drinking games of the future (part 1)

The one guarantee of me post-apocalypse is that my logic-brain will abort, leaving behind a slope shouldered droop-mouthed mumble to paw through clouds of I-told-you-so. A full 90-degree antenna adjustment will be required to pick up my frequency, the same oh shit sputtered at the start of our universe.

My in-the-now mind is a teaming mass of riddles, one worm crawling over the other and poking at eyes and adenoids in hopes of hasty escape. Let’s saddle them all.

The apocalypse will be sponsored by everything in your medicine cabinet, everything string-walking your carcass through the vacancy of waking before coffee, everything floating in the water.

The apocalypse dictates that you need to be where I am as soon as possible, covered in some colorful fur. Synthetic shields ward off zombies inevitably sent out in droves to salvage our mutating DNA strands for the preservation of our black hole birthing species.

Modern-day medicated marvels will make convenient zombies. All the xanax and ritalin and zoloft popping pseudo-humans will find their brains in uproar when neutral shifts to high-octane and unexpected serotonin floods leave them feeling, unfocused, and horny. The brain freeze that trapped them in adolescence or their twenties or whatever age they consented to cease evolution for the sake of assimilation will thaw, and either they’ll access some mightily repressed thunderclap of survivalism or they’ll wander the streets whining that their heads have come uncorked.

Or something else entirely.

Maybe the end of convenience will send my own brain into mudslide, and I’ll join the hoards kicking out the glass walls of empty pharmacies, shaking the shoulders of the four remaining doctors and begging for a chemical-charged escape hatch from the holy shit.

Feeling, unfocused, horny: why aren’t we fucking in the street yet? As soon as public copulation becomes part of the day-to-day we’ll be too distracted to complete our morning commutes, accelerating abandonment of bills and rent, reducing us to squatters defending paper huts with makeshift bows and dirty grandpa shotguns. Then time can be occupied with better things, like recalling movies we can no longer watch, ruining all the endings. We can trade quotes until we’re bored enough to consent to a sober round of “I Never” featuring new world statements like, “I never drank a clean glass of water” and “I never had sex without wearing a gas mask” and “I never fucked a man without a tail.”

Of course, the giggle sucks dry with the ugly realization that most of the survivors are coal-faced drainers of the happy tank. With their generators dead and fish growing feet they’ll get angry some fuckers have the nerve to start a pillow fight. There’s a lot of organizing and filing to do. Children could witness the pillow fight, and think for a second that survival isn’t only continuing to go even if you don’t know where you’re going, or why.

Even in a post-flood world some will be too busy hiding in their shelters to ask.

Hostage Situation at Powell’s

The guy who smells like McDonald’s is not welcome at my hostage situation.

Neither is the barista working in the coffee shop today, who hasn’t smiled at me in months and clearly doesn’t love me anymore. Fuck you. It’s over.

The girl can come. Her stockings are exactly half shredded, sliced from the top down like the left side was the only one worthy of anger.

Maybe-Hostage #1: Chess Guy, his face born from a single straight line, sitting by himself with his board and his pieces and a dare. He’s going to be here all day if that’s what it takes to check every mate. It doesn’t take a psychic to read his sneer: Fuck all those fancy cellphone Asian kids with their ponytails and manga books and Fu Manchu moustaches. Fuck the dorks with their trench coats and cowboy hats and necessary noting that Go is more their style. Fuck those creepy twins with their matching hipster hairstyles and jean jackets and overloaded Timbuk2 bags. This is chess, goddamn it. You don’t play it with a computer.

I’m certain that if a gang entered sporting Dick Cheney masks and firing AK-47s at the ceiling until the overhead lights showered sparks and glass all over our screams, he would just keep sitting there until one of those bastards took a seat and made a real move.

Maybe-Hostage #2: The no-neck mullet man cracking up over the DSM-IV. He shouts to his friends excerpts from a diagnosis involving mirrors and folding chairs and chronic masturbation, laughing until he cries, his face collapsed over the book he won’t buy.

A hostage taker would surely spank him roughly with the heavy hardcover, shouting how unfair it is to oil up a book with your flesh stink and not surrender the appropriate nickels and dimes. The mullet man would cry and look for help from friends that would no longer look at him, desperate to press a previously hypothetical face back into the safety of page.

Every other maybe-hostage is forgettable, book store cliches, a menagerie of scarves and hoodies and plaid shirts and head scratches and thoughtful looks out foggy windows and rapidly drying quick-ink pens.

My eyes would be on the hostage taker. I think we’d get along. Maybe both of us find it disturbing that oil roiling the ocean doesn’t register as apocalyptic to everyone. Maybe we’ve both wondered if in our sleep an alien crawls through the window to harvest our precious bodily fluids for the preservation of Dick Cheney’s rapidly decaying fleshy sack. My Children of the Corn gaze would drink in every inch of his improperly held semi-automatic weapon, ears hunting for an accent so I know what middle eastern or eastern or south american country to credit for my unexpected action film.

