Tag Archives: Eggs

The Sour Scarecrow

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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.


All About Eggs and Life and Then Death

Fried egg with seasonings.
Photo by Megha Mangal on Pexels.com

He started his session by talking to the therapist about eggs.

“When I was a child,” he began. “My mother once reprimanded me at a restaurant for not knowing how to properly order an egg.”

The gray gentleman therapist in white leaned forward. “What’s all this talk about eggs?”

“Like I said, when I was a child, we were at a restaurant, just my mother and me. We were having breakfast and I wanted an egg, just a fucking fried egg. When the waitress asked me how I wanted my egg I said: ‘Fried.’ My mother lost her shit, but mostly on the inside. She looked at me with that fake smiley laugh and said something like: ‘But how do you want your egg fried?’ I didn’t understand what the hell she was talking about, so I repeated: ‘Fried. I want my egg fried, Mother!’”

“I remember her scoffing and tugging her white gloves off and slapping them down on the table. She looked up at the waitress, shook her head, and told her with a hand half shielding her face: ‘Over easy.’”

“I was confused. My head moved to my mother and then to the waitress and then back again. After the waitress walked away my mother scowled at me: ‘You’re such an embarrassment, Mildrew. An absolute embarrassment.’  I asked her what I did wrong, and she told me that I had no idea how to properly order an egg. We were in a fancy restaurant. It was one of those restaurants where people drank champagne with their pancakes and smoked cigarettes attached to long filter sticks and laughed out loud but not too loud. I might have been wearing a little suit for boys and possibly a wool cap. It was winter in New York. That’s where we lived then.”

The gray gentleman therapist leaned back in his chair and sighed with amazed wonder. “So, you feel you were traumatized by this event?”

“Of course, I was. To this day I cannot order for myself at a restaurant. I always must tell whoever I’m with what I want to eat, and they order for me.”

“Always?” the gray gentleman therapist repeated in question form. “But what about when you’re by yourself? Who orders for you then?”

“I don’t ever go out alone.”

“So, these other people who order for you. Are they friends?”

“Sure, I guess,” Mildrew answered. “But also, co-workers, dates, my priest once. I got him to say ‘fishsticks.’

“Wait… Dates? You have dates order your meals for you?”

“Yes. I have to.”

“Do you ever have second dates with these women?”

“No. Not ever.”

“Mildrew,” the gray gentleman therapist began. “This whole act of having other people order for you must end. You’re a grown man. You’ll never be able to maintain a relationship with a woman who has to be your mother.”

“But… I just can’t do it. I have way too much anxiety.”

“Let’s go back to the original event… Did your mother do anything else to you for not knowing how to properly order an egg?”

Mildrew looked down at the floor. “When we got home… She beat the hell out of me.”

“She beat you?”

“Yes. That’s what I said. Aren’t you listening?”

“I’m sorry. Go on.”

“She beat me with her soft white knuckles. They were so damn clean and tender and feminine. Then she tied me to a kitchen chair and threw eggs at me. One after the other they hit me in the face. I was covered in broken shells and tears. I was spitting runny egg slime out of my mouth so I wouldn’t gag and stop breathing.”

“How many eggs?”

Mildrew looked up at the ceiling and thought about it. “Two or three cartons worth.”

“And then what happened?”

“She untied me and made me clean up the whole mess while she sat there and smoked cigarettes and listened to a Johnny Mathis record at high volume. Chances are, ’cause I wear a silly grin the moment you come into view… She would laugh at me, too. She called me an ‘idiot.’”

“That must be a very painful memory for you, Mildrew… But I’m glad you’re talking about it.”

“You know something, doc?”


“Did you realize that if you put a break in the letters of the word therapist, you get: The rapist?”

A man getting a fried egg from a pan.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Dr. Micah Schism, the gray gentleman therapist, sipped at a silvery chalice of iced water with a lime wedge attached to the lip of the glass. He reached for the lime wedge and squeezed it over the water. Droplets dripped. He glanced over at a nervous Mildrew sitting across from him. “Are you ready for our exercise today?” he asked him.

“No. I’m thirsty,” Mildrew complained.

“And you’ll get something to drink when you order it for yourself.”

“Can’t you just say ‘Orange Fanta’. Just this once?”

