Archives for the month of: March, 2014

I’VE BEEN WATCHING THE NEWS.

 

 

Tonight features a retrospective on Dodge City’s Porn Village. Its nostalgia for the days before the Village turned bizarre is itself Pornographic, probably not unintentionally.

 

 

The Porn Village, the NEWS REPORT begins, is where the Objects of the Dodge City Pornography were born and bred, living according to some harmonic, inscrutable order of their own, often conceiving and even birthing their next generations in front of the camera, then dying quietly and going to seed.

 

 

The Village keeps to itself, a few miles down a dirt road leading away from Dodge City. In the tradition of sacrifice victims bred like cows in the Outskirts, fed on special mash and informed of their purpose from Day 1, our Porn Objects breed and are born for us, so that we too, in our shy manner, might likewise breed and give birth.

 

 

We watch what Porn we’re given, one VHS per night. Each of us lives alone, and is in that sense a virgin.

 

 

We insert the tape and watch the screen fill with Objects of all ages and sizes, eating, sleeping, showering, defecating, copulating, sometimes committing suicide and watching other forms of TV … all in the nude, or in ripped, too-tight underwear.

 

 

The physical connection between their bodies and our own is just loose enough to be alluring, just tight enough to be familiar (allowing us to believe we can feel what they feel, mapping their nerves onto our own). We recognize ourselves in them, though we also know better than to think we might manage to do what they do, with one another here in Dodge City, without recourse to them.

 

 

After we’ve watched each night’s allotment, we put the tape out with the trash before it starts to stink life half-eaten chicken salad and eggs.

 

 

*****

Our Porn is not for pleasure. We have, over the course of weakening generations, made it the basis of our reproductive system.

 

 

Males, on this diet of one fresh Porn per night, save their resultant sludge in plastic bags, which are collected weekly by kids on bikes – the same kids, androgynous and parentless as far as anyone knows, that deliver the Porn itself, serving as go-betweens to the Porn Village.

 

 

These bags are then emptied in a compost pile in the Community Gardens, where their content mixes with itself and with the soil to serve as both fertilizer and pesticide for our produce as it grows.

 

 

When our produce comes ripe in September – a kind of reddish-black ground meat product, a pre-human substrate pocked with sketches of musculature – the females of Dodge City convene in the Civic Center.

 

 

They dine, then take their Porn into separate rooms, along with their portions of substrate, and, when they are ready, lit by the grinding, sometimes dying Porn Objects onscreen, they implant it in themselves, as far in and up as it will go, until it takes and begins to gestate, as the tape sputters out and begins to stink.

 

 

IN JUNE, the next crop of Dodge City young is upon us, let loose into the parks and YMCA to fend for itself until it too develops the taste for Porn and our species evades extinction once again.

 

 

In this way, our genetics swim in a concentric circle around those of the Porn Village, the two streams touching but never crossing.

 

 

A COMMERCIAL BREAK, THEN:

 

 

RESEARCH HAS REVEALED, the NEWS REPORT resumes, a longstanding practice in the Dodge City Police Dept. of replacing every citizen it executes with an impersonator culled from its own ranks.

 

 

“In tribute,” a spokesperson explains, “to each fallen member of our town’s underclass, without which we would have no buffer between Earth and Hell.”

 

 

In the course of time, the police force shrinks and the town’s seamiest population swells with impersonators, who, naturally, allow the thrill of being “back from the dead” to consume them, to the point where, like swapping in live flowers for dead ones, it becomes incumbent upon the Police Dept. to execute and replace them once again.

 

 

None of which would’ve impacted our Pornography had these impersonators not crossed the line, seeping out of Dodge City and into the Porn Village like swamp gas into the gene pool, turning it from clear to green.

 

 

BUT THEY DID.

 

 

“We wanted to feel what it was like,” I imagine them explaining, in court one day in late summer. “Real flesh for once. The good stuff.” I picture them professing their readiness to be executed, knowing how soon they’ll be replaced.

 

 

THIS WAS A WHILE AGO.

 

 

Since then, their peaceful incest disturbed, the Porn Objects have been on a course of increasing aberration: shrunken arms, bulging heads, protruding vertebrae, glistening spots on their bellies that look semi-solid, like smears of gel in place of skin and muscle.

 

 

And their genitals: squiggles, nests, blurs, double- and triple-protrusions and sticky hanging tangles like distressed gobs of putty, interacting with one another in no set way, finding no happy medium or snug fit, only abrading, slipping past, chafing each other, wearing each other down or peeling each other off.

 

 

Procreating in our solitary fashion on this side of what’s left of the divide, we have no way of knowing how widely this genital disturbance has spread to the citizenry of Dodge City, contagiously through the Porn we continue to ingest.

 

 

We are disgusted by these images, alone in our nights, riveted by our disgust. We feel our genes shifting, our genitals turning foreign in our hands and beneath our fingers, as we work them over again and again.

 

 

The serial contact we make with ourselves, indeed, comes to feel ever more like tampering with models that are not yet finished, smudging their emergent design.

porndisturbance_cropped

The males still fill their plastic bags and the kids on bikes still arrive to collect them, sewing the Community Gardens to grow its tomatoey meat, which the females still implant in September and carry until June, but the fear is that this new crop will resemble nothing so much as the increasingly alien Porn Objects that presided over its genesis, all toothy eye-sockets and sealed-up earholes, fused lips and exposed bladders.

 

 

We fear, like every generation fears, that we will, somehow, be the last, having unwittingly ceded our habitat to a new species that will drag us groaning to the dump.

