Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quick Bake

She was picking up a quick bake casserole for her husband at the grocery. He never complimented her slow steamed chicken thighs, marinated in sultry peppers for many hours over the course of an afternoon. So he was just getting quick bake. After plopping the clumsy box into her cart in the dried foods aisle, she hurried to the end and caught a curious whiff from the fresh produce section. Moving her body through rows of fruit, she forgot her time crunch to her husband. There were so many possibilities. Sensuous mangoes, sweet and vibrant pears, ripe plums ready to burst, but she shed these flirtations when she caught the same curious whiff a second time.

Investigating, she cautiously approached the fresh vegetables being misted to a vibrant shine. The celery glistened. She picked up a bunch and smelled the aroma. Next she moved over to the cilantro and breathed in the bushel’s strong scent. The bright orange carrots flashed in her peripherals, the yellow and red peppers made a display. She stepped away from the misters and breathed in the curious whiff a third time. She had to have it all, the vegetables, the fruits. She snatched them up and placed them ashamedly into her cart. She had done this once before. Checking her watch as she finished paying the cashier she hurried out. Married only a year and she had already been late to dinner once before. Oh well, it’s only dry bake.

Ninja Spacemonkeys, Chapter 1

Episode I - Ninja Monkeys in the Fourth Dimension

Balthazar tried frantically to collate the streams of information pouring out of the multiple monitors in front of him. The ship was quickly approaching an unknown space object, invisible to the eye, but so dense with gravity that one couldn’t help but notice it. The magnetism and neutrino measurements were off the charts, but there were no readings on the life meters. Balthazar tried to make sense of all of this, when Basil stormed onto the bridge.

“Sir, the maps weren’t complete! Yonder wormhole doth have a number of smaller wormholes scattered around it like so much salt on chips.” He was frantic, his big lips straining to express his emotions.

Balthazar paced. “Perhaps we shall abandon this reckless exploration, perhaps we shall turn back.” The bridge fell silent, and all eyes fell upon their weary captain. His small forehead scrunched up and he placed his fist under his chin, as if to support an all too heavy weight. “Nay, for we have been chosen, we have been trained, we are the Earth’s emissary to the stars and heavens. If we cannot tackle this problem, humanity shall be most scorned, and the brotherhood of humanity shall not abide weakness. We shall go forth, get thee to thine stations!” And there was a great cheer on the deck, “Hip hip hooray!” Chants of “excelsior” and “per aspera ad astra” rung through the halls.

Suddenly, Byron burst through on the intercom, “Holy Poop! Guys, did you know that cargo bay 1 is full of bananas?!”

Oh wait…


After the space elevators were assembled, interplanetary travel was a far less daunting endeavor. The hardest part of getting off of Earth was Earth itself, it’s mass had such a drain of gravity that exiting the atmosphere was a real bugger. Hence, space elevators, huge columns of architecture that projected far off the horizon into the thin, thin air above. From there, anything could be assembled to travel into the far.

After many travels with fuels pulled from the earth, the fuel of explosions so powerful on Earth were struck with the awe of the nothingness it confronted. Several expeditions went as far as possible on those simple explosions, only to report back: there was nothing out there. So, mankind sidestepped the issue of fuel and tried again with tact and foresight. They built a system that could shoot a laser, packed with all of the information man could accumulate, and they then shot that laser into space, all over space. Conveniently, one laser was sent back to earth with more information than earth could handle; information about the true layout of the stars, what planets lay around them, and most importantly information about a system of wormholes, conveniently stewn about the universe. Also included in this awesome data packet was a method of uploaded sentient beings, real living organisms into a laser like the one first sent out. Whole planets could be loaded into the lasers, beamed into the wormholes, only to be assembled on the other side. All of mankind was hopeful for the future, but scared by it as well. So, like in man’s first attempt at the cosmos, monkeys went first.

The monkeys were selected and given nanomyte brain growth serums, still in the experimental phase. The serums worked with startling results, propelling the monkeys’ intelligence far beyond that afforded most humans, the monkeys’ love of learning only outweighed by their love of bananas. And boy, did they love bananas.

