Stand Up, Now Get On Your Knees
By Seth Miller
Profile shot of our protagonist, ingesting a small amount of food. We see the actor as if he were standing behind an X-ray machine. His bones glow neon green.
I watched a bear bend and bite his feet
I saw a woman crying with bloody feet
I witnessed a hand that wasn’t mine
Doing things I’d do in time…
I sprightly ejected myself from the living room couch, shortly caressing the popcorn-textured ceiling, then let the weight of the world ease me back down so that my pedicure-free toenails could mingle with the lice inhabiting my cigarette stained rug. Unannounced but welcomed, wafted the jack-in-the-box-like music of an ice cream truck. With great haste, I bounded to the balcony door and used my thumb and first finger to lift the Venetian blinds as if I were pulling my eyelid back to insert a contact lens. As sure as church on Sunday, a beat up and neglected truck carrying a variety of frozen confections sputtered into the apartment parking lot. The driver by the name of Howard Cummings aka Cum, was a wiry son of a bitch with a white dwarf star disposition and a penchant for hallucinogens; he was also my best friend. A few electric sparks in my brain went off, and I was able to turn the doorknob and gain access to my small but quaint balcony.
The rough solid cold surface of the concrete felt good against my feet as I stepped onto the platform. Surrounding me were dead plants, an expensive automatic paintball gun, plastic lawn chairs that did not match and a bicycle with no seat or inflated tires. I grabbed onto the flimsy metal railing and howled like an alien from the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Before stopping the vehicle or looking in my direction, Cum raised a fist, up in the air and bellowed a death rattle.
A gaggle a children emerged from the woodwork. I found their curiosity and naivety refreshing and tried to reflect on a time when I too was that innocent, but the collage of images that my mind produced were vivid with humiliation and torture; without hesitation I picked up the weapon.
A plus-sized youngster with bristle hair and black turtleneck was the first to sense my presence. He looked over his shoulder, a hazel fisheye scanning his surroundings, and when he spotted me he showed no indication of an altered mood other than indifference. He was selfless enough to shout a warning, “A giant with a hurt-hurt-thing!” With the discipline seemingly of the Chinese military, the row of children closest to me turned in my direction while dropping to their bellies, brandishing slingshots with ammunition in the form of hypodermic needles filled with heroin. The second row of kids kneeled down and quickly took aim while the third row did likewise but remained standing. The first row launched an attack and a hail of hazardous surgical waste hurtled in my vicinity. I stood my ground, and prepared to fire.
A Red-breasted Blackbird dinning on sunflower seeds from a birdfeeder became a casualty when a stray shot ruffled the feathers and infected one of God’s cherished creatures with the highly addictive semi-synthetic opioid drug. I could tell the poor thing was jonzing for another fix by the way it eyed my nether region and made obscene gestures by bobbing its head, so I gobbled it up in order to end what would be an otherwise bleak existence filled with the high end of low.
Quarter sized gelatin pellets filled with ice cream rapidly exited my gun and spun like snow in an avalanche making contact with immaculate visages one by one. Strawberry, tutti-frutti, chocolate and other flavors either trickled down or entered the principal facial opening by force. Eventually the moppets agreed that they had tasted ambrosia and ceased fighting. With impeccable timing, Cum removed a metal slab covering the vehicles side window and leaned out of the opening, extending his hands and smiling broadly.
“Welcome little ones, to ice cream heaven!” he announced with true showmanship. The kids were bedazzled by the Mecca on wheels that housed their newfound desire and approached the truck frothing at the mouth and pinching the air like angry lobsters. I sighed with satisfaction and decided to meet up with Cum in order to keep our bromance alive and well.
