Delirious as a blowtorch and begotten in the luminosity of love — This is the infamous out-of-orbit literary journal that delivers storytelling fit for a gathering around fire. Home to unpredictable fiction, revealing personal essays, bitter social assessments, subversive hymns, underwater obscenities, uplifting bad news, veiled confessions, hints of the erotic… And maybe even some dicey advice.
Some say they only fall, but I say they walk among us. She walks among me even now. She would never admit to being an angel – I don’t think she believes in them. I would call her a guardian of the heart, if nothing else. She’s taught me to cast out the enemy love once was and replace it with the real spirit of it. And like angels usually do, she came out of nowhere one night when I was alone. She fell from the sky like a derailed comet and exploded everything that was already blown to bits – and what I mean by everything is everything in a good way. I’ve often wondered if I died and she was just helping me along down Heaven or Hell Boulevard – she has carved a soulscape of wonder, my wonder, her wonder, our wonder, two wondering wanderers standing still and cracking until they run into each other, from out of the air just like that – there was Gwenhwyfar.
She came down from the sky on a glowing escalator and I waited for her in the parking lot. But sometimes I think she was maybe there all along, maybe my entire life and I just didn’t see her because they can be invisible. She looks human. She has all the right parts in the right places. A great ass. There is a glow about her though, like sun coming up out of her guts at times. I would call her a beautiful angel. What else could I call her? She helps me when I have problems with life. She’s a pretty decent angel.
I asked her about Jesus, and she said he was a pretty nice guy – just a bit upset about what we do in his name. Gwenhwyfar told me she was an angel of words – the one who corrected the language of the universe. She’s beautiful like that. I’m surprised she eats actual food because I didn’t think angels needed it. She makes me a lot of frozen pizzas because she doesn’t like to cook much. She’s afraid she’ll burn the tips of her wings on the stovetop and that’s not something easily fixed. She watches over me like they say they do – a love never wavering. She can make it not so bad of a day when I am in mental Hades, roasting and getting stabbed, mentally and emotionally. She lifts me up and out of the ashes and shows me the true meaning of love. She is love. She is real faith.
And when the duties of our earthly days are done, she sits with me in the lamplit room of red, and I hold her in the stillness, an episode of House Hunters humming in the distance. I hold her face and tilt her head to kiss her lips… And in that last taste of her before she sleeps, I am fed love, and bow to the mending of a broken heart.
Author’s Note: You can read the previous episodes of this story by going to the Serials on Cereal tab in the menu bar at cerealaftersex.com.
I would have never believed it myself had I not witnessed it in the realm of real life, but there he was.
“Karl! What the fuck are you doing here!?” Roy blurted out loud enough for the whole world of the underground dead to hear.
Creepy Karl from Indiana held up a dirty, empty plastic milk carton. “I tried to stop you, but you just tore off. You all forgot your milk jug back in California. I thought I’d bring it to you.”
“I swear Karl, you’re cuckooier than a bowl of Cocoa Puffs,” Roy said, exhausted in spirit.
“No, no. I’m just trying to be a decent citizen of the world.”
“What kind of shit is this, Karl?!” Roy demanded to know. “You’ve been following us, and not because of some god damn empty milk jug. You’ve got some serious explaining to do or you’re liable to lose even more teeth. You’ll be swallowing them right down with a warm blood chaser after I punch you in the face.”
“No, now, Roy. There’s no need for physical violence here,” Karl said, and he craned his wrinkled neck to get a peek at me in the bed over Roy’s shoulder. “Oh. Looks like I might have interrupted a hot love session.”
“Roy! Get him the hell out of here. Right now!” I screamed out.
“You heard the lady, get the hell out of here before…”
“Before what?” Karl sneered. “Before you call the cops?” He moved up and down on the balls of his feet, snickering. “Now, that might not be in your best interest, Roy. You know, considering everything that’s transpired among you two and the outside world.”
I got up out of the bed, a sheet wrapped tightly around my body, and I went to stand by Roy and looked that son of a bitch Karl right in the face and pointed my pissed off finger at him. “You don’t know shit about us, so quit playing like you do,” I said to him.
“Well, on the contrary young lady, I do know a few things. Things like how you’ve been fornicating with an outlaw.”
“That’s none of your god damn business,” I seethed.