They became voracious readers, finding the works of Milton and Shakespeare the most rewarding, though they also loved the works of Victorian era. As their intelligence expanded, the humans became fearful; when the monkeys started learning martial arts, the humans’ first thought was, “we’ve got to get these monkeys out of here.” So, after a formal ceremony where the Queen of England knighted one monkey Sir Walter Scott, (as he had the same eyes as the intrepid explorer) the monkeys were loaded into the space elevators and shipped into the great beyond. From orbit, they were moved into their quarters on the deck of mankind’s greatest adventure, the ESS Consul. A massive cube, built just outside of Earth voracious gravitational maw, the Consul was massive in every sense of the word. It was roughly ten cubic kilometers, mostly empty space to be filled with bounty from the distant stars.

So it was that we made first contact. The ship was uploaded into the beam and shot at the nearest wormhole.

Upon the beam’s arrival at the wormhole after a three month trip at the speed of light to just outside of the Oort cloud, things got complicated. The Consul affronted with not one wormhole, but a series of wormholes, all in concentric orbits around the main wormhole. After a short hesitation, the captain of the ship, Balthazar ordered the ship into the nearest wormhole, as one abyss was just as good as another. The ship, that massive cube, fell into the wormhole and the crew were the first to watch time and space collapse in front of their eyes. Then, they watched it expand, showing the intrepid monkey explorers the dimensions concealed to normal eyes. They watched quasars explode and could see the radiation and neutrinos pour out of pulsars like the surf crashing on the rocks. Sir Walter Scott, the communications officer was able to record the images for further analysis, or for recreational drug use back on Earth.

And just like that, they entered the galaxy that was to be named Pterodactyl by the taxonomists on Earth. They were running out of names for celestial bodies and dinosaurs had pretty cool names, so they ran with it. The galaxy Pterodactyl was a fruitful galaxy with many planets capable of supporting life, just within that narrow distance from the stars central to the solar systems. The first solar system the Consul approached was a goldmine, quite literally. There was a planet made almost entirely of gold.

The deck of the ship was alive with hubbub. The monkeys were jumping up and down and shrieking, “What great fortune! A bounty beyond any treasure hidden within the mind of Scheherazade!” Balthazar was distraught though.

“What have we found here, but the greatest lure of man’s insatiable lust for money? Is there any monkey here who can say a treasure this great could be a purely good thing, or is it rather a gilded evil? I do say it is gold, but methinks it lacks a glitter found in that purest of intentions.” And so it was that the monkeys voted not to upload the planet and beam it back to Earth, as humans were simple creatures and could do without a planet made of gold right next door.

“Lo, what fools these mortals be. Let us venture farther on. Navigation!”

Archibald, navigation officer responded, “Awaiting cooridinates, captain o captain.”

“Let’s go over there.”

They went over there to find a verdant planet, a planet lush with life, overloading the life meters. They sent down a shuttle onto the planet Iggy, named by Byron, who was into punk rock. Upon their arrival, they were greeted by a emissary of the dominant form of life on the planet, the Baraka. The Baraka were a kind and peaceful people, simple in the way of the early South American cultures on Earth. They wore festive colors, beautiful headdresses, and walked tall and proud. The aliens, well, the natives, were initially fearful of the Consul’s crew, for they had a prophecy of hairy travelers from the stars that were to destroy and enslave their people. When Balthazar promised them it wasn’t so, they rejoiced, for they had a prophecy for that too, one where the travelers liberated and unified the Baraka from their bitter infighting.

The monkeys were led to the great metropolis of Romero, where they were met with great fanfare and celebration, and the city rejoiced long into the night. Balthazar was granted a personal audience with the king, as they had much to talk over.

“Balthazar, what a joy it is to meet the man of the prophecy,” said the king from his throne.

“Sooth be said, your majesty, it is I who is joyous, for we are the makers of history with these words we speak.” Balthazar spoke as he bowed with a flourish.

“Tell me, then, space man…”

“Monkey, my lord, space monkey.”

“Yes. Spacemonkey, tell me, have to come to fulfill the prophecy foretold so many eons ago?” The kindly king asked with trepidation, a quiver of fear in his voice.

