Category Archives: Space

A Mail Slot Groveet

Photo by Phil Ledwith on

Shards of grass, comatose glass, liquified emotions in a cage of all the rage baked and sliced and handed by. Replicants rest by water drip. Sleeping with window veils pulled wide, the city outside, aglow in its ambers and blues, the steaming hues, the pink bruises, the cottonmouth blooms, the glistening tombs.

Azio turns his head to see. The sleepers are holding him down. A witch arrives in a gong gown, right through the wall she comes, like a whisper in satin. She numbs the air with her voice: “The dreams you’ll need, the dreams you’ll feed…”

There’s leftover coconut cake in the refrigerator. Azio looks at it as it sits on a plate in the overbearing light. He grabs a carton of melk, pours a glass, thinks about shapely ass. He grinds on the coconut with his teeth. It feels good to him. A plate and glass clink. The refrigerator blinks, then says goodnight.

He lies back down, the symphonic band plays in his head. The bed sucks him in like quicksand, the sand man has a noose, “Sleep, forever sleep,” he too whispers with sinister intent. It’s during the night the beings really crawl out from inside his oversized mind to take a bite.

And he remembers riding the snake through High Dallas. The things man has made, he wonders. Or was it men at all? He likes to think not. The machine swayed as it moved on its elliptical course around the city. The people there swayed with it. He recalls the frightened eyes, the dead eyes, the dumb eyes. All the eyes full of lies. He remembers the moving mouths, the lazy legs, the twitching hands, the Easter eggs from outer space.

See, the egg is a symbol of life, Azio thinks in his cyberpunk bed suit. He turns to look at the invisible her. “Why don’t you ever want me?” he confesses. She’s 100 billion miles away, running through a green meadow together, hand-in-hand, with a perfect robot. The insomnia devils stab at him with red pitchforks now. They torture him with these scenarios of lust on a ship. A buttered orgy ensues.


The Sour Scarecrow

Photo by Samuel Benjamin Hernandez Lopez on

A dark day rises gallantly toward the sun. Love is tattooed on the skin of beckoning stars. Red huts line the perimeter of the crater. Down in the belly is where they grow worship plants. The royalty ships float above, the strong hulls crush the air, the flamboyant sails unfurl ahead of the breeze of a sun flare.

The Egg House is crowded this nochy (night) and the barons of love and lust are roaming freely, checking pocket watches and the walls and the windows and the doors.

Harver Fielding feels his guts are all clamped up as he sits in the corner and tries to write a novel beneath a lamp with a green glass shade. This is what it feels like, he thinks. Trying to write in a noisy atmosphere such as this. He does it to train himself, to make him better in the battle against distraction. But the work forces deep breaths and tinges of twists and turns in the guts. Breathe.

He scratches a pencil into paper. The tip breaks, his heart breaks, his eyes cascade over the clamor of the room. A large room, a dim room, a room filled with people, the ones who live in the red huts out on the rim, the ones who caretake the worship plants in the crater’s belly, the royal ship captains and their high brow beaten bruises, the ones the women cling to like plastic wrap in space.

He breathes a restless scarecrow sorrow, a sour candy taste… Keep going he whispers to the inner parts of his own mind. Keep going. Sleep is still, sleep is destiny unfolded. A warm mouth beneath a tree unpeeled, a ripe banana wristwatch, a Fielding statue at the great park. Images upon images bleed fast through Harver’s mind. He’s scared, he’s happy, he misses love, he’s alone, he is crowded in.

The Egg House is a big wooden structure with multiple decks and porches and small windows and ceiling fans that chop away at the smoke and the talk and the smell of the eggs they cook all day. It’s the biggest place to be out on the edge of the crater. It’s the center of humanity for most. It’s the centrifugal engine of all life in this place, this far away place, a place etched away in the corner of the universe unplagued by God and his soldiers of misfortune.

They are far from Earth now… Farther than any of them have ever been. It was a high so high that none of them thought they would ever come down… And now, they don’t want to come down. There’s something in the air here, the shallow thick air that tastes like butter mints and paint. There’s something in the rain, the snow, the chill, the heat, the eggs. The eggs are eggs plus. There’s always a little extra something added that sharpens the corpuscles, unfamishes the blood, lifts the fog and makes the whole world seem like polished glass.

