Friday, May 29, 2009

A Short History of America by R. Crumb

The Everything Days

After long enough sex was forgotten and the sexes were once again at peace with one another. Never was the populace more productive. Correspondence reached its destination on schedule and bedridden men held down descent jobs.  Many of the elders, those well past the apex of their desires, feared it couldn’t last forever. Their minds still held foggy snippets of extreme proximity; flicks of tongues across taut skin and looks too intense and brief to be anything but black magic. Some became delirious speaking out publicly again the hindrance of desire. They knew well the depth of the animal passion that radiates deep within our bones, vibrating the precious marrow. For years the Campaign of God littered neighborhoods that were thought to be at risk with reaffirming anti-sex propaganda from their gilded blimps. This was all very normal and the line between boys and girls grew blurry. With the adoption of the general uniform act came the death of distinction.

“But they can never kill the sex that hides in your eyes. I see it”

At the event of the year one of the performers fell from the high stage, snagging her sleeve on a stray nail on the way down. The nail opened her jumpsuit up like a zipper. When she crashed to the ground she was naked and unconscious. The cameras stalled on this image, being pumped into every room of every house in the Union. Everything froze and a churlish beast was awoken inside the mind of man. The Campaign of God buckled under the force of the sexual revolution, each city’s looming ivory spire toppled, the bricks sold to sweating, red-faced tourists.  The sex laws were lifted and forgotten. What followed was what we’re calling: the everything days. 

The idea was: freedom of the body and mind. What is has evolved into is something else altogether. The collective long-bottled emotions spilling, unimpeded, into the streets. Everywhere eyes are flooded with the concentrated lust we’ve been trained to push deep down inside of ourselves. The people have stepped backwards and violence and sex and hunger have become one.

It is no longer guilt that twists in our bellies.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

victor's jealousy

jaw hangs slack
not much to the frame
head gets slimmer towards the chin
chest looks dented
toes awkwardly bunched as if in anticipation
this kid's asleep, with his veins
with his drool and stupid haircut
hovering so slightly you have to reference the background
a sleeping human being that looks so very weak
a fat water balloon on the grass
rest cant be rest without the assumed security
who knows who can or can't
flipping into the other side like a sneeze
a masterpiece painting donated to the blind

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Hockney Exhibit

Inside the thick glass doors the hibernating sunlight imposed itself on the interior’s darker places, causing shadows to glow neon green, brighter than the bright parts. The walls were a dulled white and the pale hardwood floors looked wet. Ryan instinctively wandered away from the happy couple and let them explore on their own. The haze began to fade from his vision and the faces of the people became discernible. It wasn’t the walking and talking people that Ryan was interested in, but rather the bold hovering faces created by David Hockney. The exhibit displayed work throughout his entire spectrum: abstract early sketches, sprawling photo mosaics, fully rendered oils, deceiving watercolors, and the many shifting stages in between. It was a collection of almost entirely portraits; always drawing the watcher’s eyes to the faces of the artist’s peers and family. Ryan mused over the faces; these faces that stood out far beyond the colorful clothes and benches made from simple overlapping stripes. They came together amongst the mess of the surrounding world, like miracles amongst blunders. Ryan saw himself in a mirrored column and his eyes shot between the blemishes. He had cut his hair the day before and it hadn’t looked right once it dried. He tried to casually shape it back using his hand comb and a little spit. He tried to not flash the last image of his face and instead went back to the walls lined with Hockney’s mother. She looked very much like Ryan’s own grandmother, Nana Commins. He only knew through pictures, many of which she was holding baby-him. He knew that somewhere inside lingered the remains of her gentle leathery touch.

He felt the girl standing next to him. He knew without looking that she was a perfect subject for a memory print, like a written description of a discontinued ice cream. At first Ryan only looked at her within the reflection of a crayon sketch’s protective glass. Her hair was medium length brown and she held a strapped trapezoid in her inverted hands. She wore cheap blue plastic hoop earrings and a simple patterned skirt that reached her ankles. She leisurely crossed Ryan and they continued in their opposing lines. Looking back over his shoulder his mind had been redirected- he didn’t care about Hockney’s vivid faces anymore. He decided to follow her, but not directly, he skipped many of Hockney’s phases and lingered in the connecting rooms, stealing snippets of her neck and the diagonal line of her underwear. He did his best to burn the natural thinness of her arms into the carbon paper. She never looked in his direction and he began to hunger for the light her eyes probably emitted. He pictured them as glowing blue glass dinner plates with speckled constellations that he could spend four years outlining and creating back-stories for.

