Monday, March 12, 2012

F.Y.R.

Progress for an untitled novel, with nameless characters:



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shong



This the first piece I've written in a bar

with my friend blowing smoke in my face

and new comics

winking at me from my bag.

I should be waiting for Max Headroom

to walk up and offer me

a free refill of the decent pale ale.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gorizon





I'm tired of rubbing my hands together.

The calluses don't keep me warm.

I hear the blades whirling.

I see the ugly little speck in the distance.

But my belly is gnawing at my spine.

I don't think I can hold my eyes open.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Guns at the Seance

After I checked my weapon at the door

after the candles were lit

after the china shuddered and I saw my own breath

my partner tuned in above the table.

His voice was a world away

but I could read his lips.

"Apology accepted."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Puppet Shows



The first bounty hunter to catch up with me was easy enough to handle: syringe to the eye, designer hallucinogen to the brain and I was two states away by the time he remembered that his balls weren’t made out of gila monsters. Three months later I woke up in New Tartarus with Hyperion Scaggs standing over my bed. I read that his wives started a scholarship for orphans of involuntary castration. I’ve slipped by Caesar Golem, Hera Hades, the Wax Triplets and Paul the Black Wolf. After almost two years on the run, I never imagined that the one to finally collar me would be my own Grandpa Sagittarius. Considering the prices on my head though, I can’t really blame him.

*******


Before the puppet show industry collapsed, Goatsong Buddies was the go to for animatronics. From marionettes to alchedriods, if they didn’t have it, they made it. Now, like all of the other grand wonders of the Sapphire Age, the factory was a haunted museum. Deep in the warehouse, hundreds of shiny eyes glared at me from of the darkness as if I had awakened them from sweet dreams of happier days. All the legendary puppets were there: Jarface, Henrietta Harpy, Savory Panther, and the terror of my childhood, the snake haired scourge of evil - Medusa Marvel. All of them wore their control wands on silver chains, inexplicably juiced up though the factory had been abandoned for over a decade.

As tough as the magnomarble doors were, I knew it was just a matter of time before Grandpa would get tired of toying with me and begin busting into the building, then my shot at escaping would have been a dud. I sighed, said a little prayer to Hermes, and punched his code into my mobile.

When he picked up on the third bell, you would have thought I was calling to tell him happy birthday. I tried to be his little angel again. I reminded him of the times he took me to the ocean, and bought me my first lamb, and taught me how to slice through any system. And through any throat. He then reminded ME of the time I ran away to join the Cherry Jets. And the time I stole his new Phaeton. And the time I poisoned his best hound.

So fair enough.

I hung up, hitched my boots and made my way out of the warehouse and towards the shaft to the roof. I had seen a stand of sick looking satin trees when I broke into the puppet factory. If I could make the jump and if I could get to the ground without breaking my neck, I figured I had a decent shot at getting clear. I snaked up the greasy iron ladder, through the hatch, and straight into my cousin Libra.

The last time Libra and I talked, she was never speaking to Gramps again. She was going on about him killing one boyfriend too many. I guess the gold on my head was what she needed to give Gramps one more chance. She managed to clock me one in the head before I could drop back down the shaft. I yanked the hatch closed on her foot as I went. I could hear her screaming all the way down to the stone floor.

I staggered away from the fall, blood pouring from the gash in my head where Libra tagged me. I knew if she was here, then there was no telling who else Grandpa had scared up. However many there were, I knew he had them in position as he was sinking his teeth into the locks system. I had no weapon. I had no plan. I had no chance. Then, I saw Medusa Marvel, still staring at me. This time, she almost seemed to be smiling.

Within a minute, I had ripped the frame and wiring from her shell and locked on her famous helm and breastplate. I sliced into the wands, and every puppet in the warehouse creaked back to life.

Gramps did have the factory surrounded. Half of my family; cousins, nieces, nephews and even on of my step brothers were armed and ready for me. Ready for me, but there was no way they were ready for Medusa Marvel. And the Savory Panther. And Jarface. And Henrietta Harpy. And the Li’l Cyclopses. And Captain Parthenon. A horde of Saturday matinee superstars, stampeding over an army of mercenary trash, back out into the world that had forgotten them.

*****

A now here I am, free for now, speeding down the Great Road in Gramps’ Phaeton. I’m wondering if the dust has settled back at the factory. I’m wondering how far I’ll run this time. And I’m wondering if I’ll ever manage to get out of this fucking Medusa Marvel costume.

Friday, June 24, 2011

E.G.G. Boutique

My brother is standing at the entrance of what used to be an e.g.g. boutique. My brother does *not* have the 50 he owes me. He does have his finger in his nose.

I'm following him into the store. The store is covered with dust, but the coolers are stocked with e.g.g.s. The e.g.g.s are fully developed, each one the size of a marble. I'm asking him how this place can be out of business, abandoned, but full of produce. He's rolling his eyes. He's laughing. I'm taking a closer look at the e.g.g.s. They're pitch black, but a tiny glow is pulsing inside. Looking at these things is turning my stomach. I'm feeling my brother's breath in my neck.

