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?
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.
Once upon a time there were books. Hard angled, sharp cornered rectangles with slivers in between. Slippery inked characters ran the page black and white. No color was necessary for pictures made of letters.
The books were complicated. Happy, but conflicted. Arrogant with the self aggrandizement that can only come from small sizes, the books had something to say.
“The History of Mankind”. Medical journals devoted to all aspects of the chest. The hunger of a whale.
“Don’t forget,” they all seemed to say. “I’m still here.”
Books went into shelves and then several cases. Crammed together with no structure, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town sat next to Lonesome Dove, stale Atlantic covers and Allure magazine. Too many words clanged against one another.
“This is too dusty a life these days,” McCall could be heard complaining.
“Have you tried page whitener?” Beauty magazines were shoved to the back.
The direction was unclear. There were words of self help. “Don’t think: Just Do.” mixed with fairy tale warnings, “always listen to your mother-in-law.”
When the book cases were full, they were kept in kitchen cabinets. Out went the dishware. Out went the pans. Words stayed in cramped spaces and roll-out drawers for silver.
When the kitchen was taken over, books piled under the bed. The sneaky books took to hiding. Narcotics Anonymous. How To Be Single. Ipod for Dummies. Quieter, but ever present, there they stayed. All the books. Softly chattering throughout an apartment worth of sentences.
Once upon a time there was not enough space. With every story came inches lost. Ingested into the head, they moved from the physical sphere to the mental and when it was time to go, they came with. Boxes of characters in square structured places. All books find a home.
I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, but I am nobody’s key.
They rolled in hot pink bubble gum, but stuck to the sides and bleed. Roads for miles with streets past the corner, the ground is stretched on neon. They roll past gravel and pave plumping stickiness until nobody is left to deceive.
I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, but there is no actual key.
They could leave if they want to, but actually they can’t because people can’t roll the same way. People head home. People go to work. Their feet got stopped up in sweetness.
“I’d go if I could, but I just can’t move.” The path is too pretty to leave.