 

 

THE NEWS REPORT ENDS, followed by a brief teaser for tomorrow night’s show, which promises exclusive footage of the original impersonator rampage. It shows a clip of all those proxy murderers and rapists flooding the Porn Village, loosening their belts to pop its bubble of separatism, stirring the genes that loop and twine through us all in a Walpurgisnacht of hellish abandon.

 

 

I click off the news and warm up my VCR as the kid on the bike shows up with tonight’s tape. I sniff it, pacing around, and taste the tape under the plastic flap. I get my bag ready, already fantasizing about tomorrow night’s show.

I’M STILL IN PRISON in the next town over, fat dripping from the ceiling and pooling around me, soaking in.

 

It feels like I’ve been assigned this situation as my main concern. I’m allowed to retain the feeling that there are other things I’d rather be thinking about, but no intimation of what they might be, since that would begin to constitute thinking about them.

 

My skull-membrane starts to sag, like the shell of an egg that’s been soaked overnight in such a way that it can in the morning be peeled without becoming juice.

 

When it sags in far enough to touch “the bottom” — the place where my neck jabs into my head, somewhere above the back of my mouth — the scene changes:

sleeperscropped

THE SLEEPERS DESCEND from the ceiling on tendrils, part-plant and part-animal, come to rest on a sawdust-covered stage with a curtain backdrop. A roaming spotlight centers on the middlemost few.

 

I’m sitting on a canvas chair, like a director’s chair, with something sentient beside me, in a chair of its own.

 

I’M WARY of taking my eyes off the jigging, mugging, warming-up Sleepers on the stage, but I can’t not check who’s beside me. I try to see if my head is soft enough to turn one eye without the other, but it’s not. Or else both eyes are too soft to do anything except what they want.

 

In any case, I’m now looking at a huge figure it takes me a minute to recognize as Big Pharmakos.

 

He looks the same, only different, as they say (who?).

 

It takes him even longer to notice me looking at him, and a while after that to recognize me.

 

Not an efficient exchange.

 

He says, “So glad you could make it. I found my main self on the road. Huge clubs, amphitheaters. Four levels of security, Wayne Coyne, you name it. Thanks for coming. This is what I realized I’d be giving up,” he nods at the stage, where the Sleepers, who’ve diverged from one another along clear if not entirely organic-seeming M/F lines, are eating glass and tiptoeing on thumbtacks.

 

He cracks a Stella, swigs, watches it bubble over its lip and onto his gut, watches it sink in (he’s shirtless), then hands me one, which I open and get the same result, react the same way.

 

“Back to basics,” he says, by way of a toast, and I incline my head and Stella.

 

The Sleepers are piercing each other’s ears with nails and threading bowling balls on chains through the holes, swinging their heads in huge arcs until the balls rip their ears off and their head-holes flourish.

 

“After tomorrow,” Big Pharmakos muses, “there’ll be no more of this. If you can imagine.”

 

I try to imagine his bride-to-be, end up asking him about her, who she is & all.

 

“That’ll come later,” he responds. “We got our whole lives ahead of us.”

 

I nod, wondering how true this is. The Sleepers, by the look of it, don’t have much life at all ahead of them. Their heads are so bloody by now they look like Johnny Ryan’s Cannibal Fuckface, masked in blood just like him. Perhaps it’s a direct homage; I’m not sure how this show got booked and what its speciality is.

 

More Stella’s and Big Pharmakos proffers chips and guac.

 

I watch them destroy themselves, reusing props (the broken glass, the nails, the cannonballs which they’re now using to bash each other’s teeth out, sometimes getting them so lodged in each other’s faces they have to leave them there), like they’ve outlived the repertoire and need to end the show however possible.

 

They’ve hammered their genitalia so full of spikes and it’s gotten so inflamed that I feel forced to retract my earlier M/F description, insofar as they are no longer either of those things — they’ve muddled themselves into a classic Both/Neither situation, between which I won’t try to choose.

 

“Some show,” Big Pharmakos mutters, nodding out. “The road’s been good to me … the road’s been … after tomorrow, it’s no more road for me.”

 

I can tell from the way his voice is dampening and his smell going faint that he’ll disappear at the same moment the Sleepers die, like they represent our life force, bashing it away for the hell of it rather than letting it drip slow & steady.

 

I want to plead with them, try to make them stop or at least slow down, but I’m already too weak and the thought just makes me feel weaker.

 

*****

WHEN ALL THE SLEEPERS ARE DEAD, at rest among the still-rolling cannonballs, I look beside me and see that Big Pharmakos is gone.

 

I make a bet with myself about how long I’ll be able to hold onto the certainty that he was ever here; lose it.

 

There’s one beer left; I find I’m already drinking it.

 

Before considering my next move, I’m visited, predictably, by the thought, “I was the main attraction of this party all along, the freak dandled before my own freakish attention.” This occurs to me like a fast-deflating punchline, a remnant or imitation of the thought I would’ve had in high school, but with more seriousness then, at least the seriousness of a genuine joke.

 

Exiting this thought, I’m even further from where I’d been, mentally, when I entered it.

 

Physically I’m still in the same room I’ve been in this whole time.

 

Now I can’t even get a grip on what had initially prompted me to term this scene a Bachelor Party, nor even quite what a Bachelor Party is, or is supposed to be.

 

One piece of good news is that the Sleepers, fallen from the ceiling, have left me open to the sky. It hovers huge up there, like something hazily slotted into place over something else, imperfectly obscuring it.

 

I can smell it, and it’s not half-bad. Springlike, maybe even summery in places, not that I have anything to eat.

 

I lie back on the squishy membrane of my head, feel it sink down like a pillow.

 

I wonder how soon the carrion birds will be here. I fall asleep wondering where they are now, what they could possibly be doing that’s more important, more appealing …