Flash lovers….this is a fun little set of stories from some seriously talented writers. If this is your first time here, please understand that the 8 pieces of flash are meant to be read in order. We create dreams here…shattered and skipping dreams that sometimes turn into nightmares. Like any dream there are not set seams and one dream can turn into another without a hit of why. This group of stories are loosely based around disassociation which can be defined as something or someone that is separated from the group. It is something that is not united. It is my great pleasure to have stories from our regular contributors Ed Go and Michael J. Solender and very pleased to have these great writers that are new In Between Altered States: Charles Bane Jr., Brandi Hutchinson, Rich Ives, Melanie Browne, Cheryl Ann Gardner and Joseph Gant. Enjoy!!
Category: Episode 14
This happened long ago, exactly as I will describe it to you. One morning, an Indian named Jacinto walked to the headwaters of the Amazon, where he lived. There was yucca in plenty at his home, but he craved protein, and cast his line into the coffee-colored water and hoped for a delicious catch. Almost at once, the line went taut at the end of his wooden stick–I will not call it a fishing tool– and he lifted his catch in the air. His eyes grew wide; the fish, perhaps one pound in weight, glittered in the morning sun. Jacinto turned to his left with the fish held aloft, and let it down slowly onto the grassy bank; he squatted and watched it gulp for air and at last lay still. Inside its gills, stones sparkled. He took a finger and pried them loose. A single diamond and single emerald fell to the ground, and picking them up, he marvelled at their properties. It defied credibility. He pocketed them and turned over the lifeless creature. Again with care he ran his rough finger down the length of the fish, and then reached beneath its gills. Again, stones emerged: a diamond, flawless in its handsomeness and an emerald as richly green as the basin of his home.
Jacinto held the stones in his palm and considered. His life was marked by careful tracks. He walked flatly, putting one foot down at a time, in the way of the country man. He sat back now against a tree and weighed what he should do. At last, he rose and walked home. He said nothing to his neighbors, or his wife, but gave her the fish to cook before an open flame. Quietly he retreated , and discreetly buried the stones behind his modest home. He enjoyed his mid day lunch, then drowsed in the southern sun.
Many months later, change stirred in the Amazon, with the arrival of loggers. The villages were abuzz; like a jaguar the loggers came ever closer with their saws. How can we resist such change, all asked in despair. Jacinto dug beneath his home and retrieved the stones of the jewel fish. Without ceremony, he placed them in the mouth of his toothless wife. They set off for the logging camp. The foreman saw their approach; he shook his head: more peasants, he thought, to mollify.
Jacinto asked the foreman in a business -like way, about his operations. The man was surprised. He explained that the tall growth of the Amazon was like a hand placed over the vision of the future. The work of the loggers, he lied, would bring prosperity and civilization to the region. Jacinto did not disagree, but inquired whether the company of the foreman did not know of the greater treasures of the earth. What treasures are these, asked the foreman? And Jacinto kissed his wife upon the cheek, and she smiled.
Nearby candlelight drumming woke me. Perhaps I should have been up to bear witness, though the thought of it repulsed me. I sought the only refuge that afforded me any sense of serenity and that was sleep, fitful as it was.
Secret societies and their rituals are nothing new.
I was flattered at first to be invited. I did not realize that the lifelong commitment would become more of a burden than any advantage membership initially offered. Forty-nine tolls of the bell upon each death. Forty-nine candles, forty-nine verses, forty-nine silent mentions of their name.
The candles grew louder, they awaited my response. One of us had passed.
It was my turn to provide solace and comfort. I risked renouncement choosing another less respectful course.
I slept no more that evening. My Sabbath begun anew. Duty bound by obligation. The bell began to toll.
I longed to be forsaken. In time. In due time.
4 fingers bend to whisper to each other secrets thumb cannot know; opposable—a finger but not a finger, a 5th wheel on a machine that pulsates in dark places when no one’s around. 4 in synchronous motion bend to make a fist perhaps to smash the places where it plays but thumb stiffens in opposition making smashing difficult if not completely impossible because smashing is an objective w/ such sacred purpose that fingers might overpower the will of thumb & smash him along w/ everything else. . . still erect& protesting thumb begins to crawl away from fingers, stretching/worming his way across the surface & fingers disagree how to handle the fugitive: pointer & middleboth say fuck him—let him go but middle doesn’t ever want him back while pointer says let’s invite him to the smashing & see if he shows up; ring feels like crying but holding back he says oh well—we come & we go & the blood keeps circulating; only the little one wants to run after thumb because he loves him so though he’s touched him least; but whether thumb returns or not—whether they ever see him again—all agree they must go on w/ the smashing—
A shaded balcony of aparment 20D welcomed a lone fly writing a love letter to the human on the opposite side of the smudged sliding glass door.
He was swirling in his best cursive hoping she would notice his faint afterglow, his message longer than the energy of a normal fly lifespan. Most flies aspire to escape back to the sky if ever in the position of being trapped inside the big box. This fly was different, he didn’t want the sky.
He wanted love. To extend his labellum upon her arm and absorb her chemistry. To remind him of years before his maggot days. When he too was human. For hours he pushed his wings against the manipulative wind, correcting his errors and staring diligently at the his future lover. Writing his best to hypnotize her so that at any moment she would get up off the couch and walk to the door, open it slowly and allow him to enter her kingdom of walls. In his letter he promised to make sure to stay in control of his movement as to not simply bounce into her cheek like his fellow, mindless peers. He vowed to always be orbiting her body in order to guard her from a perilous world, determined to stay with her until his wings were no longer of use, and as his energy slipped past his crossed feet on the kitchen floor, his soul to enter her sleep.
He would become another kiss in a dream. A better life than a fly.