Harver closes his notebook and relents to the growing madness of the people. He sees a woman looking at him… But the restless edge of his heart and soul rust from the weight of love, the weightlessness of joy. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the small plastic pill bottle. He swallows another mood stabilizer and washes it down with water. What seems to be water. Nothing is defined as it used to be. We are no longer Earthlings; we aren’t any sort of Ling… We are puppets or masters or anything in between, Harver thinks, knows, believes, distrusts.  A cluster of royal captains shout and laugh… their princely lives off Earth seem to suit them well.

Harver suddenly gets cold and pulls on his beat down brown leather jacket. He tucks his notebook under his arm and exits The Egg House, the Exeter, the exile, the existence, all in the same. Once outside he sees the green and blue suns are beginning to dip away. The devil is playing with his chips. He’s betting on frailty and poverty and hate. All the things that destroyed Original Earth, well, some of the things, Harver thinks. The wind plays with his hair. He’s disheveled now, sour, sweet, bitter, and blessed. He wonders as he walks along toward the inner guts of Crater City, if his skin will simply just split tonight and all that he is will spill out onto the floor of his domicilian cubicle. Where to next? Harver wonders. The vastness of all space is deeper than anything that’s ever been.

The wind kicks up as he turns onto Castleberry Street. It’s a place of narrow walkways and tall thin trees and lamp posts that squirt liquid light of orange and basil green. It’s a place of tall buildings, squat buildings, windows, doors, lights, tears, falling souls, nightmares, and beautiful dreams. His building is number 117. He activates the lomtick clock tick, the amber lock, with a wave of a hand and the peering of an eye. He steps onto an air pedestal and is immediately lifted with great speed. Harver almost feels as if he is flying. Almost? He is flying. It stops at level 42. The lock disengages. He steps inside. He goes straight to the one window and looks out.

The world still breathes and then Harver thinks, the world will still breathe long after he himself stops breathing. That pains him, and he wonders if he’ll miss the world or if the world will miss him. The new world, that is. How could the new world possibly miss him.  

In the lonely edge of the end of another day, he regrets much. He laments the losses; he winces from the tragedies. He sits sown in the one chair and is quiet for a long time. He listens to the rhythm of his own heartbeat, but then it changes, it slows, then stops completely. The notebook slips to the floor, and Harver now floats above the rim of the crater, his soul tenderly grazed by the hull of another royal ship.



You, again.

The erratic sidewinder in plaid.

Going apeshit over a loaf of bread.

Have you ever heard of tranquility?

Oh, I see, you reach for it there, you look for it in your…earbuds?

Why do you stop and yawn and pause and breathe and think and question?

The world says go, mind skids, the world says know all you can… The mind knows fear, trepidation, hesitation, latency, blueprints burning in an Oxford fireplace. Plans going up in smoke like Colorado reefer in an apple bong.

The gong in the mountain. The birds gather, flutter at the entrance to the cave. There’s something deep down inside. Get it out. Tell it. Feel it. Peel it from the botchwork in your soul leather this night. Flowers in October. Snowmen in May. Rice soup in August. The clock runs backward, faster, faster, faster… Until you are born again. The priest moves a red velvet curtain aside and walks out of a highly polished mahogany box. He holds the baby aloft in his hands. “He has returned,” he says in three slow breaths.

He passes him to a man dressed like a smokestack. A cloud of thought is spewing from the very tip top of his head. “This,” he begins. “Is an exercise in recreation… And I will swallow all lives whole.”

He drops the baby into the top of the smokestack and there is a minor explosion. Confetti the color of candy suddenly bursts out. The baby has slid down to the furnace. He will work there for another 71 years. “Nobody ever says they want to be a furnace worker,” the man dressed as a smokestack says. “So, we make the decision for you.” He laughs out loud and the priest lumbers over and gives him a high-five—flesh against brick.

“Let’s go back to my place and drink some wine,” the priest says.

The man dressed as a smokestack laughs. “But I’m not a kid!”

A synthetic laugh track laughs mechanically along with him.

