Posted on: October 30th, 2011 The Cretins

by Ben Godby

The building had used to be city hall; but its vitals had been moved on to elsewhere, and now that place had been converted, presumably, to breed Cretins.

No one could say precisely what the Cretins were, despite everyone having given them a name. They were prone to night-prowling, and it was always noticed only in the morning.

“In the washtub,” mutters the best evidence, “under the sink.”

It has been said that they are friends of raccoons, settling on their haunches in alleys to see what the rodents bring back – not out of real interest, but friendly commiseration. Conversely, their own stalking, which was a lurking, required no movement at all. Theoretically, that un-movement was the Archimedean point of the spectroscopic gaze of Cretinism – which, kundalini-like, first attacked the material, then the emotional, and then the body itself.

A poet, who had spied a fragment re: the Cretins in a discontinued home-and-gardening journal with charred pages he had found in a trunk in his recently deceased grandmother’s attic, described it thusly:

“You awake to find everything gone. The furniture; the affects; the foods. Walls, sheets, and even the humility of floors: all victimized. It seems, at first, rather crass, and you feel guilty to feel anything at all.

“Then, you awake to emptiness. It has no hardness, and yet is gnawing. It is easy to explain but very difficult to understand. This, it is said, is the clue.

“Finally, you awake – and are armless. Or else one leg is amputated, or you find an organ has been donated unwittingly. You leak, you sore, you stare into the own red marrow of yourself; but it is painful, at the last, only because the Cretins do not respond to allegations.

“Oh, and, for the record: if you have lost your mind, you are not a victim of the Cretins.”

But the poet, in this case as in every one, is the exception. Further expert testimony:

1. “I have never seen a Cretin, and I never will.”

2. “It is natural. Horror is natural.”

3. (Offstage, laughter.) “You call that a Cretin?

There is X. X is a Cretin, though a Cretin is not necessarily X. At present X stands on the edge of the water, for the building that was once city hall strides upon a breath of river. The hall and the river caress each other, and pool their love in the wavering ripples of reflected light – architecture in flow – that collect in the warm dark recesses between them, which are X (though not necessarily, in this sense, [a] Cretin[s]).

“How I am got here, I do not know,” says X with a professorial index finger extended. “How I am like this, I know not. But I will say this: there are myriad appetites for Cretins, and objects to satisfy them all.”

The city hall is moved further from its birthplace and the thing spawning there, leaving newly voided architectural bowels in its wake as the guts are moved with earnest reconsideration. Whether new Cretin-factories will fill these places, too, is up for review by a special committee convened by the city council.

Elsewhere, in rows, houses and buildings do not collapse. Meanwhile, a figure stands upon the verge of a river, wreathed in the cut-out of itself against the angular windows and the iridescent glow off the water that will shine always until morning.

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Posted on: October 16th, 2011 Time, Flies At The Office

By Scott Akalis

It was 3:00pm when mother and daughter soared past the first exhibit. The nameplate read “Michael Kustich.”

“What is a Michael?” asked the young fly.

“He looks like an intern,” said her mother.

“Look at the little intern! He’s so cute!”

The flies moved on to the next human, a much larger man labeled “Dennis Bilbee.”

“Is that cubicle big enough for him?” asked the young fly. “I wish he had more space to run free.”

“By the looks of him,” said her mother, “he doesn’t much like running.”

In the third exhibit, a female, “Jenny Crebrink,” could be seen bouncing her knees up and down and rattling her fingers on a can and mug-covered desktop.

“I like this one,” said the young fly. “She’s so active.”

The fourth cubicle was empty, so they landed on a glass wall in the corner. “As you can see,” said the mother fly, “this species gets a larger enclosure.”

“I want to see his face, but he won’t turn around,” said the young fly, who tried buzzing the glass to get his attention.

“Don’t buzz the glass, honey,” said her mother. “They don’t like it when you do that.”

The flies launched themselves from the glass to the ceiling’s paneled lighting. “Have you had enough?” asked the mother fly.

“Just one more,” said her daughter.

They flew to the last cubicle, where a woman named “Sheryl Gibbons” was clicking between spreadsheets and Facebook. “Why does she keep going back and forth like that?” asked the young fly. “It’s like she’s in a trance or something.”

“That’s a sign of stress,” explained her mother.

At 3:25pm, the pair of flies departed. Although they had spent a considerable portion of their lifespan in the office, it felt like nothing.

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Posted on: October 2nd, 2011 Zombie Funeral

By Daniel Eness

But can we so easily forget the Rhonda who also spent the past month in that greasy mid-shin apron stalking, stalking, ever stalking?

“Life is trouble,” she used to say nearly every day from behind the griddle at the Maid-Rite. She was a working-class philosopher, a woman with a machine-gun brain and a mouth that squeezed the trigger, cutting down real customers and imagined exes on an indiscriminate daily spree.

After she stood up, her life was trouble on two crooked feet, her thousand-pound soul was trouble, her wheezing afterthoughts were trouble, her teeth – her teeth were trouble. Even then, there was something about her: the way she clung to that fry cage like it was a doll, the way she dragged her left foot behind her, as if some important part of her struggled to restrain her new nature, struggled to keep something back in a forgotten, invisible, unknowable land: our own.

Today we mourn and rejoice.

Let us not turn too quickly from the brutal metaphor we can finally bury today. Indeed, a great weight has finally lifted from Rhonda Rust’s shoulders: her own head.

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