Wednesday, April 29, 2009

73 Enter the moist red waffle iron

A wet heart stank on the cold tile floor of the morgue, it wasn't mine, I played floor hockey with it, a collegue asked me to stop fooling around and I picked up the heart and put it back on the dissecting table. The subject had been brought to us because of certain services we had performed in the past. Services we didn't like to talk about, even over coffee in the staff lounge. The service in question was this, while we couldn't make the dead speak,we had a talent with their organs. Augury was its most recent name, the divination of the future by the entrails of the sacrifices, we as forensic pathologists and followers of the ancient tradition of the path of underbrush and thorns were best versed to assist the police in their more unusual inquiries.

It was simple, they would bring us a body and by the ancient arts of dissection and divination we would supply a name and a number. Sometimes it was the name and phone number of a witness, other times it was the name of a street and the address of a suspect.

Our body tonight hadn't been brought in by the police, he'd walked in himself, looked me in the eyes and said 'auger this' and promptly blown his brains out with a .38 special revolver, a model selected no doubt for it's concealability and availability.

He didn't look like a suicide, he was well dressed, his face and body showed no signs of sleep deprivation or drug use, in all respects he seemed a well adjusted person right down to the predicted number of credit cards in his wallet.

What could we do? we augered him.

We didn't believe the results. According to our augery, tonight was the end of the world.

So I kicked his heart across the floor of the morgue but this time, I didn't care to pick it up when the others complained. A ridiculous augery of a suicidal mad man.

Then another well dressed stranger surprised us with the same last words and his brains along the tiles.

Then again, and again.

Nobody told us to close, so we just kept piling them up, along the walls, in the corridors.

Augurists must be special, or else nuts, we've already made a pact not to give in to it ourselves, not until we auger the whole city.

One of us has decorated every streetlamp for ten city blocks with human entrails, another has used a helium canister to inflate a thousand human stomachs and lift a red banner up high above the morgue, it reads 'give us your sick, your fallen, your downtrodden' and we hope it's clear that this is the place things are still happening. That if you're gonna go, you'll come to us first.

It's been a great success, people are dying to get in here and die.

We'll auger every single one. These citizens of the red night need us.

Personally? What have I done?

I've built a temple out of human hearts.

Let it bleed.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Logomania 008

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Three Hundred and One Sleepwriters

After many years of practice and work,it happened, one night, Frank Provalone, copywriter for a mysterious agency, fell asleep while working late at night on his pet project, a big thinkers book to rival and justify the work he sold to make his living during the day, like all copywriters his ambitions had been cut down to scale by the exigencies of the profession and the advertiser's rule number one shackled him to sell the client's product to the best of his ability and nothing else so when it came time for him to relax he would sit up late and transgress in his fiction, a private pleasure safe from having to get to a point or deliver a call to action or simply from telling the customers what to do. It was all so easy to fall into the mistake of believing there was no other kind of literature left in the world but the 72pt headline copy (and the 14 point body so as many people as possible could read a newspaper or magazine in one hand while driving with one knee to the wheel and slurping a soggy bowl of cornflakes from the cereal bowl sized coffee mug in the other.

Act now with no obligation and start enjoying the benefits today!

In theory, what happened was impossible however having fallen asleep in front of his computer, Frank awoke to find the document he had been working on as he drifted off into sleep was much longer that he remembered, in short, Frank discovered, in addition to his other more traditional somnambulatory tendencies that he had suddenly and quite literally overnight become a sleepwriter.

 (no pun more intended)

There was a limit to this after all, Frank knew that he ought to knock it off but even when he went to bed with the firm resolve to stay in it and sleep, he increasingly frequently found himself awake and sore in front of his computer.

There seemed no end to it.

The question remained, was it worth anything?

Frank shelved his doubts, it was a stupid human trick if ever he'd heard of one so if not fortune and posterity, at least he might appear on Letterman.

Monday, April 20, 2009

74 Exercise and waking up at night

Milton worked at the tool and die warehouse in shipping. One week out of 8 his shift would swing him into the loneliest hours of the night, whisper silent everywhere in the city except for the warehouses and the newspapers. The next shift around, Milton invariably woke up in the middle of the night clutching at his heart with his right hand while his left scrambled for the alarm which hadn't gone off because, naturally, it hadn't been set, Milton's graveyard swing shift was over and he was now on the most social working hours of the next two months.

It was frustrating because by the time the second swing was on, he'd stopped having the attacks, but already, on the second shift he was an hour later to start and an hour later to finish. This meant that traffic changed, his seat at the bar after work changed, his hairdresser changed. It didn't register with most people, thought Milton, just how much their experience was as much a slave to their schedules as their vehemently raised denials to the contrary.