As he exited a room Walter and Yvette approached, happy and a little stoned off of Hockney. Walter asked Ryan if he had already seen everything. Ryan imagined they must think he was unappreciative of art; jogging sideways through the rooms. He said something about taking a weird route and left them to their proper viewing. Ryan considered the proper way to view art slowly bouncing around with a pretty girl who talked about it, but not too much.

He slid carefully through the rooms of pleasant women wearing instructional headphones, smiling and nodding as the voice described the things they were looking at. The girl was in the far room not taking too much time on anything; her eyes didn’t bounce around. A foul dropper that lived in Ryan’s head since the ninth grade released several doses of its bitter tasting tonic and he no longer wanted to see the girl’s dinner plate eyes. He let her leave and turned back to Hockney’s people. He felt death and loneliness emanating from the layers of color that he interpreted as familiar faces. All of the paintings were dated and singed, most with descriptions of varying lengths stuck on the wall next to them. He became intimate with these faces, until he felt heavy ink in his veins. His mind flipped through projected pages of these people, Hockney’s people, many who were most likely dead or near-dead based on the dates. He thought of what a baby’s face must inspire in the hands of the near-dead. Ryan wished that he could remember his grandmother’s face and what it had meant to him, rather than what the mosaic of photos had showed him. He wanted to fall face first into those old family photos and examine his grandmother’s lined leather hands.

Ryan roamed further into museum feeling the air become steadily thick with a familiar taste. His reality had been becoming more and more intertwined with his dream world. He bit his lip too hard and his blood tasted like pennies. He came to a series of sketches done with white and black charcoal pencils on a middle ground paper. The faces were expertly detailed and striking compared to those of the previous rooms. Ryan’s mind registered the expressions of Hockney’s sketchy people with the same indefinite, vibrating twang that accompanied the walkers and talkers. These penetrating faces slid by him until, he found himself unable to move. The eyes of a pregnant woman caught him. Her face was fresh and confident looming over her stark white charcoal cotton shirt that was snuggled around her big round belly. Ryan felt as if this woman and her baby were more alive than he would ever be. His eyes bounced around the paper and he no longer saw the lines; he saw an entire home, an entire world, a series of events that he knew were not invented by him, or even Hockney. This vibrant face spoke to him. He was injected with the woman’s life story and as he read the date (1999) he felt the life of her seven-year-old child developing, much like a photograph lying in chemicals. The woman’s face gracefully aged seven years and her little boy was now tall enough where she didn’t have to bend to walk with him. He knew that they were happy with each other and that was enough for a moment’s happiness. Looking at this woman, who no longer belonged to Hockney, Ryan knew he could cry; he wanted to, but he didn’t. Instead he made a note to call his Mother soon and to try to leave all urgency out of his voice.

In the next room hung giant paintings, many made up of multiple canvases, which were thick with oil paint and were made up of sharp lines and opaque colors. His heart became self-aware and pumped his inked blood with increasing enthusiasm. The ink hit the walls and flowed back, further mixing with his blood. He saw now, not through his two eyes, but as if through his entire face, like a lighthouse’s beam. His beam of vision drifted past the walkers and he almost didn’t care what his face might look like to them. What he saw in the faces of the massive Hockney people was that of the jaded writers of the world’s history. That, however, wasn’t what concerned him most; he was being drawn into the space in between the people. Most of the paintings were of two people that were separated by varying spans of negative space. The space seemed to speak to him even more than the faces. What it said was that we all live and die alone. Not a new thought, but in this palpable form, it sent Ryan’s mind into a series or arcing, clenching movements. He slid on the wet floor, shuffling his tattered brown shoes, head down, to an arrangement of cushy one and two-person seats; velvets plump seats that shimmered like black peaches with sun-catching fuzz. He sat and cupped his hands around his nose with his elbows on his knees. It took him an unknown amount of time to realize that, to others, it would appear as if he was praying. He changed his hands to show that he was thinking quite deeply, but not praying.