“No,” Dr. Micah Schism said with a stern grin. “I won’t. I don’t even care if you die of thirst.” He took a deep gulp of his lime-squirted water. “Mmmm. That is very refreshing.”

“You’re being mean,” Mildrew said. “I don’t like this at all. I want to go home.”

“I’m not being mean, Mildrew. This is therapy. I’m trying to help you by forcing you to face your fears head on… Now. Here comes the waiter again. Do it.”

He was tall, young, and thin, and wore a pleasant smile. “Have you decided on a beverage yet, sir?”

Mildrew trembled. He looked over at Dr. Schism who was nodding his head in a gesture of go on. “I’ll have an Orange Fanta!” Mildrew loudly sputtered.

The young waiter’s shoulders sank. “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. We’re out of Orange Fanta.”

“Fuck!” Mildrew screamed, and he got up from the table and ran outside to the palm-tree lined street of a boisterous Los Angeles heavily clad in traffic and smog. He leaned against the outside of the building and began to weep. Dr. Schism came scurrying out and reached for Mildrew just as he began to slump to the ground.

It was weeks later and Mildrew sat on the soft lawn of the vast, rolling cemetery and stared at his mother’s tombstone. The sun was shining, and he was wearing dark sunglasses over his aching eyes. His clothes were wrinkled. His hair was mussed. He hadn’t showered in days. He lost his job. He wrecked his car. His cat died. He was on the verge of being evicted from his apartment. Dr. Micah Schism had given up on him completely. He was a hopeless case.

Mildrew stood and reached down for one of the three cartons of eggs he had there. He opened it. A dozen white, shiny Ork orbs poked up at him. He took one out and threw it at his mother’s gravestone. It made him giddy. Then he threw another and another and another until the entire carton was empty. He picked up the second carton, reloading himself like a war gun, and these too he violently threw at his mother’s now egg-caked tombstone. The engraved name of his mother, Arianna Shmoke, was glossed over with yolk and dripped with it.

After he emptied the second carton, he reached for the third and final one. This too he unloaded on his mother’s final resting place with a great fury, and he yelled out, “This is all your fault! All my problems are your fault! I hope you choke on eggs in hell!”

Once he was out of eggs and spent and panting like a dog, Mildrew collapsed back down into the grass and looked at the cranage he so artistically created. “It’s all your fault,” he mumbled one last time.

Mildrew got on a bus bound for Phoenix, Arizona. He took a window seat near the back. Once fully loaded, the bus coughed its black lung goodbye to LA and headed east out of the city.

The day was crisping over in a blue bruise sort of darkness mixed with orange and the opening act of stars in the sky when the bus pulled into a diner near Blythe so the travelers could get out, rest, and eat.

Mildrew stepped off the bus and walked across the graveled parking lot and into the diner. He took a seat in a booth by himself and pulled a menu out of a silver rack. It was sticky. He flipped through it. He didn’t even think about it, really. He was just moving and breathing and living and he suddenly didn’t care anymore if he was scared or embarrassed or even dead.

A waitress with large intelligent breasts came to the table and smiled at him. “What can I get you, honey,” she breathed in the tick-tock of dusk time.

Mildrew smiled at her without looking at her. His eyes went out the window and in the direction of a new life. “I’ll have a cheeseburger, medium-well, no tomato or onion. Crispy French fries. A chocolate malt… And can I get a silvery chalice of iced water with a lime wedge nestled into the lip of the glass?”


