Month: September 2008

Standard Elisions: An Interview with Joyelle McSweeney on Nylund the Sarcographer

Standard Elisions: An Interview with Joyelle McSweeney on Nylund the Sarcographer

September 2008 Interview by Cynthia Reeser, for Prick of the Spindle What else could I be as I walked down the street but a sarcographer of raining. I had to build a cask around it, built like itself. Tell me, where is Beauty Bread? goes […]

Elements of Mind and Body: A Conversation with Mark Cunningham on Body Language

Elements of Mind and Body: A Conversation with Mark Cunningham on Body Language

September 2008 Interview by Cynthia Reeser Compass cocked at measure, plow lining soil. Only so much can be marked off at one time: the tiniest bacterium can give you an eye-full. Then the initial surprise settles in. You remember which right turn takes you to […]

South Carolina Morning by Georgia Ann Banks-Martin

South Carolina Morning by Georgia Ann Banks-Martin

Poetry, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008

for Timeka

All night I’ve been awake wishing

I could be one of Hopper’s women,

maybe the one waiting outside her front door for a man

who is always late and won’t notice how like tracing paper

the fabric of her red dress chases each curve,

Or even the one who stiffly stands near her husband

ignored as he plays with his dog.

It is easier than telling the truth about where you’ve been.

I would rather be waiting, forever, than mourning my husband.

A Poem by Dean Young and Dean Koontz by CL Bledsoe

A Poem by Dean Young and Dean Koontz by CL Bledsoe

Poetry, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008 I am a wolfman in the doorway in cellophane. It’s a secret how I get my colors so vibrant. This was before the fish people came and made us learn to swim the hard way. They were looking for a […]

Dove-tailed by April Michelle Bratten

Dove-tailed by April Michelle Bratten

Poetry, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008 There are no trees to cast shadows along a North Dakotan highway, only stacks of hay, patch of sunflower, empty, empty. I wish to linger inside a roll of hay, as a passing thought, to smell of earth, to sound […]

Les Fenêtres by Kristina Marie Darling

Les Fenêtres by Kristina Marie Darling

Poetry, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008

We drive to a window factory and traverse its rooms, the summer night pale as the steeple of a church. Behind each door, you dust locks, turn hinges, dragging your signal flares and your phosphorus glow. A yellow light catches spots in each pane as we count the saints on dim clerestories. Soon I ask, one word at a time, mouthing into the watery dusk: Est-que je ne suis pas une fenêtre? You turn from the work, appalled, our reflections like sand burning into glass. A porous moon stares through the doorframe. The locks say nothing.

Six Sentences on Collaboration or Five on Relativity by Shannon Delaney

Six Sentences on Collaboration or Five on Relativity by Shannon Delaney

Poetry, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008 Hitler cut off her right thumb during the war. She was born in Slovenia. It is buried in Lancovo, with the other narrow-waisted blades. She had a twin sister who died at birth. It occurred to me that Christmas trees […]

Lust Series (1) by Stephanie Dickinson

Lust Series (1) by Stephanie Dickinson

Poetry, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008 I stood in my lavender nightdress in the wet grass. The man cried before they roped his neck and lifted him off the ground, letting him back down. But still he did not sing out that he killed the girl, so […]

Excerpts from The Adventures of Spaceman Ray and the Galaxy Rock, A Screenplay by Jakob Esaw

Excerpts from The Adventures of Spaceman Ray and the Galaxy Rock, A Screenplay by Jakob Esaw

Drama, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008

INT. THE WATCH STATION – NIGHTSHIFT.

Raymond petting the cat in his lap.

RAYMOND (V.O.)

Okay, so I’m thinking about getting back together with Deb. I dunno. She ain’t that bad. She’s malicious, but that’s part of what I love about her.

When we met, I was dating this alien—Zorita of the Faluzabah Sector. She was gorgeous, man, beautiful as a neutron star. But then Deb came along, and she was, like, human. And that’s a big bonus in my book. I mean, it had been a long time since I’d been with a, you know, a woman of my own species. And you know, I think she sensed that, but I—I—I (sighs) I don’t know.

