Eight stories for EI8HT, continued

Eight

My favorite uncle opened a spa. He claimed that with his specialists’ help you could taste an ultimate pleasure drowning in his oxygen-rich tanks. There you lay in a glass coffin filled with translucent green fluid. A transmitter or something beeped out a pitiful orchestra; then these 20,000-volt cables swung down out of thin air to turn all the electricity green. I knew sooner or later he’d ruin that tank and its beautiful electricity-singing liquid. His slight lisp and the atmosphere of amoral characters and their enigmatic activities which permeated his office did not discourage his success in the slightest.

My favorite aunt breezes down the highway in her Audi TT. Little and blithe and pink, she’s returned from spinning her lipstick on snowy slopes; now she’s on a collision course with the tanks of green, and who can blame her? Those boys in huge fur coats? Those girls with very little on underneath? No. Relentlessly toward the spa she drives smug and perky—now plunging through the guardrail, off the overpass, through the roof of Uncle’s spa, into that tank of singing green. Later we dip hot perfumed water from the still-entitled wreckage of her silky body, once swaddled in furs, now no longer perky, driven to ruin by shabby passengers.

My uncle’s reign of fey symphonies shudders to a wild resolution. Accordingly, he leaves off his crackling compositions, his Q4 business plan, to preside over legions of such beautiful angels. I can see him now: rolling inexorably toward some uncertain but doomed conclusion.

Stagger to the kitchen, he says, and get me the gasoline.

Eight stories for EI8HT, continued

Seven

I come into the studio and he’s tearing old photographs of me to shreds and mixing them with his saliva,

masticating them into a sticky pulp which he is then using to sculpt his own likeness

and I don’t know whether to slap or kiss him

so I just laugh nervously and pick my nose

he kind of ducks his head like he’s embarrassed to have me see the unfinished papier maché torso

before all his lats and deltoids are sort of fleshed out and bulging

and I can tell he’s wondering to himself, “Do I have shreds of her baby pictures sticking out between my teeth?”

because he’s sucking them and spitting and looking around for his highball of bourbon

so to put him at ease I deliver a flirtatious blow to the side of his head

and he laughs and turns to me and headbutts me hard in the gut and knocks the wind out of me

and I’m choking and trying to laugh and tears are streaming down my face

and he’s clutching me around the waist and nuzzling my stomach with his bristly chin

and I box his ears just to sort of lovingly daze him a little

and he reels back shaking his head and grabs the seltzer bottle of battery acid

and lets fly on me, just a little baby spray really

“Cut it out,” I’m whining as the drops sizzle on my sweater

cuz it’s one of my favorite Comme des Garçons pieces from the late eighties

and he knows that

and he seems to sense that maybe he’s gone too far with the sweater

so he drops the seltzer bottle

and comes close to me

and we kiss

and he backs me into the unfinished torso and sort of sandwiches me between him and his statue of himself

and even though I know the soggy masticated shreds of my baby pictures are insinuating themselves in the weave of the sweater,

I’m immensely excited and direct him to take me right there on the worktable

Eight stories for EI8HT, continued

Five

He smoothed the mosquito netting on her sad skin. This galactic maiden sleepwalker was beginning to have effects on his senses. He’d had lovers dazzle even his solitude before, even his mighty heart. But her frenzied mermaid struggles, her wet anaconda face, her palliative song and the sensual unintelligibility of its lyrics—it was all instrumentation for a very quiet and lovely sleep he didn’t want to wake from. Usually he did not have a moment’s rest until he felt his own sleepwalker senses gasp and strangle. Now his gasping felt routine next to the magnetic satellite of her body.

Eight stories for EI8HT, continued

Four

“Your frames-on-face lifestyle-dispensing methodology has grown tedious” was the last thing he said to me before hefting the KFC bag of his personal effects and walking out of my life forever.

What really gets to me now is just how far off the mark he was: My methodology has never been about frames-on-face. I’ve always been about proximity-sensor, signal-analysis, vibration-mounting controls, but never about frames-on-face, never about manifold antistatic ionization, and most of all never about precision-wireworked catheterizing-habitat devices.

Classic “he said, she said,” I suppose.

Eight stories for EI8HT, continued

Three

They met at a bar frequented by revolutionaries and writers of zines. He wore a mock turtleneck and camo pants. She wore a leather skirt and a t-shirt strategically ripped to show off the tattoo in her cleavage. Said tattoo depicts Jesus riding a pegacorn, you know, those unicorns with wings. Jesus is wearing an FDNY trucker cap and crying tears of blood. Lazer-bolts from the pegacorn’s eyes are smiting these caricatures of Bin Laden, Hussein and Nader, who are groveling at its hooves.

He said “Rad tat” and then they commenced to sticking their tongues down each other’s throats. Grinding their skeletons together, mashing the muscles between them, bruising each other’s lips and hips. In the general snoggery, his mustache came completely unwaxed and hung limply down his face. He was so embarrassed he ran out of the bar, sticking her with the tab. Dick.

 

Eight stories for EI8HT, continued

Two

War comes to Lamorinda.

Janelle cleans the house, kills the cat, smears La Mer on her fallout rash. Survivors have been ordered to assemble at the country club. Janelle packs her Prada backpack with water purification tablets, eyeliner, fish sticks, other necessities for her journey.

There’s a first aid table set up at the country club, where the valet station used to be. The attendant insists on taking x-rays of Janelle’s head, saying she’s looking a bit tumorish. Sure enough, she’s got tumors: one small and dark, one large and glowing, spinning in orbit inside her head like a tiny earth and moon. The attendant is sympathetic to Janelle’s plight, and takes many x-rays of the tumors in various positions in her brain until he finds one that looks good. Now she can die beautiful.

Eight stories for EI8HT

My friend Kristen Matia curates and produces an amazing underground show called EI8HT in San Francisco on a tantalizingly irregular basis. Eight performers each have eight minutes to dazzle the audience with whatever comes up: song, dance, clownery (no, serious, actual clownery!), trapeze, striptease, striptease performed on a trapeze. (Yes, that happened.)

I’ve been honored to participate on a few occasions. Here’s some of the silliness I read for the second EI8HT, on March 8, 2012.

from Eight Stories for EI8HT

One

I let my credit cards get the better of me. They sent me to the debtor’s prison in Noe Valley to pay it off. To add insult to injury I wasn’t selected for the reality show Sexy Debtor’s Prison, which would have paid handsomely.

Luckily I don’t have to work or anything. We got these nice phones in here with all the movies you could want. Actually I don’t know why we still call these things phones. We can’t actually call anyone with them.

Whenever the movie ends, I shuffle over to the apparatus that harvests my raw materials. I’m milked, drained, and shaved on a bihourly basis. My urine is a finely tuned byproduct controlled by the specialized diet I’m fed. I believe they sell it to the pharmaceutical industry. But maybe it’s cosmetics.

Anyway it’s not that bad. After the uproar on poor living conditions in debtor’s prisons, lo these many months ago, a Debt Prisoner’s Bill of Rights was drawn up. As follows:

* A Debt Prisoner has the right to adequate and nourishing fodder, clean air and water in which to bathe, living quarters no smaller than 6 by 6 by 7, and a phone for watching movies on.

* A Debt Prisoner’s resources are to be harvested while the Debt Prisoner is conscious. Mild sedation is permissible.

* A Debt Prisoner has the right each day to write one letter, to smoke two cigarettes, and to wail before the granite image of Cashyapa for a minimum of ten minutes.