Jacob Mundy glanced at the ominous cumulonimbus clouds boiling overhead. He clutched the sack of groceries to his chest and hurried down the sidewalk toward his home, trying to beat the coming storm. It wasn’t the rain he feared; it was the lightning that came with the storm. Jacob knew if he were caught outside he would be struck dead by a bolt of lightning, fried in his tracks, his groceries, sodden and disintegrating from the rain, scattered like so much litter next to his charred and twisted body. This vision terrified Jacob. He leaned forward and increased his pace. “Oh, God, oh, God, I’m going to get zapped,” he whimpered and walked faster.
Sobola’s standing on his head against an artist painted wall, pumping upside down pushups. The backs of his feet slide up and down the surf wave mural bricks. From his close to ground position, he views a reversal world, the feet of the curious street crowd. Beside him, on left and right, two volunteers participate. Cindy Lou and Nick. They pushup for their totem animal. They volunteered to participate in this busker challenge.
I’m watching Al’s fingers lift his chess knights in the day room of a maximum-security ward at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital for the criminally insane. Al’s an older patient just out of seclusion. Pasty white cheeks, grey stubble, slack mouth, intense brown eyes, with lids that drop unexpectedly, and flutter, and open once again. His fingers hold a castle’s head, then release it. He moves to a pawn, lifts its top.
The night started out with 2 racists in the Middle East Nightclub & Bar on the South side of Cambridge. Each man on the wrong side of a real bore of an argument. The spit that flew off their tongues stained the fabric of this particular dimension. The one we selfishly call ours.
My appointment is at twenty past eight. I stand waiting outside the surgery at half seven – when the receptionist opens the main door she fires me the same kind of look she would to a drunk or an addict but I pay no attention. In the waiting room I flick through an abandoned copy of the Observer and enjoy the sensation of being the only person here, the only person Doctor Matheson is preparing to see. I like to book the earliest appointment she has on any given day – I like the thought of being first on her list of priorities.
The worms are hook shaped, tiny translucent segments with black antennas and bulbous brown eyes, specks floating.
I can see them in the corner of my eyes, wiggling and multiplying.
They have to come out.
The doctor thinks I’m crazy. I tell him about the worms squirming away in my eye, swimming in my tear ducts. I see them, whether my eyes are open or closed. I feel them, the same way I could feel a bug in my ear, a spider in my mouth. The relentless whisper of antenna against my eyelid makes it twitch nonstop.
I dislike cheerful old people. Something’s wrong there: Them with their fastidiously kempt white hair; melanoma-proof golf course tans; smiling Hitler-blue eyes. The existence of cheerful old people proves that there isn’t an even distribution of pain in the Universe. Cheerful old people do not know the Endless Now.
My cat is dead. I know it even though I’m not looking at his still body.
I know this without having seen him. I’ve been unemployed for four months. For the past 121 days, when I’ve been home in the afternoon, which has been for most of them, Mittens, my cat, has come downstairs at around two o’clock to beg me for supper. It’s now five after two.
“You could eat off her floor,” Miriam often said in a half envious way, if Dora was present, and in a half mocking way when she was not. “I drove her home that day when her car wouldn’t start and honest to God, you’d think that floor had never been stepped on. I mean, it was like a mirror it was so shiny!” But what Miriam and her coworkers did not know was that Dora actually did eat off her floor.
She cries a lot because her teeth are gone. I hold her, though I am furious she is so diseased. I imagine one day she’ll be pretty like before. Maybe she’ll let me make her all over again.