Category: Episode 27


Episode 27

Episode 27 is finally here…sorry for the short delay.  The theme of this episode is Hyparxis and a nod to all things nerdy and science-like.  I love a good bit of physics theory.  Hyparxis is plainly defined as the ableness to be.  How I translated it for this episode is that there is an ableness to have the existence of parallel worlds and time travel based on this theory.  I do hope you enjoy it.

We add two new faces to the IBAS family:  Salena Casha and Jenny Bohatch.  We welcome back some regular dirty devils: Jason Huskey, Richard Ives, Kevin Ridgeway, Michael D. Goscinski, and Erin Cole.  I added a rare appearance from myself as well to round out the group.

This proved to be one of the hardest themes that I have thrown out to the masses to try and produce work for.  I believe they hit the mark.  Have fun.

Aleathia Drehmer
Editor

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Tonight, while I am sleeping, I will scare myself to death–appearing ghostlike from the wormhole in the foyer–slipping inside my bedroom and trading two sticks of Juicy Fruit and a tercet drawn in blue for a crisp brick of Nazi gold, date-stamped 1981.

I am in hell on the other side of time.  I am a machine, government-built and governed enslaved, flesh-stamped with the patent of my birth.  My wife is a dishwasher in a distant camp–the only real parallel between my worlds.  Here, I am the cure–of what, they never disclose–and I have six physicals a day to ensure my reliability.  My testicles have been fondled more by strange white men than by my own pudgy hands.

I haven’t caught me yet, though the sudden shopping spree on nanny-cam teddy bears suggests I’m close.  It could also be the paranoia of being a slave, nervous tics more noticeable than I’ve ever seen–the twitching of full-on madness–ready to discover the cure of the discontent in one bolt of lightning.

Tonight, while I am sleeping, I will scare myself to death–like an angel descending from the stucco–merciful and merciless–and only for one man, myself.

I only want the gold.

In my dream of enlightenment there is an aquarium full of Kennedys and drag queens. In this dream I can see the odor of an ear falling asleep. Blackbirds and bedsprings are mating. Can you hear the gills pulsing? Come see the freshly butchered cloudfish. It seems to be some sea cucumber’s idea of heaven. An entire universe of green swaying tubas erupts beneath the buoyant ceramic boat navigating the dreams fluid eyelet. Children are screaming, screaming, “Music must be seen and not heard.”

Like an argument between scissors, I slice away at a last chance to inflict reason. I’ve been separated too long.

Even in the dream my stomach votes capitalist, dragging my heavy baskets of need out of the territorial boat. I clutch a dripping fork and suddenly I want my own egg, floating up, a cold heart from the inside.

Other times I’ve been calling it sympathetic, calling it occasional, fluent in stone, submerged, silent but for the taking of time. The dream wakes. When you fall, it’s up, into the sky, where the water gathers for the crucial discussion about relocating.

I can’t hear the drag queens’ stolen speeches but soggy Kennedys drip from the aquarium lid. If the idea of heaven votes for the cucumber, I can’t see how I’ll be able to adjust.

Outside the air grows sharper. On the corner of the breakfast plate my own egg begins watching me float.

Gil slammed the bar counter with his fist. In his palm was his pink slip from the local chemical plant, where he had toiled nine years.

“Son of a bitch, Harry,” he moaned, “nine long fucking years, the wife has filed for divorce and my kids won’t even look at me.”

“Another shot of Imperial, Gilly?” Harry asked.

“Yeah, gimme one. I gotta go drain the old lizard, if there’s anything left of it.”

Gil stood at the urinal. A hard wind began hitting him in the chin from where he was pissing.

“What the shit?”

In the center of the urinal was a swirling purple cloud. A voice whispered:

“JOIN US AND ALL YOUR DREAMS WILL COME TRUE…”

Before he knew it he was being tugged into the center of the cloud, leaving the dingy bar bathroom behind.

He opened his eyes. He was draped in a toga that exposed bulging muscles where his mantits and flabby belly once were. He was gliding across a rainbow on the back of a unicorn.

