Monday, October 31, 2005

Part II, Chapterlets 3.2 & 4

3.2
The coroner slaps the light back on before he is fully into the room. He moves to the side of the body at a trot. He puts gloves on, latex snapping against his wrists. He feels the sides of the head again. There. He had almost made it to the break room before it even registered.
He turns the head slightly, so that the sinistral aspect of the skull is uppermost. He moves his thumbs and forefingers carefully, slowly parting the thick hair covering the scalp. He clucks his tongue. There is a shallow, bloody groove running for six centimeters along the side of the head, terminating behind the left ear. No one saw it, hidden as it was by the hair. The state of the wound makes it seem to have been made at a time consistent with the injuries prior to time of death.
He taps the mike switch with his left foot and makes a note. He tugs off the gloves again, grabs a clipboard, and heads out to the hall way, the hydraulic door hissing as it jerks halfway open. He waits for it to glide the rest of the way before he steps out. Not just two altercations, then, but two attempts on the boy’s life. One simply more successful than the other. He follows the receding reflection of the overhead light along the basement corridor, heading for the elevator. He tongues a cut on the roof of his mouth, trying to remember who works the night desk over in Homicide.

4.
Bones rolled over and spat out the blood that had almost made him throw up in his sleep. He hacked up small bits of bile and spit those out, too. Then, he realized that his arms and legs were burning, little picks and pins of fire from the blood finally reaching his extremities again. He was no longer cold. So, he was inside somewhere.
His face and head were pounding. He reached up behind his left ear, remembering the blue arc of light that had connected him, however briefly, with the superstructure of his life. His hair felt cold and tacky. Blood. He shuddered. Tino—or somebody—had shot him in the head. And fucked it up. Suddenly, the room seemed all angles, high and away somewhere.
He tried to push up to his knees and nearly fell. Realizing he was inside was one thing, but now he forced himself to think about exactly what was going on. He was halfway up on his knees, balanced inelegantly on a desk. He winced as he saw the blood and flecks of filth and dark spittle he had sprayed onto the leather blotter pad in front of him.
He was in an office, dark wood paneling all around. He got to his feet slowly and tried to stretch. The blood moved to his brain in a flood that left him tingling and ragged as the lights dimmed further and came back up. He winced as his head began pounding some more.
Someone was watching him from the leather armchair in the corner of the room. He should have been startled, but he wasn’t. Perhaps it was the shock setting in, but he was more fixated on the eyes that stared out at him from the armchair than frightened of them.
As he refocused, Bones could see that it was in his interest to look only at the eyes. The rest of the face might have made him throw up. He wasn’t normally prone to it, but with his stomach still twisting because of the blood trickling down the back of his throat he didn’t know if he could help himself.
The skin of the watcher’s face was slick and pinkly gleaming on the brows and the bridge of the nose. Bones decided it was a very old man. The face was a mass of half-healed scar tissue. He concentrated on the eyes. The whites were yellow. There seemed to be a trace of an epicanthic fold in the corners. Certainty shot through him, giving him violent shakes that came near to making him black out.
It wasn’t until he managed to open his mouth that he realized his jaw was clenched so tight that he could feel the roots of his loosened teeth moving in little twitching jerks in his gums. Bones forced a quaking breath and licked his lips. He tried to smile. The eyes seemed to return the sentiment.
As his knees gave out and he moved quickly back into sleep, Bones managed to say this by way of greeting: “Fucking Henry Lee.”

Saturday, October 29, 2005

All Hallow's Ween

Tonight, I am Lex Luthor. Pictures will follow, somehow, some way. In order to do this, I did, of course, shave my head bald. Like, shiny. And I gots no beard.

I have also added Lex's new Black Kryptonite ring to the ensemble, by way of Matt and Anette's suggestion. You heard me. Mainly because the normal variety clashes with my suit. In any case, as long as it's in Supergirl and not just on Smallville, it's canon. Q.E.D., bitches. It just so happens that my Black Kryptonite ring is made of Gold Kryptonite. It also has White Kryptonite insets.

Literary posturing will probably resume on Sunday.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Draft I, Section II: Chapterlet 3.

