Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Seventeen

like a mole on its cheek. Silently they regard each other, giant stone head, odd black dwarf, yellow dog, and man. The sound of a great crash below is followed by a loud sizzling and crackling, the much softer sounds of bat wings continue their beating, and almost beyond hearing sonar squeaks chitter more rapidly. The stone face twitches suddenly, the upper lip rises, the nostrils flare even wider, the blank eyes bulge. The elevator’s metal screens flex, Sir expands and contracts, and when the ripple reaches Bernie he feels it in his gut. “Oh,” he wheezes. Another ripple runs

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Sixteen

come, a kingdom kind of come, the kind of come a body’s open to, ready to fill up with, fill to buh buh buh, to buh buh buh, to buh. Buh. BURSTING!” The creature’s head bobs side to side, while Sir maintains a cautious friendly stance, back flat, trail wagging slowly, barking. Down below the giant stumbles and looks about to topple. The Mexican head, the last of the giant’s heads, yanks its whirlwind loose and bounces upward. It hurtles toward them. Bernie’s sure they’re splinters. Instead of smashing into them, though, the head pauses to glare, the bat’s passenger

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Fifteen

though charred, presses against the bars; a nose as thrusting as a beak bends the mesh beyond. A sliver of white around the midnight irises flashes as the face grimaces and laughs. A pointed tongue flickers. Hands as curled as crow feet grip the bars and dance along them, clicking out a pitter-patter tune. “What’s your number, baby? A nice boy like you in a city on fire? How’d that happen? What’s say you and I take advantage of the room for some ka-boom? Raise the mushroom, baby; my mind is clouded. The war’ll be wanting the big weapon to

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Fourteen

the backs of the bats are passengers. A small, black creature clings to the bat’s shoulders, bird-like head swiveling in sharp jerks, a spindly arm sometimes extending to point or to gesture like a symphony conductor. The giant scoops soil and broken tile and slaps it against its torso. Pieces fall away. Bernie can’t tell whether the body itself is crumbling or if that’s just the rubble. Another whirlwind loosens itself, the bearded head wobbling. As a bat passes close by the elevator its passenger leaps, grabbing hold of the bars of the outer door. A face mostly black, as

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Thirteen

the whirlwinds breaks free of the torso and vacuums up several bats, which rotate in a black scramble. The bombing goes on. Sucking up the yellowish fumes, the whirlwinds take on an oddly solid look. He’s not falling, Bernie realizes, despite the cant of the elevator. The elevator has its own gravity, maybe? Could it, maybe, have a force field, too? He unclenches a little. How many bats are there? Tens, probably. Hundreds? Not that many? Some of those that have dumped their cargo make wider circles, and Bernie sees more clearly what he thought were deformities or humps on

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Twelve

against the rear wall of the elevator. Can’t this thing go faster? But if it’s rushing them to safety this is a weird way of doing it, for the scene below has only gotten closer and at a height, Bernie realizes, within easy reach of those flailing gloves. The elevator, or whatever it is, tips neatly forward, giving its passengers a clear view of the battle. Bernie braces against the wall, clutching at its smooth surface with desperate fingers. The giant grabs one of the bats by a wing and uses it as a club against the others. One of

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Eleven

around the torso. If that torso’s big as a bus then those birds must be big as men. Not birds. Bats! And they’re dive-bombing now, letting go something they’ve tucked in their back legs, which, when it strikes the stone skin of the giant, begins smoking. Again and again the chemical bombs strike and throw up smoke. One of the gloves rushes to wipe away the stuff and itself starts to smoke. The other glove, balled into a fist, jabs at the bats, then hurls something at them. “Did it just throw a person?” Bernie backs up until he’s pressed

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Ten

Sir turns abruptly and goes to the wall beside the lever. He goes up on his hind legs, uses a forepaw to knock open a small metal door which reveals a red button. He jumps up and bumps it with his nose. A motor whirs. The room lurches and begins to rise. “Wow. This is an elevator,” Bernie says, the slope they climbed falling away below. Broken tiles heap about the visitors center, the giant groping inside with one of those floppy work gloves. Sir whuffs again, and Bernie at last sees the dark birds. They swirl of a sudden

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Nine

thinking about him? Bernie glances down at Sir. Sir is concentrating on something in the distance. “What do you see, boy? I mean, Sir?” Bernie tries to scan beyond the giant. But he. That head. The Mexican head. It. It really is looking this way, isn’t it? “Do you think it will come here?” Bernie asks. “I mean, what do we do if it does? Are we safe?” Sir begins to whuff softly, as though whatever he sees excites him. He lifts his butt from the floor, tail wagging steadily. The Mexican head bobs but its attention does not waver.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Eight

one with its thumbs, tosses the bus lightly, catches it, tosses it, catches, tosses, catches. Finally, bored, the giant throws the bus over a shoulder and stomps up to the visitors center. One giant glove begins to tug at a corner of the roof while the other strokes the curved ceramic tiles. Each of the heads seems to be doing its own thing, and Bernie wonders that they don’t go off on their own, finished with the fiction of being attached to this body. The Mexican head is turned in his direction, Bernie realizes with some discomfort. Is it really

