My friend gave it to me 18 years ago and it hasn’t failed me once.
The songs cannot be organized into folders and are listed in alphabetical order. The Chemical Brothers and one Mazzy Star song came preloaded as a surprise. I’ve heard them too many times now, but I can’t ever seem to delete them. Like that one Rick Astley song that was once a daily joke, these are the voices committed to memory.
People sometimes ask me if I plan on getting an ipod. Or using a smartphone. Or upgrading to a newer model. But if it works, it works.
There was once just one. A long skinny line strung up in the sky carried voices. So many tunneled in. It seemed there should be two.
Two lines of communication running parallel could do the trick. One could carry half the load. The other, the other.
One kept quiet. When the other wondered about their share of the conversation, whatever was said remained silent.
Inside the telephone wire there were people with problems. Casserole recipes. Questions about estrogen. Their friend. Their friends. Their other friend’s friends. All day both lines heard the frequent chatter of others.
“As big as a watermelon.” One voice recounted.
“Babies are too fat these days.” Throughout time they transferred information to each other.
But the wires were quiet. Side by side they did not intersect. This was because one was the other. And the other was the other just the same.
The bellies of the beasts with the sickness and the death mated from each other’s navel gazing.
“Look how beautiful we are,” said the first to the second.
She was long and sleek with the coat of a rat. She had a head like one of a peacock. Tall feathers sprouted from her scalp. Like bright ideas they pointed high. All she could think of was the beauty of herself and the ideas, like her feathers, moved beyond her.
“It’s almost too much.” The second stared at his chest. He was made from multiple red hearts. Thumping in unison, he was a strong and steady rhythm: his body marched only for himself. With the blood of a thousand sons, his energy spiked mountains. His body was a gift from the Gods. He stared at his stomach, swollen from a feast, but suddenly noticed a hole.
“What is that?” The first said to the second. She pointed at her own belly in shame. She, too, had a tiny black hole and it was tunneling to the center of her core. She was sure she would have noticed had it been there before, but absent of its memory, she gazed. A dark emptiness went straight through her gut. A coldness spread wide.
The second stared at himself, his worry starting to grow. Poking their eyes as far inside as possible, each beast could not find the whole problem.
“Do you see anything?” The first asked the second.
“I see nothing.” The second said to the first.
The idea of a vast emptiness in the pit of such perfection was enough to make a grown beast cry. They curled their claws to reach and pry, but there was nothing to truly hold on to. They reached for themselves, but could not hold on. So they reached for each other in vain.
“I think I feel something.” The second said to the first.
After digging into crevices further against her flesh, he felt the sudden movement of acid. Unlike possible organs nourished in the blood of a belly, this was a wetness that was frozen.
Frantic with a mix of repulsion and curiosity, the second beast tried to melt her.
“What are you doing?” She asked with no answer. He was finding himself inside.
The acid crept closer to the ridges of her body, but it never once warmed to his touch. When it stung the sides of his clawed and gnarled fingers, he immediately retracted in pain.
The acid had melted. Trailing against his skin, it tunneled through his stomach for the chance of an easy spot. His own body was contaminated. Like a hollowed out fish with a lifeless disposition, he could feel the clearing of his hearts.
One heart stopped beating. And then another. His strength began to fade.
“What have you done?” He said to the first, but she had no answer to give him. “You’ve infected me. You’ve made me sick. You’ve given me your own poison.”
She stared at the beast, now scrawny and deflated and shook her head side to side. “I’ve got nothing of my own. I’ve got nothing to give. Whatever poison you have was your own.”
It’s hard being the sharpest one in the room. At first I thought it was fun because everyone told me how clever I was. I slashed through a jungle of misrepresentation when someone once called me cruel. Like paper cuts, but stronger, they went to pieces when I was done.
Is everyone who is considered smart also considered mean? Only the dumb are allowed their innocence. Only the smart are truly persecuted. When I told them I was right and that they were always wrong, I knew I proved my point with exact precision.
Two buildings, almost touching, stand next to each other on a skinny side street. They are stained with the shadow of phone lines, but the connection is lost. From the alley crack smooshed between them, a paved road separates one from the other.
Two cups sat one on top of the other, upright and full to fat. They bulged, the top hanging over the bottom, while the bottom cup burned underneath. If the kettle was like other kettles, there would be only one. Each cup could be separately cherished.
Curled together with vines that twinkled, they thought of themselves as bright. Too bright to be in this predicament. But too tied to get away.
One afternoon, when they were shuffled out to a low sitting table in the den, the cups felt heavier than normal. They would never belong to a woman’s full attention. They would always share their afternoon in the sun.
The bottom cup lurched to the kitchen and felt its liquid shift. The top cup moved away.
“Move toward the one that loves us most.” The top cup said to the bottom.
The bottom cup looked at their guest. Bored, chewing at her nails, a half-eaten bear claw remained on the dish.
The bottom lurched. It inched closer to the sink. From a slant, the two began to topple.
When they faltered and staggered, splashing tea to the ground, it was the bottom cup that finally cooled off. It was mopped up and drained out, but the cups remained dazzling. Their love was now filled from their shapes.
I’m new here as you can probably tell by the moving boxes set out on the curb. I was going to call someone to remove them right away, but then I thought about the neighborhood. I thought, why get rid of my old treasures when somebody else might enjoy them just as much as I did?
So here’s what we’ve got.
A rainbow throw blanket from the 70s. This is real. The guy I used to live with gave it to me when he was in college and there’s minimal damage. Blanket may need a wash, but I’ve found a lot of people like the scent.
Round pillow speaker. I don’t know if you remember, but these were really popular about twenty years ago. You can fall asleep listening to music on a soft plushie. The speaker still works, but there is a high, whale-like, sound every few minutes. I think Britney Spears had one.
Gold. This might not be real gold, but it could be. I found it inside one of my pockets the other afternoon and I’m guessing one of the kids from the old house shoved it in there. But it could be real gold.
An assortment of buttons, coins, and movie stubs. These are antiques. The only reason I’m not saving them is because of my allergies.
Again, I’d totally call someone to haul this stuff for me, obviously it’s not a cash-flow issue, but I just figured, sharing is the neighborly thing to do.
SarahDandtheKttens: Are you the house with a metal rocking horse in the front?
AnneCommings1953: Isn’t there a dumpster on 7th?
UnicornMadness: I don’t appreciate the depiction of horses as simply tools for riding. I have a horse and she is very intelligent.
AnneCommings1953: I really think the dumpster is empty. Nobody uses that dumpster. You could put the horse in there too.
LampShade: Are you selling the buttons individually?