by Old Gator
Unfortunately, the barrel was now heavier than I was….
Bisected by its broken yellow line a highway parcels desert into dark western and light eastern halves as morning flickers on. Overhead the FAA parcels the east lightened and west darkened sky into boxes of radio waves; below, the BLM sections out acre squares. Tons of ions ejected from a solar storm plummet through and agitate these cubes of sky and pressures these dusty grids. Because asphalt absorbs the sun’s massive light faster it heats more rapidly than the light colored desert. Astraddle the line, which being nearly the color of desert heats less rapidly than the road it divides between the lightening east and still dark west, lies this baby.
Falling light presses a dilapidated filling station east of the road, heating its rooftop corrugations while squeezing westward a stucco textured shadow. The light presses worms, forcing them underground, and a rooster, who crows to drown its roar. It presses grizzled Hiram and son’s eyes, popping them open. It presses the Sheriff as he pumps gas into his boom-bass festooned reelection campaign bandwagon, eager to reach the flats before the next experimental detonation, and the nurses who smoke in the rooftop lounge of a white rectangular county hospital in Sawdust Wells, but does not heat them much because they are air conditioned. County hospital lies westward down the road on a parcel of light colored sand not far from the filling station. Dark solar panels, designed to absorb the same light now falling by the ton on filling stations, roosters and worms and Hiram and son power its air conditioner, to which these panels are connected by information tubes. Light also falls on this baby, which, encrypted in blood and grime, may or may not be light-colored. Heat interpolates throughout this baby’s consciousness, sectioning its repertory of experience into quanta of brightness and pain.
The light squeezes ripples out of flowing sand before recoiling through the air, popping out black insects equipped with olfactories and mandibles. Quickly the sun presses, heats and agitates these insects, who sense ionized particulata jarred from this baby by its impact with the road. As they vector down magnetic trails they clash machete-mouths and drool venom, trying to reach this fountain of sweet ions before desiccation thwarts them. Their brambly patterings awaken a tarantula who pops up rippling its dark and light hairs and drools to slather fangs that sparkle when pressed by light. The eight-engined envenomator surges after the insects by following trails of ions shaken from their feet. Meanwhile this baby writhes upon its widening section of line in the road which keeps it from being
against the sweet earth’s flowing breast,
scattering ions, attracting hungry insects and the hungrier tarantula, which can be readily incited by writhings to administer an agonizing sting.
This baby’s twitching infuriates the spider. He smacks his palps loudly enough to attract a passing sphex wasp’s attention, whereupon Ms. Sphex power dives her intoxicating ovipositor deep into the tarantula’s sensibilities. Site-specifically demyelinated, his nerves cannot pump ions to his musculature. Ms. Sphex briskly inverts this paralyzed, fully cognizant tarantula and drags him to a subterranean manger in her private parcelette.
There beneath the road she positions her egg upon his breast, held in place, nay, incubated by a ray of light pressing through cracked asphalt. Wings whipsawed against bulky light, she is then off en commute. Shortly, the ray squeezes from her ouvre this streetwise, light-colored larva who nibbles out the immobile yet conscious tarantula’s innards. A bubble rising through the drool puddled in the spider’s throat causes a gurgle, but he cannot scream, unlike this baby when perforated by hungry insects the sphex wasp has saved from the tarantula.
As Ms. Sphex accelerates into the whitening west she becomes tinier and denser until she pops, engendering an event horizon that draws forth inscriptions from high on the newly dark-edged east in the form of myriad black V’s. Their keen eyes discern the sun’s attempt to press a shortening westward shadow back into this infant adumbrator. The V’s drool and lick their beaks, then spiral down down down, undetected, through the FAA’s gridwork as their olfactories amplify mortality’s coveted particulata.
Suddenly a birdlette skitters back and forth across light-compacted talus feigning a broken wing, loosing rivulets of sand between the tilted rocks. She thereby lures away from her nestlings a rattlesnake who, bewildered by her performance, its belly griddled by talus, crawls toward darkness advancing from the edge of the east and coincidentally distracts the V’s from this baby. Her commotion also piques the interest of rats previously deterred from her nest by the rattlesnake. Their olfactories analyze for source and direction and then home upon particulata scattered by her rambunctious brood. Bladelike incisors deftly section these nestlings, bits of which they race to divide among their progeny, except that this rat nursery sequesters amid ruins in the newly rattlesnake-infested east, under a pile of talus at the base of a wall that bears an ancient hieroglyph, defiled by lacunae yet venerable still:
הדיבר לא יבשל את הילד הזה בחלב אמו.
which means “thou shalt not seethe this kid in its mother’s milk.” The viper attunes its forked tongue for direction and source of baby rodent particulata, gleefully wiggles its tail, then hastens to decode those exuberant ratlings with the bad news encrypted in its information tubes.