3.
Denver and Brady. This wasn’t it, but he could see it from here. He leaned the bike up against the brick wall of an alley. Up, over his head, a light mist was descending. Soon, it would be pearling on the sleeves of his sweatshirt. His whole body shuddered, cracking his spine like a whip. This was a much shorter bike ride on a summer’s day.
He needed to get warm, stay dry; pneumonia came out to play in this kind of weather--hiding around corners, waiting to jump out and into your chest. Bones laughed. Another would-be poet dies of a lung disease. The shit Kennedy expected him to just swallow. He moved uneasily from foot to foot. His mom would probably say it looked like he was standing on a stranger’s grave. He laughed again, quieter. Always feels stupid to laugh by yourself. Or crazy.
A trick of the mist made the gleaming white milk tower appear as if seen through the dark concave plastic viewing bubble of a child’s big toy. The flood lights lighting it were hissing and popping as water touched their superheated surfaces, but the light didn’t seem to touch the tower itself. Or, maybe the tower seemed like another feature of the sky, a simple extension of its darkness, and, as such, its obscurity was immune to any light but that of the sun. The tower was just one of many modes the darkness could fall into and move about in, like an actor rehearsing a part.
He checked the time on his cell phone. The led screen was a different kind of bright. The screen blurred with mist before he could focus on it. She was late.
A group of three teenagers came around the corner. The street was oddly quiet for this time of night. It made him turn slightly and look at them slantwise. The bars should have been letting out, Cain’s or the Brady should be spilling out their Friday night concerts into the streets to wander back to their cars, laughing, stumbling, talking too loud because of the ring in their ears.
The absence of other people on the street made him uneasy as they approached. They seemed to be talking to each other. Not loud though. They passed a puddle and the reflected light from the streetlight across the way and the floodlights above showed him their outlines. Baggy pants. Long leather coats. Short hair that shone.
As they came closer, Bones shifted his weight, leaning back into the shadows, tried to get his back up to his full height, tried not to be noticed. No, not quite, he tried to be noticed as not worth the trouble. 6’4’’ Mom had always said not to slouch. Now, with the paranoid specter of violence surfacing in his brain, he could tell why. They were all three looking at him. Whatever happened was going to be 90% bluff. They slowed, spread out slightly and stopped, facing him. 70%.
“Where you from?” Great. Not only were they gang bangers, they were clichés, too. Still, they didn’t seem nervous. 60%.
“I’m sorry?” Bones used the deepest register he had. He leaned his head forward and to the side, as if listening. The one on his right tapped the one standing in front of him with the back of his hand. The head motion didn’t make them respond at all. They were either oblivious to his reach, or they were unconcerned. Shit.
“I said, ‘What time is it?’” He inflected that strangely. He had an accent.The one on Bones’s left snickered.
“Quarter after eleven,” Bones said, leaning back against the wall. “We’re right on time, then. Tell that bitch Kennedy, ‘Tino says hi.’” Something small inside of Bones slipped a little. They moved forward. He pushed off the wall at an angle, catching the one to his right in the middle of his gut viciously with his left knee as he slid by. He heard a grunt and took off running. Something hot and blue connected to the back of his left eye. He smelled blood. He fell, legs still moving. The concrete was cold, even through the numbness he wore like a mask. He went to sleep, but, as he slipped off, something hard kept pushing at his face.

Friday, October 21, 2005

First Draft of Section II: The Momentary Body, Chapterlets 1-2:

1.

