VAGRANTS: An Intermission
This is not the blog you're waiting for. I promised quite a few who know me (or at least had written) an epic tale of sex and woe, that would serve as both a personal romantic exorcism and a foreshadowing of my magnum opus, "Sirens." Unfortunately, epic tales of sex and woe are often rather time-consuming...especially when tensions and emotions still run high—but never far enough away—for those the tale involves. Which is to say...I'm not quite done. :) However, I do recall that I had also promised lolz. The kids, they love the lolz. So sit back and so forth, and freely giggle at this slapdash intermission in all its Bastard Zen, while I finish constructing that heart-wrenching nervous breakthrough you've all so patiently awaited. No whine before its time, children...enjoy.
Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a "Squidlet," ie it features characters from my upcoming novel, CHASING PHANTOMS. "Squidlets" are the numerous existential segueways between chapters/story arcs in the book. This is the first new one I've written in a while...
VAGRANTS: An Intermission
Or, “Vague Rants & Hobo Fires”
“A man asked me for a dollar/I asked him what it’s for/He said 'I have seen Them!'/I said, 'OK, it’s yours.'”
—Clutch, “Escape From The Prison Planet”
The Squid: A mind-fried crimelord on the downward spiral.
Andrew: His ne'er-do-well teenage successor.
The Locale: The Lalaurie House, abandoned, in New Orleans, in some distant future, but no less haunted...
He entered with the wind, haggard and disheveled, only to bring his own in fitful bursts. The Squid—svengali sans serotonin—swung open the weathered, mildewed bedroom door of his youthful, wide-eyed scarecrow of a pupil. Andrew—the much-dilated masochist—quickly threw a tissue to his side, and nervously packed his cock beneath his belt, alarmed and beating back the panic seeking release behind his gritted teeth.
The Squid, stout, surly and cancer-freckled, shook his crinkly bald head in dismay. “Are you masturbating to that Warnke book again? I knew I'd catch you! Sweet Candied Krishna, boy—we need to purify your soul!"
Andrew—scowling—drew a blank, as one unable to draw blood. His addled master was wise, but fried; his council was a double-edged sword, rusted with the blood of those who'd long-past learned that ignorance was bliss if knowledge squirted ink-like from the Squid.
“Cheer up, lad! I'll only purify you a little bit today. Come with me into the city, and let me show you things and such!" The Squid began to swing his stubby arms around, and loudly preach in all directions but the one in which his student-victim sat. "Andrew, I am high! And indeed, it is high time for lower standards to prevail! It's time to appreciate that sickly glow inside, through the knowledge of the suffering world outside! It's time to leave this space, and find solace in the streets of learning! It's time to find a room less speckled with your seed! It’s time to confuse our karma, and maybe make a difference in some poor soul’s blighted life!”
“Errr...What fresh hell..?”
“Andrew, it is time we found a hobo. And not just any hobo…we must find the sort of scum-fed bum so hideously ravaged by the cruelty of life’s design, that he can change your very worldview with a faint whiff of his rancid, piss-soaked whiskers.”
Mind aflutter at the thought of homeless-girl fellatio, the naive student inquired, “What if we find a female bum?”
The Squid paced back and forth, and shook his head. “I wouldn’t bother her; she’s probably busy getting raped by the other hobos, and I think it’d just be awkward. No, that wouldn't do at all. Think practical, Andrew. We’ll know our bum on sight, I assure you!”
And with this, the duo left for greater streets of grime and greasy teats of gold. But then, this was their way.
Andrew, eager to assist the down-trodden around him (if for no other reason than to hurry this all up), began scouring muck-filled alleyways and every undernourished overpass in sight. Summoning his mentor, he pointed at each prospect he could find. “What about him? Shall we help him, Boss? What about that one? That one, eh? What about him? Him? Er…it? That one by the bridge with all the hobo fires? Over there maybe? What about…”
“No, no, NO, Andrew…these men are merely mongrels and mongeese. And those over that way? Those are scarcely even men. And those over there? Even worse—dare I say!—they are men by sheer virtue of their cruel anatomy alone. And these dregs beside the bridge—that unsavory bridge of shame? Not only are these scarcely men, but surely, they are only mammals by sole virtue of having been born rather than hatched, adorned with futile nipples, and dicks merely for rape. And I assure you—heed my words!—that they, each and all, have eyes merely to gaze against the very designs of Nature, and ears merely for rap and R&B.”
Andrew cocked a brow, and sneered. “So fucking what?”