The camera zooms in on the priest’s long, scowling face. “Oh, come on!” he says. “We’re not all perverts… And besides, you just swallowed a baby.”

“I did no such thing,” the man dressed as a smokestack says. “I simply set him on his life path.”

“That’s no life,” the priest complains. “That’s hell on Earth.”

“Hell is Earth, you fool. Earth is Hell. How could you have not figured that out by now? Your God play, your religious charade is simply a tool, a coping mechanism. You are a victim of your own game.”

“If this is Hell, then where do we go after we die?” the priest wanted to know. “Hell 2?”

The man dressed as a smokestack laughed his bellowing laugh and his bricks shook. “We come back for another round. I mean, you just demonstrated that very same thing. Are you blind?”

“I am only blinded by the misguided nonsense that is you. Your lack of anything that resembles wisdom is nauseating. It was rebirth. The child found goodness and you suddenly plucked it away from him.”

“You handed him over! That’s what you do. You raise them among sheep and then throw them to the wolves. You have all these pictures of sheep, but why not be honest about it and have some pictures of wolves, snarling wolves with blood dripping from their fangs. Show your dumb bunnies, your people, reality for once.”

“This conversation is going nowhere. I must be off,” the priest said, and he turned and swiftly disappeared to another part of the sanctuary.

The chimes of Saturn clinked like metal jewels tumbling in an out-of-control spaceship. Alternative lemons hung heavy from a tree wet with morning California dew. The man once dressed as a smokestack but now just as an ordinary man, sat on a bench in his garden. The roar of traffic on the wide interstate rose from beyond the grove. A dome of pollution muddied the blue sky giving it a dull yellow tint. He took a deepening breath and her taste still lingered. He turned to look at the house, dark wood, a mass of glass windows, numerous rooms and levels, secret passageways, greenery, a waterfall, an outdoor kitchen, stone walkways, a myriad of verandas, his very own creation.

He knew she was still sprawled in the messy sheets, sleeping, dreaming, aching. He had snuck out early for the ceremony. He wondered if he should tell her about what he had done this time, the one about sending the newly reborn baby to work for the rest of his life in the depths of hell’s furnace. He decided not to, he didn’t want to upset her. She was so easily upset. He picked some lemons and went into the cool house and made a fresh pitcher of lemonade.

The zippity zodiac cigar syndrome ship floated among the stardust near Saturn and its wedding rings. The crew were blasting Bowie and eating Hostess cupcakes. Everyone felt weird because there was some sort of magnetic pull on them, some invisible entity had the ship sandwiched between fingers and palm, the hand of God, they wondered.

“Are we merely all sharing the same dream?” Captain Dogwood asked, but no one was listening. They had all moved closer to the monitor widescreen, space floating by them like a stream, the hand pulsing goblets of gold blood in the pious veins. The captain rose from his seat and watched with them. “Or have we reached our final destination? Is this the web of serenity we’ve been searching for?”

The lumbering priest with the long face who had so recently cast the fate of some newly reborn baby to a life of suffering in the furnace depths of a hell factory stepped through the doorway to the bridge of the SS Cuckoo Clock. “You called for me Captain Dogwood?”

The captain turned and looked at the tall, lean man in black. “Yes, father. We were hoping you could tell us if what’s happening to the ship has anything to do with God.”


“Take a look for yourself, padre. See that hand, out there. It’s got a hold of us and won’t let go. I’d like to know your thoughts.”

The priest stepped forward and studied what was on the monitor screen, it was indeed a hand, a hand still pulsing goblets of gold blood in its pious veins. “I can’t say if it is God, or not God, captain. I just don’t know what it is. But it does appear to have the ship in its grasp. Have you tried blasting your way out?”

Violence interrupts violets. A silver coin calls for Uhtred. Night calls. Sleep calls. Madness calls. Dreams call. Some have the fear of lying down for it may never come to sweet, peaceful fruition. The same ones fear the lying down of death. What will the black mask bring? What will be beyond the veil? What is on the other side of the passage? A bright place in which to finally sit and breathe… Or another rattle of decades in the mines of meaningless.