Meanwhile the V’s spiral upward through radio grids whereupon their attention is again attracted by this distant baby’s twitching against a noon volley of photons loosed by yet another solar storm. These bulletlike except when hypothetical particles perforate the insect’s bodies and evaporate with a pft! reservoirs of purloined baby blood or lymph, then parcel out their desiccated carcasses in pinwheels of ionized dust whose empty K-shells hit the pavement with a szt! Once actualized by observation, ions ejaculated from photon-perforated insects phase-shift through the road as magnetic waves. Reconfigured by this baby’s acute sensibility into heat waves, they enter its skull where it sizzles on asphalt, bisecting the light and pain of rudimentary consciousness into discrete quanta of fiery ‘it’ and shattered ‘me.’ This baby differentiates from the road with a spasm indistinguishable to the observer from its unselfconscious writhings of but a moment earlier.
Confusing subsidences of magnetic earthwaves caused by decreased sunspot activity for depletions of jouissance, the V’s corkscrew downward suspended from black wings with light-colored wingtips, vectored via amplified olfactories toward ionic particulata scattered by this baby’s contortions. As they are about to impale this baby on their talons their heads explode. Explosion of the head interdicts the ping! pong! of sodium and potassium ions throughout the V’s, dilating their sphincters.
Har, got me another one! cries Hiram. Yeee-hah, got me one too dad! cackles Junior. Hiram and son have more high-powered rifle ammunition stockpiled on their filling station porch than the sun has bulletlike except when hypothetical ions stockpiled in its sunspots. From the shade of their porch whose corrugated roof repels volleys of ontologically noncommittal ions they pick off vultures attempting to land on some indefinable object out on the road, thereby culling the flock of its weak and sick. Their ammunition is financed by government checks meant to discourage them from erecting a crop merely so the west-lightening sun might pressure it. By remitting to Hiram and son discrete but unlimited quanta of money, the government preserves the desert as a priceless natural resource.
Such benevolence encourages them to recreate themselves by shooting vultures from their porch, which they occasionally miss, causing shrapnel to puncture this baby, presenting too a high probability of hitting it with one of their buzzard busters because bullets are less hypothetical than the ions to which they are frequently compared. True, the probability tables consulted here are skewed by dehumidifying effects of solar pressure on optical amplitude. So commodious, in fact, is ionized desert air that it envelopes not only those talus booted mountains which seem so close despite being perhaps a thousand miles away, but also the road, which seems to pass the filling station but allowing for distortions of optical amplitude caused in no small part by deflection of photons from hard-pressed shattered talus crystals may lie in yet another desert altogether. Similarly, distance presses each bullet. Thanks to scientific theory, mere acceleration enlarges its caliber by geometric progressions, until by the time it approaches this baby it is equivalent to a cannonball. How distance can so magnify each bullet without simultaneously enlarging this baby enough to be visible from the filling station porch may be attributed to lack of acceleration but in the absence of a sufficiently elegant proof this discrepancy is not yet understood.
All Hiram and Son can make out are fly-flecked mountains of black, red spattered vultures, crippled and dead, festooning the road just as gutbuckets and boom-basses festoon the Sheriff’s reelection campaign bandwagon. Its clashin’ symbols, horn-tootin’ drum-bangin’ Citizens for the Sheriff cheering section, with rented musicians Mr and Mrs O’Doole and their idol, the Sheriff himself, distract Hiram and Son from their normative raison d’etre. As the sun rolls the lightened west away, darkness gathers thickly eastward from which thunders like Gunga Din the Sheriff, his guest, and his cacaphonous hire-O’Dooles. Their arrival precipitates twin miracles: the Vs’ bodily assumption uncorroborated by the FAA, and Hiram and Son’s transfiguration into an audience. The Sheriff has just returned to the desert from Canton, Ohio, where Chinese technocrats have recently concluded an experimental detonation of political pluralism. Meanwhile, ping! pong! the sun presses particulata from these experimental detonations back towards the desert where it settles on dark-colored silicate panels on the roof of the Sawdust Wells County Hospital which uses it to power silent machines. It settles on this baby too, where its bulletlike ions pick off X’s and Y’s.
