Monday, January 31, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Two

knocked off its rings. I get a lot of calls after celestial incidents. My calendar filled up after the comet Xuxek. But the more interesting coincidence was Rhea’s call. The girl in the magazine, the daughter of my benefactor. I’d met her before, when she was, I must admit I recognized, quite a girly sort of boy, Ray, her boy name. The voice on the phone purred the way Ray’s had, husky for a woman, warm for a boy. When she showed up at my office, though I had seen her naked, though I’d seen her as a long-haired youth

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-One

the house is immaterial, you taught me that. If you’ve got to have it renovated so you can really live in it, so you can call it home, that’s what you’ve got to do. We are all made in God’s image, you know, but do we all look the same? I wanted to ask if she approved, not of the body adjustment, but of the baring of it all. She probably saw it in my face, for she smiled and kissed me softly and fluttered her eyelashes and swept away. That was the day before the comet slammed Saturn, and

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy

baroness begged me to right it for her (him), got down on her knees and after that begged me. She gave me the start-up capital and her connections. She bragged to all her friends about me. And slagged me to those she knew did not respect her opinion. The years go by I’m flipping through a girly magazine and there is the duchess’ daughter with a staple in her navel. Used to be her son, or so she thought. When I asked the duchess how’d she felt, had it been a surprise, she arched a painted brow, and said, Darling,

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-Nine

desperado with a six-shooter and the sun in my eyes. How could I forget our first instant communication across planets when you were lonesome on Enceladus and I was lonesome on the floor of the disco, poppers up my nose, the high energy rhythm of the ages pulsing in my sinews. If not for you, my dove, I wouldn’t have written the mash note to the baroness at the opera. It was you who gave me that courage. And when she (he, rather) heard from my midnight lips that I could see his spiritual house was not in order, the

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-Eight

a condescending manner. You were the only one who believed in me when most were convinced I was merely a myth. It was you for whom I built the pyramids, the smaller pyramids, yes, but they were ready a lot faster. Why? Because I knew you knew that I knew nothing really about you but you pretended it was the perfect gift, thus salving the hurt I felt once I clued in to your aversion to slanted surfaces. I remember that night, dressing for the prom, you taught me to knot my very first bowtie, and how to outdraw the

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-Seven

chair! If this is the Titanic, and icy water will soon be slopping over my knees, I want to go down in a deck chair! The sidewalk is rather hard. Coo, says the pigeon into Samuel’s ear, having hopped down from the Maserati roof. We should go somewhere, you and me, Samuel says. You are the only one who understands me. When I was a child, for example, you knew exactly what kind of cheese I preferred on my macaroni. When I was first learning computer programming, you were the only one who pecked through my code without clucking in

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-Six

spiritual rain. The rain soothes everything, even the noises of the night, even the bumps in the night, even the murders and the rapes and the slow succumbing to decades of wrongs. The spiritual rain comes softly down to the world, filling open sores, smoothing out scars, pooling in the open mouths of the dead. Samuel closes his mouth. His mouth tastes awful. Where is all this music coming from? It’s like he’s lying under an orchestra that’s being strafed by jumbo jets and bombed by daft leprechauns in spangled blimps. And the band plays on. Where is my deck

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thousand: Two Hunded Sixty-Five

It actually sounds pretty good but one of them stops and says, “Guys! Guys! Hold on. I think we’re singing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to the tune of ‘Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines Nellie.’” But the others roll their eyes and an argument starts up about the real lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” as opposed to the secret initiate lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” which are probably sung backwards. That they can hear themselves over the klaxon of the submarine’s dive warning just proves the amazing strengths of the youthful ear. None of this disturbs the pigeon sleepily blinking in the

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-Four

starts up its cycle: woop woop reedle reedle reedle woop woop reedle reedle reedle woop de woop de woop a doop-doop reedle reedle reedle a ruddle de ruddle de roo. The tower bell bongs some aged hour. The air raid siren commences its rising tone, which will continue to rise until it tickles the underbellies of the bombers with its dreamy vibration. A woman screams. A child, at a higher pitch, whines, tugging on her purse. A lion roars. A mouse shrieks. Four boys gather in a doorway, snap their fingers, and launch into “Wait ‘Til The Sun Shines Nellie.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-Three

whispers. The pigeon blinks, turns its head one way then other, then settles down on the roof of the Maserati, while Samuel rages up and down the block punching parking meters. A soft spiritual rain begins to fall. Samuel drops to his knees again, gasping. Then he jumps up and rushes over to the coffee bar and demands a triple cap latte. The barista holds up his hands, shakes his head. No, senhor, no. An alarm goes off. It’s one of those old fashioned bank alarms, isn’t it? The insistent tapping of metal hammer against metal bowl. A car alarm