Grapefruit and Stars

person covered with plastic bag on head while holding sliced blood orange
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Tarnished and solitary
microscope the gods to the bone
the rubbermaid ache getting more desperate every day
darkened spirits grow more onyx
with each ocean passing of the sun
there is no carnival high-beam in my life
only shadows coaxing another sparse scream
when I walk through the wooded lands
clutch the trees and their dirty hands
the reeds like spears, like knives
a natural morsel of Easter Jesus candy
cutting the jugular jamboree in the egg garden
the neon blood spills silently onto the plastic grass
the bees and the flies and the gnats gather for a swim
they don’t recognize that the moon’s fluids
are completely full of marshmallow burns
of the oblong and stretched native aliens
and Earth leaves them rancid and shaky
any day
every day, all the way
flipping through the advanced-tech screen
washing away locked-down dreams
with laser beams and rabbit feet
to just dream inside a dream
where reality oozes through so sparkly distorted
yet so real and prophetic
the greasy heat like silver fast-food cell
the hotness of commerce rising off the souls of the unblessed
the air of a constant panic
what does waking and moving mean
anything, or delicious delusions again
sleep baby your pumped-up dreams
pay at the pump baby dream of sleep
broken down bag of checkers and bones
paralyzing love attacks, hybrid kisses
a swift kick to gravity and we all fall home
no rhyme or reason remains
I am sparklers in heat
a hose without a hand
a car driven by someone sleeping
a pounding at the door that will never be heard
lost and cast away on sand island at sea
like a dime store comic book dug out of an attic
blow off the dust
wipe the cover clean
what does it mean
merely trapezoidal trash
lonely counsel with the wind by an open window
the bees curve and dive
they make life, they churn spice
honey drips down broken wings
tears caress the memories of a painful way
pain inside out like custard mirrors
lavish buckets of discontent
the meat of a green cactus with flowered eyes
pierced by the thorn of the sun god
begging big blossoms to bloom
and then they are done
one last flaccid cough of color
and a gentle float to the earth
to disappear
to turn to dust or rust or unwilling lust
to be trampled by a new life
maybe not so nice
carrots or cartoons
negative nothing a laugh
negative nothing on a salad ranch
nothing for miles and miles
means anything close to porch kisses
pressing to this hollow can
this rusting skin
this decades-old man of aluminum foil
stretched thin and stuffed full of it
in a nation that loves to hate
in a world longing to dance and escape
in a universe of grapefruit and stars
memorizing every tick of time there ever was.

The Potion Maker

Bubbles chemistry close up color. For the Potion Maker
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He was blind about something as he drank milk from a tall glass and stared out the window. The leaves on the trees in his overgrown yard shook with autumnal fear. The doorbell rang. He hesitated for a moment, drained the glass of its milk, and threw it down into the sparkling clean sink and it shattered.

“I’m trying to focus!” he yelled out. The doorbell rang again.

He went to the front door and tugged it open. A young girl in a white uniform looked up at him. She was holding a basket, the contents covered by a white kitchen towel. “Hello,” she said. “Would you like to buy some eggs?”

He looked down at her, confused. “Eggs?”

“Farm fresh eggs,” she beamed, and she lifted the towel away and revealed to him the cluster of white ovals.

He looked down into the basket. “Are you sure they aren’t poisonous?”

“Poisonous?” the girl laughed. “They’re not poisonous at all. They’re delicious.”

The man rubbed at his chin as he pondered his present-tense situation. “If they’re not poisonous,” he began, “Then prove it. Come inside and cook one of those eggs and let me see you eat it.”

The young girl became concerned. She scratched at her polka-dot face and looked around at the surroundings and through his door and into this stranger’s world. It seemed normal enough. But then again… “I’m not supposed to go into my customers’ homes. It’s against the rules.”

The man sighed and looked out at the world around them, over her head and beyond. “I’ll tell you what… If you come in, cook one of those eggs and eat it, I’ll buy every single egg you have.”

The girl brightened. “Really?”

“Yes. But like I said, you must prove to me they’re not poisonous. The world is a wicked place and trust in others is very hard to come by. At least for me.” He stepped back and opened the door wider. “Come in.”

The young girl selling eggs stepped across the threshold and he closed the door behind her. “Come on into the kitchen,” the man said. “I’ll get you a bowl, a pan and a plate to help you do your magic.” He looked at her and she seemed troubled. “What’s the matter? Surely you know how to cook an egg, right? I mean, you sell them so you must be fully committed to your product, right?”

She tried to smile. “Yes. I know how to cook an egg. I wasn’t born yesterday.”

He directed her to the stove and retrieved what she needed. She set the basket of eggs up on the counter and pulled one out. She cracked it into a pan when it was just beginning to sizzle with a slick of fresh butter.

The man sat down at the nearby table and watched her. “What’s your name?” he asked.

“Penelope Witherspoon,” she said, focused on the egg that was frying before her. She gently shook the pan to check the consistency of the yoke. “I live on a farm down the road. My mother home schools me. She doesn’t believe in the formulaic indoctrination of the modern public school system. She wants me to be a free-thinking individual and not a robot destined to a life of servitude to our corrupt and soul-draining capitalistic system.”

