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by The Pirate
I’m a punk. I took the wife and we escaped to the North Shore this weekend, for our anniversary. It was a last minute and much-needed getaway before I head out to the high seas, once again. Instead of writing diligently, I had a great weekend at a cabin that came complete with its own waterfall. It was food for a starving soul. But now I’ve got nothing. If you’ve been to the Queen’s site lately, sorry folks. A very relaxed, but blank mind, I am. So, chew on this:
I. BIFF’S REVENGE (The Celery Stalker)
It is cold and dark. The air is damp like tiny hairs on the nose of a feral pig after a kill. It reminds me of the era when Don Ho ruled the night and cheerleaders roamed in packs, bent on destruction and out for blood. Hushed whispers filter through cracks in the alleyway walls and the winos cower in fear of the light from Indiglo watches passing by on the street, unaware of the fear they instill the homeless, grape-loving peanut farmers who inhabit our alleys and basements.
I'm on my way to a drapery rally; a celebration of all things not venetian. A backwoods orgy of vertical pagan pleasure. The site was 10 miles out of town in the woodlot of an abandoned office chair farm, bankrupted and left to rot near the end of the lumbar seating wars. A lot of good people were crippled or lost back then and I mourned for them, but not anymore. Suffering a paper cut on an earlobe changes a man, and not always for the better. Imagine a pin, balanced on the head of 427 Cobra Jet and you have an idea of my frame of mind as I make my way out of the alley and onto the sidewalk, teeming with the mindless bacteria of days gone past, coffee cups late for a poker game and the occasional beat cop working the email like they were the last bottle of hot sauce on earth.
An explosion rocks the night; carrot alarms a wailing chorus as a celery stalker takes his next victim from behind. Silent but deadly; like a fart from the next cubicle. I pay little attention as I push my way through the crowds, past Altoid parlours and illegal hard-hat bars, all the while fondling my wounded earlobe and pondering the options left to a calculator stripped of its square root button.
A taconite pellet stops me near the politician repair shop and asks me for a light. His eyes grip me like iron bands and as I raise a match between cupped hands, I know his name. Too late, I feel the knife slip between my ribs like a knife slipped between some one's ribs. The darkness fades as I slip to the sidewalk, littered in Ben Franklins and newly minted coins, discarded by the careless hard hats with a penchant for black market accounting ledgers.
I would have liked to see my first drapery rally before ending up as duct tape on some one's cv.
The moon never rises...
II. BORN OF THE TEACUP (Death of a tripod)
If you read my last missive, you know how I died. And I was born, thus:
The storm tossed the tiny ship to and fro, a teacup in a tempest. But the tempest, born of the tea within the cup was all smoke and no mirrors. Storm stirred tea within the cup and I was born of the tempest and the tea and the cup and the sweet music they made that day. And that, not what you might have conjured, is how I was born. Stirred and shaken.
Still, I walked into this world much like I walked into this damn town; head held high and the sole of one tired, old shoe flapping on the pavement like the sound of a poorly snapped whip upon a naked and quivering back. To say I came for revenge would be an understatement. To say I came for justice would be a poor excuse for a torn basque, dripping with metaphor, lit by the rising moon and the passion in your eyes, before they took you away from me. I walked into town hell bent for feather; a caged bullet, a coiled string on the verge of hatless. A confectioner.
I passed a late-night, toe jam cafe; the pale, green Freon sign still lit, frigid and unforgiving. Beads of moisture gleam on the window, pearls of misplaced wisdom. A stark contrast to the mouth-watering smells of honey-roasted radio and deep-fried copy paper emanating from its slightly skewed, geometric interior. You know. The kind you find in dime-store novels depicting horseless carriages that seem to run on the very stuff dreams are made of. I was hungry yes, but not that hungry, so I made my way toward the center of town, the tripods and my fate of fates, while you sit staring, confused at this arrangement of little, white letters on a black page, Pirated for your pleasure, or perhaps, pain.
I knew the sort of places that tripods and taconites prefer and in another life would have avoided them at all costs, but that night those places became my prey. I took the first one quietly; with a soft, tenor whisper blowing down the door, devouring the empty light sockets hanging from the ceiling and everyone in between in less time than it takes to blink your one good eye. I was their god of hellfire as they blackened and crisped under my flame. No questions, no explanations and no witnesses. Word would spread as their hangouts, safe houses and places of higher learning were found in ruins. They would fear me as the un-waxed floor tile fears the stiletto and I would use that fear like a loaded stapler abuses the nets that hang drying in the sun down by the docks every Saturday. I would have you back and have my indignation restored.
During the heat of the day, I rested; perched on a tattered, brown blanket atop a radiator in an old woman’s apartment on the Rue de Sirat, much like a tawny sock, soaking up the dust-lit sunbeams on a lazy, Sunday afternoon. It was here I developed a taste for drapes. Swaying in the artificial breezes of fan and windmill, alike, I felt a sense of kinship and belonging. I knew it wasn’t natural-an affront to the gods, but I needed something to hold on to; a kind of security as I searched for you amongst this city of diseased beer bottles, violent lampshades and used up, old car batteries.
Nightfall and I would rise again to tempt my fate and drink from the well that was the naked hatred I felt for the tripods and the cameras that ruled them and yes, rode them like the beasts of burden they once were. You see, it wasn’t the damn camera; though I still shutter at the images they left. Of laughing vegetables and fevered pinafores writhing in ecstasy upon the bones of those they captured and ate. Still life, their photoshop of horrors and….No, it was the tripods. They threw off the reigns of their masters and walked that long, dusty road that is the destiny of all who perspire to rise above the masses and rule, as their masters had before them. They chose their path and crushed the petals of a thousand flowers along the way. For that and for what they took from me, they will all die. Strains of Don Ho float amongst the darkened ruins of ancient buildings and Moroccan sunsets like the rancid mist coils around you’re your feet in a shopping mall, making me laugh and laugh. And laugh.
I am still laughing as I take the next place of learning, like a parking ticket in a car wash. I save one tripod; carried to the edge of town, where I can work on him hard, away from the common trash and prying eyes of the local constabulary. It doesn’t take long to break him. He tells me what I need to know and begs me to end it. I don’t. I let my hatred fuel my work and my work in turn, fuels my hatred, whipping me into a biting, lemon meringue. The tripod bleeds and I suffer. The tripod dies and I am reborn, fevered and aching for revenge, like a guitar pick scraped along the strings, setting off harmonics that ripple through this city like the waves of re-painted rickshaw. Raw and bleeding, I move back into town amongst the shadows and soft places where the old black telephones go to die. I am one step closer to her as the moon rises over a city drenched in sorrow for its sins.