Balthazar answered very carefully. “Your exaltedness, I know not of the prophecy you speak, but I can assure you that we are on an expedition of noble and fine intent. We seek to bring peace to all, and share what we may with the planets and beings we meet.”

The king clapped his hands and danced a silly jig. “Ah, then it is so! You shall unite the Baraka, you shall show us how to live in peace and harmony as it was told by the prophets of old.” He ran down to Balthazar and embraced him, laying a sloppy kiss on his big old monkey lips.

The king gazed into the monkeys’ brown eyes and squealed, “Well, we must get you to the armory, for your travails must begin. What a beautiful species you are, surely the Spacemonkey is the greatest being in all of the heavens!” He was weeping openly with joy now.

“I do not intend to call your great wisdom into question, oh king, but there is a greater species yet: Homo Sapiens. Our mission and intellect is our debt to them, rulers of Earth. They are the next step in evolution above us, no doubt, for look at the bizarre way in which we walk.” Balthazar then did an awkward monkey walk in front of the throne.

The king giggled. “Okay, yeah, that is actually pretty funny. Homo sapiens, you say? A rather queer name for a species, I like Spacemonkeys far more.”

“Your kindness knows no ends, my liege. But, I must inquire in all humility, what may I send home to the humans to show your benevolence and kindness?” Balthazar bowed low again.

“Ah, so that is why the humans sent you? Bounty, reward?” A disdain crept onto the king’s face, a rigidity found his spine.

“King, I can assure you we are a noble and kind planet, but not without temptation. We have much to share in the sciences, arts, and fashions. Take this awesome suit, for doth it not have the cut of an enlightened mind?” The king looked at the Spacemonkey, and was duly impressed by the cut of his jib. A bespoke three-piece pinstripe adorned the little furry monkey, complemented with a bowler hat and an engraved ebony cane.

The king was put at ease, as the prophecy did tell of the finery of the space traveler’s garments and the bounty that would be bestowed upon the Baraka once the prophecy was fulfilled. Yes, it was both planets interest to establish communications and trade routes, but that had to wait, for there was the trial yet to come.

“Balthazar, our planet is in turmoil. We bicker and fight amongst our tribes, battling constantly. It has worn my soul thin, like a parchment scraped too many times. The prophecy speaks of your arrival, and the battle that shall ensue that shall end all battles. Will you fight for our species?” The king drew his sword.

“Yes, I will fight for peace.”

“At what cost?”

“My king, you shall know how best to reward us.”

“We have a lot of bananas.”

“You have a deal.”

The next day was to be the day of the battle, the details of which the Spacemonkeys were still a little fuzzy on. Talk of the prophecy and the great wonders always distracting the conversation away from the battle, though the one thing they were able to glean from every conversation was that it was to be a great battle. Great can mean a lot of different things. In a moment of anticipation, Balthazar sent Sir Walter Scott back into orbit on the Consul in the event that a quick extraction was necessary, he could pull the monkeys out of the battle.

The space monkeys were taken to the armory, where they were given the finest weapons in the land. Balthazar was equipped with a claymore, Byron a katana, Bartleby a chainsaw, Mortimer got a machete, Gerard a mighty battleaxe and so on and so forth. The monkeys were then taken to the temple.

The temple was older than time itself, according the Baraka. Hewn of massive stones, none knew how or why or when it was built, only that it was huge and majestic. Water poured from a spring atop the ziggaurat, feeding lush gardens of vines and palm below where virgins frolicked and played. The Spacemonkey warriors were anointed with sacred oils, read prayers and psalms from the old books, and recited the chant of the warrior gods. After this ceremony they were carried by rickshaw to the center of the city to delight of the citizens.

Gerard, the nervous sort, couldn’t help but ask Balthazar, “Do you have any idea what the hell we’re doing?”

Balthazar grinned and shook his head, “My dear Gerard, doth thou doubt the nobility of our mission? We are greeted here as liberators, and we shall act as such.” Gerard went back to sharpening his battleaxe, meditating on the words of his leader.