“But it is my business. And it most certainly is the business of those that I represent. It’s a sin. They know it. I know it. Seems like you’re the only one who doesn’t know it, or maybe you just don’t care.”
“I have no god damn idea what you are talking about, mister, and I don’t really care to,” I said to him. “Now, I’m going to go take a shower and when I get out, you better be on the other side of the Rio Grande, Karl.”
As I walked off to the bathroom, Karl called out something that stopped me dead in my tracks. He said: “Royal is wondering why you ran off with this here killer.”
I turned to look back at him. He was smiling some victorious smile like he had beaten me, beaten Roy, too. We were caught in some sort of web I didn’t fully understand yet. “What do you have to do with my husband?”
And just as he was about to speak, a beat-up car came pulling up to the motel with a bad-news rattle. There was a little lighted sign strapped to the roof and it read: Jim’s Clean Pizza. Roy glanced at me and said, “Finally. I’m so damn hungry.”
Roy went out and paid the kid and then came back inside with a plastic 2-liter of lemon-lime soda pop and a big cardboard box, and the room started to smell so good. It was that smell that told you that you were about to indulge in some delicious goodness sliding down your throat and into your hollow belly. Kind of like when Roy lets loose when he’s in my mouth.
I’ll tell you what, though. That damn Karl watched Roy all the way as he carried that box over to a little table and set it down, and I could tell he was going to ask for some damn pizza. Aw, holly hell. I’ve seen this fool drink milk and I sure as shit wasn’t looking forward to seeing him eat pizza. But Roy invited him to stay so we could talk about things. But the weird thing is, he didn’t ask me what I thought about it at all. I think it was a strategy to keep our enemy close as we worked stuff out. But I was already fast-forwarding in my mind to killing this lump of trouble and dumping him deep in the desert so the buzzards could carry him off to the afterlife in pieces.
Roy sat down, rubbed his hands together in anticipation, and opened the lid of the pizza box. “Hell yeah!” he said. “Meatballs, pepperoni, and black olives. Damn that looks good. Well come on you two, pull up your asses and grab a slice before I eat it all myself.”
“Those sure are small meatballs,” Karl said as he curiously peered into the box.
Roy chuckled through a mouthful. “I’m sure you know plenty about small balls, don’t you Karl?”
Karl gave him a stern look of disapproval, reached a spindly hand into the box, and retrieved a piece of pizza. “My balls are big enough, Roy.” Then he slurped the pointy end of his slice into his mouth.
“Well, I sure as hell hope I never find out, Karl,” Roy said to him with another laugh.
“Would you all mind not talking about your balls while I’m trying to eat,” I said to them, and then I filled some motel cups with that lemon-lime soda pop and passed them around.
“Sorry, Sally,” Roy said. Then he cleared his throat and looked around at our humble gathering. “This sure is weird as hell,” he pointed out.
“So, Karl,” I began. “What was this talk about my husband?”
He was tipping his cup back as I said this, and when he got it all down, he smacked his rutted lips and looked at me with a strange grin. Then he turned to Roy and said in an uncharacteristic tone and even with a different voice, “I think it’s time we tell her.”
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Author’s Note: You can find the previous episodes of this story under the Serials on Cereal menu tab above.
Roy Essence and I sat in a roadside diner somewhere in hot as hell Arizona. We were hunched in a booth by a window, our alterations in appearance fully intact, our voices low.
Roy forcefully tapped at the road atlas he had with the tip of his finger and said, “That’s it. That’s where we’re going.”
I glanced out the window at the brutal desert. “Where’s that, Roy?”
“Truth or Consequences. Now, doesn’t that just sound perfect for us?”
I turned away from the window and looked at him. “That sounds made up, Roy. Where the hell is that?”
“I thought you wanted to go to regular Mexico.”
“No. No. I changed my mind. Too obvious of a choice. We’d get caught up in a tangle for sure. But here,” he said, tapping on the road atlas again, “Here, we’d blend right in. We’d make out as just a couple of weary travelers. Smooth as pie.”
“But we’re not just a couple of weary travelers.” I looked around at all the other drifters on the great American road. No one seemed to pay us any attention at all. They were too lost in their own troubles, just as we were. “We’re in deep shit, Roy.”