A girl sat one two-person black peach away from him and cycled a deep breath, straightening her books. She looked around the room and didn’t see who she was looking for. Ryan could not stop thinking about the space in between him and everyone else in the room. That was all he saw as he looked at the shiny hardwood floor and the reflections of the pleasant women with headphones. The least space existed in between him and the girl with the books. She had short brown hair and he noticed that the top book of her stack was medium sized and yellow. He didn’t talk to the girl. She didn’t talk to him. The space between them only became greater. Yvette and Walter appeared. They said something about seeing the rest of the museum, whose existence Ryan had failed to acknowledge up until that moment. He didn’t feel like seeing anything else, but didn’t say so.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Screen Grabs: 12 Angry Men


Together they walked through the enormous frosted glass entrance. Her Father was there to talk to one of the boys wearing glasses about things she didn’t understand. Her name was Crystal, but she was known as Cricket.

Cricket was holding her Father’s massive hand, looking up at the people as they hovered past. Some of them made little cutesy faces at her, puffing up their cheeks or sticking out their tongue and bulging their eyes until they looked like lunatics. She stared at them without any noticeable reaction- unafraid, unamused. She could see under the tables to where they were hiding little machines that loudly beeped and others that spit out long paper tongues.

Her hair went up into the air and down past her shoulders in thick bouncing chocolate and peanut butter coils. Her yellow eyes were huge for her tiny face and always seemed to hypnotize strangers. They would look at her as if they were trying to figure out something very important. Her skin was like coffee ice cream, dotted here and there with tiny chocolate chips. Her other hand was holding Bear, her bear.

She could see a boy across the room, half-hiding behind his Mother’s leg. Cricket tilted her head, wondering where he went to school and what it was like to be from somewhere else. He was blonde and his ears stuck out like a chimp. In one of his ears a loose cotton ball was on the verge of detaching and drifting down to the glossy wood floors. The room was full of people that were speaking too loudly, some of them laughing some of them yelling with their faces flushing red and the veins in their necks standing out as little bits of spit jumped out of the mouths and onto one of the glasses-boy’s glasses. The oldest of them had long unattended hair growing from their noses and ears and they bumped into each other without apologizing. They were all so concerned with the things they were discussing. In rows all around the room different types of people were staring into glowing screens, pushing buttons and making it do things. Cricket wanted badly to tell the screen what to do. She took a step towards one of the tables but she was still attached to her Father. He didn’t seem to notice her tugging on his arm as he repeated the numbers that the tall boy with glasses was reciting for him. She was stuck and nearly began to slip towards hysteria when the glasses-boy said something to her Father that made him lean down saying:

“Okay, Cricket you can go over there and play on the computer, but only until I’m done, okay?”

Cricket’s face emitted a pure beam of joy that made the lights in the room flicker a little, but no one seemed to notice. The Father walked her over to where they had one of the screens low enough for her to see it. The table holding the screens was atop a red circle of carpeting and they had fuzzy black peaches for small people to sit on. Father went back to the boy with glasses who began showing him something about wires.

Cricket stepped up to the radiant screen; she was instantly charmed with its vivid dancing colors. She reached out her hand and pushed one of the buttons, the C button, C for Cricket.

The dancing colors immediately disappeared in a flash that startled Cricket, but only for a moment, what she saw next was something truly astonishing. She rubbed her eyes to make sure it wasn’t a trick, like the way she began seeing things as she became too sleepy. But she was still there walking backwards across Cricket’s big yellow eyes. Cricket’s mouth dropped open and she chirped for joy without realizing. Bear said she must be dreaming. On screen was none other than Dora the Explorer, Cricket’s favorite person in the entire universe. The same Dora the Explorer she watched all day every day. The same Dora that was on her most treasured shirt, the shirt she was wearing. Dora walked up to Cricket, wearing her little purple backpack and she said:

“Hello, Cricket. ¿Cómo es usted?”

