Like some sort of industrial breezeway, everything in the pick-up area of E Terminal Arrivals suggests speed, motion, no stopping, no parking, get in and get out, flashing lights, hurry up. I turn on my blinker and pull alongside the cones, put the car illicitly in park, and reach for my phone, texting, “I’m here.” A wash of excitement pours through me, anticipation of her presence, her touch, her smile. Suddenly someone is right outside my driver’s side window and I turn my expectant smile toward them. But it’s not her, it’s a petite woman in an azure top and gaudy white necklace, face twisted up with rage, neck veins bulging, screaming, “…holding up a whole line of cars! You can’t park here!” Her spit flecks my window. She is gesturing wildly at the cars behind me, and I wonder why they didn’t go around me since there is plenty of room to my left and my blinker is on. As if on cue, she turns to them and screams, “Just go around her, she’s ignorant!” I feel bad for her, embarrassing herself by screaming at strangers in public. She had a long day, a bad flight, has a bad relationship with whoever is coming to pick her up, stuck in the line of cars that was here before I arrived and will be here after I leave. Then it creeps in, the rage, blossoms from the base of my spine up through my organs and into my throat.
Category Archives: cubehermit
We were expressly told “No skinnydipping” at the end-of-camp staff party. Because of this, and despite having drunk more beer than ever, my heart races and my mouth dries as I drop my shorts on the sand. I pull my shirt over my head, set my glasses on top of the pile. I turn toward my swimming partner: already naked, knee-deep in the water, watching me undress. In the half-light, I can see the creamy color of her skin, the blob that is her dyed-black hair, her awkward lanky limbs, a spot which must be the patch between her legs. But no detail! My glasses! The first time a girl shows me her naked body and I can’t see it! But I can’t wear them if I am to go into the water, where touching might be possible. “Damn,” I swear aloud. She takes it as a compliment, asking, “Is this the first time you’ve seen a girl naked?” She turns and half-runs/half-dives into the dark water. I follow, swim up to her. “What are we supposed to do next?,” I ask. “What do you want to do next?” she asks back, brushing against my hip with hers. My fear of the camp director leaves me and I am faced with a new fear: of everything I ever wanted being laid out in front of me for the taking.
“How you even know yo’ camera’s workin’?”
“I can hear it working, man. I know what it sounds like when it works. When it’s out of memory, it makes a beep, not a click. When it’s out of batteries, it’s real quiet.”
“How you know whachu’ takin’ pictures of?”
“I’m blind, not stupid! If I take a picture of you, I know I just took a picture of you. I take pictures of the city, man. I can feel it, I can smell it, I can hear it. People like my pictures. I have a following.”
“You got a followin’. That’s stark crazy. Blind photographer’s got a followin’! You showin’ your pictures in fancy ga-alleries? People buyin’ your shit?”
“For real, man.”
“How the hell you get started takin’ pictures if you blind? I mean. You’ like a writer that don’t read! How a blind person even learn about pictures? And don’t tell me you wa’n’t always blind ‘cause you got that look – that look like you ain’t never seen shit…”
“Ha! You’re right, man, I ain’t never seen shit. I went to summer camp and photography was one of the activities. I asked the counselor ‘What’s that?’ and he said ‘A photograph captures a feeling that people can see and understand later, after it happens.’ He probably doesn’t even remember saying that, but I said, ‘Sign me up!’ and I’ve been in it ever since.”
Sitting in a prison cell gives you a lot of time to think about the signs.
As a candidate she promised to build a safe nation and an ethical government. She talked about her interest in Astrology as just a hobby; her campaign slogan: “Trust me, I’m a Virgo.” She was eccentric, but she had done well as a village leader, in local government, in the nation’s parliament. She seemed to have the interests of her countrymen at heart.
The first years of her presidency were wonderful, prosperous times. She brought unprecedented security. She cleared out the worst elements from the government. She established education programs, built universities and libraries. She paid down the national debt, signed peace treaties.
