Monday, February 28, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred

though the way the garden gnome was carrying on, you’d think a dormouse had been stuffed in it. “A lump of sugar?” the fisher gnome inquired, holding one out with a pair of tongs. “Yes, please,” said the garden gnome, and stirred it into his tea with the clink clink clink of a pewter spoon with a hanged leprechaun handle. The leprechaun cast on the fisher gnome’s spoon had been crucified, he noted with a peculiar twinge. There was something familiar about it. “My dear boy,” said the fisher gnome, tapping the green bound volume under his right hand, “what

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Nine

returned to the gazebo and his guest who had already poured the tea and was dunking a madeleine. “This reminds me of something,” said the fisher gnome, gazing into the distance where the Andes sawed away at the sky. The garden gnome squinted at his teacup. “There’s,” he began then gave a yelp which made the fisher gnome tremble. “There’s the milk!” the garden gnome shouted, pointing a finger around which a loose thread of dusty web swirled. The fisher gnome patted his forehead with a blue linen napkin, not bothering to look where he had placed the milk, even

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Eight

down he gazed at it, puzzled, put his hands on his hips, tapped his foot, then raised the tray and looked under it. Not seeing what he was looking for there, he put the tray back and ducked his head under the table. Remaining stooped he nosed around the floor of the gazebo until he got to the stairs. Under each step with pudgy fingers he groped. He sniffed the cobwebs he dragged out, but they gave no clues. Glancing from side to side he worked his way up the path toward the main house, then shrugged, sighed, and, muttering,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Seven

author of a well-thumbed, gilt-edged, green leather bound volume of futures the fisher gnome had laid out on the little round gazebo table, a yellow silk ribbon marking the page he most wanted to show his host. The fisher gnome snatched from the tea tray as it wobbled a pitcher of milk that threatened to spill, thus catching a few freed drops with his fluffy beard, and preventing a lamentable situation that might have involved tears, the garden gnome being, the fisher gnome seemed to recall, one of the sensitive multiply removed cousins. When the garden gnome set the tray

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Six

of suspense. I think we’re not in the same war zone.” “So you’d prefer I dragged my cart right over you than get out of the way?” “That’s what I’m saying, yeah.” The test was conducted, the evidence gathered, and a conclusion reached. In a garden in the southern hemisphere a gnome carried a tea tray down the path to the gazebo. He got some help carrying it up the steps of the gazebo for the fisher gnome, a cousin of the gnome’s sister, had stopped by on his way to the next exceptional event, an event limned by the

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Five

just walk through me with your pushcart anyway?” The girl shook her head. “Your body is too lumpy and the cart too heavy for me to get it over you. But, if you like, I can deflate you, roll you up, and stow you against the wall over there.” She nodded toward a boarded up storefront. “Have the sirens stopped?” “Only the ones that have been taken out. What impresses me are the shudders in the earth from the explosions of the bombs.” “That’s evidence then, isn’t it? As far as my ear is concerned there’s nothing but the silence

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Four

continuum, could you take advantage of one of the many others?” “I’m on a mission,” Samuel says firmly. “So is a sperm,” says the girl. “Uh. Ed is around here somewhere. Ed Rumiere. The Mayor.” “Of what?” “I forget. But he’s the mayor of this. Place. Town. City. And he’s the one who sent me on the mission.” “Which is to lie in the way on the sidewalk?” “No.” Samuel glares at her shadowed face. “It involved drinking a lot of coffee.” “Does this mean you have to pee?” “Do you have to pee in the spirit world? Can’t you

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Three

you still using that?” Her face is hard to make out, the street lamp creating a glow behind her head that Samuel doesn’t find mystical. “Sorry,” Samuel says, “just wondering if I’m supposed to know what ‘that’ is.” The girl nods. “It can be difficult to separate,” she agrees. “I did, in fact, mean the totality, the gestalt, as it were. But we can bring it down to the more immediate problem. I have a hand cart, which is too wide to get around you stretched out like that. If you aren’t needing to use these coordinates of the space-time

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-Two

put her house in order, Rhea finished for him. My house is not in order. Won’t you help me? Did I help her? The spiritual rain doesn’t bother the pigeon blinking sleepily, nestled on Samuel’s chest where he lies under the crossing shadows of a parking meter, each shadow from a different street lamp. The spiritual rain doesn’t bother Samuel either. The nausea has passed, though he still feels a bit wired. All this duplication of realities is more trouble than existence ought to go to, it seems to me. “Excuse me, sir?” A little girl leans over him. “Are