“So what?! Boy, have you no soul within your husk? True oppression only fills men with the blues, and oftentimes three-dollar pints of vodka. We seek not the poetry of the street; rather, we thirst but for the awkward, haggard rhyme-schemes of the long-abandoned soul!”
"We're looking for a homeless bluesman?"
"Perhaps, dear boy...perhaps. More specifically, one of less uncertain race and gender. Let's move up another block or two...this place, it smells like syphilis and cock. And though enlightenment demands an open mind, I assure you that it rarely smells like cock."
It was at the corner of Failure and Disgust that the Squid met bloodshot eyes to bloodstained jowls with He who would become his Muse.
“Andrew—look! Behold, beyond that dumpster! Your hobos had a fire in a can…but that hobo has a fire in his eyes. This, Andrew m’boy, shall be our Man—indeed, our very inspiration!"
"But he's just another vagrant pooping in a coffee can...what makes him so special?"
The Squid grew fiercely animated: “Smell that breeze that brushes past him like the Breath of Life so many years before... You might—in your youthful inexperience—smell only garbage, puke, and ruination. But I smell far, far more. I smell the crumpled refuse of purest woe…suffering and anguish from his broken, shivering soul...the failure of a nation’s promise, and hopes dried out with tear ducts decades past. And feet…I smell dirty, filthy hobo feet. Sweet Christ, those toes are black.”
Andrew rolled his eyes. “Are they black with unrequited love or something?”
“No," replied his deadbeat master, "I’m pretty sure it’s dirt and shit. But I suppose that looks a lot like what you said. Sorry, m’boy, but I tend not to listen when you speak. I should have mentioned earlier. Try not to take that personally. Let's go!”
The Squid approached the Man of Sunken Glory with vigor tempered only with that hint of trepidation born in men afraid of getting shanked by bums. He gazed upon the hobo's rancid countenance with awe and nervous admiration, particularly toward the sad man's lustful, hogwild, bulging eyes—eyes fraught with angry visions...some of hell, and others, long-since-ended foreign wars. Gathering his strength and thoughts, the Squid addressed his Muse with the respect given to heroes of uncertain sainthood, and the distance given to those bleeding from uncertain orifices:
“You look as if you’ve seen a ghost, man.”
The hobo turned, and with his wild and wanton Rape Eyes, locked gazes and replied: “I did, in fact, and huffed it through a straw. My life forever changed.”
The Squid, scum-struck and aglow, leaned in. “How so? Dear sir, do tell!”
The bum seemed giddy at this chance to bare his wretched soul, though never so much that sorrow might depart his unwashed aura. He stepped back, arms extended, as if ready to regale some crowded theater with Shakespeare and a song, and bellowed: “How so? Because today, I am the ghost…a mere and fleeting vapor of some burning, crinkling, disappearing thing. And still I chase it every moment, every day…except there is no day—only extended nights."
And then, to the further surprise of all—and the particular horror of young Andrew—the Man of Filth and Sorrows pulled a muddy milk crate from the street. Standing high upon his podium of shame, he ranted more and long into the night:
"There is no sky…only a vacant empty space above the ground spiraling toward me; neither is their ground beyond the pavement I’ve failed to lunge toward face-first.
There is no love, but rather only appetites to feed…neither are there any who would love if it existed—just assorted moist-eyed voyeurs, their pretty faces and warm embraces give way to icy whispers the moment that I leave. There is no warmth or dignity that does not become cold comfort in the end.
There is nowhere that is home. There is only fleeting, teetering refuge that has not yet revealed its price.
There is no sleep; there is only disconnection. There is no true wakeful state—only flashes against the Void within, and flickers of the things I wish I’d never known.
And there are no gods beyond the will to start again.”
He then paused to shout at random cars, and pulled a squirming beetle from his pants.
The Squid was impressed, frozen in a coma of sheerest awe for what was clearly a perfect specimen of ranting Hobo Sapien.
“You, sir, are a sad fucking hobo. Here’s a dollar; buy a sandwich.”
The Hobo Sapien smiled a crinkly little smile: “Thank you, kind brother; but sandwiches are three dollars. Is there any chance you might have some more change?”
The Squid's once-vibrant glow now softened, as he shook his head, and began to turn and leave. “There is no chance, either, friend; I suppose you’ll have to add that to your list.”
And with this, they departed—grizzled wizard and woeful toadie—to the musk of their abode. For in the end, all change is spare indeed; and chance, the poorest specimen if sought—a dirty muse, a vague rant, and a crackling hobo fire in the eyes.