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.

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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.

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