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Seven

A hobnailed boot goes up and crashes down. The other one does the same. The great gloves swing back and forth on the ends of their crackling ropes of electric light. The stone heads rise toward the clouds, sometimes vanishing briefly into them, then dip or hover, the whirlwinds more or less visible depending on whether they have snatched bits of cloud or dust or smoke into their vortices. The giant picks up the bus, plucks the motorcycle out of the roof and throws it aside, bangs the bus nose first against the blacktop, pops the unbroken windows one by

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Six

trying to get out of the way slips between the fingers of the glove. She’s hanging on by the glove’s middle finger. The pharaoh head is the first to lose interest, rising on the whirlwind for the longer view. The Mexican head and the bearded (Greek? Assyrian?) head pause while the woman pendulums from a finger, then they, too, turn their attention elsewhere. The glove, casually, as though throwing off a fly, flicks the finger. The woman disappears. In the twilight under the storm clouds Bernie’s lost track of her. Not that anybody could have survived such a hurling, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Five

from his fingers of that heavenly coffee. He strips off his wet shirt. The last of the heads of the giant lightning monster has come down to examine the frail human protester in its power. Bernie nods when the woman turns her attention to this scowling face. She’s waving both arms now and the three heads hover, the green glow fizzing about as though trying to highlight some sympathy in their motionless features. The other glove comes back as a fist and holds itself above the woman. As it flexes, dirt and pebbles rain down on her. She ducks and

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Four

get a closer look. The woman in the palm of the glove wags her finger in the pharaoh’s face. She seems to be lecturing the pharaoh. The Mexican head descends to see what the delay is about. The woman ignores it, concentrating on whatever it is she’s telling the pharaoh. Bernie presses his hand to his mouth, fascinated. He giggles. “This is great,” he says. Sir looks quizzically up at him. “Check ‘em out,” Bernie continues. “Now the last head comes to join the party. Boy, he don’t look happy.” He takes a deep contented breath, inhaling the lingering fragrance

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Three

A boot rises and drops to the earth, the vibrations knocking leaves from the trees. The glove shakes the car like a maraca, then tosses it away. The other glove, cupped, weighs something, bounces it a little. When it goes still Bernie sees the passenger from the car jump to her feet. She’s not screaming, she’s shouting. If it’s really her I’m hearing, Bernie thinks. The glove that threw aside the car balls into a fist. “No!” Bernie whispers. Then its forefinger extends, makes little circles over the woman’s head. The pharaoh head borne on its whirlwind comes down to

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred Two

toward the visitors’ center. And now, rising in that left glove, an upside down Honda Civic sways. The passenger door swings open. Just when it looks like it will slam shut somebody inside kicks it open again. The other glove reaches down and grabs a motorcycle. With a casual underhand the glove hurls the motorcycle in a long arc. It smashes down on a touring bus in the parking lot. The gloves give attention to the Honda, ripping away the hood, popping off wheels. Bernie sees a figure hanging out the passenger side, clinging to the safety belt, legs kicking.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred One

crane raised it, then just let it go. With a thunderous thud it hits the earth. The other boot goes up, swings forward, falls. Bernie feels the vibrations through the mountain. The gigantic gloves swing around, opening, closing, opening, closing. The heads swivel, each enveloped in a seething greenish glow as though it were being swarmed by fireflies, the color adding subtle mood changes to the visages. “What is it?” Bernie breathes. The dog yawns, nervous rather than bored. The left hand gloves shoots down and closes on something at the ground. Distantly, Bernie hears screams. The monster is stomping

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thousand: Nine Hundred

an expression stern as turnip. The second head wears the flaring cobra-hood headdress and jutting ceremonial beard of the pharoahs, though its brow is sleeker, jawline less prominent. There were women pharoahs, the beard having been an emblem of state rather than gender. Her expression is milder than the first head, or perhaps its mien is of a serene self-confidence. The final stone aloft on a tight whirl of wind glares out of wide eyes, its sneering lips surrounded by a choatic swirl of beard. A lightning leg raises a hobnailed boot and drops it. It’s as though a mechanical

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Nine

the ancient dumps have granted museums. Only big as a train car. Slashing out from the hips the first two lightning bolts stab down into massive hobnailed boots. The lightning bolts that writhe out from the torso’s shoulders end in gigantic gloves. And, as the torso descends, three narrow funnel clouds follow, seemingly drilling into the torso’s stump of a neck. The first head to appear at the top of one of these serpent-like whirlwinds is the sort of thing Bernie’s seen in pictures from Mexico, under a skullcap a face square and black with thick lips and broad nose,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Eight

Sirs backs up as Bernie pulls the lever down. A mesh screen shoots out from the wall, then a second heavy metal grid. Bernie stretches both across the opening, securing the outer grid first, then the thinner mesh. As he locks them into place the mesh allows him a clear look at what otherwise was blinding. Lightning. One, two twisting, jerking bolts, and now two more yank themselves out of the black clouds. Each bolt is haired with tiny sizzling extensions. All four come together in a. Bernie tips his head. It’s a torso. Like one of those armless things