Cricket was unable to speak; there were too many things to say. She began mashing the buttons, trying to make Dora speak again. All around her the people were still blasting music from the machines and holding hands and smiling, but to Cricket no one else existed, there was only herself and Dora the Explorer.

She figured out how to make Dora move and together they began playing wonderful games. Cricket and Dora had become true best friends and they would be together forever. For Cricket, the screen, the store, the boundaries that lay between them, had dissolved. They were next to one another in the same perfect world. Cricket played with Dora while time stood still. Cricket was making her own time. It was something she learned how to do from Bear.

The passing people commented on how cute the scene was. Such an adorable little girl enraptured in her own world, a brief view of the pure human soul. A young couple stood with there arms around each other, the woman pretending, just for a moment, that Cricket was her daughter, the man trying to burn into his brain the difference between composite and component cables.

Something happened.

Time had started passing again without Cricket’s permission. Her Father’s voice was drifting into the cartoon jungle. She tried her best to ignore it. Dora didn’t seem to notice him at all. Her Father was saying something about leaving. Why would anyone ever want to leave this place, Cricket wondered. They have magic screens that make your dreams come true. He was shaking wires in his hand and reminding her about dance at five. Normally she’d be excited for dance, and the ice cream afterwards, but for Dora, she could go without either indefinitely. As he tried to touch her arm she ripped it away and let out a short warning-scream. She saw the brief glint of fear on her Father’s eyes and turned back to the light, to where Dora was politely waiting for her.

The little scream had turned a few heads, but no one looked for more than a moment after confirming that a child had made the noise and not some sort of rogue beast. The Father was becoming antsy. He knew he was avoiding the obvious; this wasn’t going to go down peacefully. He looked around the room, in awe of the sheer number of people packed into the place on a Tuesday afternoon. He didn’t see anyone he recognized, but carrying a screaming child was embarrassing regardless. Cricket was not an average tantrum-thrower; once it began she was committed. To the people in the store she was a cutie pie with freckles and yellow eyes, but he knew all too well what she was capable of. The Father slowly backed away lightly smiling at the boy who had helped him, trying not to look defeated. For a few minutes the Father busied himself playing with some of the handheld glowing screens but the time was displayed right on the screen and he began to worry he would lose his hour. The hour that Cricket was at dance was the only time that he had to himself. Everything else was reserved months in advance for work and chores and discussions and maintenance. He decided it was best to just get it over with before it went on any longer. He snuck up behind Cricket and prepared to hoist her up onto his shoulder. He made the crucial mistake of hesitating slightly and Cricket spun around and pointed her tiny finger between his eyes. What she said was indecipherable, but the message was clear: We will never leave this place! He tried to muscle through it, quickly reaching out for her hips. She latched onto his hairy arm with both hands and chomped down onto it with her sharp baby-teeth. He was startled by how much it hurt and made a noise that was faintly feminine upon retrospect. A group of teenagers that were covered in oil and purple paint were watching them, pointing and laughing like a pack of animals that sat around all day, pointing and laughing. Cricket stared into her Father’s face with all of the seriousness of one of God’s messengers. The Father stepped back, bumping into a tall Arab man who rushed past him holding his hand in the air, trying vainly to catch someone’s attention.

Cricket once again turned back to Dora and her face washed over with her warm, drugged smile. The Father considered calling in reinforcements in the form of his wife, but he knew he would never live it down and that it would automatically forfeit his hour. A man wearing the same shirt as all of the glasses-boys was standing next to Cricket’s Father with his arms comfortably folded behind his back in the stance of a servant who does not have arms until ordered. He was twenty years older than all of the other employees, sporting gray hair and thicker glasses. The man said:

“Your daughter really seems to have taken a shine to the 20-inch base model there.”

Her Father turned to the man without words. The man was trying to sell him. He clearly didn’t know what was happening, or he didn’t care. If the man knew how much debt Cricket’s Father was in, he would have tried someone else. The man nearly averted his eyes to scan the room when Cricket’s Father finally said:

“Could you do something for me?”

“Sure. What is it you need?”