In the center of the city, the Spacemonkeys were affronted with a structure that made the temple they just visited look like a dollhouse. It was a massive coliseum, the roar of the crowd inside audible from a kilometer away, drowning out all conversation amongst the intrepid crew of the ESS Consul. They were taken in through a gate which was closed behind them with a raised porticullis inside. The king came to shake their hands and wish them well.

“It warms my heart to know that today, we shall see the dawn of a new age. An age of peace, an age wherein warlords and the infighting shall be cast away, like a cloak. We shall feast tonight!” Tears were streaming down his cheeks.

Gerard was still gripped by an uneasy trepidation. “My king, pray do tell, what the hell is going on here?”

“Ah, yes, of course! All the warlords have assembled their finest warriors and we shall battle until all are dead. You know, a gladiator battle.” And with that, he shook their hands and walked away.

“Oh.” Gerard went back to sharpening his axe.

There were hundreds of warlords, all with their own warriors, all hoping that they could prevail and seize control of all. Some had great beasts, some had Baraka trained into warriors, some battled in their own name. The king, from his high perch, addressed the coliseum with a booming voice.

“Today, we gather again for the annual battle to determine supremacy, but today is different. For today, under the banner of the king fight the Spacemonkeys, travelers from a distant star come to unite us in peace. And so, let the battle royale begin!” A cannon was fired and chaos descended upon the Spacemonkeys.

All the warlords knew that if they were to defeat the Spacemonkeys, they would show the prophecy to be false, and they would be king and more; they would be gods. So, without further ado, they all attacked the Spacemonkeys. They surged, but the phalanx of monkeys held.

Balthazar roared and fought with grace and cunning. “Cry Havok!”

“Well said, sir!” Byron replied as he sliced through opponents with adept strokes of his katana. Blood and gore surrounded them, the warriors piled up at the feet of the monkeys, yet more and new warriors still attacked. But the monkeys fought on, bantering amongst themselves all the while.

“And what style of pugilism is that you’ve adopted?” “I do say, tiger style, good man.” “I’ve always found myself a might partial to ninjitsu, if I may.” “Pip, pip! A mighty blow!” “And to you!” “Take that, thy knave!”

Hours passed, and soon the battle was beginning to quiet, the spectators in the crowd also beginning to chant, “Spacemonkeys! Spacemonkeys!” until at last there was one warlord left. Well, not a warlord, but his pet.

“Oh my, they have a rancor!” And Bartleby was right. They had a massive, slimy beast, drool dripping down its chin, chomping on the dead that filled the coliseum. “I’d rather not fight that beast, if it’s all the same to you.”

“Nay, Bartleby, these are the times that try monkeys souls, and we must persevere. I only a wish I had a horse. What I wouldn’t give…” Balthazar formulated a plan in his head, a mad and ludicrous plan, but a plan. “Quickly, Gerard, run to the gate!”

Gerard had no trouble in doing so, and the rancor quickly dropped the warlord it was snacking on and chased after him. Balthazar snatched Bartleby’s chainsaw and chased in hot pursuit after the rancor. The beast had trapped Gerard in the tunnel to the gate, its huge jaws snapping in his face. The rancor struggled to get its head farther into the tunnel, but was held back by the width of its shoulders. Balthazar dashed to the wire mechanism aside the tunnel, revving the chainsaw and hacking through the cables. They unwound with a snap, and down came the porticullis up on the rancor’s skull. It let out a sigh and died.

The crowd rejoiced, and there was much alien honey wine poured throughout the coliseum. The king wept, for there would be no more wars, no more need for war. The Spacemonkeys were hoisted high on the shoulders of the people, their names written carved into the stones of the temple, made immortal in history.

The king was right, there was quite a feast that night, and the crew of the Consul was given chairs of honor. Early the next day, on dawn’s first light, the crew assembled again on the steps of the ziggaurat, and was saluted by the benevolent king one last time. The king kowtowed to each of them individually, presenting them each with the weapons they wielded so well in battle, now cast in gold, for Iggy no longer needed any weapons. The stores and granary had been opened, and twenty tonnes of bananas were presented to the monkeys as payment, but also as thanks. With a tear in his eye, Balthazar waxed, “it is with great chagrin that we leaves your comfortable hospices, most wise and kind king of the Baraka. We shall tell tales of your benevolence and worth throughout the galaxies, for me must travel on. The universe is a big place, and our noble excursion is merely beginning.”