“What the fuck’s going on here?”

“WELCOME TO BENALDI, WHERE YOU ARE GOD.”

On a large hill of lush grass sat nude women, an enormous keg of beer and an easy chair the color of sparkling candy. The unicorn ejected him onto this throne.

The women began to caress him gently. He looked down and noticed that he had not one, but two large penises.

“Oh…thank you…whoever you are…” Gil moaned.

In a flash he found himself on the floor of the bar bathroom, Harry standing over him.

“Gilly, you pissed all over yourself…”

“Where’s my other penis?”

Harry sighed and left him there. The swirling clouds in the urinal slowly closed up and disappeared. Gil held out his shaking hand and began to weep.

We run from the men with guns again.  My stolen children hide in a stolen vehicle and there is nothing we can do but keep running through dimensions.  The children are silent, hunched in the floor wells behind the seats.  I feel how they want to cry, fear seeping through the leather bound to my back.  I talk to them and tell them these feelings will pass.  We will all be ok in the end.  I know they don’t believe me. 

The girl next to me orchestrates this fugitive blister across dimension lines—a secret migration from the hands that always find their way around my neck.  The men with guns will kill us without blinking.  Their hearts shattered and rotten years ago; minds blindfolded to the truth, easily manipulated like warm clay.  They move through space for money and notches in their belts.

The girl points to a dark house in a worm hole.  The children will be frightened of this place.  I am frightened of this place and I am old.

“Children we have to get out now, quietly.  We are mice remember.  We are deaf mice.” I tell them.

Their bones creak as I lift them from the recesses.  Their hearts cry for something soft and still and warm.  I know I cannot provide that, not here, maybe not anywhere and for this I feel like a failed mother.

The porch creaks under the weight of this entire movement through time.  It makes the children hold their breath.  I touch their heads, the hair like silk from summer corn.  It feels wholesome under my dirty hands.  I want to lean down and smell them, to smell their purity, but there is much to be done and little sleep to be had this night.

Through the door we go blind into darkness.  My heart is racing.  Our shoes scrape on the wood that sounds of scurrying mice.  Yes, we are still mice, never to know the true meaning of men.  The room is empty of life.  We sit in the corner, children clinging to my breast with hope of sleep that may be touched with dreaming.  I want to sing to them and let them drift to the vibrations in my chest, but it is dangerous.

We wait.

The men with guns will find us.  I am sure we will not survive.  I am a failed mother.

Eddie watched in terror as Jenna’s skin slowly slid from her face.  “You’re having a reaction.  The planet’s atmosphere is melting your skin!  We must get you to the revitalization chamber on the ship!” He yelled as he grabbed her by the arm. Eddie tried to lead Jenna to safety, but she was reluctant.  She fought back; slapping him on the arm and pulling in the opposite direction.  “This is for your own good,” he continued.  “If we don’t get you to the ship you will die! There’ll be nothing left.  Come with me now.”

Jenna kept fighting him.  “Hey asshole! We’re not in space.  There is no ship!  You are tripping balls.  Now let go of me.”

“You’re delusional;  your mind is going too.  I’ll have to use force.  Forgive me, but this is the only way to save you.”  Eddie barely finished the sentence as he clocked Jenna in the back of the head. She fell forward, conscious but in a state of shock.  Eddie took the opportunity to pull her up the steps of the ship and in to the revitalization chamber.

“Ok babe.  I’m filling the chamber up now.  You’ll have to submerge yourself.”

By this time Jenna was back on her feet.  “This is the bathroom moron, not some chamber.  I told you not to take so much of that shit.  You need to calm down.  We’ll go into the living room and watch some TV.”

Eddie didn’t reply. He knew at this point his only chance of saving Jenna was by force.  He lunged at her, grabbed her hair and shoved her down into the chamber.  She kicked and jerked but Eddie was too strong.  He held her under until she stopped struggling.

“There there now, you’ll be fine by morning.  I’m gonna take the controls and get off of this wretched planet.” He said while leaving the room.