“That’s good,” the man said. “Your mother is a wise woman.”

The girl flipped the egg and cooked it just a bit more before taking it out with a white plastic spatula and putting it on the plate he had given her. She turned to look at him. “Do you have any salt and pepper?”

The man nodded to the shakers sitting on the table like stoic chess pieces. “Right there.”

The girl brought the plate to the table and sat down. She reached out a hand and in turn took the salt and the pepper and shook some of each out over the egg. “I need a fork,” she said.

The man jumped up and retrieved a fork from a drawer and handed it to her. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Do you have apple juice?”

The man smiled. “You’re lucky. I like apple juice, too.” He went to the refrigerator and pulled out a plastic jug from within a forest of other plastic jugs. He poured it into a glass and set it down in front of her. “There you go,” he said.


“Wait,” the man said. “Don’t start eating until I get my phone ready.”

“Your phone?” the girl wondered.

“Yes. I want to make a video of you eating the egg… And surviving. Right?”

“That’s kind of weird. It’s just me eating an egg.”

“The whole world is weird, Penelope Witherspoon. We are simply adding a bit more to it.” He positioned his phone in front of himself and aimed it toward her. “Okay. Eat the egg.”

The girl cut at the egg with the side of the fork and brought a piece of it to her mouth.

“Look at the camera,” he commanded. “The world needs to see your face as you eat.”

She obliged him as she chewed, swallowed.

“Now smile. Act like you are really enjoying it.”

She smiled. She had big teeth that sat like aging tombstones losing their footing on the well-wormed ground of a spooky cemetery.

“Go on. Eat the whole egg… Don’t forget to drink the apple juice.”

She obliged him again. She finished the egg, drained the glass of its juice. She wiped at her mouth with the sleeve of her white uniform. “There. See. I’m perfectly fine.”

The man stopped recording and smiled across the table at her. “Okay. Looks like you were right. I’ll buy the whole basket. Let me just go upstairs and get my wallet from my bedroom.”

A few moments after he left her, Penelope Witherspoon started to feel funny. Her face felt flushed, her stomach felt odd. Her vison was beginning to do strange things. She suddenly felt very tired. Her head fell forward and thumped against the top of the table.

When the man returned to the kitchen and saw her there like that, he knew the poisoned drink had once again served its purpose. “Like a porpoise,” he grinned, amusing himself with the play on words. “A preemptive strike on yet another evil of the world. Young farm girls selling eggs door to door… What a preposterous plot. Why would they do such a thing?”

He picked the girl up and carried her out the back door and across his overgrown lawn and into the forest where no one but himself ever went. The wind chimes in the low branches made their peaceful song in a breeze as he slowly passed through as if in ceremony.

He took her to one of his favorite trees and set her up into a place where two thick limbs formed a junction, a cradle of sort. “Here’s another,” he said to the sky. “Take her to that better place you always tell me about but refuse to let me see for myself.”

The man stepped back and watched as the clouds above split open and released a beam of golden light from the universe. The girl absorbed it and then slowly she dissipated along with it and the storm in its wake churned like time going fast-forward. There was a quick blink, and she was gone.  

The man went back into the lonely, quiet house and cooked himself two of the eggs brought to him by Penelope Witherspoon, the girl from the farm down the road. He ate them. The only sound in the room being his fork scraping against the plate. His mind was struggling to remember what drinks he had poisoned and which ones he had not. He got up and drew water from the kitchen tap and drank that instead.

He cleaned the dishes and put them away. He took one last look out a window and then went up the creaking stairs to his bedroom. He got into his bed and turned on his side. He slept without closing his eyes.


The Egg Girl of Earth

Morgan Jane Solvent was clad in all creamy, sparkling blue, like a cornflower in the hot rain, that day I stepped into the restaurant and ordered a big bushel of breakfast because it was time to do such a thing.

Morgan Jane Solvent was the egg girl. Her fame came in the form of eggs on plates, plates cradled in spindly arms, plates delivered to tables uneventful. Her dirty-blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail and it flopped around wildly, left to right, as she walked and bee-bopped about the place. Her face was small and cradled fractured features — evidence of meth abuse sprinkled about: darting brown eyes sparkling like dying stars; a pointed, English nose; lips the color of bruised blood; a broken porcelain chin of delicate doll stature; skin like whitewashed buttermilk.