Milton had owned a DVR but it just made things worse, he lost the sense of contact, the feeling that all over the city, people were watching all kinds of shows but some of them at least had to be watching what he was watching and that number had to be pretty big. Milton had been able to draw some comfort from that idea and with the DVR it was alright, it just wasn't the same experience; he sold it and didn't have any pressing desires within his budget so he socked it away in a corner of his flat in an old sock because Milton, above all other considerations, was a literal type who retained Puckish pride in his acquired obstreperousness.

It's not that he was a bad guy, it's just Milton occasionally did things out of light-hearted malice, it's not the ideal collision to describe his process but easy-going mischief-making only consumes more lines without adding sense.

The universal sarcasm  in the situation was that worrying about attacks that woke him up in the middle of the night kept him up until the middle of the night.

Milton had tried a number of carved idols, dream catchers and other occult paraphernalia to stop the attacks however even the best results meant he spilled wax on his leg when his ornamental hood (a bed sheet) brushed against his mail-order thrice-blessed candelabra.

So, despite all occult, chemical and logical efforts, Milton continued to suffer one shift out of 8. Whenever he thought of the situation it was all he could do not to shrug his shoulders, raise his hands up one last time to the heavens in appeal and give everything away before travelling to the most inaccessible and ugly mountain in the world to just sit there the world ended or he learned to sleep.

People are strange.

75 The run for the first poet of the month to die in steaming pots of shit

It was one of those weekends where everything that could possibly happen, happened; thugs breaking doors left unlocked found everything of value had already been stolen and lights left too long in the night would be found upon waking to have earned a coating of frost without any explanation.

Children woke with the terrors claiming that a tree trunk of things had hidden under their beds and only waited for all the lights to die and the cold room to be silent for the things under the bed to reach out and grab them by the ankles and yank them down into the dear darkness where they lived, livid with anger, rushing to the next morsel of imperial hyacinth chocolate hot drink (now with even more chocolate) and gnawing on an immature human's thighbone.

The fetid river water sank lower each year on the outskirts of City Eight, (a nice place to live work and shop) and the once blue sky was now grey and overcast so often that the word for blue was used interchangably with luck.

Golden rains were the best, an accident of hazardous industrial waste which came with hallucinatory warnings since the chemical soup in the sky took itself a little too seriously these days and besides, retirement funds had worked proberly (portmanteau: properly and soberly) and shakes and shivers since childhood left one with little imagination to realize that living to fight another day would be preferable to defeat tonight, especially, having left a love poem to the nun who tended the church garden.

It was clear that time was on somebody else's side today, the nun found the envelope and handed it over to her superiors, I met the Mother superior on the same day I found out the kids call her Mother Insatiable, for her fondness for hard candy.

Perhaps one could/may/would, ask a question, to relieve this experimental ennui, typing asleep again, instead of just standing there, tongue in hand and staring. (you, the tongue or both?)

Positively celestial, with such work before me, my only request is to be able to see them, my family, because these long winter submarine cruises may have addled me.

Regardless, the effects of short term memory loss on a built up box are well known, also, there appears to be a place to clean some parts of the car right off, the bad kept themselves as toddlers, it's better than beer and coffee.

The Fin.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

76 Shopping List for Two Cities

There are streets of the imagination it's better not to cross, alleys that break off at odd angles and avenues lit by sodium lamps of a generation ago. Collapsing places, places of rot and ecological disaster. Lit by nightmares, dreams of fears, failures, wrecks, calamities, arrogant babies with gutted sides, floating dangerously under the sewage water.

These are the streets I call my home. It's an architecture where it's easier to see opportunities to fail, my special trick is knowledge: I know these are just opportunities to succeed in a sinister aspect.

My imagined city intrudes on daily life, it's possible to view its rot, its red, in the faces of sleepwalking children driving to work.

On an ordinary day, walking to school, it's possible to notice, which is the real and which is the imagined, I watch the faces of drivers most because they are least concerned about hiding their unselfconscious faces, it's clear as they rush their bodies to work that their minds are already there, impotent to make changes and impatient to begin, without the presence of a conscious mind yet powerfully influenced, the bodies twist, the faces grimace, animals and vegetables but not humans.

It happens.

Sadly, I realize that once these out-of-mind/out-of-body travellers arrive at work, much of their loosely tied minds will drift and loll, often returning to troubles at home where they will sit, seething and impotent until their bodies catch up with them.