“Could you go kick my daughter off of that machine? I mean, I think she will take it better coming from you.”

The man’s face changed, the wrinkles next to his eyes disappearing. He smiled and looked away for the first time. Shaking his head, he said:

“I’m sorry, sir. I can’t really do that. She’s allowed.”

“Well what if- okay no, you’re right. I was just kidding anyway. I’ll get her in a minute. I’ll get her now.”

A thought occurred to Cricket’s Father: he was a large man, and Cricket couldn’t weigh more than forty pounds. The physics were cut and dry. He rushed forward and grabbed Cricket around the waist but something wasn’t right. There was no resistance. He looked puzzled, his movements slowing to half-speed. She looked up at him with her enormous eyes welling over with water. Her bottom lip doubled in size and her cheeks began to swell and redden. She became a truck-struck puppy right before his eyes. He began to question what type of person would tear their own daughter away from such a simple, harmless pleasure just for an hour of free time. There was always next week. He gently let Cricket down and she slowly turned back to Dora. Thoughts of hot pretzels and melted cheese began to float into his mind when he caught it. It was only a glimpse, but it was there. In the reflection of the screen he saw her face. It was the face of a tyrant for whom everything always went to plan. Enough! He grabbed the back of Cricket’s shirt and she responded immediately, dropping down to the ground and out of her shirt. She scuttled, now shirtless, underneath one of the wooden tables. She hugged the table’s fat leg, locking her hands on the other side. Tears were now streaming down her face. She wanted nothing more than for her Father to drop dead onto the glossy floor. The machine above her head started humming and snapping at her. On the ground next to the screen was Bear. He asked her why she left him behind. She wanted to grab him and bring him into her hideaway, but she didn’t dare risk releasing the leg. Nearly everyone in the store was watching now. Most of them were laughing and commenting on how cute she was. Then she let loose a shriek that cleared all nearby minds of thought for a powerful white second. Heads of the people who hadn‘t been paying attention whipped over, looking panicked. Someone said something about her growing up to be a great singer. Her Father’s face was flushed apple red as he felt the eyes of the people pushing into him. He lowered down onto his knee and said:

“Cricket, please…”

Again she shrieked, this time louder and sharper. Everything else had stopped at this point. Her Father slowly reached out his hand and she backed away, deeper under the table to where he could not reach. She began stomping around like a tiny fenced-in bull. Cricket now realized that he wouldn’t stop until one of them was dead. She looked into her Father’s eyes and let loose a noise that changed the world. The screens flickered and every alarm in the store went off simultaneously. The noise coming from Cricket seemed to come not from her mouth, but from deep within her core. It overtook everything in the store. The tiny hairs raised on all arms and necks. Eyelids trembled and then forced themselves tightly shut. Hands rose to shaking heads, covering bleeding ears. The light bulbs in the ceiling exploded causing a momentary cloud of raw electricity that drifted over the people and showed up as neon green through their clutched eyelids. Cricket’s eyes remained fixed on her Father and the noise doubled upon itself, rivers of pure energy converging and flowing through Cricket’s veins. Her mouth widened to an impossible size and the siren deafened the collapsing, vibrating people. Cricket’s Father’s head began to smoke and he was unable to look away as her yellow eyes held him captive, keeping his body upright so he could feel the full scope of her power. The people burst into flames and the thick glass doors melted into frozen ponds. Cricket blinked once, releasing her Father and ending the moment that while it was occurring felt like an endless inescapable loop. Her Father hit the ground, his charcoal skeleton instantly becoming a ghost of fleeting dust.

The world was finally quiet as Cricket stepped over her Father’s ashes to pick up Bear. She pulled on her Dora Shirt. Bear told her that he loved her and she showed her missing teeth before she kissed his black plastic nose. Dora’s screen was pristine, undamaged from the havoc, but everything else was black and bubbled. Cricket walked up to it and pressed the C button.

C for Cricket.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Between Sharp Toots

"Wait, what were we talking about?"