The sun presses the barnstorming Sheriff’s brain, causing him to hallucinate as through a sprectrescope the weakest and sickest of his ancestors’ ghosts, culled at birth for the good of the tribe, now grown up and gathered among their ruins behind advancing darkness at the east’s edge. The Sheriff unfolds his commodious arms and cries vote for me! because I am a dedicated detonator of political pluralism. He defends his comprehension of his district’s two great competing mythologies thusly:
“My friends, the book of my ancestors tells how they found a great myth lying in the desert. It explains to us that God is like the sun, who presses us so that we may fall to sustain him. But the great myth of your ancestors was found in yet another desert altogether. It explains that God made the sun, and that although he may be in it, around it, or near it, he isn’t it, so that he falls when we replicate ourselves. I stand for his right to be in it, around it, near it, or….it!”
Then the Sheriff’s campaign bandwagon driver unveils a revolutionary highway safety program purchased from an eastern public relations firm inscribed through light amplification by stimulated emission of particulata upon a a sign that reads:
Driving and Playing Boom Basses Doesn’t Mix.
Whereupon the sun fires another volley of brightly god-coated and therefore literal ions through the din of its latest tantrum. They spatter against talus and agitate the adjacent air which is further from God than talus and therefore usually cooler. The sun compensates by pressing air against the superheated talus, but inadvertently shatters it into billions of startled god-filled particulata whose rivulets score the tilted stones below. Darkening eastern air, cooled by the newly discovered process of pleromatic divestiture, plummets desertward where, windshaped, it sweeps up deity-enriched talus fractionate and fried K-shells alike, propelling them at bulletlike velocity towards this baby, whom God is nowhere near, but now wishes to investigate. The accelerated particulata blinds, muffles, chokes and abrades this baby, who receives it with wonder.
From astride the filling station cooler this baby’s sudden silence attracts the attention of Doctor Richard Wom Ba Tung of Canton, Ohio, expert at interpreting the test results of experimental detonations of political pluralism and performer of the ancient oriental art of triage. Widely known as Dick Tung, to which he has legally changed his name for professional purposes, he has been under escort by the Sheriff, whose brain the sun has now pressed and popped atop his raucous campaign bandwagon. Doc Tung, as his mother calls him, is about to seize the opportunity to establish the first local commodity market for transplant organ futures. The future is a race against time. He solicits the Sheriff’s driver to transport him in the safety of his bandwagon, out of the sun’s pressure and kept alert by cacaphonies of the hire-O’Dooles’ gutbuckets and boom -basses, handcuffed to his priceless cargo of gilt-edged transplant organ vouchers. These can be redeemed following each detonation of political pluralism in Canton, Ohio, when Dick Tongue democratically distributes to the open market parcels of dissidents deconstructed for discursive dissonance.
Doc Tung realizes that his Cantonese mandarins have shortchanged him the two corneas listed on their bills. Staring into the sun reddened west through tumbling light while ions ping! pong! against the roof he notices this fleshless baby twitching under heaps of dead buzzards and spent K shells. Dick Tongue secretes his brainchild. He understands that this baby’s survival is hypothetical, the probability of zero still very high even after adjusting his statistical model for dead vulture weight and gradual decline in solar pressure. No longer pressed by a sun emblazoning twin peaks between which it sets every equinox, Doc Tongue pops onto the filling station porch where he slips on myriads of spent K shells he misinterprets as buckshot. He thus transits undetected both one latitude of radio grid and an anxious crowd assembled by word of mouth from the Sheriff’s rural constituency. They lack even the rudimentary medical training to tell if the Sheriff has died or just radically lost interest in standing up and closing his eyes.
Alighting in the foothills of the black with white wingtips vulture mountain from whose outer dark he disengages this splattered baby, Dick Tongue performs an impromptu section of gangrened digits and a cleansing debridal of this valuable commodity whose progress towards unconsciousness he thereby interrupts, and folds it into his briefcase. Then he looks up just in time to see the Sheriff’s hospital-bound campaign bandwagon career through tatters of westering afternoon, stripped for speed of its boom-basses, earnest in its mercy mission on the ontologically noncommittal sheriff’s behalf. He hails a speedy Mercedes convertible, ion-pocked and festooned with steer horns. As Doc Tongue considers the market value of certificates on this baby’s vitals, he drools.