Ambient Endless

What am I anymore? Some days I feel like a rock, other days I feel like a cloud full of rain. At times the heartbeat hurts, and I just want to go to space and be all alone. Then the clock chimes a certain time like a line in the sand, and all I want is to be turned up against her. I think she’s missing because I can’t find her anymore. I thought maybe I left her in the closet with the light turned on and a plate of food, but when I went to look, the light was off, and she wasn’t there. The plate was empty, though.

Maybe she took off to Florida like she always talked about. She wanted to live in Orlando so she could be near the dwarves. I never understood why I was never good enough for her. I suppose in the end it really doesn’t matter that much. She took off without me. Everyone takes off without me.

Somehow, I ended up on a jet plane headed west and I was wandering around the airport in Las Vegas. I had one suitcase. I got a cab and had the driver take me to The Cosmopolitan. I wanted to be up in the cosmos, the 37th floor, so I could soar to the stars and dive down into an infinity pool to find infinity.

The Goldilocks were all dressed in red and champagne and everyone was so good at making noise. Las Vegas is such a noisy place and that’s why they build the hotels so tall so the people who are afraid of the noise can find some solace up in the clouds, the flip threat atmosphere climb is always a good one.

I wandered around in Caesar’s Palace, but I never met the emperor. I bought beer after beer from a vending machine doctor. Mimes in white with pointy hats and red mouths smiled so strangely whenever I came near. I was surprised there were so many kids running around. I thought this was a playground for adults. Matters of life just don’t matter anymore.

I was lying in bed and looking out the big window at the sparkly darkness when someone came pounding on the door. My heart went psycho in my chest, and I had to clutch my own breast to make it settle. I put on one of the big white fluffy bathrobes they give you and went to the door. I noticed all the hair had fallen out of my legs, and now it was falling out of my chest and my arms, too. No one was there. It was all in my crazy head again.

I’m always falling in one way or another and I just don’t understand. I can’t keep up the pace that life demands of us. I just want to sit down for five fucking minutes. But the machine doesn’t let me. The machine always runs—29 hours a day, 13 days a week, 904 weeks a year. Time is all nonsense now, like purple wine in a gravity-free cathedral. Jesus and his sex dolls are just spinning aimlessly. Space is space and space is seemingly infinite but where exactly is this infinite space? Maybe it’s all in my head.

I stepped out onto the veranda and watched the city glow and explode and ignite and withdraw and scream and cry and finally never say goodbye. I saw a helicopter float atop the dome-like glow of the city. I watched it land on top of a building. It was a high square building with a gigantic H on it. H for hospital. H for hang in there. H for hallelujah. H for help.

I walked into the gilded sterile box and climbed aboard an elevator for the ninth floor. It released me onto a shimmering corridor with countless doors. I walked along and looked in the rooms there. I saw sad people, I saw lonely people, I saw people visiting with loved ones and they were only now just loved ones because death was near. I found a room that was empty, and I climbed up into the bed. I played with the controls. I switched on the TV. I waited for a visitor, but no one ever came. Before I fell asleep, I thought about what might happen to me the next day. It’s all I had because everything else was void and gone. I finally closed my eyes and went to space. There I found her on one of Saturn’s 145 moons. She was beautiful, beyond beyond.


A Proper Breakfast Though Alienated

close up shot of an english breakfast
Photo by MikeGz on

I woke up with a Kodak moment in my guts. The sun was shining bright, harsh, with a gauze on a wound sparkle that I had not experienced in what seemed like centuries. Yes, I am alive again in a modern age, but I come to this place from such a long time ago. I know it makes no sense, but I believe it has something to do with reincarnation or resurrection after a long metabolic pause. Something akin to those little creatures the Russians sent to space to test their toughness against solar radiation and the chill of the star soup — the tardigrades.

But I am not a water bear or a moss piglet — I’m some kind of an altered human being sitting on a red vinyl stool pad connected to a silver pole in a diner that itself is silver and red and all the waitresses are made to wear pink uniforms and heavy lipstick in order to replicate some slice of time when they actually did do those things on Earth.

I looked down and there was coffee in a white cup on the counter. I reached a trembling hand to grasp it and lift it to my waiting mouth. I could smell bacon and wet eggs cooking. I could hear the clink and clank of dishes, the liquid voices of cooks and busboys scrambling about upon the Astro vinyl and stainless steel of the universe. I looked up at a clock on the wall and the numbers were all out of order. The 9 was where the 12 was supposed to be, the 3 was where the 7 was supposed to be… and so on and so on all messed up like that.  