Fixing the old choo-choos with the bones of the workers who laid the tracks. Yellow eyes squint at flickering monitors, they're laughing from behind their mossy curtains. Keep up with the next man as he does for the one following him. The sun hangs lazy forever, cursing at us, casting shadows of giant robots with their zappy whips. Building up the fire until the whistle does the sharp toot. Now it's back to our asylum, where we suck water off of the floor and sing songs nobody ever wrote. Starring at the mad moon, we talk about manners and swallow our pills.

Fhwham and Spoon and Bug Thumbs are doing the crazy-face dance, holding their breath with fat veins pulsing out of their necks. Spoon always wins. Fhwham hits the ground hard, blacking out for the moment. Spoon and Bug Thumbs are red faced and glaring into each other's eyes. The warble noise! They freeze and then swiftly lay on the ground closing their lids. So do I. I can hear Bug Thumbs whimpering as the horrible beast floats by our bars, beeping and scanning. Beeping and scanning. My head is spinning. I can feel it checking my brain. It's gone now and Fhwham is coming back to life with red all over his head.

I can't stop clenching my fists. A rubbery vibration is rushing through me. Shadows are thrusting in threatening motions from their walls. Strange music is coming through the vents. It sounds like insect music. Something is shining from the corner, catching the moonlight. It scuttles towards me causing paralysis. Squeaking. This old mouse with a white beard and long white whiskers, I've seen him. But where? He knows me.

A red plastic gun. With some black. A red and black plastic revolver. And bushes, hedges. I remember, next to a gravel lot. Black dirt. I was wearing strange clothes, with straps. And stripes, the straps were stripped. A dog. How do I know that? Dog. Dog. Funny little creature dancing around me. Toby. His name was Toby and I found him on the road. He was brown and black. He was with me when I buried the gun. In between the hedges with my knees in the dirt I dug a hole with my hands. I was hiding it. The mouse, only he was younger, with short black whiskers. He was hiding in the hedges too. Hiding from my hungry cat Tigger. Cat.


"Cat, why'd you say cat?"

"Cat, what's cat, what's a cat."

"Cat, who? You said cat? Who's a cat?"

"I don't know I was just thinking about somewhere else."

"Somewhere else?"

"There is no where else."

"Where else is there, the tracks?"

"I saw something else. Just now. A blue sky. A big open sky. Tigger and Toby. I remember them. There is more than this place and the tracks, they've been lying to us. We gotta get out of here. We must escape right now!"


The gas.

"What was I saying again? Was I saying something?"



"What, what?"

"What were we just talking about?”

Greatest of Rants by Paddy Cheyefsky


Screen Grabs: Stand by Me

Movies: After Hours

A film for the bad night in all of us.

Down the block from my house there was a little video store and I was a little frequent renter with grubby little hands and filthy balled-up dollar bills. I remember every time I walked in looking at a cover of a movie with a man's head pinched between a set of lady-fingers (red nail polish) and his neck was all twisted around. His head was the spinner-thing (i'm not a clock specialist) on top of a huge clock and the title was "After Hours". It gave me a weird vibe that told me there were tits in this movie, or something else I wasn't supposed to see, so I was afraid to bring it up to the counter. Twenty or so years later this movie just blew my fucking mind, not because it's awesome (it is), but because the first half is a mash of hellish nighttime occurrences I've actually had in my life. It got creepy. It's one of those "You wouldn't believe the night I'm having" movies, but mostly in a good way. I didn't even realized there was a Martin Scorsese movie I hadn't seen. And yes there are tits, since you wont let up about it, but we're talking Linda Fiorentino tits and if that is really what you're looking for I'd have to recommend "The Last Seduction" on Laser Disc. Yes, I will let you borrow it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


As I lay here, steadily vanishing, all I can think about is the change.

I started saving it up when I got my very first job, washing cars at my uncle’s fill spot. I’d empty my pockets into a little zipper bag my Mom had given me before she died. Fat nickels and silly dimes and filthy pennies, and sometimes, my favorite, big shiny quarters. They’re these little disks of metal with old faces. Dead men pushing into the living world, still holding some sway long after their demise. I’d always been fascinated by coins, even when I was very small. My grandfather used to pull quarters out of my ears on my birthday. I was saving towards getting the windshield fixed on my Dodge Dart.

