Monday, July 25, 2005
I've been waiting for a long time for peculiar symptoms to affect my body. Ever since those mad Hungarians kidnapped me from Lawrence Beach and injected me with used cereal milk and boiled camel marrow, I've been spending my mornings staring in the mirror, watching for my eyes to wither into raisins, my hair to become pasta salad, or my teeth to sharpen and squirt venom. Standing there naked with a razor in my hand, I'd often mutter at my steam-obscured reflection, trying to exert my will to steer the rewriting of my DNA. I was hoping I'd magically learn juggling, hapkido, and teleportation. No such luck.
I was beginning to think the whole episode was a hallucination, perhaps induced by accidentally swallowed bilgewater or LSD dropped in my sodapop. In a month's time I should have noticed some difference in biology. Maybe paisley pattern poops. Maybe miniature ice cubs ejecting from my pores, transforming me into a walking hailstorm. Maybe sharp projectile fingernail boomerangs. Anything. I gave up and decided to put the unsettling incident behind me.
I drank a lot of bourbon on Saturday night. We all did. My friends decided to climb on industrial park roofs and hang from the edges as long as their arms could hold them. I decided to stay at the apartment and vomit. The shish kebabs had been overdone, and I'd eaten the most. My stomach was full of booze and leather, and the base provided by my steady weekend diet of jalapeno jerky was thickening the batter into Quik-Crete.
While my friends stumbled away to clutch at brick precipices, I went to the corner of the backyard where the rat traffic was highest. The rats often ran between the small trash bins at the base of the apartment building and the massive dumpsters in the Burger King lot adjacent to the backyard.
I used my index finger to tickle my uvula. While I fondled the pendulum hanging in the back of my throat, desperate to empty my stomach of its murky pudding, I heard an agitated squeal from below. Rats. Two were fucking right there in the dirt, dead center in front of me. That helped. I puked, splashing their hedonistic display of rodentine thrusting and bucking with a gallon of meaty amber lacquer.
They screamed and fled, slipping and splashing away, tracking bourbon soup back to a darker, safer place where they could lick each other clean. I kept puking, wave after wave of churning pulp eroding fissures in the cracked earth.
After the seventh heave, I rested.
Since I was hungry again, I went back inside to wash up and fix a plate. Something besides shish kebab. Sliced pork tenderloin and Pabst Blue Ribbon won the day. ($9.99 for a 30 pack!) Mouth full, I sang U2 b-sides, shreds of pork and rivulets of beer cascading upon my shirt. I looked out the windows and witnessed my adventurous friends kicking an air conditioning unit atop the building across the alley. I was happy.
It wasn't until I belched that I felt the baby kicking. Maybe punching. Oof. I was overcome with joy. My own child. A special child, which I knew instantly must be the joint offspring of me and the mysterious intravenous insemination. I grabbed another beer to toast. Maybe I would get an epidural. If I got lucky.
I sat pondering. Would I grow a vagina? Maybe split asexually like an amoeba? Perhaps I could vomit my baby up just like the ill-cooked kebabs. I didn't wonder for long, because when my belly button distended, I knew the kiddo was travelling down my old umbilical road.
It was strange watching my navel balloon out in the shape of a chubby hand. I wished I could make it wave, but it wasn't part of me. It was other. There was no pain. Thanks, Jim Beam.
A fat black guy crawled out. My stomach portal was loose and withered. I felt like a donut. I stapled my skin up nice and tight like the face of a fading actress with delusions of youth.
The fat man was about four feet tall, fat like a twinkie hound, and his eyes sparkled with glee. With a booming baritone, he introduced himself and shook my hand. He was inflating and growing before my eyes. Soon he was six foot five.
"I'm Glen. I thought the kebabs were pretty good. You shoulda kept 'em."
"Hi Glen. Pleased to meet you. I'm Steve. Where are you from?"
"I'm from Scotland. I've been living in the U.S. for about twenty years. I was getting tight on cash, so I volunteered to guinea pig for some crackpot doctors doing weight loss studies. The pay was good, and my wife was always bugging me to up my income. So I did this. Turns out, I got a free vacation out of it. I've never been inside a spleen before. You drink too much, by the way."
"Was it unpleasant being inside my guts?"
"Naw, it was fine. Thanks for tuning me on to Thai food."
"So what now? I guess I could call you a cab. You live in Chicago? I know - we'll eat dinner."
"My wife must be worried sick. They shrink-rayed me about two months ago. Good thing she's fat and short, or she prolly woulda found herself a new man by now. I'm sure she's sitting at home watching All My Children, not out finding herself a new amateur meteorologist. She can wait a bit longer."
"So these docs, they shrunk you. Then they injected you into me. Wow. That belly birth didn't even hurt. Apart from the needles when they first jabbed me. Pretty neat, what they managed. They'll make a fortune smuggling illegal immigrants and covert operatives. I wonder who else is lost in my bloodstream, trying to find a way out. Maybe I have dinosaurs and supermodels, too."
"If you're lucky. I didn't see anybody else, but when you're shrunken, every capillary is a hell of a long waterslide. There coulda been a whole bunch of other folks in there."
"Waterslides. Huh. You hungry, Glen?"
"You know it!"
I put some fresh charcoal on the grill. I made Glen a lot of food. He was pretty damn hungry. So was I.
3:20 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
Ultraviolet Incubator Part Three
Dead Letter Shrapnel - Karol
Ultraviolet Incubator Part Two
Ultraviolet Incubator Part One
Fish Hook Sword
Suicide For Beginners
Dead Letter Shrapnel - Dale
Rainbow Syringe Gallery
Dead Letter Shrapnel - Tupac