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-Two

he can muster Samuel hurls the doughnut into the air. It steaks upward with a fierce zizz. Ed shakes his head. A krizzlekroo, he says softly, having come up behind Samuel, and lowered his lips to Samuel’s ear. Yearragagrugg!!! Lasers blast from Samuel’s eyes as the doughnut punches out of the stratosphere, burning into the mesosphere. The lasers intercept the doughnut and blow it smithereens. Samuel sinks to his knees, spent, his jaw quivering, his skin pale and blotchy. He bites at a breath, as though the air were too large to get his mouth around. Remember to breathe, Ed

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty-One

glop, mission, and expectation. What kind of fucking doughnut is that? A krizzlekroo. Samuel snatches the cream-stuffed confection from Ed’s hand. Hah! he says and squeezes it. It is, he discovers, rock hard. He tries not to flinch as his hand cramps around it. Arg! He bites it but his teeth can’t pierce the doughnut’s skin, and only leave trails in the powdered sugar as they drag across the surface. He pounds the doughnut with a fist, smacks it against his forehead, which action staggers him, then bangs it against the flagstone sidewalk. Whang! Whang! Finally, with all the strength

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Talking about Thousand

25% of the way through this thing. 26%, actually. It takes ten days to achieve a single percentage point.

The transcendental butler first showed up in segment 185, which means he’s been around for about 30% of the … story … or whatever it is. He got a name in segment 195.

Without doing any other analysis than trying to remember I calculate that his is the longest stretch of anything approaching a narrative. Good for you, Samuel!

I’ve gotten some encouraging comments along the way – thanks, Elisabeth, Dave King, and the others of you who have left a few words. Although, as I’ve said in previous “Thousand process” posts, this project is a practice as much as a result, it’s still heartening when I’m told I’m not totally wasting your time, dear readers. I would like “Thousand” to be some kind of fun.

There are things we have to do every day. Eat. Piss. Wake up and get out of bed. Basic stuff. There are things we do every day because we have decided it’s important to do them. Brush teeth. Wash hands frequently. There are things we don’t do every day but keep on a semi-regular schedule. Vacuuming. Scrubbing the toilet.

“Thousand” is an every day activity. Despite various resolutions over the years I’m thinking “Thousand” has now surpassed any other creative assignment in terms of keeping to a schedule. I’ve missed two, maybe three days, since I started, just over 260 days ago. Almost 9 months of 100-word-a-day additions. Is that discipline? Am I driving myself nuts?

Kent is undergoing his final chemo treatment this week. He’s still hooked up to the chemical so won’t feel the full effects until it’s completely dumped into his system. Then he’ll feel lousy. The tenth of ten treatments in his prescribed regimen. After this treatment he gets to heal from the treatment. All heal! Kent’s ordeal was a major reason for my choosing to do “Thousand.” I can foresee a time I will skip doing “Thousand” for a few days because we are on vacation …

Thousand: Two Hundred Sixty

and teeth grind. An eyelid twitches. He gulps the coffee now, heedless of the damage it will do to the sensitive skin of his mouth and throat. Mission, Samuel hisses. Ed reaches out and squeezes Samuel’s shoulder but Samuel shrugs off the touch. What mission! What mission! In this doughnut, Ed says, picking one up so full of cream it oozes white goo from its injection hole at the pressure of Ed’s fingers, in this doughnut is a secret hidden esoteric message that will explain it all. Samuel casts a withering gaze upon the doughy shell and its cargo of

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Nine

he eats them, as though ravenous, spilling flakes of glaze and doughnut crumbs, powdered sugar and jam filling flecking his lips. The pigeon hops down to peck away at the pretzels Ed has crumbled and spread on the soft top of the Mazerati convertible they are using as a table. I have a mission for you, Ed says. Samuel crams three doughnut holes in his mouth. I need you to find something. Something that will affect the harmony of the universe. Samuel slurps latte, burns his tongue, which makes his eyes water and his jaws tense up. His eyes blaze

