Author Topic: Need some help  (Read 796 times)

Offline zbasin20

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Need some help
« on: September 01, 2008, 02:42:19 PM »
New to the site.  Looking forward to exploring.  I just finished a short story and I don't know what to do with it.  I am afraid it is not "accessible" enough...seeing how it is a 180 degree turn from my usual style. 
Take a look.  It's def. interesting.

...

   Fatback Slabs fo’ Fools
   By John Panama
   
   He was either 19
or 27.

He was too old
but still a child.

   And simple as the boy was, he often recognized this, for he was quite aware. 
It was a troublesome notion to Gerald that he didn’t have any childhood stories to share.  Perhaps, he pondered, it is my own fault.  In fact, Gerald only had a vague recollection of few lost holidays of puerility.  They consisted of visits to distant relative’s farms and plastic couches and shag carpet and the curious absence of fatback bacon.
Gerald hailed from a long line of staunch and daunting vegetarians.  No one would eat meat.
     
Perhaps, he continued to suppose, the blame must fall squarely upon my shoulders.  After all, he wasn’t much of an inquisitive child and was certainly far too overprotected by his chemically imbalanced mother to really ever feel like an actual human being. 
   It was a disposition, or condition of personality, passed down from the womb and thrust upon Gerald’s weary mantle.  He was of course, riddled with anxiety like scattered holes upon European cheese or an unfortunate recipient of a Tommy Gun’s spatter.  It was these fears, (both the mold and bullet) which kept Gerald from seeking an adventure of any sort.  However, in rare instances of desperation and boredom, it seems, the mistress must seek the unsure. 
Unbeknownst to Gerald, who remained in the comfort of his room and every so often grazed his hand along the blue carpet while organizing countless action figurines into opposing factions, a curse was wrought upon him.  And in a single moment, while competing sides waged war against the other, Gerald became a man.
Just.  Like.  That.

Occasionally, (between battles) there was even a plastic, torrid romance that occurred between the single painted cast poured into the shape of a woman and a heroic mass of muscles, stamped: 
Made in Taiwan. 
Yet, the toy-woman was never given the chance to pick her opposing warrior of brawn…and the man now known as Gerald always chose the suitor best. 
…Because truly, he loved her most.
   
To this day Gerald still kept her in his pocket.

It was at seven years of age of age when Gerald was struck by a strange obsession with picking sand from his hair.  He kept a hidden box in his closet, full of beach waste burrowed from the school parkyard.  He’d dump handfuls over his head and painfully attempted to spend great sums of time meticulously picking tiny shards of weathered stone and glass from his lonely scalp. 
This, beyond an obsession, became a ritual of sorts; a kind of reward granted after a long and scrupulous day of meandering an invoking thought. 
Most often he would rush and pluck the sand in clumps, avoiding the tedium of pleasure and its delay.  Gerald never really ever waited long enough.  Gerald could never pause to enjoy the action of picking, always rushing toward picked.  This trait seemed to have stuck with him in his later years…although the action was transferred to grilling or deep frying or pleading with the timer on a convection oven to hurry along a store-bought pizza.   
It was the same with Jello.  Even the instant type was far too prolonged for immediate action.  There would be fingerprints in the puddin’ after it hardened from the insecure dipping that projected Gerald toward consumption.   
He heaved and weaved from fully bellies, this epic man-child, did.  Round from food and frills and frantic fulfillment, he would exchange his place in the kitchen for the haven of darkness.  He’d smile as smutty slaves spread sultry slices sensually over his computer screen. 
Nothing in this universe depressed Gerald more than the glow of a monitor reflecting across his tooth-stained-mug while he choked his biological extensions. 
Yet, I digress, after the glue would dry, similar to his love of picking sand from now thinning hair, he’d peel the gunk from fingers and palms.  With each tear Gerald would try to pull a longer sample than before.  After the task was accomplished, Gerald would feverishly rub his hands together until the substance joined together into grey coils.
 They would drop into the toilette without ripple or sound.
Gerald would smile while heading back toward the kitchen.   
   Later, a turkey leg on the porch would fill Gerald deeply with happiness.
            …
He lit a cigarette and exhaled.  However, an unexpected turn of events commenced.  The smoke dripped from between his pursed lips and the fume refused to float toward the sky.  Instead, it dropped to the floor as if tied to an anvil spirit.  This fume grew black and dripped along the cool wood floor like liquid mass.  Gerald stamped at the smoke.  He jumped upon it and prodded with fervor.  He gasped and cried at what this oil had become.  It wrapped itself along his stomping toes and twisted between his shoelace holes.  It bound him to the floor.   
   And this was how Gerald became married to his porch.
   Unable to freely move about, only able to pivot in semi-circles and simple angles, Gerald became famished and drained.  The pounds dripped from his body like the salty tears of a star-stained goddess.  And as the sun and moon waned and pounded, Gerald became skinny and fat.  Skinny and fat.  Skinny and fat, because Gerald could only continue to thrive by engourging himself with his own salty byproduct. 
   Eventually the phenomenon caught on for all to see and spectators and children and newsmen and lovers and christians and colored folks and socialists and patriots and cripples and jews and neighbors-to-the-south and seniles and homosexuals (of both genders) and folk musicians and hippies and yuppies and puppies and preachers and paupers and princes and p.e.t.a and grungers and proprietors and, (of course) celebrities, all came to witness the miracle of the
Fume tied man
(Who ate his Waste)