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Seven

each board. Sir steps across his lap and paws at the wall closest to the mountain. “Whatcha got?” says Bernie, but, with his eyes beginning to adjust to the new slash of light, he looks around Sir’s tail to see what it is. Sir swivels about and snaps at him, the jaws and bright teeth clacking together an inch from Bernie’s nose. “Shit!” Bernie scoots back and looks to where Sir was pawing. Jutting out from the wall, there’s a lever too high for Sir to reach, so Bernie scrambles to it. “Yes?” he says, grabbing the red rubber handle.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Six

rope of light. Bernie flinches, the light is so bright, and he raises the jacket to cover his eyes. Woof, says Sir softly. Holding the jacket out to shield his gaze, Bernie looks up to see the dog standing on a platform a short scramble away. When Bernie heaves himself up beside his guide, Sir surprises him with a lick across the side of his face. “Oh yeah, thanks,” Bernie says, settling his sore butt on dusty boards. Three walls rise to a flat ceiling. More fence than wall, Bernie thinks, as there are gaps of almost an inch between

Monday, October 08, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Five

to do this, then, well, he’s doing it, isn’t he? It feels rather like a dream, though. Every movement labored and. Slow. With ravenous wolves on his trail. Are any ravenous wolves on his trail? He breathes in, he breathes out. He goes on. On he goes. That’s what he’s doing. Right now. Going on. And. And again. Dark dots speckle the suede; one appears as he looks at the others. Then another. Tap. “I’m dripping,” Bernie says. He raises his head. He turns to look back. From the lowering clouds a dark object is being lowered on a great

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Four

for him than the first. Is it the idea that he has the option, that he could stop at any time if he really needed to, if he couldn’t stand it he could just not stand it anymore, give up, sit down, cry? So long as doing seems possible, in this case one foot going higher than the last and thus getting up the slope, obeying the dog who is terribly insistent so must have reason but is awfully annoying, he’s getting his way, isn’t he, couldn’t he shut up? So long as Bernie decides he is not not going

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Three

jacket under an arm, Bernie struggles on. “I’m going to do this, or I’m not going to do this. I’m going to do this, or I’m not going to do this.” The sweat stinging his eyes, the air thick in his mouth, pulse shaking his head like an elephant a pear tree, blisters on his heels burning as he leans forward and raises a boot, Bernie says to himself, “I’m going to do this, or I’m not going to do this.” For reasons he’s never been able to figure out, the second part of that sentence is a greater motivator

Friday, October 05, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-Two

adjusted it so it hanged evenly. Hanged? So it hung evenly. So it was well hung. He stood there. Sweaty and smelling of sweat not his own. Bernie pauses to catch his breath. When Sir notices his charge has stopped, the dog turns and barks. Barks and barks. “OK, OK,” Bernie says. The air is beginning to weigh on him. It’s not making this easy. He drags the jacket off, and the white shirt with the pearl buttons is plastered to his body. “I’m dripping.” Sir’s barking grows more insistent, so, dragging a red handkerchief across his wet brow, the

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety-One

keep upright, his feet sliding every few steps. Not a lot but enough to make him anxious. The wallet, the wallet. Never mind. He’ll check again when they get to a level place. Not that he’s wearing the same thing he started out in. He’s got on that suede jacket with the fringes. The kind of fringes he used to think looked silly. The cowboy made him stand naked in the motel room and, standing in front of him so close their breath tangled like ropes, the cowboy drew the jacket up Bernie’s arms, settled it on his shoulders. He

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Ninety

in an apartment drinking crappy lemonade, sitting on a slumpy couch between two dogs, when he began to feel sluggish and the world stretched out a gravelly hand to caress his cheek. When he sat up on the side of a road and pawed in his pocket for his wallet, what did he find? The wallet was there? Was anything in it? Bernie struggles to remember. A scorpion? A credit card? Bernie slaps at his jacket pocket, checking for the wallet. He doesn’t quite feel it, but the slope the curly yellow tail is leading him up is steep and slippery with loose soil. Bernie’s almost doubled over trying to

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Nine

turmeric, the echo of ketamine, the intransigence of testosterone, the permanence of permanganate, the drizzle of dissent, the warning of vellum, the vibrations of wasabi, and the petulance of saltpeter, so dizzied is he by the promise and the glory, the suggestion and the vehemence, the joy and jangle, the hope and the fecundity, the single and the twin, so illuminated is he by the flicker, flame, freshness, and ferocity that Bernie ceases to worry. Sir knows what he’s doing. He’s gotten Bernie this far, wherever that is. I pre-paid everything, Bernie reminds himself. Then he remembers that he was

Monday, October 01, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Eight

standing nervously by, the tourguide looking back at him as she rounds up the remainder of her group. “So, um, Sir, um, where to now?” Sir glances up at him, whuffs, then turns, heading back up the path they followed to get to the picnic grounds. Bernie’s tummy feels sour. He sniffs his fingers, which still smell like coffee, only, oddly, a far superior coffee to the one he spilled. He holds his fingertips under his nostrils as he walks. So transported is he by the hints of chocolate, the translations of lavender, the quickening of quinine, the tickle of