Bones grabbed his hoodie off the back of his chair and stood up. He could feel the familiar masses of his iPod and his DS slap his hips as he flipped it over his back and shoved his arms in both sleeves. He folded up his Calc notes and the poems he was working on and slipped them in his back pocket, behind his wallet. He hit the light and slipped out into the hall.
He was stepping around the loose board under his Dad’s framed Masters in the hall when his cell phone beeped twice. He winced. It was quiet, but if he could still hear it through the fabric of his pants… Hurrying down the hall and across the foyer, he had just passed the threshold into the kitchen when he heard his mom call out from the den. “Deforrest?” She was high-pitched and nasal, like the whine from the TV. Drunk or getting there. If he stopped to answer, there’d be no leaving the house, Friday night or no.
Thumbing the lock on the knob, he let the door shut hard enough to rattle the plates hanging on the wall by the kitchen table. If he made enough noise, maybe she’d think he wasn’t sneaking out. Either way, if she heard him leaving, she wouldn’t come looking for him. He went down the steps from the garage into the back yard and vaulted over the fence.
He was reaching for the handlebars of Adam’s bike when he remembered the text. He fished around in his corduroys until he found his phone. Damn, it was cold. He thumbed the buttons as he straddled the bike. He let out a low whistle that was almost a sigh. The whistle turned to a stream of visible vapor lit up by the flood lights over the Dewars’ trashcans.
It was from K:

Need your help with a thing. Miss you.
Call me.
-----------------------------------------------
From: Kennedy
<>
02 / 04 / 05
8 : 14 PM

“So which is it? You need my help or you miss me?” He started the bike rolling uphill, toward the street. He dialed her number as he turned out of the cul-de-sac onto the sidewalk, headed toward Lewis. More to prove he still remembered it than because it was convenient. Little rituals in the name of something dimly felt and but little remembered. He laughed. She probably had his number in her phonebook. His moral victory seemed a bit emptier each time the phone purred at him.
His hoodie was still hanging open, and the wind combined with his motion to make him regret being so lightly dressed in the Oklahoma night. It was still very much winter, no matter how mild the afternoons had been the last week and a half. His tee shirt flared brightly with each set of headlights that grabbed him only to leave him again, a dark figure of motion flitting between the telephone poles and the street signs.
Of course, she didn’t answer. His nose was starting to burn from the cold. He left a message.

2.

Kennedy called him back two hours later. He was sitting at a small table against the back wall. He thumbed open his phone and was losing the battle against being the guy who just completely answered his cellphone during a poetry reading even though he knows how rude that is when he finally zeroed in on her voice amidst all the background noise.
“Hey,” he said. Neutral enough to suit whatever he had missed by way of greeting.
“Where are you?” she asked.
“You mean metaphysically?” Ouch. Bad start.
“I mean, what’s with the noise?”
“That? I think that’s supposed to be some kind of modernism.” The poet looked at him, lips pushed forward over the pregnant pause he had just talked into. He turned slightly to face the wall and cupped the microphone of the phone with his free hand.
“I never get it when you try to be funny.” She sounded amused, though. So far, he was even, but even was better than losing.
“Neither do I. Part of my mystique.”
“Hey, listen. Can I ask a favor?” Now, she seemed worried.
“Depends on what it is. I think you ran out of indeterminate favor vouchers after a few months of not calling me.” Well, that sounded a bit bitter.
“I know. I just…. You’re right. It’s shitty of me to ask you for something, after.”
“After what?” He held his breath. Someone brought him another cream soda. He nodded over his shoulder and turned back toward the wall.
“After…so long,” she managed, finally.
“Yeah, well, forget it. What’s up?” Fine. If she wasn’t going to talk about it, then he wasn’t going to make an idiot out of himself.
“Just this thing with Tino.”
“What kind of thing?” Tino? Was she kidding?
“He was supposed to go in to meet Henry Lee.” Henry Lee. Christ, he didn’t like where this was going.
“And?”
“And he can’t go.”
“And?”
“And he was asking me if I would go, and it’s really important, but I don’t want to go alone.”
“And?” She was out of her fucking head.
“God. Now, I remember why I don’t ask you for things.” She sounded…hurt. No, he was misreading. Kennedy was never hurt. Kennedy was the absolute source of pain.
“So, you’re asking what? You want me to go with you to meet some kind of shadowy underworld figure? Why?”
“It’s because of the melodrama. Everything’s dramatic with you. Heartache and suffering forever in all directions.”
“Just tell me why, K.”
“I told you why. Tino can’t go.”
“There’s something else going on, here. Let alone the fact that you’re out of your head if you think I’m going to have a sit-down with a Triad, I still—”
“—Triad? This is Tulsa we’re talking about. Is this because I never called you after?”
“After what, K?”
“God. I knew it. It is. You’re going to turn me down, make me beg for a little favor because you—because what? I hurt your feelings in some way?”
“Well, as a matter of fact, Kennedy, you did hurt my feelings, yes. But that’s not why I’m telling you no.” He was already getting angry. 2 minutes might be a new record for their thing.
“Fine. Why, then?”
“Because you’re asking me to talk to and consort with a known criminal.”
“No, I’m asking you to go somewhere with me, you dick. Keep me company while I talk to and conwhatever with a criminal.” She was asking him to keep her company? That wasn’t so subtle. Maybe there were other reasons why Tino wasn’t going tonight. Opportunity grabbed him by the sternum and swung him in a tight orbit around the table. He was getting dizzy.
“So, this would be a date, or something like that? You said you could imagine yourself dating me, but then you said you’d never date-date me, as I recall. You said that we could be friends with, you know, privileges, but I know that I heard you say that dating me would be too—how did you put it—”
“—just shut up. Christ. Okay. Yes. A date, tonight, Denver and Brady. One hour. Just…just be there, okay?”
“Unbelievable.”
“What?” That came sharp and high. Push ahead or retreat?
“Nothing. Denver and Brady in an hour. It’s a date.”
“I hate you.”
“No, K, you want me. Again. Or maybe still. But you don’t hate me.”
“God, you’re such an ass,” she breathed, hanging up. She sounded pleased, though. He turned back toward the stage. The mike was free and nobody was headed toward it. Bones grabbed a wrinkled piece of foolscap off the table and headed to the front, his poems dripping into his throat, making it progressively harder to breathe.