After stepping into a comfortable pair of red and black Adidas running shoes, I thought it best to dress myself. I made my way down the narrow hall of my dwelling and passed the threshold leading to the bedroom. Shrouded in darkness was a bare mattress sunken in the middle by years of use, a framed black and white poster of Iggy Pop in concert circa 1970, and a mound of clothes wrinkled like the paper-thin skin of a senior citizen. I rummaged through the pile…Hmm, let me see, swaddling clothes and a cloche hat? No, too formal for such an outing. Perhaps a dickey and black leather chaps? Darn, out of pudding. Eureka: cut-off camouflage pants and a black Charles Manson T-shirt! I immediately covered myself because I knew of sin and left the shit-hole.
Outside of the apartment, I stood in front of the dark green front door that had a reflective silver Halloween skeleton on it and searched through all of my useless keys to find that special something. Inside the neighboring pad came muffled sounds of a television spewing daily hate. I tried to keep my movements to a minimal but it was too late, the nympho with the black hole pussy emerged!
“Wanna come inside for a drink?” she whispered for no reason, maybe to sound seductive. She was middle-aged, at least twenty-five years my senior and looked every bit of it in the face. Fortunately, she had va-va-voom knockers and an ass that was out of sight! We had a history of drunken fucking, the kind that made a regular man feel like a porn star, but without an altered state of mind I found her company less desirable.
“No thanks sweetheart,” I said with gusto, “It’s like not even noon yet and I don’t start drinking until after three, I have standards.”
“Are you sure that you’re not just a little parched?” and in saying that, she crept backwards, never taking her eyes from mine, and into the apartment, leaving the door ajar. She wore a faded loose fitting Bon Jovi T-shirt probably scored from a roadie twenty years back, and with a sly grin on her face, pulled the thing up, revealing a wonderland of soft curves. My penis twitched with interest and I believe my mouth hung open.
“I-um-well…gotta go!” and scuttled off. Yes, damn it the alcohol gave me courage!
I found Cum reclined in the driver’s seat with his legs spread across the dashboard and without pants. He was tickling his prostate with one finger and looking at a picture taped to the visor above the steering wheel of a person in the fetus position wrapped in layers of stockings. I knew he was in a trance by the way he stared blankly and because it was customary for him to celebrate after a good profit, so I turned to leave.
“Heeeyy man, wait.”
“What,” I replied briskly, he had not bothered to cease his activity.
“There is a video nasty you gotta check out. You can rent it at Sue’s in the back. It’s called…well I forget what it’s called but Caroline should know because the movie is real far out!”
“…Thanks,” I said and walked off. The sound of children’s’ laughter mixed with disturbing sucking noises.
It was hell on earth during my long walk to the video rental store. The heat waves made everything seem like you were looking through a rearview mirror while driving on a bumpy road, the pedestrians disjointed in appearance rising from dirt like awakened spirits. I passed a telephone pole and saw a dry and weathered printed digital photograph of a lost Labrador, its big sad eyes reflecting the flash and the surroundings as black as a deep ocean. A butterfly slowly moves its wings as it dies in a dry gutter with a used condom close by as well as a crumpled Coca-Cola can. A little boy weeps softly amongst a wooded area, as another child’s hand is down his pants…The mood was too heavy, I had to escape myself, derail the one-way death trip, so when I spotted the nearest Subway restaurant I let the enticing aroma from within the hallowed walls pick me up by the nostrils and carry me away.
I swaggered into the joint as if I had a third leg to maintain, “Wrong” from Depeche Mode rattled over the cheap speakers in the ceiling. I made robot noises with my lips mimicking the synthesizers as a transgender man behind the counter practiced fellatio on a mature cucumber. I casually surveyed the room to find that there were no customers or staff besides the lone employee; I passed gas freely.
“Pardon me sir,” said the gussied up fellow with fake curled neon orange nails and varnish coated lips. “My beau informed me that I was a novice in the ways of giving head and suggested that I practice on phallus objects in order to home my skills.”
“Its cool bro, personally I enjoy it when a broad concentrates on the head of my penis then spontaneously deep throats.”
“Is that so?” mumbled the shopkeeper for he was busy jotting my advice down on a napkin. I walked up to him and played with his girdle. “Hey c’mon, I’m trying to work here,” protested the dude with undertones of gayety.