The car contains as well the Indian mistress of a cattle baron. She is in hard labor with twins, this light-colored one to whom God is near and this other, imperfectly engendered dark one of whose presence neither his mother nor God is aware. Their father bred the ancestors of noble herds at the edge of the desert where, horns tangled in mesquite until culled for the herd’s own good by an implacable sun, the weakest and sickest desiccate, eyes bugged, tongues abulge, to the gratitude of coyotes. Then he parcels them out as jerky to the wealthiest five percent of each Cantonese detonation of political pluralism’s survivors and each New Year parcels out a ram smoked in the very shrub that traduced it to local particulata cloud victims, many of whom cannot afford to have their K shell brindlings extracted. As she speeds past the black with white wingtips vulture mountain she remembers that according her people’s tradition she must name her firstborn after portents beheld during labor. She will therefore name them Oseebee and Emsee, which in the oral tradition of her people mean “Overturned Campaign Bandwagon” and “Many Casualties.”
By the time Dick Tongue has scrubbed he has commitments on every transplant organ voucher, including two handwritten claim checks for corneas. As victims are wheeled into Emergency over shells of ruin rats fried during misbegotten attempts to demyelinate hospital power lines, Ms. Sphex the maternity ward nurse finishes adjusting the IV’s that drizzle life through information tubes infusing her preemies, and pops in for a gape. She shudders to imagine the death toll if the Sheriff had never removed those boom-basses. With their information tubes ratted away, when the last drizzle of terrawatts ceases to press the dark solar panels on the roof all of Doc Tongue’s great silent machines will collapse into nothingness. What does it mean when the big hand is on the six and the little hand is on the twelve? He thinks, what does it really mean?
Dick Tung struggles with time, but his procedural mastery is word perfect. Only such a keyboard and monitor regulated environment, wired to laser printers designed to enscribe every flickering ion this baby’s battered tissues expel, and not without that pixile quality peculiar to newborns, can make this sacrifice meaningful. Ms. Sphex briskly inverts Sebastian X, as she has affectionately christened it, then roots her information tubes. This baby is now sustained, nay, illuminated by rays and catheters of silent machines teetering on the edge of terrawatt termination, yet sustained, yes, by god-filled talus particulata lodged in its cavities as the MRI swallows it like some anthropophagus esophagus, disclosing opalescences of cerebration speckled with metastases.
Doc Tongue responds by stepping on an information tube, interdicting magnetic waves and thwarting further signals of defect or viability alike. Addressed to precisely such an eventuality, Ms. Sphex’s ancestors’ book says
“Waste not want not”
which means that brain death is the mother of availability.
With scalpels sharp as fangs, precise as pincers, and accurate as ions, the surgical staff of Sawdust Wells sections and parcels out this asset, sterilizing each incision with moral ambiguity so that nobody notices how glowing particulata has crazed and striated the corneas or inflamed the myocardia. In a few professional minutes this carcass has been cleared and irrigated, unlike those of the twins just discharged into the adjacent theater. Their ungenerous mother clasps her castoffs to herself, sinking through narcotic stupor she will awaken from tomorrow as from an early solstice to late equinoctal snooze.
Undetected by the FAA helicopters rattle eastward into long night behind sophisticated enjambing devices, rushing parcels of refills to the ontogenetically traduced, loosing with their slipstreams the last grains of unchanneled particulata in rivulets onto the tilted rocks below. Note: every recipient will henceforth refer to lacunae in the donor. Meanwhile before turfing this baby’s bony residue downstairs, where it will be parcelled out to petri dishes to grow bumper crops of adipocere and HeLa cells in an underfunded laboratory, the staff retires to the cafeteria for jouissant hamburgers sectioned from one of the Indian mother of twin’s lover’s sacred cows, followed by pastries with holes in their middles, washed down with gouts of dark red coffee lightened by lactose and casein.
Dick Tung forgets to turn off the power. Thus this nutrient and magnetically stimulated baby husk awakens, astonished to find itself emptied of God, which it understands, and of everything else, which it articulates to itself by feeling along the margins of each lacuna, so that it is consciousness after all which splits this child even as its disseminated portions are pressed between the lips of fresh cavities more hostile than a desert road attracting the sun’s full attention. And each piece knows that too, so this baby assembles its recollections and distinguishes among them all the sufferings needed to begin its reconfiguration….while pumping, fluxing, beeping, pinging machinery defers its relief until a darkening faraway mountain slices light’s last thread.
Whereupon the emotional magnetism of this scene must cease and with sighs of dissipating ions a heavy lightlessness falls, compressor of evacuated carcasses, compressor of worm ant spider wasp snake and rat; rooster vulture and man compressor, mountain desert and cache compressor, compressor of this particular globe-framing white rectangle now turned over, readier to pressure the darkness before it than to be so closely watched.
copyright (c) 2016 by Old Gator