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety-One

a plane all by herself when she was nine! Her daddy was copilot, she said, but he took his hands off the controls and she brought the twin engine on down to a landing “smooth as any ten-year-old would make.” Why is it, Rhea, that you came to me? Samuel pushed his teacup and saucer away and leaned his elbows on the desk. I know I’m your father’s friend. And, as you say, I consider myself your friend, even though, till now, I can’t say as I knew you. But all this sounds beyond my ken. I help a client

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Ninety

her that Jesus would return with extra-terrestrials because they are the 21st century version of angels, and a former methamphetamine user transitioning from her biological givens toward spiritual and physical realness would be an obvious choice for prophet. Brenda knows how to sum things up, Samuel observed. OMG! Rhea agreed. Girl can see! She’s top pilot in her father’s space venture. She’s already flown to the edge of space four times. She says you don’t believe in gravity up there. You look down on Earth and it’s a pretty bubble that could pop at any time. J.E. let her land

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Nine

charge them more. It was called “the organization” because we didn’t want anybody to know what we were really talking about, you know. Inside we called it Jesus’ Extra-Terrestrials or J.E.T. I didn’t like that name very much. But Jesus’ Ear or J.E. (that was his code name) was the CEO of a leading Fortune 500 company and paid for the secret hideaways, some of which were pretty nice. How did he join? Um. I think it was his daughter who was one of my classmates at Smith. Yes. That was it. Brenda said it all made perfect sense to

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Eight

kinda hot that way. I could have gone for him, I guess. But his dad found out he was sneaking out to see me. I was in hiding, didn’t I say, and we were taking lots of precautions, but he found out. Now Joey’s in Eastern Europe or somewhere farther. Meanwhile Banana Li, our attorney, was honing her sixth sense, she joined the organization because when she met me she developed a sixth sense, which she’d never had before, it made her see auras around people’s eyeballs and she could tell whether somebody was lying to her, if so she’d

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Seven

financier, I can’t mention his name, was kidnapped from one of our compounds and ransomed for twenty-three million dollars. His father wasn’t going to pay a thing. You don’t negotiate with terrorists! he said. But then he started getting. Started getting. Rhea’s lip trembles. Body. Body. He started getting body parts. In the mail. They were cutting pieces off him and mailing the pieces to his father. And he paid up. He paid the whole thing. He was able to replace his son’s body parts with superior technology, which was pretty neat. Joey showed me his um things. He looked

Monday, February 14, 2011

Searching for Thousand

I title each “Thousand” post its number in the sequence. Today’s was “Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Six,” right? “Thousand” is the title; today’s is the 286th 100-word piece of “Thousand.”

Titles of posts, it seems, rate pretty high in search engine results, more than the main text of the post, at any rate. In the last year most of the titles of LuvSet posts have been numbers. The numbers tell you virtually nothing about what you are going to be reading in the posts themselves. Many of the Google searches that lead people to the blog lately have been searches for numbers, “two hundred fifteen thousand thirty,” being one of the searches that resulted in a visitor two days ago. The visitor stuck around one minute and thirteen seconds, according to my stats service. What could they have been searching for?

It does seem odd that LuvSet turns up in the first page of Google results when one plugs in that (written out) number. Do any of you numbers-searching visitors find what you’re looking for?

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Six

And that’s where I am today. Didn’t you come about a cult? Samuel asked, refilling Rhea’s teacup with Constant Comment. Oh. That’s a sad story. It’s also scary. A rival cult is hunting me. They’ve already taken out James and four others. I know the news programs say that that was a mass suicide, that James recorded a video for distribution over the internet saying he was going to meet the aliens under Jesus’ command but I know for a fact that it was the Tralfamadurians. The Tralfamadurians have been tracking us for months. The son of a very powerful

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Five

I owned. It was a lost thing; whosever it was, she needed it back. Someone with sense could save it, could make it work for them. I wasn’t shocked, looking at that meth-ravaged thing. My artist’s eye saw it; it was like Daddy’d handed over a photo of an ugly room, and I could see immediately how the elements already there could be rearranged to make a good place. A little care, a little attention, a little presence of mind. That’s what was missing. I handed the mirror back. The next day I found a 12-step group for meth fiends.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Four

not tragic. I mean, my father sat me down one day and say, “Rhea, I need you to look at something for me. A consultation, as it were.” And he gave me a hand mirror. You know my father. That is why I came to you about this matter, Sammy. She laughed. We are old friends, Sammy! Where was I? I looked in the mirror. I felt silly doing it. What was I going to see? My own face! What a trick Daddy was playing on me. But it wasn’t my face. No. He was right. It wasn’t the face

