; over which no one can ever leap; and away from which no one can ever dart; but mystically speaking, no effort’s required it seems some odd way to be behind someone else’s horizon, just. Just turn around; there it is again; somebody else’s horizon you are facing the back of, ‘cause it’s known, known and true, that someone’s out past and facing the same but the front of; but again no no got to turn back ‘cause on the front-turn inspired by this muse of a daydream threw off-joint his upthrusting thumb, but, but, realizing this in time—
If two or more turkeys are involved, the minimum reveler requirement may be waived, if the opposing parties’ stockholder bodies call emergency meetings, and take no more than thirty days to prepare a full vote—which time may be extended if it spans over summer recess—and and, once the matter is resolved.
—Kevin spun to face the square-engined onrush again, shockened by how close he’d just come to let the trucker by; and that he would have blown it totally on his own. The sudden appearance of this spanned Ms. VunderKnee, would ought to have been just one of many several factors. Whew! Thank God. But; she went onnan’ on raving inside him, as he was also her inner her, so; the balance was tenuous at best, sir; what we witnessed that day, sir; was quite revolutionary; as down the slope the truck had come through half the haze’ shimmer and its grille twice the chromed over and of the third kind—