On the TV screen, the star in S75RQ swells and turns green.

I remember the line that made me fall in love with her: I was telling her about how long Zorita and I had been together and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to break up with her. Besides, I told her, I’d been with aliens for so long, I was kinda used to ‘em. And so Deb says, she said, “Yeah, but what I lack in the tentacles and proboscis department, I more than make up for with teeth and boobs.” Oh man, she was so right. It had been a long time since I’d dated someone with a mouthful of teeth and a chest with two tits. Sexy. That was it for me. I fell in love right then and there. Broke Zorita’s heart, poor creature. But I suspect she got over it. We all get over most wounds, in the end. And you know, I think that, in the end, despite it all, everything works itself out somehow.

The star dies, goes out like a tiny light.

Blackout

*

INT. THE WATCH STATION – DAYSHIFT.

Raymond still sweating profusely, and waiting for the repairperson. The alarm pulses. Raymond looks at the monitor to see the repairwoman chatting with the mob outside. The door opens and she comes inside. The mob doesn’t even attempt to follow her. The airlock hisses and reseals itself. She takes off her spacesuit.

MONA

Hi. You must be Raymond.

RAYMOND

Yeah, that’s right. How’d you do that?

MONA

What?

RAYMOND

Get past that armed mob outside. How’d you do that?

MONA

Oh, that. I just chatted with them a bit, put on the ol’ charm, and then asked real sweetly if they would let me through. I told them I’m just doing my job, after all. They understood.

RAYMOND

That was amazing.

MONA

Well, I’m glad you thought so. So, Raymond, your air’s broken, huh?

RAYMOND

Yeah. It’s been spewing hot air since late last night.

MONA

Oh, yeah. I can feel it. It’s scorching in here. Lemme go up in the ceiling and have a look.

She gets up on the table, and removes a ceiling panel. Raymond is transfixed by her butt. He can’t look away. Soon she comes down holding a cat.

MONA

I think this might be your problem right here. He was all tangled up in the wiring.

RAYMOND

There he is.

MONA

Ah, he’s so cute. I could just eat him right up. What’s his name?

RAYMOND

Well, he doesn’t have a name yet. I just got him the other night…

MONA

Well, it should be a name that’s important to you. Something you associate with good feelings.

RAYMOND

What’s your name?

MONA

Mona.

RAYMOND

Then that’s what I’ll call him.

MONA

But… Mona’s a girl’s name.

RAYMOND

Well, yeah. I guess it is. It doesn’t have to be.

MONA

Mona’s my name.

RAYMOND

Okay, if you don’t like it—

MONA

No, no. It’s a good name. Mona. Hi, Mona. Nice to meet you.

The cat meows.

RAYMOND

I’m sorry.

MONA

Why? What for?

RAYMOND

It’s just—it’s been a long time since—you… you know… um. Hey.

MONA

Hey.

RAYMOND

Hi. Uh.

MONA

Yes?

RAYMOND

Uh, I can’t believe—I mean, do you, maybe—uh, what’re you doing? Tomorrow? Morning?

MONA

What?

RAYMOND

I—I’m sorry. I was just wondering… what you might be doing tomorrow during the day.

MONA

Tomorrow? I’m working.

RAYMOND

Oh. Yeah. Right.

Beat

What about this weekend then?

MONA

I dunno. I don’t have any plans.

RAYMOND

Well, how about we, um, I dunno—uh… Christ, it’s been so long since I’ve been on a date with another human being. What is it we like to do?

MONA

Look, just pick me up at eight on Saturday.

She hands him a business card.

Here’s my address. We’ll find something to do, I’m sure.

RAYMOND

All right. Yeah. That sounds—that sounds great.

Beat

MONA

It’s hot in here, isn’t it?

RAYMOND

Yeah, it is. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.

MONA

No, no, I mean the vent’s still blowing hot air. Hm. Lemme check the wall dial.