Somehow I’d made it a rule to never count the change. I’d never even look into the bag. Eventually that old purple bag was stuffed so I moved onto a paint can with a slit in the lid. You’d be surprised to find out how quick those spare coins can add up.

I found myself never using coins at all. If I bought something and it was a dollar and change, I paid with two dollars and pocketed the rest. Over the years I filled a plastic pumpkin, a giant champagne bottle, a toy treasure chest, a hollow ceramic bust of Elvis, but it got worse.

One day it hit me. I was on the street and I was watching a sluggish little man climb out of a boxy little three-wheeled vehicle. He was dressed in blue and white and his belly hung over his belt, though still within the struggling white button down shirt. This man rolled a tiny little three-wheeled little buggy over to each parking meter. He filled large zipper bags walking down the street, empting every last one of them.

There was pretty stiff testing, but I am a college graduate and was willing to work shifts that no one wanted, so I was able to get a job driving around that silly little box. The long stretches of hills and high traffic areas. However, I was almost immediately fired for stealing. The next Tuesday I attempted to bash open a meter using a sledge-hammer that I’d come across in the parking lot of a place with a giant glowing white sign that read: DICKS. Eventually the meter wore me out and I was forced to retreat. I tried various methods, but they are surprisingly hard to bust open. Not long after that I was arrested once for backing my Dart into a meter and then again in Philadelphia for indecent exposure at the US Mint.

In prison they forced me to eat fifty soft-boiled eggs and I would vomit until I passed out from exhaustion. This happened to me on a daily basis for six months. The guards would tease me and toss little snapping meteors of paper at my feet. They would show me coins they’d flattened at the train tracks until I couldn’t help but cry.

Upon my release I applied for a few jobs but I think they misunderstood my tattoos. During the day I wore a stovepipe hat and lounged on the street clutching my stomach and holding a piece of cardboard on which I had printed: CHANGE. Sometimes I took long walks, never looking up.

At night I was busting into any machines that held coins. It tossed gumball machines off of rooftops and hid in arcades until after they closed. I emptied my bank account in coins. They tried to deny me my change, but I demanded it and once they saw how deeply I required this change they handed it over. I filled my garage with my treasure, building the rocket ship away from my life. Every time I wondered off, beginning to calculate how much all of it was worth, I’d force myself to expel the thought from my mind. Sometimes I would hang my garden hose over the fence and just stand with my shirt off in the chilly water thinking about my change.

What I’m trying to tell you, what I’ve finally come to realize, is that somewhere along the line I’d become too fond off change. I now see it was a sickness. I felt like I was building towards something; it was all adding up. Someday I’d never have to work again and just live off my change. That was not meant to be. Today is the last day I’ll ever be alive. This is probably the last minute I will exist.

I was just walking down the street when a skinny woman carrying a giant sandwich bumped into me. My jacket pocket exploded and coins were rolling away from me in an effort to escape. I watched in horror as one of those new golden dollars, the ones with the woman and her baby on it, rolled away from me into the road. My reaction was to chase after it. I felt a loud crunch and I was being carried away. I couldn’t feel anything as I drifted through the air. I thought about nothing, like a newborn being passed around the delivery room. I saw the road tumbling around in front of me, a movie of my world in a washing machine. This lasted a very long time.

Now I’m lying here and I can’t speak out loud but I can here myself making strange noises. I’m wet all over. I know I’m going to die. The sky is very bright and I can hear people talking loudly. I’ll never spend my change. I’ll never get out of here. They will bury me here. I don’t have any family left so it will all probably just go right back to the state. That golden dollar will never be added to the overall count, if they do one at all. People reading the newspapers will laugh at me and discuss this with their friends. They’ll hall it away in a dump truck and tip the whole thing into the smelter. I never even fixed the windshield on my Dodge Dart.

I can see the backside of the car that struck me. There is smoke coming from the front, but I can’t see the damage. A pale girl with long curly black hair has purple running down her cheeks. She’s holding her black hair above her head and she’s either laughing or screaming. On the bumper of her car there’s a sticker of a lizard becoming a monkey becoming a man.