She resembled a puppet — a devotchka Pinocchio subtly panting to be split in two — as I could tell, as she talked rapidly, nervously about her favorite sexual positions and needing snow tires for her groovy love van because she was planning a drive to Albuquerque for the luscious holidays — she was nervous about that, it weighed heavy on her mind — the great pass, the snow, the ice, the treacherous conditions that could send her reeling over a cliff to crash and burn.

Even so, Morgan Jane Solvent was always giddy — somewhat too giddy, like huffing gas giddy. She smelled of perfumed sweat and steamy eggiwegg breakfast because the Yokester Café of Elicott West was always booming and banging, and Morgan Jane Solvent was always moving; swinging and swaying she was, as I watched her all along as I ate a Belgium waffle and a cup of mixed fruit — mind remnants of the olden days Oasis gig in Atlanta and the long, hungover crawl home to Oceanside bungalow and deep, disturbing sleep.

Sweet n Sour Chicken Morgan Jane Solvent would always try to make tippy conversation as she poured more coffee and nervously smiled, those not so sparkling lady choppers gleaming with too much spit when she talked through all the brokenness.

That particular sunrise spreading, some grand duke of douche at another table grabbed her hand like in a dream and yanked the wee jewel she had there on her ring finger. He dropped it into a cup of coffee — kerplunk. She looked at him all wild-eyed with passionate mouth gaping wide with luscious glory and wonder.

“What the fuck, man!? That’s my wedding ring, asshole!” The restaurant went to dead silence for a moment. Even the coffee was stunned.

I never heard Morgan Jane Solvent curse before; she had always been so polite, like fine pie; nothing like the dirty mouth that now spewed horrific ash at the customer who went too far.

Then the man blatantly used the Q-Town love van mind trick on her small brain with a slight wave of his hand.

“You don’t need to be married anymore. He’s a bolshy bastard and a twit,” he sneered then laughed. He reminded me of Bluto from Popeye. He even dressed the same — a tight navy-blue T-shirt, a sailor’s cap atop his head — and his black beard was wild and scraggly just like the cold seas he sailed upon in his fat boat.

He slurped at his coffee like a dime store hooker and sucked the hard ring into his mouth, swirled it around a bit, chewed on it, like a piece of sexy hard candy. Then he spit it back out on the table, it spun across the faux Formica like a toy top, shooting off shards of shine into the eyes of all that wandered there in the den of eggs.

“What time do you get off work?” he boldly asked Morgan Jane Solvent.

“Umm, 2, no 2:30 … why? What are you doing to me?” she said, suddenly pressing a hand to her forehead and swirling around in a panic attack.

A sweaty fry cook back in the kitchen was madly pounding on one of those little silver bells with his greasy spatula because some other order was steaming away beneath the red, radiant glow of the heat lamps that sat atop a shelf there.

“Morgan! Pick up!” the obnoxious prick yelled from the hectic back of the house.

She rushed away from the Bluto redux, and I relaxed in my place at the booth. I looked at my favorite Christmas watch — it was 122 after 112 — and then looked out the big, big window at the town and the city, the steaming, vibrating wreck of it all with a few squirts here and there of some decent stuff, but mostly slutty strips of shops, the fast-paced flickering neon, glass, cement, brick, asphalt, autos, traffic lights, billboards — too much mad rushing and shoving of petty shit in the faces of all the peoples that live here with I and the Egg Girl and all the other inhabitants — her now buttering warm toast with a big, oily broom back in the back all laughing out loud and groveeting with her co-workers, touching everyone with her fingers and her face like some needy drug fiend, shoving her awkward, wooden ass into everyone’s crotch and blowing kisses like a real piece of work. She was a social butterfly when she wasn’t being insane, and every damp crotch was a gas lamp, every smile a torch, every warm hunk of human flesh a bonfire for her to swarm and spit and spread.