He leaned back in the booth and glared at me. “Are you having second thoughts about all this?” he asked me. Then he leaned forward and clutched my hands in his and looked me dead in the eyes. “Because if you are, we’re going to have to end this. End this right now.”
A weary, beaten-to-hell looking waitress came by the table and set down a couple of Cokes, fizzing in glasses of slowly shifting ice. “Ready to order?” she asked, disenchanted.
“Can I get the chef’s salad without tomatoes?” Roy asked, looking away from me and up at her. “I hate them damn things.”
“Sure,” the waitress answered. “Nothing I love more than plucking tomatoes from a salad. A pre-made salad, mind you. But what the hell.”
Roy looked a bit uneasy, almost guilty. “And a fish sandwich. Crispy. Easy on the mayo. That okay?”
“Whatever you want. That’s what I live for.” The waitress nodded her head toward me. “How about you sweetheart?”
“Do you hate your job, miss?” I asked her instead of ordering.
“No. I love putting up with ass-grabbing knuckleheads all day. It’s what gets me up in the morning. Now, I’m here to get your order, not talk about my life. So, what will it be?”
I skimmed the menu quickly because I hadn’t completely decided. “I guess I’ll have the same, but I don’t mind the tomatoes.”
She wrote some things down on her little waitress pad, turned, and walked off.
“I don’t know how you can eat those damn things,” Roy said, shaking his head. “I’d rather eat tree bark.”
“No, you wouldn’t.”
“Yes, I would. And don’t string out conversation with people. We don’t need that kind of attention, Sally.”
I put my head down, hurt that Roy was upset with me. “I was just talking. She just seemed sad.”
“So. Isn’t any of our god damn business if she’s sad,” Roy scolded. “We need to look out for ourselves, not anybody else.”
I stared out the window in silence while Roy flipped through more of the atlas. When the food came, we ate without talking. Roy seemed to be far off in the land of a thinking man, and I was worried he was all alone in that place, meaning without me. Then I got to thinking that maybe I was starting to feel some regret about all this after all. But my future didn’t look bright any way I tried to picture it – either I was going to end up in some prison forever or I was going to have to spend the rest of my life running from myself and all the wrongs I created. I’d never be able to just breathe. Holy hell, Sally Dibbs. I felt sick to my stomach and excused myself to go use the restroom.
We gassed up and got back on the I-10. Roy slept as I drove. It was a long, hot rest of the day and we didn’t talk much. Roy cried out a couple of times in his sleep, like he was scared of something bad.
I got us through Phoenix, down through Tucson, and just over the New Mexico border when I tired out and wanted to stop. We found a little roadside motel and got us a cheap room for the night. Roy was dark and moody. He didn’t say much to me except, “Why don’t you order a pizza.”
I flipped through the little binder that the motel had there that showed all the restaurants and things to do. There wasn’t much, but I did find a pizza place called Jim’s Clean Pizza and I called them up and made an order.
“What the hell is a clean pizza?” Roy wanted to know.
I shrugged my shoulders at him. “I think it’s one of those places that only uses organic things in their food. You know, real natural ingredients.”
Roy scoffed and shook his head. “Organic. Out here? In this shit town in the middle of the god damn desert?”
“It was the only place they had listed, Roy. I don’t know what else you want me to do.”
He plopped down in the bed and turned on the television with the remote. “Whatever. I just want something to eat.”
I wanted to take a quick shower before the pizza man showed up, so I got undressed right there in front of Roy because even though he was being a grouch, I was hoping to stimulate him into giving me a good poking. I stood at the edge of the bed, right in front of him in all my womanly glory and he paid me hardly any attention.
All he said was, “Get the hell out of the way, Sally. You’re blocking the TV.”
“Why don’t you desire me anymore?” I asked him.
“You want desire?” he replied.
“Some sort of desire,” I answered.
He powered off the TV and came to me. He wildly pawed at my body as he kissed me. I was melting from the inside out and ready to go at it. He forced me down on the bed and pushed my legs open, and just as he was about to take on my taste, there was a frantic knock on the door.
“Aw, holy hell,” I said.
“Stay here and cover up. I’ll have you for dessert,” Roy said in a playful way, and then he went to the door.
But when he pulled it open, it wasn’t the pizza delivery guy. It was someone else, and it wasn’t good.
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