We all saw the signs during those happy times, but she was doing so much for us. We didn’t mind registering our astrological signs when we got national ID cards. We didn’t think anything of it when she announced government contracts would be given out to Virgo-owned businesses or launched a nation-wide fertility campaign in December with an eye toward a nation of Virgos.
By the time she dissolved parliament, took over the news stations to broadcast her own speeches 24 hours a day and executed or imprisoned all Geminis and Scorpios (I am unhappily part of the latter group), her grip on every facet of our lives was complete.
I hear Libras are next…
Love Lies on the Beach by cubehermit
As soon as she says it, we both know what it is, what it means, what it could mean.
We eat our sandy grapes in a cautious, wind-swept silence. Crunching down on the sand between my teeth with the grape juice squirting all up inside my mouth feels tragic. The sand tastes salty, like the weeping earth, against the sweet fruit.
I look into her face, a face that just hours before I held in my hands and kissed all over, still unsure. I see the solemn secret eyes that I have loved and feel a weight descend into my bones. Why did she do it? Am I at fault? Was I enough for her? How did I fail her?
I look again and see all the glorious laughter, all the sorrows, all the passion in that face, and betrayal seeps into my heart, that mixture of sorrow and rage. I feel that feeling as it begins tearing me apart from the inside, ripping all the pictures down from the walls of my mind like a rock star’s drug-fueled rampage.
Suddenly the wind feels cold and the sand I’m sitting on hard and I feel disgusted to be so close to her, to be so used by her. I know this is the end, at least the beginning of the end, this lie she told me this day on this beach.
They gave her an allegedly former broom closet in the back of the gallery for her installation.
Now, on opening night, people kept asking her how she found the inspiration for the mop and bucket in the corner.
“It is such an incredibly powerful comment on the mundane-ity of the post-relational human condition.”
“You have delivered a blow to the art world that will reverberate for years to come.”
“The juxtaposition of the morbid mop and vibrant bucket against the semi-art frou-frou in the rest of the installation just rebooted my mind.”
“I found the mop and bucket to be the most textured aspect of the experience.”
“I was excited beyond all rationality when I saw the wad of hair floating IN the filthy water IN the bucket – you are genius.”
Her installation (the semi-art frou-frou) was intended to be a map of her life.
She had destroyed every memento of her present and past (everything she owned, in fact) by a combination of smashing, painting over, drowning, and burning, and placed the pieces with extreme care in layers over walls and ceiling to create a topographic illustration of the landscapes of time she had lived to that point.
If she were to include tonight on the map, she thought, finding herself quietly asking the curator to arrange with the janitor for the mop and bucket to stay as-is, she would have to dig a hole in the wall, crawl in, and die.
On a side street off the main drag where chain restaurants, big box stores, insurance companies and car sales giants were sucking the life out of America stood the only business for kilometers owned by a real person as opposed to a corporate behemoth.
The owner was Miss Auralette. She stood about six feet tall, dressed in impossibly dramatic style, with luscious brown skin.
I learned it was first name: Miss; last name: Auralette when she handed me her card. I studied the card, not exactly sure what I was doing in this shop other than enjoying the air conditioning and relishing in its fierce independence.
The Psychedelic Travel Agency was full of couches, tapestries, and posters of colorful fractals. I sank into the rust colored shag carpet. I already felt transported.
“So, you want to go on a trip?” Auralette’s voice broke my reverie. “What kind of little worlds do you want to visit?” She lifted a tray of carefully labeled little foil pouches to the counter. “I offer many choices…”
I read the labels: ‘Mauve Haze’ ‘Fruity Loops’ ‘Robo Rooster’ ‘Time Machine’
“Where does the time machine go?” I asked, pinching myself to see if I was dreaming.
“Far away from here,” Auralette said, “but might I suggest this one for you,” she pointed a bejeweled fingernail to the label ‘Silken Road’. “It will bring you deep inside, which is where I think you really want to go.”