Consciousness is the one force that naturally travels faster than the speed of light.

Be here now because here and now is where action is possible, throwing your mind around without cause or concern is reckless. Spend too little time in your body and you know what happens?

You get old fast and die young, that's what can happen. You join my city of the red night too quickly, why be so eager for it? It's already here. Division is meaningless, an artifact of language, it's not real.

I have come to the riverside docks to buy meat for a party, the cobblestones are rich with blood and moss under my boots, tanneries and slaughterhouses line these docks, Seersee Meat is my destination, a rampart of stone leads to the ice, the hooks, the merchandise and the vendor.

I purchase a lifetime supply of flesh and carry it on my back to my flat. Now, 8 hours ahead of me, it is supper time in Orleans.

Happily, wisely, impatiently or otherwise: my guests will have to wait.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

77 Crimson Calamity Unplugged

Festivals and autograph signing had begun to pale on Crimson Calamity, a Brazilian head-job with highly experimental wetROMs and a compulsive liar, Crimson could remember the first upgrade, having dumped her core memory (she read later it was impossible to re-install with original file structure intact, oops) she had boosted her colour sensitivity, strictly a wetware upgrade, nothing much to it, colours seemed primary, rich, extravagant, with a squeeze of a finger she could see in ways her parents had never imagined were possible, let alone have allowed if they had found out.

By 24, Crimson was as patched as an old tire, a ceaseless stream of home cooked sense implants, she could taste colours with her fingers and see music with her tongue, There was no end to the many combinations she could explore, it had to come crashing down eventually.

One morning, it did, she awoke in total darkness, her Eyesoft(TM) had fatally crashed, causing her to stumble for the panic button on her dresser, it had failed many times only this time, the hard reset commanded by the panic button refused to activate and she was left stumbling and bumping into furniture until she made it to the doorway and knocked at her neighbour's.

With a little help (luckily, it was Sunday and he was home) she discovered the problem, her WetWare processor had permanently failed and since the warranty had long since expired she was left with no option but to disconnect it from the visual cortex entirely. Her neighbour used his 8-pin hardline to connect her to his diagnostic program and suddenly, for the first time in over a decade, Crimson Calamity saw without enhancement, and it was fascinating.

She had forgotten the fine texture of shadows on wood floors, the grain of igneous stone on the windowsill, the frosting of dust on unwashed windows, the myriad of greys and browns on a single patch of wall. Her Eyesoft(TM) lost these subtleties in exchange for colour not possible in the ordinary world, for how long had she felt it was the ordinary world which suffered as a result?

"What?" she said.
"I don't know if I've ever seen you breathe like that"

She noticed her breathing, deep and even, touch was touch, sight was sight, a forgotten feeling; was it relief?

"Yeah, well, it's been awhile."
"I can connect you with a new chip, your old one's toast" holding up the diagnostic printout.
"Alright, thanks."

It took time, so much detail in the world was overwhelming, the ultimate resolution.

She lost the contact info on the way home to bed; to slip into scalding cold sheets and shiver in the rush of old new sensations.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

78 Medea Rez (William Gibson Homage)

The lone child of aging mega-rock star Rez (frontman for Lo/Rez) and Rei Toei, an Idoru (synthetic personality), Medea Rez grew up unlike any child the world had yet conceived. She was capable of mathematical computation which exceeded her designers yet she felt awkward in crowds and smiled shyly for reporters; she dreamt in cyberspace without a hardline or a NetCloud yet became easily confused when giving class presentations in primary school; she experienced fits of adolescent rage and misery like everyone yet recorded full sense/net copies which quickly became sim/stim hits that garnered accolades from critics and fans alike.She was an enfant terrible, a cause celebre, a brat and a buddha, a singularity and a multiplicity.

She wonderered if her mother, cloned around the world and the power behind the family fortune, had not secretly generated her as a youthful copy of herself. Her father, Rez, inescapably aging, would soon go full-synth; she'd heard that was supposed to change people. Until then, she decided she could count on him to offer an alternative perspective on herself. Above all, she was deeply selfish and self-interested, this was not her fault. Since she was unique (for now) her designers (parents) had programmed certain complexes that would leverage maximum data from her life experience for future models; With effectively infinite recursive-thought neural networks and the capacity to model up to 26 different personalities at once, she still couldn't always manage to get through a social engagement without wounding individuals with her razor edged insight although she felt sorry afterwards and did apologize.

Her cyberspace handle/nick was MeaCulpa.

Her parents looked forward to her dating years like Europe looked forward to the great plague of 2012.