The weeping desert town had grown dry, and the torrents came with the demons; in each blade of grass there was another black story. In every drop of rain there was a black story, too -- there were thousands -- existing in the rain, and the fog, and the dirt.
One man could not distinguish another's tears from the rain, and they sobbed with the small desert town; all of them, identical. They cried for some forgotten justice written on sixty year-old walls, and friendship. And, with the town, they wept for romance -- which was devoid, absolutely. The small desert town had grown dry, and the torrents came with the demons. And each black story was visited upon a bald man's head, descending through gaping holes in a porch roof without reservation.
The bald man watched the dry dirt multiply and turn to black mush, and it pleased him. There had not been rain for weeks, and now the people cried. The bald man did not weep with them; he had seen too many tears and justices and romances dissolve into the mud, and he matched a scorching bitterness with a wisdom that was too genuine to be appreciated.
He had seen too much, and the mucky brass can slowly filled with water. The can was perched upon a small, furnished table; he sucked his teeth and blew out his cheeks, and spat. Then there was a slow drivvel of brown tobacco juice, blood, and drool scaling his chin. He cleaned his face with his fingers, and then licked them, because he did not believe in wasting.
The bald man had written the word "MYSELF" on the mucky brass can twenty year ago. His instrument -- a fat, black marker -- had remained on the small, furnished table and did not shift. All the people regarded the bald man's mucky, brass can with a certain reverence, and the black letters with a degree of caution. They knew the black story in that word.
His name was Peter, and he watched a pretty girl struggle in a pit of mud that was birthed into the street from the rain torrents. He did not blink, and a smile might have slithered to his lips, for a second. The people could not recognize his expression through the rain, and, still, he watched the pretty girl. No one helped her while she slipped, slid, and fought the muck.
The night sobs.
There is some light, weightless flurry of white snow drifting to the earth at midnight. This is December, and this is Biltmore Avenue, and it is glorious in winter. I've never questioned that beauty of the street, lit up like heaven at Christmas time. The houses are white and anjelic and serene. I'm wrapped up minimally and smoking a cigarette and thinking.
The mainstreets aren't private and everyone comes crawling through the winding maze of nameless backstreets and sidestreets, looking for another drink or a cigarette, or a comfortable tree to hide under or a little peace of mind so they won't slip and fall and be caught up in the fray of that kind of thing.
I cry with the night, under my Douglas Fir. I was small once and I wanted this to be our Christmas Tree, but it wasn't ours to kill. I like watching the flakes fall to the pavement and melt with the fading heat of the black-top avenue; I like watching the salt melt icy sidewalks and seeing what people are watching from beyond their windows, like a creep in the night with no soul to plague.
Quite possibly the best play I've ever written...
( Jacky-BabeCollapse )
The ally is dry, and I cannot sense the soul of the air. But I can see: The wet, glistening stone of those ancient hot-beds of misery; The shape of light devastating blackness; A small tabby cat searching for warmth; Tall, stately lampposts.
The tabby cat is the exploding powder; all the implosions and explosions, revelations and stupors -- and information -- given, lost, and received. It simply circles into her, and the glowing eyes that are skyscrapers in deserts.
The tabby cat is the scream in the tundra. And the stone bricks are tears from God.
It's a first draft. The flow and resolution of issues remains something to be worked on. All comments eagerly anticipated.
( The Everyday ThingsCollapse )
There were many specific silences, and they were expected. Their closed mouths were the pauses near the zenith of a terrible cry; everyone was desperate, and the sky felt black, though they could not see it.
The cell was always cold, and drafty. A pronounced layer of dust hid grooves and scratches that were stories. They had no name for the cell, and they spoke rarely. They had forgotten many things in the cell.
The sky felt black; they were no longer aware of the seasons, or colors. They'd forgotten them all. The sky was always black and the cell was always cold. Inside themselves they felt a nibbling vacancy. If they had called the cell anything, they would have called it hopelessness.
Then, one minute, he broke and there was nothing else. He could recall a lot of things: A horrifying screech bouncing off swing-set chains in the dead of a cold, evacuated night -- and the insanity of adolescent girls.
He broke. He was complete, and an utter fulfillment of his own desperation; nothing could cure him of hopelessness in the big field of nothing. When biting sarcasms were slung, flaming through the air he caught them in his grimy teeth and digested them whole, and the world had left him to be a shunned could-have-been, shivering in the cold desert night.
He knew that his case alone was spectacular for its certain lack of uniqueness and he was swallowing panic gulps of air and clawing the thin paper wall with dry, inch-long fingernails that were black as the devil underneath. He couldn't stop being angry and the audible hell of his own scream beneath the wax of his ears was enough to remind him of the adolescent girl, but he was broken and that was that and he could think or feel no more.
There had been friends, once -- but what are friends? They have helped break me, he thought. He is in this lonely hole because of them, and he knew this very well and despised all their souls for it; he damned them to a pretty and punished afterlife. He was aware that no one could understand him in his broken pathetic crumpled heap, scratching paper walls.
Soon, he could hear invisible silk joy hanging in the night-fog, and he thought and damned anyone sensitive or pure enough to feel his pain and share his despair, because it was unwarranted. He was selfish, too. He knew this. He knew he was a selfish bastard.
The "bang" evaporates into time, and absorbs the sound from the air; the hour freezes, motionless, and then there is a piercing bellow that wakes ancient souls and shakes the thrones of hell. The basement is cold, and the dank concrete floor gapes beneath me, suddenly, and swallows me whole. Then I am enveloped in a stingy, frosty place and I am witness to an ocean of invisble blackness. I do not realize that I have slaughtered my old friend just yet, and I sense a dead weight hanging from my long, elegant fingers. Faint traces of smoke reach my nostrils, and I drop the hot pistol.
Then I vomit; for hours on end, I vomit breakfast, lunch, and dinner, hope and friendship, life and afterlife and my soul -- it all comes spewing forth from my lips like bad milk, and I still do not know where the basement ended and hell began; is this hell? Or, maybe I have traveled inside myself? Then a voice echoes through my brain, and I feel the black nothingness shake beneath me, but I do not reconcile the words bouncing through my ears and into the night.
"Tumble or die, Sally. Tumble or die."
"Who the fuck are you?" I ask. "Leave me be!"
"Tumble or die, Sally. Tumble or die."
The words ring with a distinct finality, this time. I desire John's hands on my body, and his lips on my neck. I piece together what has happened, and I close my eyes. Then I am unconscious, and the blackness that was outside is a reality, everywhere. And I dissolve like John's bloody brains into the past.