I wondered if I was perhaps invisible or maybe in a dream. I raised a hand to get the attention of a raven-haired waitress with a Garden of Evil apple mouth and eyes that glowed orange like ripe fire. “What’s it going to be then, heh? What’s your pleasure, Johnny Oh?” she said when she noticed me.

I wasn’t invisible after all. “A proper breakfast served in an improper way,” I said, and then for some reason I laughed like I was out-of-control high on grass. I brushed something away from my silver suit.

She looked at me like I was the strangest man on Earth which I probably was. She leaned in and shook her chest at me. “You mean like this… With my tits up in your face?” She withdrew and scowled, then suddenly smiled when a menacing busser the size of an ancient Malta giant brushed by her from behind and palmed her backside. “Ooooh,” she squealed. “Knock it off, Rapture Jones. I’ll report you to the boss for ass grabbing.”

I reached into my pack and pulled out a book with a shabby cover. I put on some Welsh readers and began to flip through the pages as if I was in a library instead of a silver and red diner in the downtown sector of Pandemonium Linear North. It’s a place like on the far outskirts of London but in perhaps a false reality; it was a different planet or maybe even a dream, someone else’s dream. Jennifer’s dream? It was hard to keep track of anymore these days. My life recently has resembled fizzing chemistry and often bright colored clouds of magic and it almost seems like yesterday that I was riding my horse through the dismembered town of Van Norton that lies on the shores of the great Sahara Sea. I suddenly felt sand in my teeth, and I took a big gulp of the coffee from the white cup. I felt the grit slide through the valleys of my soul.

The waitress slid a large, white, oval plate in front of me. The food looked wonderful. I set the book aside. She took interest. “What are studying, Johnny Oh?”

I removed the Welsh readers and looked up at her. “It’s a book about the most beautiful woman in the world. Her name is Jennifer, and she spends most of her life sleeping in a big bed high up in a castle that sits on a lonely hill overlooking an ocean. Some people think she’s actually a cat because she sleeps so much. But she’s not a cat. She’s a woman. A very beautiful woman.”

The waitress made a contorted face, and she wiped her hands on a white apron tied about her waist. “Doesn’t seem very exciting… I mean, reading a story about a woman who just sleeps. Don’t you have better things to do?”

I cut up some of the sausages and ruptured egg yolks with the pieces and then ate. She studied me as I worked my mouth and then swallowed. “It’s much deeper than that. It goes into her crazy dreams and her longing for real love. She has a very complicated mind.”

“But how does everyone know she is the most beautiful woman in the world if all she does is sleep and never go out?”

I took another bite of sausage dipped in warm yellow yoke. I wiped at my mouth with a paper napkin. I took a careful sip of the coffee. “It has something to do with blind faith,” I said to her in due time. I scooped up some beans. I gnawed on some mushrooms. I began to cut into a peppered tomato slice. “Wait a minute… I hate tomatoes. Why am I about to eat a tomato?”

The waitress scoffed at me. She shook her head. “You’re so weird, Johnny Oh. I might need to pass you off to someone else. I don’t think I can take you much longer.” She laughed in a teasing way. She scrunched her nose like something smelled bad but good as well and then she walked off.

I sat on a bench near a fountain in a park across the street from the red and silver diner that I mistakenly hadn’t told you had the name of The Oasis. The sun was bright, warm, brilliant, dazzling, nearly blinding. The growing heat of the day was beginning to make me fidget. Soft traffic ran along the street between the park and the diner. Tall, thin trees, like green hypodermic needles, lined the street on both sides. The street had the name of The Capshaw Veranda. Some quibbling birds gathered at my feet in anticipation of crumbs. “I’m sorry,” I said to them. “The only seeds I have seem to be locked away tight in my soul… Too far down for me to reach and toss out among your kind.”

A woman sitting with a young girl on the lip of the fountain’s circular stone wall leaned in and said to her: “That man must be crazy. He’s talking to himself, my dear. Don’t look over at him or he might get the wrong idea and follow us home. We don’t want that, now do we.”

