just like the garbage

The last time I posted was roughly around the last time I pulled my trash cans out to the road for pickup. They’ve been full all winter, and –  miracle of miracles – they’ve been too frozen to begin stinking, unlike this blog. Well, hello spring! It’s me again, risen from my ashes to corrupt another year before being swallowed once more in my own umbra. What have I been doing with myself? Surprised I’m still alive?

The great wheel turned, and landed on “motion”.

Short, burst-fire relationship: Georges Bataille hunched in a town square, its buildings rusting into the ground as he grins at the girl at his feet, lying on the grass with glittering eyes, his equal even in her diminished state. Horror! Rust creeps up his legs and she dances away over coal fields, south to sniff around elsewhere. Goodbye, Fierce.

And then…

Janus and the Scorpion

The people he would see, Janus would switch his face for them, show them themselves, and since people adore themselves they adored him by mistake, the way a duck might adore a decoy. To the hick say ‘howdy’ and to the professor a solid ‘good morning’. Pretty girls got ‘hiya’ while older women heard ‘how are you, dear’, all from the corner of his mouth.

The double glass doors swung open one day and in she strutted, red and golden.

“That tail,” his covetous face said.

“I need to make a deposit,” this Jacquie said, her flame-licked tail flexing above her.

Janus smiled quickly to mask his terror. She was guile embodied, blonde and proportionate with golden eyes, a cute upturned nose, and a smile which if taken in profile curled as cats’ smiles do. His head swiveled a half-rotation to reveal his cocksure face and again to “terror” and again, finally landing on “pensive”.

“How many of those do you have,” she said, but he wasn’t listening. Janus was parked at a library desk in his mind, reading the book of their future history together. During a single moment in the natural world, a month passed in that library and waves of information raked like land-clearing flame over his brain, leaving him breathless.

The first days found him in her apartment, battering chicken breasts for c-parmesan. His movements were fluid and eccentric, atypical of her usual fare. Is he traveled, gay, or what? He was wearing his Tetris face, the most appropriate for preparing meals. Her tail-shadow played over the kitchen wall like a great black snake.

Weeks passed.

“You’re amazing,” she said to his post-coital face, a phrase familiar to her lips.

“No, with you it’s different,” he said. “It’s never been this good before.”

She waited for his pillow-talk face but it didn’t come. And the sentiment stood – their lovemaking boiled within each of them and distilled further each consecutive session. The neighbors would bang on the headboard wall, and he skipped work when she asked him not to leave her in the mornings. A wiggle of her hips could make him useless for hours.

He chauffeured her everywhere, both of them sucking down road sodas and tossing empties onto the shoulders as thick pot-smoke curled from the windows. No condoms. Gambling. Shoplifting. Sneaking in. Running game on everyone for their personal benefit they took and took, as a rule, and would not be slowed by the whole trodden race.

One night at the casino (the dealers knew their names) purest oxygen bubbled through their veins. Janus looked on as Jacquie knick-knacked with a man at the bar. The man’s eyes wandered as she postured. Something happened: Janus skipped “jealous” and spun straight to “cuckold”. For the first time, The Wound began to throb. He couldn’t remember being stung, but beneath his searching fingers rose a welt, a tiny hump of flesh over the meeting-place of his spinal column and brainstem. Poisonous tendrils snaked down from there and coiled through the fiber of his trapezius muscles, constricting with every raging image of her and another man.

It’s your hair, he would say to himself, rehearsing lines he would never speak – it’s your perfect ass, that tail – for all the petty things Janus coveted, he was sure, the whole horny world must covet too.

Nights out with her friends would end in a text message to him. He would come to her dimly lit room and they would sync hips, her hands pinned above her head while his other hand clasped over her mouth. Poison would rise as steam from his sweating shoulders and afterward while she slept he’d memorize her architecture. Sleep would find him, would only find him in these moments of assured possession.

Days away from her found him saying ‘hiya’ to the pretty girls and ‘how are you, dear’ to possible cougars. Meanwhile her tail-muscle reflected in this one’s glassy eyes, and this one’s and on and on.

Back in the waking world, Janus blinked.

“As many as there are people to reflect,” he said, his chess face clicking into place. Jacquie the Scorpion Queen searched his eyes for a moment and then a sly smile gradually tugged her lips off-kilter. In transition from inside to out he’d left himself unshuttered and as hunting creatures must she had, at a glance, ferreted the nature his pause.

“Well?” she purred.

Janus’ eye twitched. His face was stuck! “Voracious” wouldn’t budge and when he checked, his fingers found a pinhole between his topmost vertebrae, and a little crusted blood.


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