As she’s walking to the other end of the room, a nearby ceiling panel falls out to reveal Professor Nukem wrapped up in wires. Raymond jumps back.

NUKEM

Ah! Hello, my son! How are you doing today? And such a pretty lady. A pleasure to meet you. That skin really suits you.

He takes her hand and kisses it.

Now then. Would you mind cutting me down?

RAYMOND

What—I—you’re dead!

NUKEM

Oh, no, no, that’s a common misconception. Happens all the time. I’m not dead. See? I’m perfectly alive.

RAYMOND

What? I shot you. You were dead.

NUKEM

Oh, no. That must certainly have been a clone.

RAYMOND

A clone?

NUKEM

Yes indeed. My clone, in fact. I have many. Many, many more.

RAYMOND

How’d you get up there? Why are you here?

NUKEM

Well, I came with People Against Planetary Annihilation, but I escaped, and they don’t know I’m here, so, if you wouldn’t mind, shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

RAYMOND

You escaped? What do you mean you escaped?

NUKEM

I escaped. I’ve been a prisoner of PAPA’s for, oh, well over a decade now. Back when their practices got a little too unethical for my tastes, I had to leave. That was years ago. But I found they didn’t want me to go, so I had to stay. Why, I was their top researcher—their top scientific mind—their best known and most loved and brightest public spokesperson. Of course, I refused to help them after I learned about all of their wacky experiments—conjoining humans and aliens, alien implants for humans, human implants for aliens, genocide, that sort of thing—so they cloned me. They cloned me the first time and trained my clone to act as they wanted him to. Then they cloned me again and again and again. And so forth. When you killed my last clone, there was such an uproar, I was able to sneak aboard a departing ship and come here, to you.

RAYMOND

To me?

NUKEM

Yes, to you.

MONA

Why were you in the ducts?

NUKEM

Ah, another good question. I was up there because I saw one of my dear cats run into the air conditioner—that’s him there—and I was wriggling slowly after him when I got stuck. I’ve been up there for I don’t know how long. But up there’s better than with PAPA, for sure. Now that I’ve answered your questions, before I answer anymore, would you mind cutting me down?

Raymond cuts him out and helps him down gently. But then Raymond backs up and keeps his gun trained on the newly freed Nukem. Mona, seeing that Raymond is still suspicious, has her gun pointed at the old man, too.

RAYMOND

How’d you get into the building?

NUKEM

The backdoor. It was wide open.

MONA

What should we do, Raymond?

RAYMOND

I dunno…

Beat

NUKEM

Look, sonny, if you’re gonna point a gun at me, you might as well take mine—I got this off a guard a little while ago. Yours is completely empty.

RAYMOND

Shit.

MONA

You carry around an empty gun?

RAYMOND

I forgot it was empty.

Raymond takes Nukem’s gun and holsters his own.

Why have you come here?

NUKEM

I came for you.

RAYMOND

You’ve already said that. What do you mean?

NUKEM

I’ve come to help you.

RAYMOND

What? Why?

NUKEM

You have the galaxy rock. I’m here to help protect you. And it.

RAYMOND

Well, it’s not mine. I—

NUKEM

Of course it’s yours. It’s obviously chosen you if you still have it. No one’s been able to hold onto it for more than a few hours at the most since its creation—well over a hundred, maybe two hundred years ago.

RAYMOND

How’d you know I have it?

NUKEM

Word travels. Everyone, practically, who has an interest in such things knows you have it, and many are looking for it, so naturally, they’re looking for you.

RAYMOND

Well, they can have it. It’s just a rock that’s caused me more trouble than—

NUKEM

It’s not just a rock. It’s perhaps the most important creation in the history of human innovation.

RAYMOND

What’s so special about it?

NUKEM

Look closely at those stars and their planets. What do you see? That’s not just any star.

RAYMOND

They’re… It’s… Oh my stars.

MONA

What? What is it?

NUKEM

One of those stars is ours. It’s the sun.

