Creatures And Gizmos
by Jason Nelson
Creatures and Gizmos 54: wild dogs are filters.
Aprons are built by white-collared dingoes. They, the wild dogs, share a brown-topped convertible, which they lovingly polish on Wednesday mornings. Being territorial they have ‘who and when can drive’ rules, like Sunday evening sermons built to alarm. Fourteen of the dingoes used to share the car, but one was killed by the others for driving outside the schedule. Death wasn’t their intention, but without consequences the law is a tour bus for soft enamel, and hinterland roads are either hard caked dirt, or six weeks of deep mud. When the convertible’s tank is emptied by the erratic gun-and-go of these semi-domesticated canines, they siphon from local farm sheds. Gasoline from their bellies spills from their teats as they run from salt pellet rifle shots, small and sideways hail storms against the trees. Some of the dogs don’t make it to the car, petrol fume hallucinations luring them to explore the woods and dry hump the slowest of kangaroos. Those that arrive back, painfully milk into the car, their paws scouring the paint. With gas in the tank, they trade off driving the two-hundred kilometers to work, howling as they pull their legs through starched shirts, cotton too stiff for species that roam.
Creatures and Gizmos 55: a pocket for the ocean.
In the left inside pocket of the suit coat he wears only for job interviews is a zip-locked bag of holy water. He purchases the most expensive sandwich bags directly from their maker, and uses noisy machines to ensure the least possible seal decay. Over his eighteen years of working life he has held three certificate-required professional positions, eight temporary jobs, one nine-month attempt at buying and selling things of questionable social value, and has attended four-hundred and thirty-eight job interviews. Before his first interview for an internship with a popular yet increasingly flamboyant county judge, his godfather revealed to him the hush-hush of holy water. He said water was a conduit for intentions, and that holy water retained those goals, collecting them between the hydrogens. Being offered the job is not important, he whispered. It is the strength of their intent to hire or not hire that feeds the water. So with each alarmingly cruel comment, flash of genitalia or disturbing gelatinous shard coughed onto the interviewer’s desk, the watery power within his vacuum-sealed baggie multiplies. And although he hasn’t formulated a use for this power, he’s mastered swiveling away from letter openers and sharpened pencils lunged at his heart.
Five increasingly simple performances.
Place twelve numbers into a box, cover the top, and then choose a date, an arbitrary focus in history. You will never see the box again. And the numbers, angled and torn paper, inky intersections, will never leave the box that you will never see. The date you choose is folded wood as soft as cardboard. Storage and wind sheer.
Buy a calendar, swimsuits and broad-lipped hats, red houses in green fields, the history of pictures of trains and the engineers who bought the cameras in advance. Erase the months and years, or mark them out with a heavy black marker more expensive than packs of four to five markers. Once a year in every other year, there will be one free, a color you will never use, some shade between scattershot and the maps on your floor. Roll them with marbles in the hollow, the snakeskin of a lost snake.
You should never stop buying calendars. Make them the rarest of items in every store you can reach in five to six and one-half hours. Think about how old you are. Dodge questions as they own razor wire and high-class hookers. The crease in your slacks is the fastest route to harm, the field that borders the numbers for days and newborn letters.
Keep traveling south on a road, intersected by other roads, buying gas and accelerating when appropriate. You are not past tense, but kept driving. A repair store bell.
You have never ridden an escalator. Squeeze and unsqueeze for a photograph, evidence of your assent.
Distance divided by time is a softcore porn film. A polished force, both giving and jealousy marketed. These five feats aren’t directions, aren’t what might have been. A wasp or the way dust hangs boat-less, small tones for small harmonies.
Your hands have never been used for such courageous deeds as these.
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