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Eight

since. Since. Since he got up this morning? Samuel doesn’t look up again. If that is him, a statue for birds to rest and shit on, then it’s a version of him he feels no loyalty to. Ed’s hand steadies him. Samuel runs his free hand through his hair. It’s clean. The pigeon opens its wings again to balance itself, not apparently disturbed to find its inanimate roost walking about. When they get to street level Ed stops at a sidewalk coffee bar and picks up doughnuts, two tall lattes, and a packet of pretzels. Samuel doesn’t like doughnuts. But

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Seven

It’s okay whatever happens. Samuel doesn’t know why he feels so secure, so looked after. Hasn’t he just learned that for years he was alone, frozen in some purgatory of pigeons, unseen, it seemed, by anyone who might have decided it was dangerous to have a statue hovering above the city? Maybe he had been spotted, after all, had become a tourist attraction even, everyone fascinated by the trick but assuming a billionaire had the resources to place a man firmly in ether. Maybe there were souvenir postcards taken in various lights. This was the first thing that amused him

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Six

to trust this man, spirit, whatever he is, Samuel lets himself be led. Down what seems to be a long, gradual staircase they step. Samuel can’t see the stairs, perhaps they are entirely invisible and only the darkness of the night prevents vertigo. He’s stood on the very edge of cliffs and high building ledges and the drop has seemed to draw him, making him breathless, dizzy. He does glance back, the penthouse already so far above, and he sees something dimly illuminated by the lights pouring out the picture windows. A figure? Standing. Out in the air? It’s okay.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Five

think my taking a swing at you took. You’re telling me I was frozen in time here? Which is where. Out in the air. I’m not even inside the building anymore? Time didn’t stop. The time you were in went on just as it had. To the pigeons, and to me, frankly, you were a statue. Your new friend, the one who’s rubbing against your ear and cooing, poor guy has left all his friends behind in the other time. Or. Ed shrugs. Anyway. Ed takes Samuel’s hand, and, even though he is wary, doesn’t think he really has basis

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Four

things go, you know. The going of things. The things that go. For example. The sun. And the moon. They both go without going. What does this have to do with bird shit in my hair? Time. It takes time for that much pigeon crap to build up. As far as the pigeons were concerned, you were a good place to hang out, to rest. The pigeon on Samuel’s shoulder coos suddenly, puffing up its chest and thrusting its bill rhythmically. To court and mate. Not so good for nesting or eating, but you can’t have everything. But I don’t

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Three

Samuel completes the swing, disturbing the pigeon which flutters to recover its balance. Samuel staggers, also a little off balance. He glares at the naked youth holding a bucket in one hand, a dripping steel brush in the other. Samuel now notices that his sleeve is soaked through. And his nose is dripping. He wipes water from his eyes and sees a strange white painted on his knuckles. Sorry, Ed says. Didn’t get to those. Your other shoulder either. And your hair. I meant to get back sooner, but you know how these things go. Go? Yes, as far as

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-Two

any bathroom floor. No, no. We are way beyond that. A sudden rage. Samuel balls his fists, his lips press into a line, his eyes flash, he swings. Ed goes off to the cleaning closet and comes back with a bucket and scrub brush. He scrubs away at the pigeon shit accumulated on Samuel’s extended arm and hand, then scrubs away at the shoulder. A pigeon, its head bobbing, steps around to the opposite shoulder and watches Ed work the layers of white and flecks of black off Samuel’s nose and cheeks. Ed stands back and clucks. Better, he says.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty-One

hand over his chest. The material feels soft, then prickly, then smooth. He feels buttons, a heavy knit, a tie, ruffles, some at the same time, some seem quickly to vanish. On the version of himself he sees in the window his clothes are a blur. This is all getting a bit much. Look, he says. In my reality, the one in which I’m sitting on your bathroom floor and you are dead, Ed, is there a big passenger airliner about to slam into the building? Oh, you aren’t sitting on the bathroom floor. What? You are not sitting on