Some Fiona Apple song started blurping out of the speakers wired invisible inside the ceilings they had there. It was that familiar sound of soft anger. I bit into a mushy grape and then a piece of unsavory honeydew melon as I listened to Apple, me then grasping a pen in the free hand, holding it to my jugular real careful, like a tattooed Picasso all hopped down on the fringe of drink ready to fill the veins with octopus ink so that I could write a novel all mad with eight tentacles and suction cups to keep the pages in distinct order on the walls of my place uptown that was now burning to the ground. Ass and ash, such is life.

Morgan Jane Solvent snuck up on my daydream and smecked some question like “More coffee, more anything?” her breath radiating like a dragon, all boozy with the scent of grape bubblegum and powdery drugs, and she held the jostling coffee cup and poured, and she poured too much, and some was spilling over the rim and the pointy pen was uncontrollably doodling all over the skin of my neck.

“Morgan Jane Solvent,” I politely, yet sternly, said. “You’re spilling coffee all over my new shirt and this pen is about to pierce my throat.”

She looked at me kind of funny.

“What’s the matter, you don’t like how I do my job?” she said with an innocent, smile and the fluttering of dumb midnight falsehood eyelashes.

“You’re doing your job just fine, but don’t you know that coffee burns. Coffee burns baby, coffee burns baby. You know, like that movie Rain Man.”

Some guy butted in, shaking his head at me like I was stupid. “No, no, no. You got it all wrong. It wasn’t coffee, it was hot water in the bathtub. He was burned by hot water because Tom Cruise was too busy thinking about chicks. He was being irresponsible.”

“Who in their right mind takes a bath?” I replied, turned away, not caring to hear his stupid answer.

“I love this song,” Morgan Jane Solvent said, looking up at the ceiling suddenly as if Fiona was right there singing from inside the light bulbs. “It makes me want to get in the back of my love van and do all sorts of dirty and animalistic things.”

“I’ll be on my way soon,” I warned. “Do you want to drop the eggs and go to the Green Head Storm with me and look out at the lonely sea?”

“I don’t know what that is. You make so little sense… But you don’t want to do dirty and animalistic things to me in the back of my love van?”

“We’ll find someone to pump you full of lead and then some later. You’re not my type. Besides, a zodiac-painted psychic told me that some beautiful angel with ocean water eyes will be crash landing into my life any day now, and I must put my faith in only that. Right now, I just want to get out of here, walk around a bit, get some fresh air for once. It’s all noisy and congested and hot in here. It’s bugging me, man, like that old guy Bono says. And I think you need to get away from this chaotic scene for a while.”

It was brisk outside and Morgan Jane Solvent clutched at herself tight inside her puffy pink jacket as we walked through a tempest of crinkled leaves and ice chips toward the Green Head Storm shore and the abandoned seaside piccadilly arcade there. It was one of my favorite places to just go and get lost for minutes or hours or days, the white brick tunnels cold and wet and hollow — the glass like broken mirrors, broken teeth, and beyond the cold sand leading up to the ferocious ocean with its lullaby churning making life lonely and sad or maybe even perfect for someone like me who longs to be alone in the mist, but then again, on this day down at Green Head Storm shore, a human calliope of piped espresso encased in uptight skin trailing behind in the blustery 100-acre wood wind and part of me just wanted to run, run, run mad like Tarzan swinging on the last thread of life and not really giving a damn about anything anymore in the boiling jungle down below.

Inside the old buildings that sat like the unworn clothes of a dead life, full of holes and hanging in a closet untouched for eons, with the cracking cement, the creaking floors and steps, and there were the musty smells of old wood and old time and old paper and old carnival food and the stale perfume of ghosts all mixed together in a burnt dead electric orgy of flashing memories inside someone’s fading mind and it made my bones and soul feel good and sick at the same time, made me feel like home where I didn’t live, made me feel like time standing still for once, the cuckoo all fluid nonsense in reverse now, not like all that constant rushing about in the hateful real world where sucking is success and slime ball stupidity gets you a ticket to a platform to rally the idiot masses, and for some reason not unlike fear I keep going just to get nowhere but the present-tense spinning and spilling in big, boring circles, merely catering to the flighty and ungrateful souls of chaos.

Once inside the lifeless caravan of once great architecture, Morgan Jane Solvent wandered about with wild-eyed wonder. She looked all strung-out and overdose blue and with a flair of elegant fail, all cracked bedazzled and full of dream flashbacks as her distorted face scanned the places we strolled along.

