Into the Alien Sunset

My blood was circulating like cement; it was about to harden. I staggered toward the ship. I was bigger than the alien, so I had my doubts… I squeezed into her cockpit and a glass shield closed. There were no controls, no dials, and the saucer turned on. It was like being carried by an unknowable force. There was no energy or pulse, it just floated, like it was being pulled by something. The teachers below me, were closing in on the colony, and then my ship veered off, into an orange blanket of atmosphere. The sky went dark. I must’ve passed out. And when I woke up, I was lying on a bed, hooked up to IVs. Three alien women were studying my anatomy and prodding it like scientists. It moved, and they all gasped.

“Ahhhh.”

I sensed their pheromones; they sensed mine. It was the basic instinct, but before anything could happen, another joined us, carrying a tray. It looked like a beer. It smelled like a beer, and it tasted better than any beer I had ever had. I was more intelligent than any of them, and perhaps that’s why they wanted me. I was an alien on their planet, but I felt like I belonged for the first time.

The End

the best art, is the artist

We cut our glass statues

with careful precision

or callous

disregard

We admire

permanence

until it shatters

it takes precision

to break precision

a spying spider

a contemptuous foe

a sharp hammer

a steel spike

through the heart

of security

We thought we knew

they knew us better

cut to pieces

and bleeding on the ground

between shards

of empty space

our statues

were false

our metaphysical moment

broke us

destroyers

look for our fault lines

but we are so much stronger

than our creations

the best art, is the artist

there will never be another

with the same cracks and suffering

beauty can be broken

a torn flower is sad

a hammer

is without feeling

plain

in its ugliness.

Lifetime Job Security

If you stare into the abyss, and the abyss stares back at you, you will see into the deep, and the deep will see into you, you can’t hide from it, and it can’t hide from you. -Intellectual Shaman

“Your service has been a sacrifice upon the alter of my family,” Byron said.

“What?”

“Giles, how old would you say I am?

“50.”

“Add another zero. Your father never told you…? He figured it out, as he approached death. My family is immortal, well… sort of, magic keeps us alive.”

“It must be unnerving to face darkness, to know your life and family will end; your bones will be like their bones, separated and scattered by rats.”

“Those are the bones of my father, and his father before him; they went willingly when they were ready. I’m not ready.”

“I will be the judge of that,” Giles said. His finger folded around the trigger. His hand twitched.

Byron looked him in the eye, with no fear.

Boom!

The gun exploded, blinding Giles with black powder. “My eyes! My mouth! Slivers in my lips!” His face contorted and melted like a blistering mask of fire and burning flesh, running blindly from the cave, into the swampy grass, steaming, and sinking, screaming, through the fog of envy.

Byron took the power back. He was the master, the lord—though he had to suffer beneath his dignity, with no servant.

Back at the manor, a boy not much older than 17, greeted him.

“Your paper, sir.”

“Would you like a job?” Byron asked.

“I already have one, sir.”

“How much does it pay?”

“7 dollars—a week.”

“I’ll tack on another zero.”

“I can’t refuse.”

“It’s a permanent job—for a lifetime.”

“That’s job security.”

“Excellent; then I will call you Giles.”

The End

Treachery Beneath the Temple Gates

The moor swallows lost men, and all creatures that stumble into her heart. It has a glow, that when stared at, hypnotizes. Byron knew her secret. There are sacred places, most of which have been found and desecrated. Temples were built on her magic, and rituals cast in her halls. This is holy ground, where wise men remove their sandals out of respect for her power. The moor is a manifestation of revenge, swallowing all that fall under her spell. Byron knew how to respect this magic and to stay away, but now he had to walk through the temple gates.

He went down the main path with his shotgun, looking for a great granite backbone, he could leap-frog across, into a cave that descended into hell. Sulfur choked him and blinded his eyes. It was why he didn’t see or hear the figure approaching in the shadows.

Silent hands loaded.

Click

Byron stopped.

It was the first inkling; he was being followed. There was no turning back. It was easy to get lost when one tried to retrace their steps. Light played tricks on his eyes; rocks were not rocks, but empty holes sucking one down into the moor.

