by Mark Mills
Yes, she was beautiful but her breasts were corrosive. Wood warped, metal turned to rust, stone broke down to sandâ€”nothing exposed to them could stand. When she danced at the Blind Fox Grill, the beer taps flaked away and the pole crumbled before the next girl took the stage.
â€œSheâ€™s an incarnation of Kali, goddess of sex and murder,â€ an old man said, stuffing a two-dollar bill in her G-string.
â€œFool,â€ I spat. â€œSheâ€™s an angel.â€
â€œWell,â€ he replied, wiping red-brown flakes from his wrist. â€œYour angel just melted my watchband.â€
Angel or demon, she never stayed at the same club for long. True, she drew the crowds, but that couldnâ€™t make up for the property damages. I sought her in the streets but nobody knew her address, nobody knew where she hailed from. After work she squeezed into thick metallic chestplates that blackened and smoldered after a few hours, but even with such a clue to work with, I could never track her.
She was alone: her breasts an unforgiving wall around her heart. One morning during rush hour, she stripped to the waist on the Golden Gate Bridge. Three dozen commuters tumbled down with her, their cars dissolved before hitting the water. Now they all vilify her, they curse her, they sow all kinds of hate about her but I know better. I have looked beyond her breasts to a vista unseen by other men.
I now begin each day by descending in my bathysphere, searching for that tell-tale cloud of hazy, corrupted water. Each day I follow her path across the sea floor as it leads me farther and farther into the deep, where the sunlight never reaches, where the fish have neither eyes nor color. I sink lower with each expedition, knowing that one day we will be together, that not even the greatest of walls is insurmountable, and that of all things gold does not corrode.
by Hollan Lane
ScottishKing: I must depart anon. Unfriendly men crowd
Pr05per0: An’ it pleases you.
ScottishKing: Should my lady seek me here, tell her of the
foe we face.
(ScottishKing logged off)
(Hal_23 logged on)
Pr05per0: Good morrow, my prince.
Hal_23: Good morrow. Thinkest thou I am thy prince?
Pr05per0: Wherefore would thou not never be my prince?
Hal_23: I cry you mercy! I speak in jest.
Pr05per0: It is by your mercy I do abide.
Hal_23: Speakest thou always with so straight a tongue?
Pr05per0: Wouldest like thou my tongue were crooked?
Hal_23: It liketh me not. Speak freely. Use thy
tongue in the manner God did intend.
Pr05per0: An’ it pleases you.
Hal_23: It pleaseth me well enough. Where art thou?
Pr05per0: An island on all sides surrounded by fens. . .
Hal_23: Jest not! Mine sides ache with merry making!
Pr05per0: Ho! Sits the wind in that quarter?
Hal_23: Thy mind is cluttered! Cleanse it or leave my
Pr05per0: Verily, verily. It is cleansed! I abide on an
isle of foul beasts, devils and spirits.
(Honourable_Man logged on)
Hal_23: An’ it like you?
Pr05per0: The beasts, devils and spirits liketh me well
Honourable_Man: Widowed, I am and seek the comfort of a
Hal_23: Wise men to the devil depart . . .
Pr05per0: Hades liketh me not. Mine books are burn’d. Mine
soul cries mercy of the Lord.
Hal_23: An’ the Lord dost give it?
Honourable_Man: Dost a skillful wench abide within?
Pr05per0: I know not. Time of such making escapes my
Hal_23: Thou willest catch it one day.
Pr05per0: Better in’t catch me.
Hal_23: Dost not matter who begins such a duel. Tis thou
Pr05per0: Tis a duel all men of dust and spirit must lose.
(Honourable_Man logged off)
(DrowningGirl logged on)
DrowningGirl: Good morrow, wizard. Good morrow, prince.
Pr05per0: Wizard liketh me not. Mine books are burned.
Hal_23: Good morrow, lady.
DrowningGirl: My mind liketh me not. Such ghouls do live
in’t that Hades seems a land of light and angels.
($$$Lender logged on)
Hal_23: Such sorrow! May I attend?
DrowningGirl: Attend me not, my lord. My lover spent a
fortnight pondering his father’s death.
$$$Lender: Needful of fish bait? 300 ducats for one part a
Pr05per0: He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
DrowningGirl: An’now his hands doth drip with the blood of
mine own father.
Hal_23: What knave is this?
$$$Lender: Ask for Antonio tomorrow you shall find him a
DrowningGirl: His name matters not.
Pr05per0: The devil damn him black!
DrowningGirl: No, my lord. Rain not damnation on his head.
I cry you mercy! I must depart.
Hal_23: Dear lady, depart not!
DrowningGirl: Adieu, my lords. A fountain awaits. . .
(DrowningGirl logged off)
($$$Lender logged off)
Hal_23: Lady! Lady! She hath gone to commit some terrible
act, I fear.
Pr05per0: Verily. An’ not we can do wilt stop her.
Hal_23: Our revels now are ended.
Pr05per0: An’ the rain it raineth every day. Look up, mine
prince. The sun doth break the clouds.
Hal_23: Oh aye.
(ScottishKingLover logged on.)
ScottishKingLover: My lord? Where art thou, my lord? Spot,
Pr05per0: The lord you seekest hast depart’d to face an
enemy at the gates.
Hal_23: So close?
Pr05per0: Aye. Usurping liketh him not.
ScottishKingLover: My lord’s hand’s stained as mine own!
Hal_23: It liketh not my father, either.
ScottishKingLover: My lord engages the enemy on our
Pr05per0: Of a certainty.
ScottishKingLover: I shall seek him out yonder window and
(Network down 16:24)
Hal_23: Good sir, thou hast returned?
Pr05per0: Verily, my prince. Where art the lady?
Hal_23: Perhaps the window liketh her not.