The king smiled and said, “Our debt to you is a great one, one that we shall live in our hearts forever. May all of the cosmos know the honor you hold in your hearts.”

And with that, Balthazar called up to Sir Walter Scott on the Consul. “Beam us up.”

“Beam us up what?” replied Balthazar’s communicator.

“Beam us up, Sir.” Nothing. “Beam us up, Sir Walter Scott.” In a flash, the Spacemonkeys disappeared, off to traverse the galaxy. They aimed the ship towards the nearest wormhole and fired through. On the other side they stared in wonder at the nest of wormholes in front of them, wondering which of the paths they should explore.

And there was a great cheer on the deck, “Hip hip hooray!” Chants of “excelsior” and “per aspera ad astra” rang through the halls.

Suddenly, Byron burst through on the intercom, “Holy Poop! Guys, did you know that cargo bay 1 is full of bananas?!”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bicycle Trade Union Excerpt: Policing

Providence evolves from destruction. We feel like death so we make color. Flexibility & complexity are procreated to overcome what once would have broken more staunch & stalwart positions and fortifications. Our robber-baron republic has evolved into aristocracy. It is an effective mechanism of persecution and repression, but it has not learned a truth of humanity as old & true as time itself: the harder you press, the more you fight & argue, the more ingrained it will become.

That is why the puritanism based justice here has failed, and will fail every day until it dies, to remove me & my ilk. I am... we are flexible. I will learn you, and it, and the back alleys & ways between and around all of it. They will just tell you, "No, you are bad because somebody once said somewhere, probably in another completely different context, that this was wrong." Fuck that, fuck them. A toddler has more common sense than most of the district attorneys & all of the judges who have let our country become a police state... Fucking capitalists.

The worst of the thing is the, "Preventative law." You will be arrested for this because this drug supposedly makes you into someone who is more likely to commit crimes... That tends to happen when you start making things that are not crimes illegal. It should be illegal to instruct others on what they can do to themselves, of their own accord with no effect on anyone else.

I hate police, all police. Every last damned one of them. I hate any man who feels that his view of the world is better than another's and then enforces it on them. I hate ignorance. Does anyone who doesn't live in a white-picket suburban brainwashed shithole actually feel safe when the P.D. is around? You aren't. It is class warfare. They are all morons who believe that being legally justified is synonymous with being morally justified & superior.

That is my take, my opinion, and my experience. It is why I will do anything to undermine authority. Anarchy is the most bigoted, misunderstood & slandering word. When you say it to someone they see riots & murder & the end of the world behind their eyes. But that isn't anarchy, that is some bastard in Hollywood's perverse take on playing to people's sheepish fears and indolence. Nobody knows what anarchy is. Anarchy has never been. The only reason we evolved to communicate is so we could tell the other stupid cavemen what to do.

Don't be afraid. Don't be a coward. Change is scary, but change is good. If you don't step off the sidewalk you will only be walking in the footsteps of other men, on courses charted & planned & built by still more men. Nothing good ever comes of such things, only wasted lives as paste fed to the ant pile.

Good job London, keep on rioting

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Night is hot

Stumble Frames #9

London clocktower
and dusk at the bridge
dream of dusk
things to do in Europe

an abstract mosaic
a paper reef
abstract dream sequences:
one sleeps under a streetlight
with a blanket of snow
cliffs and river turn into city buildings and streets
a library opens doors
to other worlds
seamless pictures of color

films that question
reality mindfuck:
cats that play instruments
a face painted with oil
a stone gateway stays,
surrounded by birch trees
and fallen leaves
a lone house in Iceland
sleeps under clouds
and far away the sun
unveils a Buddhist temple

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bicycle Trade Union Excerpt: Vertigo

Keep having dreams of falling, waking up grasping and slapping for walls and lamps.  Vertigo, a slicing, biting collapse of reality into downwardness.  I thought it was just a dream, so I looked it up in an interperative book, said something about being cast out, adversity to overcome.  I was comforted by that, because it made sense, made me feel that the cold waves of rain were a part of something with meaning.  The vertigo though, it comes in waves, sometimes making me vomit off the bridges or dragging me from my bike into the gutter.