There was the cave, where prehistoric men discovered magic for the first time. Bones on the stairs as Byron stepped over, into her throat. He lit a torch with his lighter, and the green glow showed him the way. A chamber took him into a larger chamber, where stone tablets rested. He lit the fire and rehearsed his study, those ancient words learned as a child, past down by generations

He felt her energy flowing into his fingertips, bolting through his body like lightening.

Another metallic CLICK.

“Who’s there!” Byron shouted.

“Your humble servant, come to collect his fee.”

“Giles?”

“Yes. My family served your family for centuries, but no more.”

Barrels of death were brought level with Byron’s eyes.

Deep Magic and Suspicion

The mouth smiled, like it was full of slivers, uncomfortable, and upsetting, pulled tight, like a distorted mask. -Intellectual Shaman

“Giles, what do I pay you for?”

The master reclined in his library, intent on study. Anyone who gazed at his face saw a hole that had swallowed the darkest secrets of the universe, and kept them hidden.

The butler approached, carrying a silver tray. He was thin, wiry, and bent at the joints as if his bones were connected to rubber bands.

“Oyster soup with lemon grass salad and a glass of 68. Will there be anything else, sir?”

“No, that’ll be all Giles. Your late father always knew how to be on time.”

“His passing was regrettable.”

“He was a man of dignity, who kept perfect pace with his responsibilities. In 15 minutes, I want two scoops of chilled orange sherbet, a cup of steaming black coffee, and my ironed newspaper.”

“Yes sir.” He scampered out of the room.

“I don’t trust him,” Byron muttered.

He had had several business failings that had left him dejected and a bit desperate. He took his anger out with a double barrel shotgun, hunting the endangered birds that nested within the moor. Byron thought about ending it all, but there was still deep magic— a solution that would drive him insane if he made any mistakes.

the fool

foolish to the last

serious stares of disapproval

or mocking laughter

in good fun

as the fool

recognizes his foolishness

knowing, and not caring

then not knowing,

cast

on a stage

and labeled

a fool

torn jester clothes

smeared makeup

walking

then running

in the cold rain

the fool tells jokes

to laugh

how foolish

how funny

no one understands

it has never been done before

it’s not quite

an act

in fact

no one really knows what it is

it could be serious

but no

a serious person would understand something serious

unless, what’s serious is foolish

and the fool is trying to show them

that.

When we share things…

When we share things

and accept each other

the room gets warmer

the worst

cold

chill

is when someone shares

and the other

pretends.

It’s horrible

to humor

to play this linguistic game

like a crooked guitar

or a broken banjo

their twisted wires

of scratchy

sound

gut me

tightening

their tension

of coarse,

grainy,

gazes.

They strike music

fitting to their ears

like a snake

not knowing

its venom

cut-open faces

of sliver smiles

infected

unable to grin

without a grimace

and perhaps this is why

I prefer solitude

even if

there is only one warm body

and the room

gets colder

and colder…

God’s Sign

It was a fall blowout sale, and I was holding a sign on a cool October day for the Furniture Outlet. It was raining and I was trying my best to be animated, despite my joints seizing up. I didn’t have a hand free for an umbrella, and besides, it was against the company policy. I wasn’t selling umbrellas; I was selling relaxation, and perhaps my torment encouraged buyers to think how fortunate they were to watch their football games in their heated homes.

God has a sense of humor, I guess, or a sadistic personality, but there is one thing for sure, it is always best to have God on your side. He was mid-thirties, with a full beard and long hair, standing casually in the rain with a red and white umbrella and a toothy grin. Cars routinely stopped in front of him like a drive-through at a fast-food restaurant. I couldn’t see what was happening, or I didn’t want to see. I was making $7.20 an hour. By the through-traffic, the man was making well-over a hundred.

The rain was merciless; it was like icicles that hadn’t frozen. I was about to give up employment and inevitably learn one of life’s lessons—that it’s better to be warm and content, than ambitious and caught in the rain.

Then the bum motioned that I should cross the street, and I trusted him. It was like Jesus saying, “Come and follow me.” And when I got to the other side, he smiled and pulled a waterproof jacket from his duffel-bag full of cash.

