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FROM THE 3-DAY NOVEL CONTEST, LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2009 (c) All Images, Writing by Vance Feldman all rights reserved.
light on the horizon, I felt the cold metal of the door handle in my right hand. I knew the sandblasted glass had a well balanced representation of wild bamboo stenciled on its surface. I wish I could go back to the day of stonecutters. I mean before these locals show up to chisel Rocks for a retaining wall that faces these mute-colored yet glossy cars. They are out there every morning at seven. Most of my neighbors are in their late twenties. Many, I imagine are bartenders, hostesses or strippers. They don’t like the noise this early. I stand on my porch, my back porch. It stands up high overlooking a parking lot that has been empty for years. I get a kick out of it when they tow the occasional car at one in the morning. They park in the lot and go to the bar next door not realizing that the Sergeant’s Towing Company, LLC is lurking in the dark backstreets, waiting for the next prey. Usually they illegally hitch-up the car and pull it around the corner before popping the lock to tie down the steering wheel so the car doesn’t wobble on the street. Now its full of dumptrucks. “Why do you do it?” She asked me outside of the Lebanese joint. They had fermented ketchup on every table. And it was far more delicious than Ho Ho’s. I ate at Ho Ho’s Dollar Scoop maybe twice a week. They closed down so the new hangout was in front of the Lebanese Place. Mere used to work in the shop a couple units down. She must have increased their business at least threefold. I know I bought a Biscotti I really had no intention of eating, many a time. A month later I was browsing the Denver Post and noticed an article about the shutdown of Ho Ho’s. Apparently my cohorts and I had regularly eaten a pound of cat the entire semester. My cat was safe except he was missing the ability to ejaculate properly, however he probably didn’t miss it. It was ninety-eight degrees and one hundred percent humidity in Miami. I saw Strato-Cumulus thunder clouds hovering offshore as the plane made its final descent. In my arms was a computer the size of which nobody had the business of carrying on the plane. We had spent 400 dollars on a sturdy Pelican travel case for the computer. But the two combined would have “strained the workers’ backs.” I ended up carrying the computer through security like some backwoods dipshit. The hotel was in the distance— my arms were about to give out. I tried to set the bulky CPU case down on the sidewalk gently, but it slipped and scratched the bottom handle. I’m still not sure why this Santa was not sweaty. I did the control valve version of a double-take. In full Santa garb, this man sat on a park bench, a green-painted steel park bench in the concrete-laden strip of South Beach. Pillow on his stomach, boots on his feet and a felty hat—yet not a single bead of sweat. I leaned down and kicked the computer case up with the counterweight of my back. As soon as I cought it he sat up from his drunken sun-drenched bliss and exclaimed, “One Day!” Chapter 3: Saw Sparks It was two hours until Dom’s dentist appointment. I had just embarrassingly hung up the phone with my grandmother. I had suggested the entire family have a “naked party.” Immediately Dom slapped me with his left hand. “Dude! What the fuckin’ Christ?” I hung up very quickly—in fact I don’t remember doing so. I brushed that off and continued to hypnotize him with the fresnel lens from an overhead projector. I suspended it from a wire, it was pinned to the wire with a large black document paper clip. On the end of that wire was a dissected toy from my childhood. I think the idea was to let the vibrator in the pen’s cavity, opposite of the tip, take control of your creative juices and let the uninhibited mind make off with your intellectual desire to filter most primal urge, to create. But what fucking seven year old gives a shit about the higher level operations of the brain, let alone care why their god damned pen was vibrating in the first place or why the white girl on the television set convinced his mother to buy a vibrating piece of shit? Nonetheless, this vibrating piece of shit made a damn good hypnotic device when attached to a fresnel lens in front of a burning hippy candle. This vibrating purple pen had one mission in life: PREVENT DOM FROM GOING TO THE DENTIST AT ALL COSTS Needless to say, getting hit square between the eyes with a brick-message not to see the dentist—he didn’t. This was the second known instance of a human becoming addicted to something his body was