Total Pageviews

Saturday, November 28, 2009

building a human being

You take the periodic table, Labas, you take the elements, yeah, you take zinc and nitrogen and carbon – you need carbon – and you throw an atom at it from the top of the table, a lighter one. Bang you got a compound. Then you stick this little baby in a vat of hydrogen and you spin the shit out of it in a centrifuge. You gotta pump out the debris you see – I’m talking rogue electrons, quark bits ripped off the nucleus and so on – and you hang this thing in a vacuum and you shake it, you shake it, you understand; don’t dillydally here Labas, you shake it hard – this can take years; you need a shitload of patience, I’m warning you. And when you’ve got a couple of these puppies lined up, you’ll see, they’ll come at each other, cling to each other like lovers – they do that, they love each other, all their electrons close and intertwined. So now you keep doing this until you got a cluster and the little dirtbag starts to move all by itself, kind of like a cell. Basically Labas, if you can pull out a paper, read all the op-eds and come back and it’s still moving, you’re good to go. Got it?

Yes. Ok.

Alright, now here’s the thing. Listen up, now you have to get off your butt and leap a few million years forward. So you just take giant-boot strides across time, Labas; don’t be sparing here, you just go; you just jump like a crazy-man, you don’t come back until you’ve put a couple of million between you. Ok? And when you come back –when you come back to the same place, guess what? Lookee-what-we-have-here, a hairy thing with arms – dumb as a box of rocks, but mobile and with eyeballs, a sentient thing with long limbs and big teeth. Don’t be afraid though, Lui, this guy doesn’t know right from left. You can screw him with your eyes closed and half your brain defunct. Alright?

Yes.

Ok, now comes the tricky part… Labas, are you taking notes?

No, I’m listening. I’m not going to do this myself JK.

Sure you are. Take notes. Alright listen up because now you have to throw some voodoo at it, now you have to get this dirtbag to talk, you understand, so you hit him with it, you do your thing, you throw the book at this sucker, you do what you have to, I have no rules here. Your guess is as good as mine. You invoke gods my friend, you invoke gods, you do what you have to do, but sooner or later – if you do it right – he’s going to talk back. They all do. Stop bustin’ my balls he said to me. They can be nice, but they can be pesky too. Either way, don’t complain because next thing you know – guess what? – he’s ignoring you. He’s sitting around, he’s got bouncy fluorescent things on his feet with a swooshy stripe and he’s fingering a cell phone sending text messages. Suddenly he’s talking shit Labas, spending money, screwing girls, getting in your face. Some are nice, but not all. You understand?

Wow. I guess so. That’s a lot of information JK.

I’ll help if you want. The hydrogen vat part is tricky. I’ll help you out. And I have space upstairs.

But JK, after the hairy arm phase, can you cool them down – I mean, get ‘em to talk nice?

I told you Labas, that’s the hard part, that’s the mysterious part. I do my voodoo on these suckers, but you get what you get. They’re their own man then. They plunge into the universe. They go their own ways. They are who they are. You have no say, you got it? You have no say.

Can’t you at least get them to be female and very tall, like three meters, and can’t you get them to stay hairy?

What the hell are you talking about Labas? You want a monster?

No, no, it’s for bigman.

Who the hell is bigman!!?!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

on the bridge

Mica and I met on the Erasmus bridge down where it hits the south side of the city. There was tons of wind and her spiky hair was all over the place. You’re a funny human being Mica Spirelli, I said, and she dropped her hands which were up to shield her face from the wind, and she laughed. Mica Spirelli, au pair extraordinaire, bird of flight and princess of Ljubljana. When I was done saying her name to myself my knees turned to goulash, my eyes watered and I wondered in a flash what mysterious vibration emanated from inside this girl and whether it had anything to do with the spark in her eyes, the bounce of her body and the way her words shot out to targets I was scarcely aware of.

I wanted to hold her hand on the way to the Balkan restaurant, but she kept messing around, eating pistachio nuts, throwing the shells over the bridge and poking in me in the arm. When she stopped for a moment to get oriented, I grabbed her hand and then she stood still.

You vanished Lui, she said, you just disappeared.

Didn’t you get my message?

What message?

I sent you a message Mica.

I didn’t get it.

Didn’t you feel it?

… that was you?

That was me.

Wow Lui.

You liked it?

I loved it. But what were you doing down there… in the dark with all those hares?

I… I was trying to get to the bottom of things.

Very funny. Ha-ha-ha. No, seriously.

I am serious.

Well, did you?

I would have – maybe – but I got pulled up.

Huh?

Come Mica, Let’s get those lamb chops. Bulgadov is grill master tonight. He’s extraordinary. He does magic with mint. I told him we’re coming.

So there we were, above ground, the wind on our cheeks, her hand in mine, and all around – everywhere – her frequency, her vibration, traveling out in waves… beyond this bridge, beyond Rotterdam, and even beyond – I’ve no doubt – this enormous galaxy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

the pulse

I saw a string of light and then the ground shook beneath me. Chunks of earth dropped down from the burrow walls. There was earth in my hair, in my pockets, in my teeth. I felt lucky for a moment with my mouthwash and toothpicks, but when I was gurgling and spitting and cleaning out my gums, suddenly I felt something near, not a hare with yellow eyes, not another creature-subterranean… something else. It was like a tap on the shoulder at first, but quickly it became all encompassing, like a pulse from a groundswell deep inside these burrows. The toothpick dropped out of my mouth; the mouthwash out of my hands.

It was a dark pulse – dark not in color but in substance. It made my whole body shudder and my mouth run with saliva. My immediate reaction was to wish for JK and his contraptions to flash a gigawatt of charge at this mutherfucker – woooooooaaaaaaarghhh – but instead, uncontrollably, I went towards it, down.

I could not see my own hands, I could hear nothing of this soundless pulse, and my only active sense was the taste of earth between teeth. But so I went, down into the ground; here and there a set of yellow eyes stared out at me. In flashes I remembered who I was, and once the thought of Mica Spirelli fizzled through, and I murmured her name in full as I carried on… mica spirelli , au pair extraordinaire, bird-of-flight and princess of Ljubljana…

I would have gone much further towards the heart of this thing had a hand not appeared out of nowhere and pulled at me with a force that was not quite human. My arm was nearly wrenched out of its socket, and I was dragged up, down, round, over roots and rubble, down dirt chutes and funnels. I lost a shoe and everything else that was loose on my body. Dragged, pulled, thrust, pushed, until suddenly cold air washed over me and I emerged out of a spray of sand and brickwork… on my corner. My corner.

Against the back wall of the grillroom was a Turk drinking coffee. He did not seem surprised at the ruckus, or the pile of brick, or the man standing beside me, a man twice my size holding me by the arm. Yes, bigman.

We sat on the curb for about thirty minutes, and I wondered then whether Clay Dove and his men were after this; not a cache of gold bullion nestled somewhere in this maze, but this. This thing down there. Maybe this was it, this dark pulse that practically lifted me off my feet, cleared my brain and ran me like a puppet.

The pulse lingered like a strange atmospheric pressure. It took me two days to get a train of thought going again. Two days for a spark to come at the thought of Mica Spirelli. Two days to find my way. And two days more to decide what to do next.

Bigman didn’t say anything that night, but his hand on my shoulder spoke volumes: stay above ground my friend, and deal with what you know. I’m sure it was kindly meant but something inside me yearned to go back and get to the heart of this thing – this dark pulse – to get at it, to conquer it!