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Three

he said. It was Jesus! He has risen and returned. He came to you in that flying saucer, didn’t he? James was so pressing, so certain. Everyone had tuned into his energy, as though what I’d brought with me was no mystery, it was clear. James knew what it was. It was Jesus! It couldn’t be anything else! He began to weep. Right there! Of course, it wasn’t unusual to cry in the group. People had such sad stories. They’d lost so many things to the drugs. Divorce, children, their parents disowned them. I almost felt bad, my story was

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-Two

When I told my story at group, I held the lily to my breast, and when when I when I got to that point in the story where that amazing man touched me, I extended the lily and I could see everybody’s eyes were fixed on the lily. It was like my heart was coming out of me again, like they were seeing the real me. One of the men, his name was James, he asked, Was it Jesus? And I said, I don’t know. But I could see he was so eager, he didn’t hear me. It was Jesus,

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty-One

him for that. For giving me that. You know. It almost shattered the wall. But, you know, it didn’t. It was just a chink. A little more light came through. You see the light, you know. But it doesn’t always light up the whole. You start to see something but it’s not. It seems totally obvious now. But it wasn’t then. I was able to pretend I couldn’t see what was looking me in the face. For a long time. When I told about what happened, you know. The aliens. I stopped at the florist first and got a lily.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Eighty

a wall I tried to make man-shaped. But I knew people saw through it. They called me names. You know, when a boy in gym class in high school, thinking to insult me, maybe it was the worst thing he could think of to say, called me Woman. Called me woman. I remember. I was puzzled that he thought that was a bad thing. But what I remember most was the feeling, how right it was. Woman. That was what I was. Would be someday. If I was luckier than I’d ever been up to that point. I almost loved

Monday, February 07, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Nine

the lovely Rhea gazed pensively at the Des Moines skyline. Yes, she said, slowly. She blinked, then rummaged through her bag for a tissue, which used to catch a tear Samuel didn’t see. She drew a deep breath. I told my story. As I told it to you just now. That’s all. That’s all I meant to do. I was in rehab. Yes, I. I got into meth. I thought it agreed with me. I thought it made me real, the woman I’d never been allowed to be. The feminine finally broke through. I’d built up a wall against it,

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Eight

beckoned. I felt it rise from my chest and burst open in his hand, a white white lily. The visitors must then have returned me to my bed, for I remember watching the digits on the clock radio slowly count toward dawn, my body aching as though fevered, but weighted down. I could hardly move. When at last I stumbled from my bed, I found on the floor of the bathroom a broken vase and in a pool of water a lily, whole and undamaged. So this led to your starting a cult? Samuel asked, after a pause in which

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Seven

two of the beings moved aside and, bathed in glory, a man stepped between my feet, my legs being too long for the table, and he looked down at me with the most piercing eyes such that I felt shot through with a bolt of blue, which was secured at one end to the foundations of heaven, at the other to the holy mother herself who was using it to climb out of the catacombs. He reached an incredibly long arm out and touched my chest, which made my heart, I had forgotten about my heart, my heart his touch

Friday, February 04, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Six

only without the wires making little tents on my nightgown, and I was borne by unseen hands into the light which totally blinded me. I was on a table, cold and hard, like stainless steel, and these strange beings with swimming pool eyes, mouths that looked like they’d been dug out of a potato with a butter knife, completely hairless, no color at all, with pulsing bulbs and throbbing rods probed every one of my orifices. They were trying to make sure of something they knew already. I screamed but not even my ears could hear my screams. Just then

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Five

on the door WHOMP on the door, my whole body quivering with the impact. Why don’t you come in already, I remember thinking, it’s not like I ever lock anything. My life is an open book, you know. It’s like a diary with one of those little locks on it but there’s no key to it because it’s never locked. I have no secrets. If anybody wants to know anything, they can just ask me. But the aliens, maybe they didn’t understand that, or maybe they just don’t understand human language, because I levitated, like Linda Blair in The Exorcist,

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Four

my eyes, even the mirror agreed they were finer, more desirable. It was a flying saucer. That’s what started it. A UFO. It abducted me. I didn’t actually see it. I was asleep at the time. But in the middle of the night I awoke and there was this bright light shining right in my face. I was rigid, frozen, not from fright, no, I wasn’t quite frightened, I could feel my heart thumping in my chest, not fast, each thump like a fist pounding on a door, like there was a big man on the far side of me, raising his big fist and going WHOMP with it

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Thousand: Two Hundred Seventy-Three

with a sparse moustache and a pedigree, I did not know her. I introduced myself and when she smiled I saw a flash of the duchess. I was startled. Yes, I was. Sammy, she said softly. I am in trouble. I am in ever so much trouble. I. You see. I started a cult. I did not mean it to be a cult! No! I. I only wanted to be worshipped. Is that so bad? But it was! At first the adoration was like a spa. I soaked in it and felt more beautiful every moment. My hair, my lips,