unable to detect. The same thing happened about four billion years ago to the earth. Just sparks between tiny rocks floating in space—these creatures were completely undetectable by the simple inert compounds. Here in the sea of strong and weak forces they escaped detection. Just like the constant flow of lysergic acid supplied to this Dairy Queen sundae attendant, the particles went undetected, yet the simple matter suddenly found itself in the form of complex protein strains. These tiny yet indecipherably confusing carbon chains ultimately prevented the dental work that was necessary from Being Performed. The trucker that killed Mere flew to her service in Colorado from New Zealand. So did ten villagers that only knew her for four days. So did Jane Fonda, though they didn’t speak much. All the way to Seaside we saw sparks in the power lines. This was a normal phenomenon as the salinity in the coastal air made the water a great conductor of electricity. Some forms of life make easy business of electricity. To them it is like early man when he held up a rock and said to the beast with a stone in his hand: I HAVE A FUCKING ROCK ON A STICK. WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? Cro-Magnon didn’t stand a chance against our most brutal ways. Jerod met a brutal fate close to that of our friend Cro-Magnon. TO his parents he might have well been a chimp swinging frokm the trees. We were 12 and shared a bus stop. It picked us up at the grade school. Rainbow letters with trails spelled, “welcome!”, “willkomen!” , “¡bienvenidos!” “Why don’t you just smoke the whole cigarette?” Jerod had noticed my tendency to only smoke half a cigarette and rub it out on the oak tree right before the bus came. His demise was a swifter demise than I will take. It was a Saturday morning. It was four AM. It was a cold Denver night. Jerod had seen his time with the garden over. Like the Nude Saint, he sat motionless in the middle of Interstate 70 just past the Purina Dog Chow Factory my grandfather wired for electrical forty years prior. This was the same horsemeat processing plant that used to emit the foul stench of horse anus every morning—it drifted into our classroom. It was our coffee. Grandpa said, “Yeah, after about ten minutes you don’t notice the smell anymore.” I had to use what little of the valve I had left to see this for myself. It was four O one AM. Jerod sat full lotus stark naked with a smile bigger tha—well, is it more important how big the smile or how far the effects of the smile are felt? Anyhow, it was a big fuckin’ smile. He was decapitated at four O four AM. In Mandarin the number four is a homonym for death. I’ve never been the same since my grandfather four. OR Yeah, take the elevator to the death floor, its room death-eleven. My grandfather always said he was going to four. He did not speak or read a single word of English. I called him Gong Gong. Always he said, “Wo men de Jiu Cai shi tai lao.” He said this to me while holding a knife. I eventually learned that what he was really saying was that the Onion Grass in the yard was too old to make a tasty dish—it was worn out from the season. If I had known that when I was two, it would have made me sad. My mother frantically rushed home. I was going to die. “Ta Bu Chi Fan!” Screamed Gong Gong into her phone. As far as she was concerned, I was diarrheic and not eating. Gong Gong had gambled his life savings from General Cheng Kai-Shek’s campaign against Mao on Mahjongg and Pool. He left my mom in an orphanage where they stole her shoes. I found this notebook while doing a routine storage unit cleanout of an orange Public Storage unit. I worked for GOT JUNK which is surprisingly not an international heroin franchise. In this particular unit a story formed, almost too cohesively for me to admit. Clue One: the owner of this $6/month storage unit has defaulted for three years. Clue Two: Yearbooks revealed an upstanding Christian youth in private school. Clue Three: There was a plastic bong. Clue Four: There was a box of muscle building magazines. Clue Five: There was a bench press in the corner. Clue Six: There were pictures of him kissing other men. Clue Seven: There was a box full of estrogen and shaping pantyhose. Conclusion: An oppressed Christian boy discovered pot and henceforth bodybuilding. The buildup of hormones made him homosexual and his Christian guilt made him slit his wrists after he finally became a woman. Clue Eight: the opening page of this notebook reads: LIFE: The Expensive Opinion DEATH: The Cheap Compliment Unrelated Clue Drafted By The Gentleman Next To Me: Mysterious paper substance found in dishwasher filter; and a sticky goo under faucet lip.