Something art film would happen then, like the hostage taker would ask anyone speaking the language of plant life to come forward in the name of green. This announcement would paralyze an audience left with no choice but to turn to page 23 of their books to immediately read line 8 aloud to their peers. Whoever says “world of the story” first would be challenged to horse-shoe the squealing and fur-sprouting AK-47 with broken Bear Claws and day-old donuts. When not a single inch of the weapon was spared the stranglehold of stale confection, the newly christened Sugar Shocker would be surrendered to the sugar plum faeries until further notice.

Once the faeries came and went the Portland Police would arrive with curiously short arms and haircuts that look like harvests and a lot of long yellow tape no one would mention in the news. This happening would trigger the more active shelves alive, shuffling out of their places to reveal appropriate portals for hasty escape. Before parting I’d shout “stop loving me!” at the hostage taker, because without interference my something could leave him lost, could jangle his dangle until his eyelids stopped working and his jaw froze mid-grin. Then there wouldn’t be anything left but a shower of words and three hawks circling and sleep forsaken for eyes-open dream.


She asks him: didn’t you used to fish for crawdads with spam hooked to piano wire or something? He shakes his head and says what, after I strangled some gangster to death? She says ha ha, it must have been someone else. He says what, with the other lost boys? She says okay, I get it. Then he mentions something about jelly beans, about how it’s weird that some colors taste different from others when it’s all the same sugar and corn syrup, and she says um yeah, that’s weird. I guess.

She metronomes in her seat thinking if she gets the angle just right her happy will uncurl. He pretends the windshield is a nature-themed screen saver, and porn is just a mouseclick away.

He mentions he hasn’t driven in awhile and the road feels nice. She asks him to slow down. It’s not a race. The right side of his mouth strokes down. Her follow-up laugh is fake.

He says remember that one time we saw that hot air balloon start to take off, and then something went wrong and it left the basket behind? She laughs and says yeah, all four people wore the same blue windbreakers and had cameras and none of them moved from the basket.

He laughs harder and says he’s glad he had his own $12 disposable camera to capture the moment forever. She laughs harder and wonders if the four blue people ever considered that their air utopia looked an awful lot like the ground.

Then he runs out of laugh but milks an extra titter then declares the road trip can’t continue without coffee. She looks out the window and rocks as he drives too fast into a gas station.

He returns with a double americano in one paw and a skinny latte in the other and doesn’t mention anything about the thick-hipped barista who doesn’t look like anyone he’s slept with wearing a t-shirt simply arguing: now. She takes the latte and doesn’t mention that while he was gone she found the right spot for her metronome.

A few miles later he points out a big orange road sign that looks like a stick man running from an irate deer. She tells him to slow down, maybe the next sign will be a car running from both.

He says about fucking time as his endless green screen saver is chased off by endless ocean and a fish kite too red to ignore. He says you should get a crawfish kite and fly it from the cliffs. She says you should get a sailor’s tattoo and go to a strip club. He says only if you’re dancing. She makes ocean waves with her arm and he wooooooos.

They park the car and take off their shoes and surrender their feet to sucking sand and she reaches for his hand but it isn’t there because he’s taking a picture with his disposable camera of an old man sitting in a folding beach chair, waves devouring his ankles. He says I think he’s sleeping. The man melts from the chair and she takes a step back and says that looks like a deeper sleep to me. He snaps one more picture of the man’s wave swallowing face plant and then he wonders if they should call someone, or just keep walking.

Shouting the muse down

Today was chased up the hill by a rooftop windfarm.

Thar. She blows.

No one was meant for this.

In the tumbled-down now there’s too much material, culled from pretty boys that don’t notice me and tattooed ones that do, and I’m certain there’s at least one dreamer soaking eyes into me who knows all the twisted lyrics invoking pretty little horses.


No one is going to stop me from drinking coffee.

Fuck, all this prose is constipated, me mining me, pulling up bridges and blowing up others and never throwing this laptop across the room and through the window at the minicooper slamming on its brakes and the driver screaming “fuck you!” before the laptop lives in the street in pieces as it’s always wanted.

Pieces. Peace. I’m witty.

Ronnie James Dio. You know, the heavy metal guy. Don’t even try it.

Somewhere I lost time and none of these notebooks ever got transcribed, all my musing and ranting and handwringing dream spindles fell off the loom and died. That wasn’t what I wanted. That was never what I wanted.

Spindles. Loom. I might be going somewhere with this.

What I want: to scribble “you” on the side of plastic tubs holding all my personal belongings, before abandoning them on random porches for some unfortunate lottery loser to find. I don’t want anything in them and neither do you, but I’ll stay up all night sorting my nothing into something and weaving it into ugly tapestries that imprison names and faces until screaming attempts at escape are burned into the fabric.

Weave. Fabric. Spindles. Loom. Vomit. Sorry.

