Under the headline—
CITY HALL GETS INVOLVED.
There’s a flock of dirty sensualists on the veranda, smelling their fingers and making book on the strung out, dew-crusted minions rolled up in chains of bed-loused Mexican blankets. “Cheap garbage diving trash,” the dilettantes trill as the squinting heap claws over each other to get their hands on an old boot, growling guts playing old Chaplin flicks to their degenerating loops of brain. Once they were all innocent and pure. Now the bombardment of taint does the impossible for one paint huffing junkie—his gall bladder mutates! Plastic is edible! He sits cross-legged in a pile of newspaper, savoring the reflective trim on an old jogging shoe like a fettucine alfredo.
In the pit of being these experiments go unnoticed. Microorganisms are testing quantum theory on their own microscopic dog tracks, tossing wagers upon the wet steps of the cathedral. Junkies chew up the bucket seats of an old Volkswagen like piranhas flipping through the guts of a capybara, stripping the carcass to its frame. All parts of the animal are wasted. In the end, the bloody hang-nailed need is fixed by a needle filled with tar heroin. The young gnash their teeth against the cut. The old form the irritant into the pearl of themselves, their tongues unconsciously playing Ponce de Leon with their slippy blackened gums. Wild eyes see double at half-speed, 24/7, hungry for a cheap cigar and every minute pegged at 3AM.
It’s rush hour traffic. The city moves like blood. Antibodies flock around their dealers as the windows shake.
Newsflash! A citizen in a public restroom is injecting speed. Somewhere downtown a roll-up garage door opens and the Department of Transportation blunders out in a tractor-driven amoeboid flood. Circling aimlessly, speckled with glitter for some unknowable reason, they gesticulate in a universal shrug and try making the kissyface of their beer belches the clarion call for revolution. They’ll slide their pension in when the whistle blows, filling up on the sandbag’s invincible dream, their inflated sense of worth a balustrade that’ll suck up bullets like a pillow fight.
A headshot from a wannabe Che Guevara does no good; these old politicos have padded their bleak hunger with designer genetic alterations. The second brain lodged in the mutated tailbone has the slop consistency of crawfish innards, the reaction time of a Stegosaurus. John Kennedy bleeds all over the guests and a waiter stuffs a terrycloth version of the regulations in the hole to act as temporary forebrain. While the mouth works, the hand makes spastic gestures with its martini glass. “Tourism must not suffer during this protracted conflict.”
A roar goes up from the crowd outside. An arrow of casual knife fighting tweekers squeezes through the streets below, dealing ritualistic death and creation myth with vicious swoops of air guitar. Their dignity hand: a stylized thalidomide arm, snakes out to pay tithes to a retinue of stunted radioactive midgets, each one plucking erotically at their keloids and shaking tambourines. The impromptu circus bathes in the orange glow of burning tires, the acrid smoke blinding all to the wiles of the hoi palloi as privilege tosses shit-flecked dollar bills into the game with calloused hooks, reaping tax deductions.
“You cannot beat the internet for perversion,” John Kennedy says as his pulsing bloody dishtowel joins a montage of ugly online zits. “You stare at 1955 now, some teenage johnny’s jerking off on the end of a noose and go ‘ho-hum,’ meanwhile in present day Baboonsasshole, there’s some Russian pedophile having his rectal prolapse violated by a lubricated German’s forehead, making a glass bottom boat of himself and giving everyone a bird’s eye view of his greasy spinach. Yeech! No one in this damn town tells a good proctologist joke anyway.” He says, spilling his martini.
The inspector says, “This asshole’s clean as a whistle,” but no one hears the news—the paparazzi can only angle around the inspector’s shoulders and make fun of his tie. Somebody from CNN describes a puppet show framed in whorehouse curtains and the story percolates through a twelve story building full of editors and ad-execs. Now fully processed, the story emerges as twenty seconds of a chipmunk riding a small plastic skateboard.
Upstairs the tenant reacts to the news. He works hard at getting his tray table to its full upright position but the inspector is unfazed; thirty years of bureaucratic service has gifted Punxsutawney Phil a spine with the plasticity of a vinegar soaked chicken bone. Every micron of suppositorial warmth must be scrutinized, accounted, recorded in triplicate. The onlookers have no patience for process. They demand cleanliness, screaming this whole thing be covered with an enormous brown paper bag. The balcony seats laugh, pissing a stream of lotto fever all over them as a reward. On cue, a beacon shines into the heart of downtown and the mystic dream of the citizens is collectively realized as two stories worth of stretched out gold-plated hairlessness without an elbow or knee. There is a collective sigh, a secret envy, a clichéd religious awe. The auditor dines at the public’s coffer without pause, rasping away at the Russian’s loose orifice like it’s art history month at the Guggenheim.
Some passing alcoholic hallucinates over the edge of metaphor and straight into a brick wall. Eyes fixed on the process he wonders aloud, “There are brains in there, where’s your light source?” The hand that writes in fire moves the clock to fifteen past the hour. Reality cuts to commercial. On the edge of the frame, agitated black vans leak into the street, the immune response kicking in. The drunk stares impolitely as this search for meaning strains the elastic limits of boredom. How can anyone really come out on top. As this sacrilege forms perfect in his mind, the need to make it running commentary puts him on the soapbox. Grabbing the megaphone from the pundit’s hand, he drenches it with the virus of his thoughts: a warm steak marinated in Appletini. The battery shorts, electrical charges conduct, and this unfortunate ridin’ high on meaninglessness bastard ends up standing there, gorked out in a soundless horror. Eternal prescience continues working the hamster’s wheel as his heart smokes, trapped in the cage of his beggar’s chest.
He’ll wake up involved with something—lips tasting dirty concrete and the same forever, the back of his neck singed by cigarette butts. More likely charred by traveling sadists and crumpled in a wet heap — a hot fireplace poker sticking prison style from his virginal confines, pink Bic lighters scattered hither and yon. Probably worse than that even: an art installation. A yellowish, mascara-caked transvestite, hidden in synthetic hair extensions pauses. She clicks her heels to attention at the passing of the torch, bearing witness for all who lack nerve before trundling her powdered donut off to eight more hours at the gloryhole.
Above the morning’s dark corner, thick-lipped groupers line the high windows of the city’s derelict ship and sharpen their teeth.