The Kettle

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.  

The Server

Name: Server

Interested in: User

About Me: I grew up all over the world. Did you live in Texas? Bulgaria? Wherever you are, I can be there. 

I am extremely loyal, outgoing and trustworthy. Some of my friends describe me as having a secure presence. Do you like security? I like security. But if you don’t like security, I’m cool with that too. I live for the energy of others.

My Ideal Date: Someone who knows what they want. Or what they don’t want. Either way, I’m totally flexible. I don’t want to play games just to figure out who you are. But if you like games, that’s also cool. Whatever you want, really.

I’m straightforward and optimistic. Most people think I’d make a great partner. Are you interested in a strong connection?  If not, it’s alright. But if you are, I can be as intense as you want.

I like a person that’s fully available. I’m available 24/7. If you need me, I need you. Just tell me where and when.

Favorite Book: The Missing Link by Brandon Meyers

Favorite Song: I would die 4 U by Prince

Three Things I Can’t Live Without:

  • Direction
  • A strong connection
  • You

If you’re interested in messaging me, know that I will always get back to you. My response time is immediate. 

The Kiva

Deep in the desert, it almost looked dead. Beige dirt and tufts of bushes were all the eye could see. But below the eyes and below the brush, mutated life still lived.

The best mutant, a tiny rodent-like piece of fur with lizard eyes and a sandpapered beak, tried to make itself invisible. 

Nobody will see me under the brush. 

The mutant curled closer to the roots. In the daytime this worked well and he could watch the others scatter as they pretended not to be scared.

There were big ones. The size of basketballs with rubbery mouths and black tongues. There were tiny ones. Insects with 9 legs and a limp. All of them to be carefully avoided.

At night it was cold. Freezing winds and chattering teeth, the mutant needed a break. Any break. A hole in the wall of a cabin. The inside of a hanging cliff. He knew there was nothing available.

In the distance there was smoke and the round mouth of stucco. An outdoor fireplace. A bellow of gray. A kiva. 

You can use me to keep you warm.

The kiva said.

I have a fire in my mouth that won’t go out. Sit, stay awhile. It will be fun.

The kiva said.

The fire didn’t look out of control. The warm glow from inside reminded the mutant of a perfectly proportioned potato, but with spark. He’d heard of the fires before, untamed and spreading throughout the brush. This was not half of that. 

You’ve come such a long way. 

The kiva said.

But then the mutant remembered the skulls. Wide, gaping mouths hollowed out as if they were screaming. They were littered throughout the desert. Some were cows. Some were undefinable. The distinct smell of char lingered.

You must be tired.

The kiva said.

The mutant noticed a few dead mice at the corner of the building. Their mouths, too, were open. Gray mice. They were not black. Not charred. They must have died from something else.

The mutant shivered.

What will you do without warmth in the night?

The kiva asked.

The mutant could not find an answer. He saw nobody else like him for miles. Except for the one possibility of another who had been ripped by something else. A simple beak stuck out of several weeds. It could have been trash. It could have been plastic.

I don’t know.

The mutant said.

I really don’t know.

The kiva illuminated the desert with one bright smile. Mutants scurried in the wind. Bigger mutants. Prickly puckered mutants with six furry legs and giant yellow teeth. They would eat him. Without a doubt. For dinner.

Why not just stay here? You can get warm and figure out something else for tomorrow. 

The kiva said.

Climbing up the brown structure, the flames flickered higher. 

Just on the edge, the mutant thought. I’ll just sit right on the edge.

In the corner space of the mouth, the mutant sat on its ledge.
It was warm.

He was happy.

There was nothing else to be said. 

The Books

books

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.

The Dating Photo

climber

Once, when I was much younger, I was amazing. I showcased expert sand castling in rubber ducky swim trunks off the shore of Ocean City. Back then I was a polaroid, not a dating photo with a lot of white space. The quality was clear: I was the favorite.

Then I ran through the CVS 24-hour development center. I displayed a new pair of acid wash jeans and a mullet. I stayed away from refrigerators and landed in the door of a 10th grade girl’s locker.

Now, I prefer to think of myself as a concept.

Thinning hair? I blur the lines. Blotchy skin? I turn on the sepia. Last week I presented a sense of adventure in the wild flowers of an unknown countryside. The setup? Perfect.

I like to blend a touch of beauty (sensitivity, really) into the online world of dating. By focusing on the backdrop more than the profile, I can speak without talking: I am deep. I am solitary. Most importantly, I am free.

At first I was discouraged. Nobody was responding to me. There were no dates and in their absence, my photos began to multiply. Spawns from the nature photo developed Athletic Photo and Travel Photo. These slightly different images said things like “I am sophisticated, but still know how to shoot a bow and arrow through a campground.”

The silence was deafening. Other photographs, photographs that came nowhere near me, sported long hair and flying, animated butterflies. How did they get there? I gazed at filtered lighting, girls on hammocks and many, many bikinis. These photographs were out of reach.

I wrote to the other photos using as little words as possible. An emoticon. A winky. No, not a winky: a face with devil horns.

No dice.

When two months passed, I finally surveyed my competition. I braced myself for higher resolution. I hoped they were all old. Photograph through photograph, I started to relax my swiping.

Thank God, I marveled. We’re all just the same.

The Couch

sofa

 

4/2/2009 

For Sale: Like New Couch $150

Purchased this couch from an antique dealer last month for $800. Couch sports a rounded back with real wooden frame. Complete with claw feet and down padding, this gem would make a fine addition to any home.

The couch has a slight vintage scent to the cushions, possibly from incense or cigarettes, but goes unnoticed fairly soon. The stripes are lined with gold thread, all hand stitched. While precise in design, there are some tiny holes toward the back frame. Fingernails are easily removable.