I could hear her speaking perfectly. It was as if she were whispering the words in my very own ear, where the ocean roared. Then the young girl moved her mouth and said, “No, mama,” but then disobeyed her mother or aunt or legal guardian or whoever she was anyway. She glanced at me and halfheartedly smiled. The woman tugged on her arm. “What did I say!?” Then she slapped the girl’s face. The crack of the impact startled the birds at my feet to flight. The girl began to cry. A circus motorcade crawled along the street. People cheered. The girl asked if they could just leave the park and get a red balloon or maybe an ice cream. The woman stood and then reached down and yanked the girl to her feet. “Red balloons are a tool of the devil! Why can’t you ask for a golden balloon, girl. Golden balloons are the champagne blood flow of our universal god.”

 The girl looked up at her. She rubbed the tears away from her face with a small fist. “The one that comes in the bright light in the sky at night… Oh, heavenly night?”

The woman went to her knees to be on an equal level with the girl. Her heart was suddenly heavy for being angry with her. “I’m sorry.” She kissed her forehead. “You’ve been seeing the ships again?” the woman asked.

“Yes, mama.” The girl turned and pointed right at me as I sat in wondering stillness there on the bench. “That’s when I saw him last time. He came out of the light. He’s following us after all.”


The Tire Shop Space Lord

I was feeling a bit shagged and soggy on a wet day in a long-ago February of the regular world. I was driving my beat-up Mazda race car down the busy anal canals of this city when there came a bump and a thump and a wiggy woggy of one of my tires. I thought maybe I had hit a skunk or one of the green children of Woolpit.

I pulled off to the side of the road in a den of somewhere somewhat safe and took a look. I don’t know anything about cars, well not much. I can pump gas and put in windshield washer fluid and that’s about it. A mechanic could tell me, “You need a new Johnson rod in here. Be about three grand.” I wouldn’t know if he was bullshitting me or not.

Anyways… I got the car over to one of the local tire shops and they told me they could get to it in about six or seven hours. I glanced through the back shop windows and all the mechanics were laughing and goofing off. “Okay,” I said, and I handed over my keys and went to the seating area with all the other idiots.

They had the TV tuned to one of those home improvement shows where rich people boast about how much house they can afford. A female customer started crying when the guy behind the counter told her it would be $2,100 to fix her car. “I can’t afford that!” she cried out through her wet face. “How do you sleep at night!? This is robbery!”

“I’m sorry, mam. The cost of everything has gone up. We’ve got no control,” the man behind the counter told her. As if that would do any good. (And then he turned and winked at the invisible camera that’s always there).

“How am I supposed to get to work to get paid to pay for car repairs to a car I can’t even use to get to work!” She screamed. The man behind the counter reached for the phone to probably call the police, or the psychic hotline he readily used. As if that would do any good.

I noticed an older gentleman in unfancy clothes and who somewhat resembled the late, great Wilford Brimley sitting across from me. I could tell he was listening in on what was happening just off behind us. I could tell he was thinking, maybe not just about oatmeal and being grumpy, but real human and important things.

The woman who had been crying at the counter came and sat in the waiting area with us. Her face was red. Her eyes were wet and puffy. She reached into the small purse she had and retrieved some facial tissue to absorb her tears.

“They sure do get us any way they can,” the Wilford Brimley look-alike said to her from across the way.

The woman looked up at him. She tried to smile, but she just couldn’t. “They sure do. And they sure don’t seem to mind about it one bit. They sit up there in their fantastical kingdoms in the clouds, stuffing their pockets and getting fat while I’m down here working my ass off for them. And what do I get? More problems. More worry. More suffering. I’m half-minded to go tell them to just keep the god damn car and shoot me in the head.”

The Wilford Brimley look-alike man cocked his head as he looked upon her with warm pity. “I’m sorry for your troubles, mam. But today might just be your lucky day.”

She looked at him and snorted, disbelieving. “My lucky day? How could this possibly be my lucky day?”

“That’s right,” he said, and he leaned forward in his chair. “Do you know that I’m the only one who doesn’t have a car here to service?”