“I know that’s the problem. Wanna play a game?”
The man in uniform began to shiver with delight, like an excited Chihuahua and flashed a cheeky smile in between spasms of gurgled sounds emphasized by spit bubbles. I jumped onto the counter, squatted down pulling his head lovingly into my crotch, and patted his hair reassuringly. “Coo…coo…cooing,” I whispered into his ear. He began to calm down.
“Y-y-yes, I just wanna play. I just wanna play the game. One that you never played before, one that you’ll never play again I’m sure.”
He pushed me away and began to hum while he selected sliced ham, turkey and salami. My curiosity piqued when he turned his back on me and giggled girlishly. I tried to look over his shoulder but he had set a mousetrap and to my chagrin, the device closed on my schnoz. Tears involuntarily leaked from my eyes and I huffed with rage. With the elegance of a watchmaker, I cunningly plucked a cyanide capsule from a compartment in one of my molars using my tongue and positioned it in between my lips. Creepy crawling I went up to the unsuspected dude reached around undoing his pants with one fluid motion and spat the pill into his anus.
“You silly bitch!” howled the shopkeeper. Grabbing his heinie (Which remained in front of my face.) with ample cellulite oozing in between the fingers, he began to throw a tantrum. Quickly he spun around to face me with sliced meat hanging from his lower jaw. “We were going to play Look How Big My Jowls Are, but you ruined everything!”
“Say there pal, we can still play!” and in saying that I picked up some thick slices of turkey and held them against my checks. “Guess who I am. I’ll give you a hint: when I was alive, I was in a movie with Steve Martin.”
“Umm, Little Shop of Horrors?”
“Was he in that?”
“Yeah, he is the DJ…ohh, I fall down, go boom!”
Once again, I held the guy close to me, this time, to my bosom, “You’re dying kid. In a fit of mild rage, I decided to poison you. Sorry I guess.”
“Its okay, an old homosexual is just kind of pathetic really. Do you think there will be a pearly necklace waiting for me, or a hot pitchfork up the ass?”
“Both,” I said with a warm smile.
“Thank you,” and then he was dead.
I put the deceased guy through a meat slicer and displayed his remains for the next customer to select.
By the time I made it to the video store, nothing made sense: paranoia, fear and redemption would have been great things to hold on to but I was beyond that in a very negative way. A cold sweat had broken out all over me and I could not keep still or cease my whispering: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
I moved between the aisles like some sort of reptile searching for prey, but I had not a clue what I was looking for; something deep inside tried to tell me that there was an important reason why I should be here but it had to contend with the cacophony of bad noise. Hopelessly lost, I sat down in a corner and moaned from the depths of my twisted soul. There was no sense of present past or future, I was lost in the void. Then there were hands on me, delicate, familiar and I was carried away like in a pleasant dream.
The light was bright and flickering, intrusive. Big blue eyes stared with concern into my own and I held onto a memory of a young couple sitting in a private booth at a quiet restaurant. The man was down on one knee and proposing to his girl who was too nervous to open her eyes. From far away a voice called and pulled me from my mind.
“My manager is threatening to call the police if you don’t leave now. What do you want?”
“There…is this real demented movie…Cum…was telling me about. He said you’d know…”
“Yeah I know what it is, you’d like it; you always liked the macabre. Is that the only reason why you came here?”
“I’ll call you a cab; you’re way too fucked up.”
I sat in the back seat of the taxi on the way home in silence. Every now and then, the driver glanced in his rearview mirror, and each time he did so I thought I saw in the reflection someone I once care about looking at me disapprovingly. Eventually I shut my eyes and prayed that I would fall asleep but my mind raced on. It was torture.
After what seemed a lengthy ride and an arduous climb up the stairs, I was safe inside my lonely apartment. I sat down and watched the movie in its entirety paying close attention to detail. Sometimes the glowing green skeleton danced and waved while there were other times it recoiled and cried.