Monday, November 17, 2008

Short & Very Short Stories

I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I've gone which would not have happened if I had not come. Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each 'I', every one of the now-six-hundred-million-plus of us, contains a similar multitude. I repeat for the last time: to understand me, you'll have to swallow a world.

____Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

untitled, _isa.mar

and though it had been coming for months, it was that breath - his three hundred and eighth deep breath for the day that brought with it a jagged pain and a calming; and though he must have clenched his teeth and every muscle that still had pluck left to tense, the ceiling above him somehow was a road he'd walked along the day he lost a blue-postcard (and his final grasp on a chapter of his history), a beach made up of round stones that hurt his bare feet but he ran on convinced this was the place the mermaids were waiting for him - and now, they were, and so he swims (having taken off his light white jeans too) into the ceiling, now the wet autumnal fingertips of bright saffron and vermilion leaves while he kicked rocks and held onto the heavy backpack on his back, where the mermaids wait for him by knee-deep waters, and he can see their red hair and their white skin - and now, it rains and he drives his car, cutting across white lines that mean nothing on empty roads (and the water up to his toes and the mermaids wait) and she says anywhere you want, just keep driving, i don't want to go since they both knew things end when people arrive at destinations - and now his shins grow cold too, and he hears a song hummed by the wind coming through trees and the long red hair blows a little and he lifts a hand from off his chest and lifts it towards them on the ceiling - now his sister, he's on his knees, in front of her wheelchair, and has his face buried in her belly, and she has stronger hands than anybody around his head) and the rain, now a swimming pool, at night a translucent slab of blue like an alien ship he walks around to get to the door to his apartment, and in the daytime he lies there in the sun (the sky an alien-blue with not a single cloud), the LA sky stares back at him with all its focused attention on his sweating and frantic searching for dreams - and now he dreams in odd colors his first car crashing into a palm tree and his body falling relentlessly for months and months in and out of love, and now his feat of levitation, none of the nurses could see, and his hand now touching the wetness of the ceiling, up to his knees he slowly (old joints and all) settles into the river and the cold is up to his waist, and he can't feel a thing at all and the mermaids touch with ice-cold hands his shoulders, and one kisses his cheek and winks and they both look identical and he likes that they're freckled, just ever so lightly, and one dips his head under the water and he closes his eyes and


but he can feel the tide picking up, like he's being carried along, and he doesn't notice he has lost interest in breathing, slowly, he opens the box hidden in his chest, unpacks his wings at last, and dusts them off. all black, and not a thing left to see now, and he floats on. anywhere you want, just keep driving he thinks to himself, and sees her face spotted with the reflections of rain, and yellow streetlights, and before he has time to

It's a mess if you take a wrong turning, that's for sure. He knew that much about his city, God, he'd grown up there, he of all people should have known better. But still, the failure was enough to keep him preoccupied, and he walked right past Belmonte Ave. and kept on walking past Crystal and Carrington and Cardashter too (the three CCCs, which marked the division between where-you-want-to-be and where-you-don't-want-to-be). Easily twenty minutes past, him in his own blurry space sorting out images of lost futures and possible byways back to redemptions, before he noticed he was standing by a dark alleyway with an albino harlequin staring at his black leather backpack. Startled, he jumped back with an audible yelp, and quickly started to cross the street, looking back to see a man in a skin-tight outfit, hood and all, staring back at him walking away without a gesture. Arriving on the other side of the street a short-man pushing a wheelbarrow filled with dirt and sprouting azure-colored tulips reached out for his shoulder, here man, here look at these tulips! fell from the sky this very color, true true - looking back the harlequin, still staring, he couldn't cross the street agian, he kept on walking, where a man had installed a tight-rope (tied around the necks of two very muscly men) and was seated, cross-legged, right in the middle, reciting to them verses from various Holy Books and improvising passages in between, you see gentlmen, life is the most important thing, life and breathing, breathing is important because it happens as naturally as life, once cannot have one without the other, and one is rarely in control of either. breathe now Bruce, if you get tired i'll fall. And not watching his feet, he kicks a Siberian cat, clean and white and well kept who stares him straight in the eyes and reads his mind and being unimpressed with it, says nothing but keeps walking on. Four whores in 18th century costumes, large waists and corsettes and all laugh holding cheap wine glasses in the air and see him coming and shout out rowdy advances, what have you got to lose mister? between the four of us, must be one you fancy huh? more than one? two wrongs always make a right mister, you know that best of all donchya? And a contortionist with his foot in his mouth up to the ankle hums a song to himself, jumping around on one foot, and stumbling past, he accidentally kicks over a bowler hat on the floor the contortionist was using to collect change in. This causes him to lose his cool completely, and he turns, and runs full pelt back the way he came, past whores and harlequins and contortionists and now a cardealer who chases him screaming something about paper cuts and flinging cards at him with impeccable precision and inexplicable speed so that on his first attempt he slices his ear ever so lightly enough for a few drips of warm blood to drip down mixing with his sweaty forhead. And at last, past the three CCCs, left onto Belmonte, and without stopping once for assurance, all the way home, until the door is locked and his shirt collar is soaked in sweat and yellowing blood.

They met. They liked each other - but didn't speak of it - each for their own reasons. He left. Most things were the same afterwards, but not all.

Life has earned this fantasy - for dreams to unravel and conquer. A newer climate: rainbows for leaves and clouds for rocks. No certain thing left.

Sure I realized they were getting divorced, I mean, you wake up, the guy's not around anymore, something's up right? But it's easy to placate a child, in my case, dad made sure the weekends were fun, pizza, movie marathons where we watched all three Star Wars (there were only three then), or the Indiana Jones films, and played poker with plastic little chips with some of my friends we'd invite over, and finally played video games for hours with me saying: nnnoooo dad! you have to press both buttons together. It was a full five years, before I, now in high-school, crossing a busy Main North Rd. the wind from busses and too-fast hatchbacks causing my school-tie to wrap around my neck, already depressed by the thought of the one-bredroom apartment with no light and the man with the long beard and still haunted (and forever haunted) by the memory of his birthday with a cake he bought himself that morning, and a single candle, and us two holding sparklers and posing for a picture i wish never existed, because i wish that day never existed because i wish most of this life never existed all the way back to sperm and boy met girl.

it's grown dark. cold.
________(autumn's last stand.)
still. i avoid going back.
there are two kinds of darkness.
the night i can deal with.

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