Because it began in a dream, I now find it harder and harder to determine what it is that is concrete in my reality.  I have begun to wonder if it is all sudden figments of flashing dreams clotted together to try and attempt to be something solid.  It has brought me back to basics.  I shaved my head, like a monkey who has spent to much time in space.  Omnia mea mecum porto, I carry with me all my things.  If you want to try to take my backpack, I will kill you.  I am as prepared as I can be for anything, because anything and everything may just appear.

I don't know what it is about me, something in my face?  Maybe it is something in me which lets them all see that no matter the bad or ill they feel that I can always tell them a story that will make them scared.  Everyone tells me something.  They open their mouths and without even knowing it, all the things they never wanted to or will not say have been spat across into the air between us.  In the end, despite the small perks of transparency, the ability to create honesty and trust spontaneously has turned me into a boatman.  A man trolling and dredging a quagmire of sadness and violence and painful fear in people's secrets.  I am a seeker for that which is unfindable, and a keeper, a cache of shared broken dreams.

There is a violence growing in me, like none I have felt before.  Not like a knife fight, not like a shotgun or pistol.  This rainy place, all the endless miles pounded out on the legs, all the bleeding in the streets waiting after the bicycle hits a tree...  This purgatory, this place I have fallen to, to serve and bleed and pray to things I do not even believe in.  It is a violence of a bottle filled with gasoline and rag.  It is a violence of a violin watching a fire.  It is a violence that will put their children in a blender.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Whiskey Bar

I’ve been cooped up, smothered like a chicken in a room ten feet by ten feet for days now. With no sense of reality to the outdoor world, to conversation, to responsibility, to action, I despair. I have a plan of action and initiating it isn’t hard. The chicken is squeezed out of the coop and shoved in a persuading manner to the runway. The weapons are loaded, fuel pumped, compass coordinated with map, and propeller spun. The chicken roars down the runway. This part is easy to initiate, to energize the soul to get started on productivity. It’s when the time comes for kamikaze dive bomb sequence that I get distracted and despaired and stair out of the window wondering about the “Lost Generation” or who was the man behind Jack Daniel’s whiskey in figure and not in name obviously as that would be a wasteful wondering, a waste of time.

But then there are more proper and pertinent expenditures of time, like buying orange juice in a store several miles from home and riding on trains away from the center of the city. Yes these things are a better expenditure of time. But what about deadlines and the planning of action to meet these deadlines? This dwarfs when compared to the whiskey bar.

The wall to the rear of the bar lined with bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, low balls, and high balls. The mirror directly central in the whiskey bar reflects light blinding my sight. It channels and routes energy, the excitement, the bru-ha-ha, bravery found sipping an ale. My words flow to her like leaves and soot in the autumn wind. We smoke cigarettes. We talk of zodiac signs and horoscopes. She informs me of my horoscope as I am unfamiliar with my own. I ask her pointless things.

“What kind of music do you like?”

“That is somewhat random, as we were discussing marketing.”

“I know.”

I assess her lip piercing and her shoes, assuming she had acquired a specific taste for tunes. I’m not worried about my question.

“Well sir, I like all kinds of music”

The response is vague and bleak. I can’t tell if she’s mocking, kidding, or dead serious. I report back to my ale for a second opinion, a fresh set of eyes if you will. My ale fails me. Ales tend to be deceptive and inconsistent with their effects on the avid whiskey bar attendee, never quite giving that desired effect of confidence and suave. There’s always some sort of desperate effect.

The next day the festival is over. Back to responsibility, back to nine to five, back to the ten by ten chicken coop room after the nine to five. Only I don’t want it. I want the whiskey bar: the red oak veneer on the walls and high vaulted ceilings portraying spaghetti westerns with the piano man playing Roadhouse Blues. Instead I sit wondering the whereabouts of old peers and even older classmates. I wonder what to eat for lunch and whether or not I will get work done. Should I put the pencil to the paper? I watch the lead paint the page, part permanent, part crumbling into dust.