Monday, July 28, 2014


inspired by this

It was Wednesday when the world changed. Until then my grocery trips were identical, almost obsessively so, but something led me to aisles I'd never ventured through before. Baked goods, so. Cookies and crackers, just so.

Wait. Did I...? No. It couldn't be. A return trip confirmed what I had seen.

I paced a rut into the linoleum between the two aisles, alternately considering and condemning. "No, yes, you must, you can't!" I told myself. The thought squirmed through my brain like a hungry worm in a rotten apple.

The products went into my hand basket awkwardly, jutting above the rim. This would not do. Someone would know. I placed a few of my prior purchases on the shelf - vegetables, a can of soup - and walked away. Did I know then that this was merely a foreshadowing of the sacrifice to come? I think I did.

In the checkout line beads of cold sweat ran down my neck. I glanced around and caught the eye of an elderly woman, her eyes too sharp for it to be a coincidence. My hand closed around the jar of olives - she was old, her skull was soft - before she looked away. Good.

I whispered a silent prayer to any god that would hear me for the clerk not to connect the blasphemous dots of my purchase. She smiled an empty smile and wordlessly slid my damnation across the scanner. I paid with cash and left in a hurry.

"Sir!" came her voice behind me and I froze. I would tear the packages open with my teeth and pour them in my mouth before I was taken.

"Sir," she said, "you forgot your receipt."

Sweet relief flooded through me. "Thank you," I told her, not trusting myself to make eye contact, and forced myself to walk not run to the car.

At home I threw everything else away and placed the two packages on my kitchen table. I poured a whiskey and eyed them. Did they look deeply into me as well? I think they did.

When it was time my hands moved like they'd done this a hundred thousand times before, like they were made to do this. It was so easy. My mind floated as I worked and I realized everyone I loved was made of meat, soft meat for the eating.

Do you know what the smell was like? No, you don't. You're a coward. The smell was like love, real love, love that would cut and kill to keep going. My love.

I ate for the first time in my life, really eating, nourishment filling me from toe to tip. And when what I had made was gone, did I keep eating? I think I did. They had crumbled all over my hands, you see, and it's all just meat.

They tell me they're going to have to amputate. They tell me that a human bite is the worst bite you can have, and that infection is a foregone conclusion. They tell me...lots of things, but I've stopped listening. Instead, I remember the taste. God, that taste.

Would I do it all again, given the chance? I think I would.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Windows

There are twelve windows in this room.

They say one of the windows leads me to my freedom, to a life outside of all this. The other eleven lead me back to more of the same, or maybe worse. Although it's hard to imagine what might be worse. They say that the imagination is the most powerful tool for torture, but I've seen some stuff that puts the unknown to shame. For example, there's a thing called the threader. 

The thread - a thin, non-reactive metal cable - goes in your mouth, and you have to swallow. You get a break while they wait for it to come out the other end. When it does, they pull it until there's a loop with its center inside of you. Then they hook both ends to a centrifuge and start spinning you around the room.

Did you know your intestinal tract has a tensile strength, a tearing point? Everything does, really. Even the soul. The threader takes you right up against that limit. I've seen strong men cry and later shit blood; I've seen weak men resist until they were torn in half from the inside out.

I'm somewhere in the middle. That's probably why they put me in the window room to begin with. For those who can endure torment of the body, there's always torment of the mind to consider. 

And what better way to torture a prisoner than offering him a choice? I know that if I choose wrong, I'll recriminate myself until I'm torn apart just as surely as if I'd spent an hour on the threader. I know that if I choose right, the whole thing might have been an exercise in false hope. It'd only work once, but once would be enough.

So I say nuts to the whole thing. I sit in the window room. I close my eyes. I must look like I'm thinking, or praying, or maybe even shitting. After you've watched a man's bowels rupture and spray feces across the room in a wide arc, shitting for an audience isn't as embarrassing. 

Time passes. I know this can't please them. They wanted to watch me choose and doubt and panic and fail. This has to be a disappointment on the order of the other prisoner who died of a heart attack before they even got to him. It wasn't even a heart attack from fear, just a congenital defect that picked that moment to give the guy the easy way out.

Oh how we all paid for that.

There's a click behind me. I ignore it. Remember what I said about the imagination? Whatever I can come up with in the dark of my mind is still better than their reality. There's another click. Now I'm terrified and curious. Click.

I turn my head and behold a forest of densely packed needles that now covers a quarter of the floor. As I watch another row silently rises, the click only coming when the floor first opens. Intuition tells me they could have made the entire process completely noise free, but the click is part of the fun.

There's a time limit for my choosing, then. Or maybe they just got impatient. Either way, I have about a minute before the needles press my flesh aside and join everything else under my skin. Maybe I should lie here. Maybe I should let it happen. Needles are as good an end as any other. At least my death wouldn't be pointless, ha ha.

But no. My problem, aside from the obvious, is that there's a part of me that won't give in; there's a blind idiot god in the dark of my brain who just won't let the ride stop. And wouldn't you know it? He's got the wheel. 

I feel myself rising, rising like the needles, and in just as much control. I take a step, then another towards one of the windows. Which one doesn't matter, I now realize. Maybe the windows don't open. Maybe all the windows lead back here. Maybe life is just another window room we place ourselves in, and time takes the place of the needles, every tick of the second hand another sharp row in place. 

I choose a window. Don't we all?

Thursday, July 11, 2013


It's a little known fact that Peru doesn't exist. It never has, in fact.

Early in prehistory there an antecedent to the Tunguska event that hit the Russian steppes in 1908. However, whereas the Tunguska event was only partially realized, the event that took place in what we call Peru was complete - an area twice the size of Spain gone, and in its place a swirling hole of nothing.

South American tribes knew to avoid that land. Their name for it roughly translates as "Dreamsink". When the Spanish arrived the first conquistadors to lay eyes on it went mad and were never heard from again. The second group survived, and their ravings were committed to paper by priests and then sealed in the Vatican's vaults.

It's said that the men themselves were sealed away as well, but they live to this day. Or so the legend goes, anyway.

Since then the political powers of the world wide community have cooperated to keep it a secret. Even at the height of the Cold War, American and Soviet agents worked together to maintain the cover. There is a Peruvian flag. There are Peruvian athletes at the Olympics. Maybe you think you've been to Peru on vacation, but you haven't.

Peru doesn't exist. It never has, in fact.