Guitar Player

Can you make a better first impression than when you walk down the street with a guitar on your back. Say it is a rainy day and your longish hair is wet, but you walk slowly, as if you did not care. You seem lost in thought, probably going over lyrics or replaying a love encounter in your mind. You raise your eyes only for a second to catch the chance look of a cute girl walking by. Life is good.

Then you walk on, thinking about meeting the girl again. She would say: “I remember seeing you around, with your guitar. You probably don’t remember me.”

“I remember you,” you would reply, and then smile, but give it a little extra something, like a sad look of longing.

“So are you going to play anything tonight?”

“Maybe,” you would say. And then when you play, you would make her move her head slightly from side ot side. Life would be even better if that happened.

The Rope

I live in the cave with my parents and I am old enough for rope duty. It is a privilege of age.

The cave is this: There is a big shaft, and it seems to go on forever. There is light coming from the top of the shaft. There are rooms and shelves and nooks on the walls of the shaft. There are stairways to go up and down a few levels and corridors to go around the shaft. It is a real maze, but you can walk around and meet other people. The rope goes down the middle of the middle shaft and then there is another piece of it going through the small shaft in the cave wall. People have easy access to the small shaft and it is small enough so you can jump over it. The piece in the small shaft goes down so the piece in the big shaft can go up.

The rope duty is this: you have to pull the rope, so it does not stop. You pull it down. You take a place at the edge of the small shaft and you grab the rope up high. You pull it down. Then you grab it up high again. You pull it down.

They say there are people above you and below you pulling it all the time. Some say the shafts go up and down forever and there are people pulling the rope all the way up into forever.

Now listen, sometimes people take a ride on the rope. They make their own tiny rope and tie it to the rope in the big shaft and they sit in its loop. The rope in the big shaft pulls them up, up, up. Sometimes I ask them where they are coming from or how long they have been traveling, and sometimes they respond, saying it is a little different down there. Some have been only doing it a little while, others for a long time. They get off sometimes and spend some time on rope duty and getting to know the people who live there. Sometimes they stay forever, I think, but if it were me, I would keep going.

The Girl Who Started Talking to Me

It was a birthday party at a bar. I was in a circle of people talking about health, but everybody gradually went away, until one girl was left. She was young, maybe forty years younger than me, and pretty the way all young girls are. She was wearing a blouse with thousands of tiny flowers.

“And I also read,” she said, “That a guy in the nineteenth century really criticized electric light. He said natural light comes from the sun and the stars, but electric light is artificial and it makes the skin go pale. And scientists now are confirming that natural light comes from atomic fusion in the furnace of the sun, but electric light comes from burning dead plants and animals, you know, coal and oil, and so it is also dead. It’s zombie light, or vampire light. That’s probably why zombies and vampires are so popular nowadays.”

I looked closer at the pattern on her blouse. Some of the flowers created unsettling arrangements, like skulls and skeletons in bathtubs using dinosaur bones to row across a sea of dead bodies. Or maybe it was just the light.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“So the dead light flows across a small space, like between your face and the light bulb, or sometimes is reflected from the mirror. Especially when the room is flooded with light, like a dressing room.”

How did she know I was an actor? The flowery-bones on her blouse also depicted a dark ritual of sorts with grown-up skeletons raising tiny baby-skeletons towards a sun made out of skulls and bones and a petrified sea creature.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“And the light makes a noise, you know, a buzzing sound, which keeps you from sleeping. Also, the moths get disoriented. They never fly towards the stars, or towards the sun if they happen to be awake during the day. Their wings get burned up.”

Some of the skeletons on her blouse were doing strange drugs, pouring liquids down their eye sockets or putting hallucinogenic icicles through their hand bones or rib cages, waiting for the bony sun to melt them. Desperate for a fix, they did not know the sun was cold.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“We get nosebleeds, autism, night terrors, paranoia, temporary blindness, dyslexia, various mental illnesses and disabilities. Well, society calls them disabilities, but they are really related to electric light and dysfunctions of the sleep cycle. Unfinished dreams make us anxious and itchy, so we get stressed and stress manifest itself as all sorts of problems. The world behind the world seeping through and getting in the way of normal life.”

One skeleton was a boy playing a drum. Just a regular drum. Dum, dum, dum, just a regular drum.

Dedicated to Alan Rickman

The Kenosha Kid

It was my third day at the record store. The colors seemed faded as the sun began to set. I missed the beach and living to the beat of night and day, because at work you live to the beat of the clock.

Sheryl was checking my work, nodding in approval when something was right and only speaking up when something was wrong.

“You never did the Black Album,” she said. My job was to catalog old records.

“You never did Abbey Road.”

I wondered how old she was. It was hard to tell because her face was not very wrinkled but her hair was gray.

“You never did the Drowning Man.”

I was sitting on an old wooden chair and it was uncomfortable. Sheryl was across a shelf from me, leaning over her desk. Surely, she played outside as a little child. Surely, she went to high school. Surely, she fell in love, maybe got married. Perhaps she had children.

“You never did the Jester and the Fool’s Cabbage.”

Surely one day she would die. Probably before me. What would happen to her then.

“You never did the…”

Back to start?

Humans

Humans were a carbon-based life form which arose in the Original Solar System (space coordinates 0,0,0) sometime before recorded history began. They stood upright on two leg appendages and had two arm appendages (i.e., arms) which split into finger appendages towards the end. Their anus was located in the lower section of the torso at the intersection of their leg appendages. It consisted of a meaty muscular cover which could be closed by clenching and an interesting pipe-like part that led into the digestive tract. It was mostly used for removing solid waste from the body, though liquid waste and other substances were sometimes excreted. The anus was covered by fabric and its existence was often hidden from others, even members of the same race who were sure to know it existed anyway.

Human culture was not completely uninteresting, especially the obsessive secret-keeping around excrement. Humans would leave the company of others to defecate in isolation, at the same time trying to mask the noises and smells associated with the process. As an ironic twist, they often included defecation rooms in close vicinity of their living quarters, places of public gathering (stores, airports, schools) and places where they consumed food (restaurants, bars, churches). They also had special places for passing physical gas out of the anus known as “gas stations.” Special lit-up boards outside these stations showed numbers which reflected the state of the economy.

Human technology was also interesting, as it led to their spread across the galaxy. It also led to the spread of their fixation on poop and fart jokes to other galactic cultures.

Some say they are our forefathers in more than just a cultural sense.