“Wow. I’ve never been to such a lonely and forgotten place such as this,” she said to me, spinning around slowly, and then nearly toppling over. “I don’t understand your attraction to this place… It’s so broken.”

“There is something great and peaceful about abandoned history,” I told her. “I know it sounds crazy, but what the hell, I’ve never been anything but crazy. It’s like a time machine for me. That’s my favorite movie by the way — The Time Machine — the one from 1960. It’s about a man who wants to escape his own time because the slice of it he has been forced to live in has gone completely awry.”

I looked over at her and she hadn’t been listening to me at all. There’s yet another reason for me to seek another time… No one ever listens to me. She was just taking it all in and I was invisible and then she cupped her small hands around her small mouth and shouted out “Hello! …” and her voice bounced and echoed throughout the place, for it was indeed empty, long abandoned like I had made clear earlier, dust covered and legitimately raped and ravaged by time. And I had the skeleton key that fit perfectly inside the hole buried inside my very own head.

Morgan Jane Solvent screamed loud like a lunatic and then laughed; then some great seashore bird flew from its perch somewhere in the shadowy ceiling like a molasses dappled spaceship, startled by her slaughtering, murderous voice, and out it went through a hole in a dome of broken glass above us, out to that aluminum sky rolled in bruise-colored sugar.

I leaned against a cold wall, and I was down, down, down, all of a sudden, like a light switch, like magic, like the snap of old, broken fingers.

Morgan Jane Solvent took notice of my despondence, and she then came closer to me and looked at me like was some freak in a human zoo surrounded by scarecrows with cabbages for brains.

“Why do you look so dark sky bleak all of a sudden?” she asked.

“Maybe I really do need a doctor to cut into me.”


“Something is not quite right.”

“What? What is it?”

I clasped my hands to my own swimming, tortured head. “This whole end of the world thing… I don’t think I can take it. It’s really gnawing on my root bitter nerves.”

“None of us can take it. It just is the way it is. But I do believe you are being a bit overdramatic. Time machines… What a silly notion. It doesn’t work,” she grudgingly scoffed.

I looked up at an old clock hanging down from an upside-down post. It probably stopped 43 years ago. “Tell that to time,” I said.

And a wave of something all broken then washed over me like the sea gurgling all bitter out there in the beyond of us and the old, ravaged arcade and its once bustling adjoining café and trinkets parade. I thought about all the ones I knew; the ones I loved, laughed with, held, kissed, wiped tears away from their faces, and I could taste the salt of their own broken hearts running down my soul and mingling with my own sovereign eternal ache and there was nothing left to do about it, but swallow and spit the blood. Love and joy all misguided. Love and peace a wayward missile. Love of life, a moment under street lamps at midnight, cigarette ash smiles caught in a wind tunnel, all that electricity will soon come to an end, like the last drop of water in the Dead Sea — and we just had to kill it all then, eh? — you baboons, you bastards and all your wayward ways — too hot to heal, too cold to kill, but kill it all you do, and now this, time takes its final breath in one cacophonous inhalation, like colored bulbs popping out one by one at a carnival, finally, the ride ends. No more puking, no more cheating, no more under-the-weather comas and promises coated in blood strawberry lies.

I finally looked up at her concerned face — that raspberry mouth made raw by the kiss of a winter’s invisible bludgeon twisted in sheer puzzlement.

“Oh, by the way,” and I had nothing else to say but this, “There was a big hunk of shell in my plate of eggs this morning. I hate that.”

“Really? I’m so sorry,” Morgan Jane Solvent, the egg girl of Earth said with real concern. “Well, next time you…”

And she stopped in mid-sentence.

I looked at my beautiful Christmas watch. It snowed in seconds and minutes. “There will be no next time for me,” I said, and that’s when everything began to move and fall as the Earth suddenly decided to flip over on its side, it wigged out, and then like in an instant, there I was swimming through the stars with everyone else, like drunken angelfish dizzily soaring through the wet womb of endless space with swords clamped in our mouths; it was the transition from this world to the next. We were relocating, on our way to a new home, way out there, with new bodies and minds, with new reasons to live and without these bullet-holed hearts — all of us now, on our way to a place with peace and quiet and a better breakfast.