Monday, October 17, 2005

First Draft of Section I: Gesticular Motion

I. Gesticular Motion

1.

The screen phosphoresces quickly, blue sheet lightning moving across its internal surfaces before receding to the vanishing point of a dwindling white square, dying heart of a pixel universe. A hand enters the frame, runs knuckles across the darkening screen. Static discharges. Dust sifts into the air. The hand moves two fingers lightly across the control panel in the dark. It finds the power button.
The whine competes with the hum of the filtration system vent somewhere overhead as the screen brightens again. A single, staticky frame rocks back and forth, the narrative of the closed-circuit record frozen at the midpoint. The image is from an outdoor security camera.
Two human figures are distantly visible in the grainy ghostlight of the security system’s black and white night-vision filter. One is crouched over the other, half holding, half lifting him into a reclined sitting position in the middle of the street. The crouching figure seems to be cradling the other’s head. Something glints between blurry hands and granulated chin.
The features of the crouching figure are distorted, but it seems to look directly into the camera. Its posture is protective. The scene is not unlike a street corner pieta, if the white holes where the crouching figures eyes would be did not look so much like open mouths made of light.
In the corner of the screen, in the foreground is a Red Oak leaf. It has been caught by the freeze frame as if balancing with one point on the sidewalk. It is pirouetting; part of its rotation visible as the frame rocks back and forth to the metronome click of the VCR heads fine manipulation. The detail and visibility of the leaf render the scene in the street beyond almost abstract. The disinterest of the leaf’s motion makes the blood covering both figures in sourceless shadows a natural feature of the night.


2.