He's telling me that he has a connection that will pay bigger than anything we've ever pulled. He's telling me he has a buyer for as many b.a.b.y.s as these eggs will hatch. I'm asking him who he has in mind to hatch those e.g.g.s. My brother is rolling his eyes and laughing again. I am heading towards the door.

The door is locked. My brother is walking the key in between his fingers like a silver dollar. He's asking me what my problem is. He's telling me what a breeze it is. "Pop the e.g.g. and a week later the bun is done." I'm telling him if it's that easy *he* can shove the whole shop up *his* ass and die rich. I'm telling him I want 75% of the cut. He's telling me it's a 50/50 split. I'm pulling my phone. I'm telling him I'll call our parents if he doesn't hand over the key. He's laughing. He's telling me Mom and Dad are in on it.

My brother is offering me a bottle of water and a shiny black e.g.g.

****

My nose is bleeding. My left eye is swelling shot. My brother is on the floor. He's gasping for air. He's cradling his crotch. He's trembling. His vomit is burning my eyes.

My brother's hack ass plastic clone key is snapping off in the lock. I'm on my knees, opening an access panel with my blade. The lights in the are going dark. the cases are coming alive. The e.g.g.s are turning pink. The walls are beginning to hum. Tiny voices are calling out from the e.g.g.s.

"Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"

I'm raising my boot over my brother's face...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wolf + Frog + Seal

Who eats when he wants to eat?
Who sleeps when he wants to sleep?
Who sings when he wants to sing?

A school of fish...
A flock of sheep...
A murder of crows...
A clutch of phleals.

For generations my people have hunted and sang and bred in harmony on these ice floes.

And then there was me.

From the night I hatched, the sound of my clutch laughing and playing and singing was teeth sunk into the pit of my skull, sucking out the sap. When Momma cuddled me, I pretended I was paddling around the moon, far away from her stupid lullabies.

On hunts, I swam at the rear of the pack, muttering little prayers, begging the leviathan to spin around and swallow them all in a gulp, leaving me to my sweet lonesomeness.

Time passed. I let myself be dragged along by the clutch. But when they sang, I groaned. When they laughed, I pressed my flippers around my ears. When they danced, I buried myself in the icy grit. Until I couldn't live another moment of it.

One night, while the clutch snored, I crept off into the dark to make my escape. A week later, I was back 'home'.

Starved. Shriveled. Shattered.

My hide was crusted with ice ticks. I had scuttled off in the exact opposite direction of the sea and got myself lost.

My cousins brought me 'home' and the clutch gathered around.

They fed me.

They ate the ticks away.

And they laughed.

As my bites scabbed over and the little scars were beginning to bloom, I knew that the clutch might be making me crazy, but life alone was not an option. If I was going to fit in, I had to make myself special.

On hunting runs, we track a leviathan, drive it to the surface, then bite and tear at it until it suffocates. (Leviathans are short of breath. And very, very stupid.) Then the pack swims back and forth to the floes, hauling the meat until the bones are picked white.

On the first hunt after my recovery, we cornered a leviathan near a glacier. As we drove her towards the surface, I spotted her calf, further down in the depths. Calf meat is sweeter and richer than their mommas'. I figured if I landed a succulent baby, I'd come home a hero.

The calf so gentle, I was able to swim right up to the nest and sink my teeth into its shiny flank. When it bawled out the mother went berserk. She dove towards me and her shrieking calf, she dragged half of the pack down with her. The hunters clamped into the soft spots below her fins were smashed against the ice wall. She scooped her calf up into her mouth and swam away. That leviathan was the first decent prey we'd found in weeks, There was no telling when we'd find another.

When we made it back home, the clutch pounced me. There was no petting. There was no feeding. There was no licking my wounds. There was biting. And more biting. And screaming. I cost the clutch over a dozen able hunters and scared off the next month's meat At least later, with my ears scabbed over, I didn't have to listen to any singing.

One female tended to me. A cripple, born blind. She didn't swim or feed with the rest of the clutch.

She was ugly. She stank of piss. She whimpered in her sleep. Not long after we welcomed our first nest of tads into the world.

My family may has well have been leeches. I feel asleep to their whining every night.

“Play with us Daddy. Feed us Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy.”

My mate only slept on top of me, sighing and smiling like a fool. The clutch lived on my back too. “More tads. More hunters. More singers.”

More misery.

One quiet night I scuttled towards the cliffs and slipped off the edge, down into the chop. The moon was alive.

I closed my eyes and I was a tad again, floating alone in my egg. I paddled along, deeper into the dream. The world was dark, and deep and quiet. I barely noticed when I swam into the leviathan's mouth, straight down her throat and into her gut.

More than a year has drifted by now. Surrounded by the cow's sweet quiet guts, I'm never hungry.

Who eats when he wants to eat?
Who sleeps when he wants to sleep?
Who sings when he wants to sing?

copyright 2011 Marc Bryant