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Fifty

wasn’t tortured to death in that reality. Yes, torture isn’t good for you. Neither is starving to death. There are many very painful diseases. The spirit body also is not without its ailments. Samuel looks out at the city, though he can see the room as well. Every object in it has its counterpart in the glass. Which alternate universe is that? He sees himself, a Samuel who looks well enough like Samuel, a Samuel who sees him looking and acknowledges the attention with a slight inclination of his head, a Samuel wearing. What is he wearing? Samuel runs his

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Nine

of millions of dollars secure in untraceable accounts in a country that, first, offers you political asylum, then solicits your advice on the invasion that will topple the tyrant, adding that a very important in the post-conquest government is yours for the asking. Naturally, you beg off such an ethically dubious proposition, but the wife demands you reconsider. She ought to take the position, then, you tell her; you will take charge of the children, or, at least, keep account of the nanny who comes with a Ph.D. and years of experience in training geniuses. It’s a good thing I

Friday, January 07, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Eight

him to the left until they are standing in the night half. The city lights. Don’t they dazzle! The burning building down town. The flames fill the smoke with an orange glow at its base, though as it rises Samuel loses track of it. Did the plane crash there? he asks. Ed shakes his head. You’re not following me. This is all show. Alternate realities intersect repeatedly every day. If something terrible happens to you, say you are tortured to death by the fanatical followers of the dictator, in another version of your life you escape to exile with hundreds

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Seven

diving out of the sun, its nose pointed right at the building he’s standing in. There’s a terrorist piloting that, he thinks. The plane is going to obliterate us, everyone aboard will die. Oddly, this thought does not terrify. Oughtn’t it? It does puzzle him a little. The thought itself, not the plane. That we are thinking and that our thinking takes time. One could probably divide a thought into components. Somebody probably’s already had a go at that. The sort of thing people get up to. Philosophers. Here, now, Ed says, placing his hands on Samuel’s shoulders and nudging

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Six

were standing in your playpen, banging away at big buttons, turning ratchety knobs, and twirling those ring-a-ding dials! Samuel steps through the naked young spirit body of the billionaire mayor, as easily as the cars in Ed’s metaphor passed into and through each other. He walks right through a couch and through a hardwood table and a porcelain vase throwing out gigantic blossoms. He stops at the window. There are thirteen airliners now, all the same size and model. One is making the turn Ed pointed out. Another seems poised to follow it. But the one that concerns Samuel is

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Five

means its fuel tanks have been topped off, its galley is loaded with fresh gouda and real champagne from Champagne, the slight flight attendant has already given his number to the executive in 3B (this is the second time they’ve remembered that they went to the same high school, twelve years apart), and the captain is flicking one more switch of the many switches she has been flicking since the plane began its taxi. There aren’t that many switches. A few switches. The copilot flicks a few switches. They look at dials and readouts. Remember when you did that? You

Monday, January 03, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Four

getting ahead of the story, but, yes, one could say “harmlessly.” Let me take a detour. You seem to be getting impatient, as though my little car story were keeping you from something. Is that so? I. Well. Shouldn’t we worry about the disposition of the body? Um. Your body? I see. You are preoccupied with what is going on in the physical plane. Speaking of planes, look out there. Do you see that passenger airliner? Banking around the blobby cloud over the harbor. It’s full to capacity, and it’s embarking on a flight over the pole to Paris. Which

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Three

sent emissaries. He’s drinking while he drives. He’s smoking! Did you see that! Smoking while he drives. Doesn’t he know that’s illegal? Where is smoking while driving illegal? The spirit plane? It is? What do you smoke on the spirit plane? Oh, the usual. A lot of smoke reaches the spirit plane. Many an offering is made in the form of smoke. So your spirit self is weaving like crazy and, what do you know, he swoops back into your lane, brushing your front bumper. Let me guess. The spirit car and my car pass harmlessly through one another? You’re

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Forty-Two

a new white cowboy hat with a rattlesnake band, and he’s got a feather dangling on a silver chain from his left earlobe. His eyes are full of stars, his pants are full of the galactic swirl, his lips move to the words of the song about your high school girlfriend who went on to greater anonymity as a body, beautiful, naked, and framed for murder. Your spirit weaves a bit in that classic Cadillac (he left the Cressilantro in a garage in Vegas) and the sun glints off so much chrome at once that its like the stars have