I’m a storyteller by nature. Let me set the scene:
Once, there were two brothers. The two brothers did not know that they were demons. That is not important to the story, but it was important to the brothers.
One of the brothers was named Aka, the other Ao. They were very close. They lived together in the house that their father had built for them on the saddle where two mountains joined each other.
The brothers spent most of their time playing chess and passing time, for no one ever came to visit them. Neither of them ever won more than two games in a row.
Gradually, Aka noticed something was wrong. While watching the sun set through the bamboo screen of the western windows, Ao would sometimes cry. This puzzled Aka. He tried everything he could to comfort his brother. He followed him everywhere, brought him his slippers in the morning—he even tried insisting on pouring the tea. Nothing seemed to work.
Day by day, Ao grew more desolate. He stopped moving or playing chess. He stopped talking altogether. His tears came more frequently and fell in larger spatters on his robes. Soon, they had carved runnels down his face and ran in rivulets through the house, out the door, and between the small, sharp bushes that grew along the slopes of the mountain side. It seemed that Ao grew smaller with every tear that fell from him, as if the scope of his thoughts were enough to change him completely from flesh to water running ceaselessly away. Aka watched and grew more and more worried for his brother.
One day, Aka decided that he had to do something. He said to his brother, “Brother of my bones and my brother in spirit, what is it that fills your heart with sorrow until the tears leak from your eyes? Your tears move even the cold stone of these mountains beneath us, and a spring wells up from the ground to mingle with your tears. Already, the birds have named it the Spring of the Sorrowful, and they avoid bathing in it or drinking from it. I have heard their songs, and they fear your sadness is catching. It has been years since I last saw you smile. Tell me how I can ease your suffering.”
Ao lifted his head and said, “Brother of my blood and brother in truth, I fear there is nothing that you can do. I have watched the sun and stars, moving across the face of the world. It seems to me that this has killed me, for from watching the skies I have caught a fatal loneliness. It seems to me that even you, who are as close to me as my breath, are as separate and distant from me as the sun is to the moon, or as each of the several stars are the one from the others.”
To this Aka replied, “My brother, surely the sun and the moon are together when we cannot see them. Surely, the stars do not feel the sting of their solitude, cradled as they are in the profuse darkness that is their origin and their home. Or if they do surely we can never do likewise, made as we were from the selfsame fire and water that grew up in the place where our mother fell, made as we were in the images of each other.”
Ao shook his head, saying, “It is true. We are alike as two facets of the jewel in our father’s crown, but, Brother, your face, its likeness to my own, is a reminder of how we can never be anything but alone. It is a constant proof that I can never know your thoughts, nor ever can you truly know mine. In the mirror of your face, I can never see the swift movement of my thoughts. It is gazing upon you that feeds my loneliness and makes it grow deep roots.”
Aka cried out, “Then I will go! If my face causes you pain, my brother, I will hide me from you!”
Ao shook his head once more: “No, Brother. I would never force you to leave the home you know so well. I shall be the one to go. It is clear that my sadness is difficult for you to look upon. Perhaps, in the wide world, I will find something to ease my loneliness. Perhaps the wide world will teach me to value your presence all the more. Yes, it is better that I go.”
Ao left that day. Aka walked with him as far as the spring. He watched his brother bound swiftly down the slope, dwindling with each step. Ao turned to wave at the edge of sight. Aka watched without moving for many days. Ao did not come back.

3.

The coroner tilts the head back again, looking at the puncture. He pictures the dimensions of the implement. Something slim. He pushes the tip of one gloved finger inside the wound. It is clear that the knife slipped up through the mylo-hyoideus tissue between the hyoid bone and the mandible and continued up, through the tongue and the upper palate, through the maxilla, and, preliminary examinations have shown, superficially, into the brain. He palpitates the neck with his free hand. The surfaces tell his fingers of bruising to the surrounding tissues. Death was not immediate.
He removes his finger and uses it to follow the curves of the swollen and bruised length of the throat. No, the blades’ scant penetration of the brain did not kill the boy on the table. The coroner brings his fist up in quick, tight jerk, his white lab coat whispering into the near quiet of refrigerators and fluorescent lights. He stops the arc of his fist before latex meets flesh. It was the hilt.
The crushing of the trachea from the hilt’s encounter with the neck, the trachea’s subsequent swelling, and the ancillary swelling of the sterno- and omo-hyoideus muscles that were also damaged by the force of the blow would have ensured that the young man be strangled even if he had not drowned in his own blood. The damage patterns suggest an angle of insertion that would favor the use of the right hand. It would require considerable strength and, he supposes, accuracy to wound someone in such a manner, even should the victim be incapacitated before hand. Tox screens are negative. Trace amounts of a beta-blocker suggest the dead child took medication for migraines.
The rest of the damage is self-inflicted. All secondary lacerations are probably the result of the youth writhing and jerking on the point of the knife. Comparatively older damage to various facial tissues suggests two altercations. The fatal one following the first by approximately three hours.
The coroner looses his hold on the chin. The head does not respond to the call of gravity. In most other respects, the boy looks to be sleeping. He pulls the sheet up over the body before he removes his gloves and turns out the light. His hand roots in his pocket for change, rubbing away talc and sweat in a vain search for quarters.