RAYMOND

How is that—it’s not—I don’t believe it…

NUKEM

Within this rock is the essence of our entire solar system. Someone—no one knows who anymore; a scientist, probably—managed to split our system into two halves. The physical, surface world, that we all know and see and sense, was detached from what is most commonly referred to as the spirit world. Encased within this rock—and quite well-protected, I might add—is the energy, the spirit, of our solar system. Preserved. Perfectly preserved. But preservation of spirit does not necessarily mean preservation of life.

RAYMOND

What d’ you mean?

NUKEM

Does that other star look at all familiar to you?

RAYMOND

Sector S75RQ…

NUKEM

Yes. Perfectly preserved in spirit, but as you can see on the monitor there, the star no longer actually exists.

RAYMOND

This is too much.

Nukem laughs lightly.

I have to give it back. I don’t want this.

NUKEM

You can’t.

RAYMOND

Why not?

NUKEM

Whoever you stole it from—

RAYMOND

I didn’t steal it. It was given to me. I’ll just give it back.

NUKEM

You can’t give it back. The person who gave it to you gave their life to pass it on.

RAYMOND

No, he’s not dead. I’ve seen him. I saw him last night.

NUKEM

Well, he can’t be in great shape. He’s somewhere lingering between alive and dead right now, for sure.

RAYMOND

He didn’t really buy it, did he?

NUKEM

Oh no. He probably stole it from someone who then died in the theft of it. He should have died when you stole it. That’s how it’s always been. But you say he gave it to you, which is most peculiar. That’s never happened before, at least not to my knowledge. Maybe that’s why the rock chose you. And maybe that’s why your friend might still be alive. Who knows?

RAYMOND

Besides making its bearer a potential invalid, what other qualities make this rock so fucking special? Why’s everyone after it?

NUKEM

It’s our solar system you’re holding. Can you comprehend the power people imagine they’d have if only they could somehow control the rock? But they can’t. No one can. Not even you. You must bear it. For now, though, we must go.

RAYMOND

What? Why? We’re perfectly safe here.

MONA

An old man got in, Raymond. I don’t think we’re so safe after all.

NUKEM

Yes, listen to your girlfriend.

RAYMOND

Um. We’re not—

MONA

We just—

NUKEM

Stop your babbling, you two. Get the cat and let’s go. We’ll have to go quietly.

RAYMOND

You really want me to come with you? I’ll lose my job.

MONA

There are more important things in life than your job, Ray.

RAYMOND

Like what?

NUKEM

Like saving your own life, for one. And the lives of countless others. Come on. We should go now.

Mona carries the cat. They take down the barricade and exit out the back.

*

INT. MONA’S SHIP – DAY/NIGHT.

RAYMOND

What now?

NUKEM

Nothing. Our last hope has failed.

MONA

Can we get out in time?

NUKEM

It was never much of a hope. I doubt we ever could have, even if we were already out of the solar system to begin with. We’re inextricably linked to the rock. And besides, we’ve put ourselves back even further behind schedule. The sun will be swallowed up in an hour or less. The poison will have reached the sun, the earth, possibly us, too, by that time. I’d say we have 30 minutes, 45 at the most. The edge of the solar system is over half a day’s journey away.

RAYMOND

So if a huge blast occurs when the sun’s extinguished, or if the poison seeps in here, we’re screwed.

NUKEM

We have to hope we’ll be all right, after all.

Pause

RAYMOND

No, wait! There might still be one syringe left at the watch station. Jones tried to give me a double dose the other night when I lost my hand, and I slapped it away. I didn’t notice him picking it back up. It could still be there.

MONA

What are we waiting for? Let’s go!

Nukem, Raymond, and Mona all jump up and run to the cockpit.

Lust Series (2) by Stephanie Dickinson

Lust Series (2) by Stephanie Dickinson

Poetry, Vol. 2.3, Sept. 2008 When your lust is done with me I’m gonna need a hearse. This fanbelt snapping is just another excuse. I’m not a tool. I’m tired and dry. I want to lie down in river water. Your fingers lock the steering wheel, cut […]