(Editors Note:  All types of people came to visit except for the scientologists, because they hadn’t been invented yet…but Ronald Reagan frequented and found the whole experience quite metaphoric.)

…And a day came when Gerald sighed a weak sigh,
*for he was in terrible shape from lack of a cellular boost*
and he determined it time to taste some fruit. 
So Gerald left pivoted and then right riveted, with up pulling down, he rolled and he strolled, but was shocked, abhorred and a little bit sore at the bound solid fume (which made love to the room) still attached to the harsh and cold floor. 
To his surprise or luck or dismay, he noticed the shimmering, wavering blade; which he plucked from sky; with success after try, he serrated a board from the wooden-soul-sty. 
And he left the room.  He knew that he could, while dragging the wood, covered in soot and attached to the fume that loved this man’s foot. 
He arrived at the fruit stand just within time, for the shop shut its doors at a quarter-past-nine and the colors were ripe and still dripping along as Gerald, he drooled, to the sirens fruit song.    Miss Caulk was attending and spraying the cherries as apples and onions and countless blueberries all sang toward the nightsky and drained from the room, for Gerald had come with his fume dragging gloom.
      “Anita” He said, to the lovely Miss Caulk.  “I’m thirsty!  And hungry!  In terrible shock!”
    The woman did smile, “and hello to your gloom” as Gerald shrugged by and examined the room. When he begged for some sweetness to cure his position (motioning toward the fume’s disposition), Anita did smile, and continued to spray, and as she turned to Gerald, he heard her voice say,
“What then will you take, for I’ll sell it to you.”
      And Gerald replied, “A Cherry.  Or two.”
      “No luck we’re fresh out.”  Anita did scoff.
      “I think you do lie.”  Gerald said to Miss Caulk. 
And that’s when they noticed the shadow was growing.  As the gloom and the fume began rhythmically rowing.  It rocked back and forth and churned and it burned.  It bumped and humped and lumped and yearned.  It continued to ravage the freshness of flavor.   It lifted their feet, without any great labor.  It took them to bed, it wrapped them together and then it was said,
“Oh no. No oh.  Now that, yes, that’s better.” Cried Mrs. Anita, who was no longer a Miss, “Your fume has connected itself to my bits.”
And silence. 
A moment.
As both lied and cried.
“Your gloom” She said softly.  “I can feel it inside.  I feel it consume me, it’s more than a berry…it makes me want more…”   
“…like the taste of a Cherry?” Asked simple Gerald who was drained and so weary.
“If you must.” said Mrs. Caulk upon her stained, married dreary.

And the bond was like smog upon bubbling goop and Gerald, he heaved and bellowed while cooped and chained to the bed by the Jailer of Fume who kept him so hungry by feeding him gloom. 
And Gerald did climb so deeply in bed where this fume had begun to expand in his head, and was shocked and appalled.  It devoured his toes and kneecaps and thighs and penis and nose.  His elbow, his neck bone and clavicle wronged.  His teeth, dead and yellow were swallowed and gone.

…And as the gloom gulped around his bald, shiny, head…

Gerald refused to admit defeat of all that preyed him.

He was consumed.

Consumed and empty and afraid of every single moment.
Because every single moment became a battle against the consumption.