Monday, October 10, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play
this is an audio post - click to play

I think I'm the only one who found Chewy being mooned to death funny...

Heartcry: AAAAAAARGGHHHH! That is the sound my heart makes because of the way my tutoring session always has to end with my student's mother cutting him down for fifteen minutes while I just stand there and goggle. My mom was not like this. I have never met a Mom like this. She actually told me that if Andreas isn't making straight As on his first progress report of the year, she's going to transfer him out of the district and make him go back to 9th grade. He's in 10th grade now. How do I stop this tragedy-in-the-making? Can this really be her right in addition to it being her prerogative?

two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm shit faced

A Challenge: I'm sure some of you are aware that November is National Novel Writing Month. Those of you who are not may follow the link in order to better follow what follows. I found upon waking up the other day, that I had not worked on any writing except for Grad School writing since July. This is unacceptable to me. I will be using NaNoWriMo to accelerate work on a project I began drawing up chapter sketches for over a year ago. What's that? You don't see how this is a challenge? Well, I'll tell you. I'm going to be writing a novel. Starting now. That's right. I know it's October. When have you ever known me not to cheat?

Consider this the equivalent of a literary no-ballsing. Those of you who have no physical balls ought, by now, to recognize that I am, in fact, never referring to mansacks when I no-balls. No, indeed, your moxy is called into question. In other words, the ladies ought to consider this a literary: "You've got no ovies if..." And for those who might read this with neither testes nor ovaries, either by accident, surgical intervention, or divine punishment, I say: well, gosh. Um, you should write one, too.

I might be posting what I write here, weekly, as I write it. That depends on how much of a psychic burden doing so turns out to be. I might instead disappear off the face of the intertron until I am done.

In any case, come December One, I will have written a(nother) novel.

Will it be good? Probably not.

Will it be better than yours? Only one way to find out--> Put your novel on the table at the unveiling on December 1st.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I am a dead leaf. Wherever the wind takes me...

Today I was tricked by a sixteen year old into talking about illegal drugs. It was clearly crossing some sort of appropriateness boundary, but there was no way I could explain to him why Lincoln ditched McLellan after his failure to follow up on Antietam when all he could talk about was how the codeine he took the other night didn't do anything for him. All I can say in my defense is that talking about drugs tricked him into thinking about the Civil War. The trickster has become the tricked, and I have violated some sacred part of the teacher-student relationship.

I watched Serenity. Kendall's attempt to put me in my place aside, the first hour and a half was funny and not up to the standard of the series. It was a kind of half-assed attempt to get outsiders up to speed. As a whole, the movie rocked my glands. I was so excited about that shit as it all wound up that I can't even describe it. I can say this, and I will: I choose to think that the "I am a leaf in the wind" nonsense is a hidden reference to the Hagakure. (Get it?) This makes what happens so very cool. How? By way of these ideals: It is a bad when one thing becomes two. Victory and death are sometimes achieved together. A word is the flower of the heart; it is not something said simply with a mouth.

Keep flying, Hoban.

I have added circuit training to my thrice weekly workouts. I am now hungry all the time. Now, I know why Tim was always eating eggwhites. The protein eases the hunger somewhat, but it burns away fast.

I went to Karaoke with Tom, Pat, Brandon, Leila, Joe, Erin, Glenn and Matt. I started out with a little Angels of the Silences, then I did some Friday I'm in Love. I changed it up with Black Dog and Jump Around. Burning Down the House followed. I finished with the Johnny Cash version of Hurt. Glycerine for the encore. People said my Friday I'm in Love was my best. I realllllllllly sucked on Black Dog. That was mostly because I had already lost my voice, but partly because the video on the screen was one of the worst things I have ever seen. It was a Pygmalion Galatea thing about a Hollywood photographer. It was pitiful.