Couch has plenty of character and adds an ambiance you and your company will never forget.

Immediate offers only. I can deliver for an extra $50.

 

24/11/2013

Seeking Professional: Need My Couch Fixed

I need my couch fixed. I don’t want to pay much money, but willing to trade. Couch is rough, but solid. Friend gave it to me last year and it smells a little like citrusy bubble gum. There’s some feathers coming out of the back, but I patched it with garbage bags. Still needs help.

I’m willing to trade VHS tape collection, stack of Tom Clancey’s or non-working Vespa.

All four legs work. Two legs missing.

 

18/9/2018

$20 COUCH: corner of 8th and Springfield/PICK-UP ONLY

I’m moving next month, but I had to get the couch out. It’s a nice couch – pretty stable all things considered. Couch has been in the living room for a couple of years, kept meaning to replace it, but never did. It’s comfortable and there are no springs. Smells a little spicy.

There are a few minor details: The thread on one of the stripes is unraveling. Two of the legs are a little wobbly too. On the top right shoulder there are 3 stab marks, but the down is still intact. All down has not been removed from when I bought it. Original down is vintage and does not smell.

Will not deliver anywhere. Must pick up immediately.

 

22/6/2020

Missed Connection: Striped couch by 7/11

I thought I saw you. First I thought, no way, it can’t be the same couch. But then I saw the garbage bag patch-up you taped to the back. I tried to move it off the street, but the legs kept breaking off. First the front one went and I thought, eh- that one was always crap anyway. But then the second one flew off and I couldn’t grab it fast enough. I threw most of the couch into a cab and tied the remaining half to the door. The driver said it was in violation, but we almost made it home. I don’t know what happened to the other half. I’m guessing it’s by the chicken place. If you find it, let me know. I’ll pick it up for free.

The Platform

viral

 

Viral Service Briefing

Platform Site: MyHome

Tag Line: Where going viral is fun again!

 

Brand History: We, at MyHome, started off as a small site mainly used by shut-ins. By providing moment-to-moment, live analysis of Car Talk and People’s Pharmacy, a healthy community was born for folks interested in learning the social world of the wide web.

While other social media platforms emerged with their own messaging software, we stuck to classic chatroom communication for minimalist information such as  A/S/L. Gradually, as an increasing amount of users divulged more information, they grew bored with the same advertisements targeted specifically for them. At MyHome, nobody knows what kind of paid content they might see.

Demographics: MyHome is currently designed for those who are stuck indoors. Whether self-quarantined or living without a car in an assisted living or hospital facility, social distancing does not require isolation. Those who particularly enjoy MyHome are roughly 50-75 years old with limited cooking ability. Instead, they prefer to upload blurry, digital pictures of home-made, boxed brownies and post them for friends to see. These friends then re-post the homemade brownies, assuming others won’t know it’s somebody else’s photograph. Once the homemade brownie photo has been shared multiple times, another cooking success must be documented. This information, while somewhat misleading, will inform everyone that everyone is baking.

Our Sponsors: Sponsors include products that, while not technically relevant, still exist. Duracell, SanDisk, KikWear and Sharper Image are just some of the important brands we find crucial to our development.

Quarterly Goals: MyHome does not strive for large economic growth. Instead, MyHome is a process that explores the inner depth of communication through online existence. Without a physical presence, we feel MyHome can break down the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction in an effort to build the ultimate viral performance. For this quarter, MyHome nurtures the motivation of many would-be bakers and cat-owners to upload the most generic photos possible so that anybody could be responsible for their content.

Emergency, Get-Out Plan: Should our platform cause any political, social, financial or ethical complications within an online or physical reality, we are fully able to infect MyHome with a mutated virus. In the event of a pandemic, all social-distanced socializing can be heard over People’s Pharmacy.

 

The Fluff

Fluff

 

Name: Gwenyth

Age: No expiration date

Location: Way in the back

Favorite Song: Lips Like Sugar – Coldplay

Favorite Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

 

About Me: I really just like to have fun. I know that everyone says they really just want to have fun when actually they just want to hear someone else talk about their fun. But I actually just want to have fun. I’m a huge dreamer. I love star gazing (Gemini). I like to visit the rocky beaches of New England just to experience the amazing sounds of nature. I love nature. Almost as much as I love fun.

About You: Preferably over 14. I like a lot of physical affection, especially at family functions. If you’re confident, I will probably like you no matter what.

Best First Date: I want someone who likes to talk about existentialism in the form of stars. I’m really interested in thinking past the earth’s hemisphere so that we can get to the heart of who we truly are as universal characters. Whether we’re camping in a rainforest or providing care and loving support for underprivileged children, I want someone who is a human being and not just a human doing.

 

Deal Breakers: No David Foster Wallace. No Jean Renoir. I don’t need a lot of fluff in my life.

The Roller Skate

rollerskate

 

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. 

The Rat Poison

poison

 

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 fox. She had a head like that of a peacock. Tall feathers sprouted from her scalp like bright ideas pointed high. They were out of reach. 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 expansive chest made entirely of beating 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 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. Coldness was hiding.

The second stared at himself. His worry was starting to grow. Poking their eyes as far inside themselves as possible, each beast could not find what they were looking for.

“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, reaching and prying into the depths of the nothingness. They reached for themselves and when they couldn’t hold on, they reached for each other in vain.

“I think I feel something.” The second said to the first.

After digging into the 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 cold.

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 was out. Trailing against his skin, it tunneled through his stomach for the safety 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 disease.”

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. What are we without our disease?”