He coughed

and winced

the black covered his eyes

and Gerald was no more.

There was, of course, a man as a body, with facial features identical to the bald child of present.  However, as he sweated and patted his palms along a heavy brow, it was all but muscle memory.  Not the decisions of an actual, living, human, being. 
The wood was no longer connected to his foot because the fume now had completely covered Gerald.  He was a smokestack.  A moving oil rig.  He was a dripping mess of darkness.  Void and alone. 
And Anita, the one bound to his soul by a shared fume was no longer in sight, because she was now tied to the gloom as well.  She inherited Gerald’s sigh, like an eternal herpe refusing to bow and wield to sexual promise.
  He, (being Gerald) hurried down the road, unable to realize Anita was tied to his back.    It was on this road when Gerald saw the spectators and children and newsmen and lovers and christians and colored folks and socialists and patriots and cripples and jews and neighbors-to-the-south and seniles and homosexuals (of both genders) and folk musicians and hippies and yuppies and puppies and preachers and paupers and princes and p.e.t.a and grungers and proprietors and, (of course) celebrities; that he realized none. 
Not a single living soul
Stopped to notice
The dripping dark man and his bound silent woman.

(Because right next door was another man, Smithee, who had a halo of lard burning atop his head.)
   When Gerald stopped to see the sight, he realized how silly it all seemed.  Smoke fumes and burning lard.  Is this really what it took to get noticed? 
   The lard fire quickly spread and covered Smithee’s body which in turn jumped toward the spectators and children and newsmen and lovers and christians and colored folks and socialists and patriots and cripples and jews and neighbors to the south and seniles and homosexuals (of both genders) and folk musicians and hippies and yuppies and puppies and preachers and paupers and princes and p.e.t.a and grungers and proprietors and, (of course) the celebrities.  They roasted with laughter.   They boiled with glee.  They smelled like searing fatback bacon, although Gerald couldn’t be too sure, after all he was raised by a long line a women fearful of meat.
   And for a brief moment, Mrs. Caulk opened her jaws and took a deep breath.  She pondered intently before chomping down upon the spectators and children and newsmen and lovers and christians and colored folks and socialists and patriots and cripples and jews and neighbors to the south and seniles and homosexuals (of both genders) and folk musicians and hippies and yuppies and puppies and preachers and paupers and princes and peta and grungers and proprietors and, (of course) Smithee.
   There was quiet. 
   “Does it taste like bacon?”  Asked Gerald, after the chewing concluded.
   To which Anita replied, “Yes my dear.  It’s all quite delicious.”   

Offline GMack

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Re: Need some help
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2008, 05:03:05 PM »
I read your story from beginning to end, and for the first half wondered what I was reading. Now I'm not complaining at all. It held my attention. But I found myself confused as to the form, storyline and style. I'm still a little bit confused but something great happened about 50% through. I realized that this really isn't a short story but a poem. Then I thought about what you said in your opening note -- "a 180 degree turn from my usual style" -- and I began to wonder if your typical style is poetry.

I'm no expert about poetry and I realize that it takes many different forms. But it's clear from your writing that the rhythm of words has a huge influence on your creative process. One doesn't read this piece necessarily because they take an interest in Gerald or Anita. They read for the rhythm and alliteration. Now some of those work better than others. Again, I don't consider myself an expert at poetry, but straightaway alliteration such as "food and frills and frantic fulfillment" doesn't work for me as well as some of the rhythmic stuff that you've created, such as "As the gloom and the fume began rhythmically rowing.  It rocked back and forth and churned and it burned.  It bumped and humped and lumped and yearned."

Now back to Gerald or Anita, even though I've convinced myself that this is poetry, I still wish that I cared about them more. One might dismiss Gerald has some kind of nutcase but for all I know, he's allegory for something I don't understand. But I wish I did, or I wish I cared about him and his strange plight. But it's all so bizarre I can't find much attachment. Maybe that's just poetry.

Anyway, interesting stuff. Thank you for letting me read it.

Offline Margarett

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Re: Need some help
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2008, 12:01:42 AM »
I am not sure what I just read. It would pull me in and spit  me out of the story if it was a story. It was like a mental illness let lose. Way over my head. It did keep me wondering what I was reading.
Dance in the raindrops. Slide down a rainbow. Make our world a more beautiful place. Keep a smile handy and give them away.
After all they are free!  " SMILE "