###

Eddie awoke confused and alone in a cell the next morning.  He had no memory of the prior night.  He trembled as he looked out of the bars and thought.  “Oh lord.  Where did I go?  What did I do?”

Born from a test tube to Them in a room with the blinds drawn, I was empty. Perhaps I was only aware of my hollowness due to the pain I suffered prior to leaving my metal, unforgiving womb and wobbling down the machine’s birth canal. It felt as though every fiber of my being was ripped and rent, molecule by molecule, from my consciousness. After that, I felt nothing.

They gave me to a little girl with bright blue hair and green eyes. It was strange, the pains that the upper classes took to stand out, mark themselves. I was made in a similar vein, of sheet metal and steel, of pins and joints and alien to them. They did not care to name me or speak with me but their indifference was not surprising given our obvious physical disparities. I had a singular purpose and was created to do it well.

Every night, the little girl came to me and filled me with her thoughts, her interests at the Learning Center, her fears of robotic-monsters in the night.  I was an emotional, disconnected database.

“I love my parents,” she said once, speaking of Them. “I love my mom and dad because they smell like Lavender and peach oil and buy me dolls and give me hugs.”

I sat and said nothing when she spoke to me. I was her vessel to be filled every day, but I was unaware that there was no release valve and I would eventually experience feeling. After telling me of a particularly horrible instance with a bully one morning, I shed oil tears.

“It’s broken,” They said. And just as I was about to reclaim the emotion they had stripped me of in my creation, the pain returned and I was reborn, sterilized and inhuman.

He knew the end was near, had started preparing for it: changed all the tires and light bulbs; procured a few bonds; concluded repairs to the house; and revised his will.  All of that hurt more than the diagnosis, the sickness that followed it, and the sacrifices that choked the joy from our souls.  It hurt more than the discussions with friends, the weekly trips to physicians and stage-3 specialists, and stumbling upon clumps of hair in the bathroom, dropped like hushed wishes.

It hurt most because he was accepting the end, with welcome… and because it was never up to me.  My life was about to change forever.  That scared me.  In the last thirty-six years, I’d grown dependent on Henry.  What was I going to do without him?

I sat next to his hospital bed watching the snowflakes fall like broken butterflies.  They twirled to the ground as silent as the vacuum of space he would soon reside in.  I knew they were going to take Henry away from me tonight.  Down into the cold ground where darkness swallowed everything. He would go with them, by hand.

Henry studied me, his eyes unusually steady.  “You did all that you could.”

“It wasn’t enough.”

He blinked my comment away. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, Joyce.  One life is never enough time.”

“Skip misses you.  He sleeps on your side of the bed now and waits for you by your chair.  What should I tell him?”

“That’ll I’ll see him soon.”

At that, I wept.  An hour later, Henry’s eyes closed for the last time.  I went outside, into the majestic cruelty of the snow’s storm, and tried to catch as many snowflakes as I could.

The note he left began, “I said I’d never leave a note, but–.”  It took weeks for my eyes to let me past those first words, and once they did, I learned that he decided to “cut his losses in this life.”  Throughout the next few pages, he optimistically pondered the lives that might await him if reincarnation were real.  He promised that if we found each other again, I could be his cougar and have the “new, improved, younger model.”

The letter was folded evenly into an envelope, and his handwriting was the neatest I’d ever seen it.  I expected rushed penmanship and crumpled, tear-stained paper, but he was at peace with this decision.  The avowed atheist must have been plotting his other-worldly resurrection for some time.

In earlier years, he accused me of being an aspiring ghost, missing out on life while awaiting the tranquility of heaven, or plotting spectral jaunts around cities I never got to see in life.  I was eventually convinced by his logic, so we made sure to see as much of the world and each other as we could.  Nevertheless, I would have appreciated some warning about my mentor’s more recent revelations.

I don’t really believe that he’s out there anywhere.  Yet if I recognize a smile with teeth that look too large for the face they inhabit, my stare lingers longer than it should.  When I fall asleep at night, I leave my hand open for any phantom palm that may be looking for a place to rest.  After awhile, I feel my own pulse throbbing in my hand and make believe it’s his.