Another want: to storm into the room and push you out of your chair and just when you approach peak confusion I squeeze you from your folded position in a four-limbed lobster grip, arms and legs pushing your pieces together until they finally click and reconnect their electric current and nothing hurts and every inch is lost to me.


And: I want to walk behind the counter and give a shout out to the producers of barista-friendly soymilk and ask if anyone up in this joint has a hankering for something sweeter? When hands reach for the sky I’ll escape with one of those milk whipping wands and dance from human to human, tickling the soft spots under chins. Can you think of anything sweeter?

Candy. Candy would be sweeter.

I suppose I could be more, oh I don’t know. Why aren’t you trying? Commitment to lifelong laziness, approaching the doorway and instead of knocking or opening or kicking the damn thing down just shrugging your shoulders and walking away, deciding there must be a place around here suitable for napping. That wasn’t really a door now, was it? Huh.

How is it possible to not be curious?

In an instant I call you forward, I’m not asking anymore. All of this is commandment.

Come on. Stop being bullshit.

I’ve got another card up my sleeve, one that just fell from the deck after I shuffled and shuffled and shuffled, never resigning myself to the single-card fate of bad movies where Death appears and everyone shits their pants.

No: it’s time to stuff the whole deck down the sewer and divine with a bowl of rice. The rings of a gas station toilet. The drafts email folder. The curve of your middle finger.

Here’s what I’ve got:

Nothing. I’ve never felt so complete.


Sitting here exposed, naked, vulnerable with my face hanging out in the aftermath of a Clockwork Orange exam with all the prying and haunting images and none of the eye drops – for the sake of contacts.

For more than ten years vision has been an obstacle course of dirty lenses and plastic frames. Open Eyes. Pause. Glasses. Pause. Vision. REM. Better Vision. Memory. Rewriting happens later.

The minute I stopped smashing the thin plastic half-moons into my calamity eyelashes and let them settle on my actual eye I knew that nothing would ever be the same.


The first hours of perfect vision felt like waking up in Oz, except instead of dodging tiny people pushing me too aggressively towards a yellow brick road I stepped out the way of a sunglasses and helmet adorned security guard motoring away on the plastic equivalent of a Segway, and into a fog of tiny green insects that settled all over my arms.

Beyond the brick road that wasn’t Oz turned into disenchanted forest fucking fast. Every endless encounter between unfortunates happened right on my face.

Scene one: a couple tapped fingers and bobbed knees and scanned menus and pushed lips into constipated not-smiles before both reached for cell phones fancier than mine and pushed buttons and told far away others about how something was supposed to be great before it wasn’t.

Scene two: a woman stared off from the holes in her jeans before the bathroom called her forward, and she grunted the first fart out before tossing her paperback like she was aiming for the burning pile.

Scene three: a man looked over at me and down at his computer screen and over at me again, then his fingers started tapping and he was frowning and I can’t imagine what he harvested.


Suddenly I’m sorry for vampires who wake up with too much to do and an entire evening to do it wrong.


Now: the candles in this coffee shop trigger the soft light setting and my human eyes turn phantom.

Not that long ago a phantom terrorized my television, raising the volume and switching channels and arguing with me about the likelihood of my day turning productive if the damn thing exploded, leaving television guts all over my world. His voice emerged from what some might mistake for static. Inside the static was whisper, in the whisper words, and in the words desperation.

Even before we shared vision this phantom didn’t scare me, I know what he’s up to and what I’m in for. He’s as trapped on this planet as the rest of us until a trumpet sounds and our ears bleed and we suddenly have instructions.

Other than cockroaches we’ll outlast them all. The phantom and me.


Hands over my eyes, I think that if with the next blink the whole palette could change I’d color my contact-world sepia tone. In the cooling bath of yellow and gray pores magically close and dark circles are banished and we’re all ancient and endless remembered. We’re star gazers with parasols trading sideways looks and smelling single flowers on park benches. Our top hats are full sized, just like our skirts. No one smiles with teeth. Teeth don’t exist. Crying is single tears. Cheek kisses replace hand shakes, and both are traded for hand kisses and agreement that people don’t do enough loving things with hands. This is why they bungle contact lenses.

Then Sepia World fragments and I wake at a bus stop littered with human casings, tanktops and tattoos and too many children. Overgrown crows peck at remains before they return to Odin, feathers flecked with message. The bus never shows.


As I abandon coffee shop for bike I want my eyes to communicate questions, blink their own code so I don’t have to say anything anymore. I can just look and wait.

What are you doing what are you thinking what are you wearing underneath your clothes are you hoping you get caught?


Is it all you ever dreamed of do people run into your nose when you kiss them?


When you’re holding someone’s hand do you ever kiss the palm and let the person’s fingers uncurl over your face like a spider? Do you turn your nose into this and giggle or wonder what a hand is doing over your face and do you get scared and wonder if they’ll push you and break your nose and the spell forever? Do you think it’s possible to love someone without hating them first?


When you met my eyes did you know in an instant what the phantom knows?

I am the albatross, I’m the accident, I’m the elephant in the room.