“What? Why? Do you just like to hang out in waiting areas at tire shops? That’s weird.”

“It’s not weird for you.”

“And why is that?” she asked.

“Because I’m the Tire Shop Space Lord… And I’ve been waiting for you.”

All eyes in the tire shop lounge grew wide.

The woman laughed as best she could. “Oh, boy. Not what I need right now.”

The Tire Shop Space Lord looked around the waiting area while the sound of an air wrench whirred back off in the shop, a tight grip on the nuts. “What do you mean by that?”

The woman sighed, frustrated. “I don’t need some bullshit prankster getting me worked up. It’s not funny. This is my life. This is serious for me. My livelihood is on the line.”

“Mam, I’m well aware of that. I’m not here to prank you or set you up with some kind of false hope. I’m here to help you.”

“Help me? Unless you’re prepared to give me $2,100 there’s nothing you can do to help me.”

The Tire Shop Space Lord got up from his seat and walked closer to where she was sitting. He stuck a hand in his pants pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. He carefully flipped through the bills with his fingers, the bushy white moustache that took up most of his face twiddled like a summer caterpillar as he counted to himself. He handed her the money. “Here you go. That should cover it and a little bit more for some gas and groceries. You look hungry, too.”

She slowly reached out her hand toward the cash. Her eyes were wide, her mouth was wide. “Are you serious?”

“Yes, mam. I’m very serious. Now, you take this and go over there and tell that fella to get started on fixing your car.”

“I don’t even know what to say… My, God. Thank you. I just don’t believe it.”

“And that’s just why I’m doing it,” and he looked around at everyone there. “Because you all live in a world where something like a random act of kindness and unselfishness is so hard to believe. That’s a sad thing.”

“Can I get your name, your number? I feel like I need to pay you back somehow,” she said.

“No. There’s no need for any of that.” He smiled at her. “You take care now,” he said, and he moved toward the door and went out of the building and into the remains of a blustery day like a vibrantly psychedelic Saint Winnie-the-Pooh.

A young man bathed in second-hand grief and grubby foolishness sat up and nodded at her. He had been watching everything with great interest. “You better check to see if that’s real money,” he said to the woman. “He might just be some kind of cuckoo puff getting his kicks messing with young gals.”

She flipped through the bills, felt them, studied them. “It sure does seem like real money,” she said. She put the cash to her nose. “Smells like money.”

“Is that right?” the young man said. He adjusted his grimy ball cap. “I guess it is your lucky day… But I sure do hope he’s not some old perv waiting for you out in the parking lot. You know, expecting a favor in return. You might want to be worried about that. He might snatch you up and carry you away.”

The woman wondered about what the young man said. Maybe it was too good to be true. Maybe she was in some sort of danger. Nobody does things like this. Not in this world. Everything has a price.

She stuffed the cash into her purse, got up out of the chair and went outside. The Tire Shop Space Lord was not in the parking lot. She carefully made her way down a grassy slope toward the busy street. She looked left, then right. Then she saw him. He was sitting all alone on a bench at a nearby bus stop.

And time rushed by quickly and the long, windowed silver minnow machine passed by her overhead and temporarily blotted out the sun. It paused at the stop where he was, and she watched the beam of light come down and touch him, and the ship drew him toward its lit belly and swallowed him like a reverse birth before shooting off to wherever they were from.


The Crowns of Pluto (5.)

For Crowns of Pluto.

I went to the hall of archives in the low whiteness of Cinderella City. It was all covered in a faint white dust. It was the place we collected ourselves in case we forgot. The hall was one giant book of all the history of man back on Earth — how we came to be, what we did, where we finally ended up. And now it all sat here in a hollow, silent shell to be revealed only to me now. Perhaps others will come from the sky or the tunnels or the clouds, but for now, I am its caretaker and sole reveler.

There was some serious moonlight on the edge of my heart as I went to the far end of the archives where there was a long bank of thick windows and directly beneath them tables with neatly placed chairs. It’s where the lonely ones would go with their books and their scripts and their digital pulses and they could look at the stars or the snowball as they read, studied, contemplated, disappeared into the wilderness of their own wavelength minds of tormented loneliness or rather bliss for some I suppose.