“This’ll keep you warm,” he said.

It didn’t smell and I didn’t see any fleas, so I abandoned my sign and put it on.

“The world makes you work, huh,” he said.

“Yeah.”

“Well, I’m going to offer you a bit of advice, “Work is a waste of time. Follow your heart and make a sign.” He popped a beer.

I looked at him skeptically, but he had a full bag of cash. Obviously, he had figured-out something I hadn’t.

“I don’t often do this because it limits a young man’s potential, but I can see you aren’t motivated by money, so the sign is only a means, and not an end. Here is God’s Sign.”

I looked at it, it said God Bless.

“You’ll never have to worry about money again,” he said.

And he put the sign in my hands and walked off. I held God’s Sign and started making hundreds of dollars, from mini-vans, soccer-moms, and Christian do-good-ers. I must’ve looked in desperate need, holding that sign, and then the heavens opened up and the clouds cracked with light.

“This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased.” I admired the rainbow and the cash I could no longer stuff into my pockets. It truly was heaven on earth.

The End

Chapter 2 The Long Sigh, Goodbye

Gregson watched the setting sun doing somersaults up and down the hills of Chessfield like a child touching the earth with her magic until she found the perfect hiding spot. He smiled a thin smile of memory, poking a pall-mall between his lips.

“There’s no smoking on this aircraft,” a skinny flight attendant hissed through made-up lips. Gregson looked at her bent body that had pushed too many trollies. Her eyes were glazed-over, like they never slept.

“Too many sleeping pills,” he mumbled.

“What?”

“I’m sorry, could you just bring me the alcohol?”

She thought of not serving him, and a smile, like a scar, appeared on her grim face. He was fat and happy. Why was he happy? She thought.

“I solve crime,” Gregson said.

“Pardon me?”

“Pardon you? I don’t think so; it’ll be a life sentence.

“Just drink up. What will it be?”

“Whiskey…Rocks.” Gregson took his glass from her vice-like grip, twirling the cubes with his red straw, like a carousel. The problem was, when he drank, he heard their voices, so loud he couldn’t hear his own. They were all trying to get somewhere. He just watched those cubes spinning, until all their conversations jumbled together, clink, clink, “ahhh.”

And he pulled his Stetson over his eyes and enjoyed the long sigh, goodbye.

Space and Time passed like a dream until…

“We here.” Gregson looked at her Japanese face. Her dark eyes smiled at his. He got up, and a crane fell to his feet.

“Origami?”

“Do you speak Japanese?” She asked.

Gregson smiled. “Not quite.” He unfolded the note.

Watch your step!

Gregson looked down at his blue running shoes. “That’s going to be impossible,” he said while stepping off the plane.

The winter wind blew up his wide cargo shorts. “Do they make espresso in Japan?” Gregson asked.

the light inside your mind

Magic is the most difficult power to hold onto

I sense it like a ball of light in my brain

a stimulus of gold that wants to be released

I didn’t always have this power

and when I do have it

I feel really good.

The only power that matters in this life

is the power inside

It can be transmuted into joy, confidence, or creativity

and it wants to be expressed.

Right now, the tingling sensation in my body

isn’t going anywhere.

The way to harness this power

is to get 10 hours of sleep,

eat lots of dark chocolate

and talk to expansive people.

In the throes of magic, which we all wake up from

we are perfectly content.

There are ways to get closer to this state of being,

but like all esoteric practices,

it cannot be achieved with a prescribed formula.

I can give you the guidelines

I recognize it in others

it’s like sprinkled fairy dust.

I knew a kid who had it

“What’s the most exciting experience you’ve ever had?” I asked.

He had long hair and was an underachiever, a loner who didn’t seem to need anybody.

“The most exciting experience I ever had was when I got 10 hours of sleep,” he said.

“Just lying-in bed with that feeling.”

A magician can summon this power at will,

or create the conditions for it

when you have magic, other people will notice, and they will all want your power

If you don’t have it, they will leave you alone.

Women are the most susceptible to it

A magician holds it,

and this ball of light is the secret to his contentment.