I locked my dead sister in the closet with an imaginary key, and she believed me. It didn’t seem to matter that she had been dead since she was two hours old. She was still my sister, and I still thought of it as locking her in the closet even though it was not something I could literally do. Her parents as I imagined them were not the same as my parents. They called to my parents looking for her, and my parents did not answer, but when my parents asked me about this, I said, “She’s in the closet.”And when my parents looked towards my bedroom, I said, “No, in her closet.” My parents asked me what in the world she was doing there, and I shrugged.
I had done it because my dead sister was gluing ants to the dinner plates and discussing the decline in the finer qualities of knights and rescuers. She enjoyed very much the squirming motions the ants made while they were waiting to be discovered. She seemed disappointed that I was the first to discover this.
My parents waited.
Finally I said, “She likes it in there.”The next day my dead sister told me everything her parents, the imaginary ones, had asked her.
I said, “What did you answer?”
I kept on locking my dead sister in the closet until her imaginary parents started telling it to imaginary friends as astory and laughing too much.
Finally my dead sister told her imaginary parents, “I like it in there,” and they stopped telling the story.
They thought she meant, “I like it better in there.”
I wasn’t convinced she liked it better in there, but I stopped doing it.
There were still some forms of torture I was unfamiliar with.
Hungry Ghost is interested in architecture. We take the train one day to visit Phillip Johnson’s glass house, because that seems appropriate. It is early fall. Hungry Ghost smokes a cigarette. After we tour the Glass House, Hungry Ghost says, “Phillip Johnson had emotional issues.” I ask him why. He doesn’t answer. Finally he says it’s because the “only walls for privacy in the house are in the bathroom and no man should be ashamed to shit in front of others.” We walk towards Ghost House, which is Johnson’s ode to Frank Gehry. We sit for a minute and look at Ghost House. I tell him I don’t understand how a house can be an ode. He tells me he finished reading The Night of The Hunter. I tell him he shouldn’t read about serial killers, that it’s not a healthy interest. He tells me to shut up. I throw my purse at Hungry Ghost’s head. He tells me that he won’t play these stupid emotional games. He twists my arm behind my back and makes me promise not to say another word. I don’t say another word. It is hard not to talk. I finally tell hungry ghost I think Ghost House is ugly. “It looks like a dog house,” I say. Hungry ghost stares at me hard. “You have to be still and let architecture speak to your soul,” he tells me. I sit still and let it speak to my soul. My soul thinks it looks like a giant dog house. My soul wants to sing Hound Dog. “You ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine.” Hungry Ghost looks at me and laughs. “Your soul doesn’t run real deep,” He says. I pinch his elbow. “Phillip Johnson had emotional issues,” I say.
I sat there, in the cold barren light of the full moon, looking at my scars. It all started with the party pills and ended in the dirty basement of a nearby haunted house. I had arrived somewhere, early in the evening, somewhere loud and bright. Somewhere throbbing and sweaty and a little frightening. I met him there — wherever there was — pressed up against a smooth slick surface while we waited and admired all the pretty colored glass. He called me his French Kitty and smiled just right. He talked about curing diseases and the squalor of the ghetto. He said he was from Warsaw, said it with an accent. I giggled. I don’t even know where Warsaw is. He gave me a little velvet box fastened with black ribbon and offered me something sweet — brittle white icicle sugar, he called it — dusting the cuff of his sleeve. There was a spider in the box … and then I was in the box. I awoke to a mouthful of dust and footsteps on the stairs, shuffling towards me in the gloom. I wished I could see better in the dark, but when the footsteps finally reached me, I wished I couldn’t.
“You know, we have the perfect situation here,” Laura smiled with the wrong parts of her face.
Jim was on his back. Shirt off and jeans undone. He enjoyed these occasional weekends with the ex-to-be and loved to push the boundaries of their yet lingering marriage.
“That’s the dope speaking, Laura. I know that talk well.”
His eyes were fixed on a fan turning overhead. He held his gaze, arched his back on the rug, waited for her response. Laura’s casual silence told him— she knew he found her pills.
“So,” Jim said as he turned on his side, pupils wide and unwittingly confronting, “Should we put on a movie?”
Laura stood up, the amphetamine salt spinning her head as much as Jim. She didn’t care that he found her latest hiding place for the pharmaceutical stash. Whatever keeps him up and in happy, she thought as she watched the computer’s dull boot screen. He’ll be gone in a couple of days. A few clicks of the mouse, then exaggerated surprise.
“Jesus, Jim! How much porn did you download while I was out?”
“About two dozen films.” He hadn’t moved from the spot on the floor.
“They’re not films, Jim. They’re porn.”
“They’re artistic works of cinema and should be appreciated as such. Any one can fuck, sure, but you try and direct the timing of five guys on different levels of varied uppers, downers, and boner candy, each laying their loads between some chick’s penciled eyebrows, plastic tits all around. It’s orchestral. If you could do that and make it look . . .”
“Look what Jim, look natural? And they’re silicone, not plastic,” she was still sorting through the download directory with a stare that promised to push through the screen if she didn’t unclench the speed in her veins, “I’d have thought a connoisseur like yourself would know such things.”
Jim hopped to his feet. “Are we going to discuss material science and how it relates to the flow of bukkake, or are we gonna fuck?”
Laura sat in the cheap, office-style chair, biting what remained of her nails. When we married, she thought, we made love all the time–horribly unorgasmic and uncoordinated love; now, we fuck and wait for divorce.
Jim had moved to the bed, legs beneath the sheets kicking lightly.
“Is this what you want sweetie?” Laura slinked beside her man and smiled. He would be gone soon enough. She touched him. That night, she made love to a memory. And memories only fucked her in turn.