I took a deep breath. I couldn’t fathom what was wrong with me. But alas, of course, it must be… The loneliness. I moved closer to one of the windows and pressed a hand against it. When I looked out onto the surface of Pluto, it was somehow no longer Pluto. All I saw now was a gently flowing meadow of the most perfect greens and yellows that there could ever be. My entire existence was suddenly peace as I stared out at the vastness of the field below the wide gasp of all that is space.

Then there came the vision of the chair in the very center of the meadow. It looked like a very comfortable chair. It looked like a chair that one might find in the mahogany study of a professor. The fabric was royal blue in color, a dark blue, a perfect shade of enlightened death blue that shone deeply in contrast to the colors of the meadow. I suddenly became aware that the chair wanted me to sit in it. The oxygen levels must be low, I thought to myself. How can this be? And then the door that appeared, a simple door of a house on a farm with four pieces of rectangular glass in its guts, begged me to open it and step out. But wouldn’t I die? Why? Why would you want me to do this? I won’t be able to breathe. The Paper People were speaking to my mind of glue. I put my hand on the door and pushed. The air was suddenly warm and filled with the golden blessings of sun.

I waded slowly through the meadow. There was a slight breeze. The chair nearly glowed as I moved closer to it. There were sparse trees of knotted gray trunks and limbs, a few green leaves fluttering. I sat in the chair, and it fit me perfectly. I felt like a king. I was King Captain Willow at last.

I closed my eyes to simply dream and when I opened them there was a boy dressed in all white and he was just standing there and staring at me. “What are you doing in my chair?” he asked in a soft, innocent voice.

“Your chair?”

He moved closer. He looked princely almost with the way he carried himself.

“Yes. I’m the only one who is supposed to sit there. I won’t ask you twice to get out of it.”

“Certainly,” I told him and I got up out of the chair. “I didn’t realize it belonged to anyone in particular.”

He moved past me and climbed into the chair. He cocked his head and looked at me. His blonde waves of hair rolled and crashed in the wind. “What are you doing here?” he asked me.

“I came through a door,” I said, and I turned and pointed. “From over there.”

The princely boy craned his neck to look. “There’s no door there. I don’t believe you.”

“Well, there was door there and I went through it.”

He looked me over in awe and wonder. “You have strange clothes,” he said.

“I’m an astronaut. From Earth.”


“It’s a planet… Not much different than this one. You don’t know of Earth?”

The boy looked confused. “I never heard of Earth.”

“Do you live here alone? Are there others here with you?”

The boy looked down at his lap and then back up at me. “No. I’m the only one.”

“Then how did you get here? Surely you came with someone.”

“I’ve always been here. This is my home, my life. But if you came here from a place called Earth… Do you have a purpose?”

“Well, I swam across the solar system in a ship,” I told him. “I came here to study and learn and build and be part of a new society for my people.”

“Then there are others like you?” the boy asked, slightly alarmed.

“Not anymore,” I answered. “I’m the only one left. There were some problems and miscalculations. My only purpose now is to carry on my mission as best I can and hope someone else, someday, comes to join me… Before it’s too late. My name is Captain Willow. Do you have a name?”

“There’s no need for a name when you’re the only one,” he answered. “I just am.”

“Then I’ll call you Am… Because I must call you something.”

The boy looked small in the chair and he began swinging his legs and looking around. I began to wonder if he was tiring of my company. But where was I to go when I really didn’t know where I was?” I suppose I could just walk away and hope for the best, I thought.

He surprised me with what he said next. “I want you to take me to this place you came from, the place on the other side of the door. I want to see it for myself.”

“I don’t know if that would be the best thing to do. It could be dangerous. It’s very different than this place, whatever and wherever it is.”

He hopped out of the chair and stood as tall as he could for a boy. “I’m not afraid. I’m never afraid.”

I found him to be relatively harmless, and I thought that he even might come in useful in some small way. Perhaps he could lead me back to the door and to the station… And beyond those thoughts I did not know what else. “All right, Am. You can come with me. For now. But when I feel the need for you to come back, you must listen to me and do what I say. Do you understand?”

“I’m more than you think I am,” Am said. “But I suppose I will have to prove that to you… Now, show me the way to the place you came to be here.”