The Distortion Of Celestial Scalene Shapes Into Prolate Spheroids By The Whims Of Circumstantial Tides, or: How I learned To Stop Singing And Love Technological Fads

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Warren Peace was standing at a pelican-bill’s length from the Time Wasting Device. It was hard for him to see where any of this was going, but his mind was set to the task, and that was all that mattered.

“Oh. Are you famous?”

It was a little Promethean fellow named Cutter. It wasn’t clear at all to whom Cutter was speaking, or if perhaps Cutter were just speaking to himself. Warren answered anyhow.

“Apparently not, if a highly astute individual such as yourself doesn’t know who I am.”

‘Don’t you go on worrying about me,’ thought Warren. ‘I’ll be myself in no time.’ Then he said, “Botched!” He had no idea why he’d said it. But there was nothing he could do about it now. Life, for some reason, went on.

Cutter said this: “I am not what you’d call a tulip-of-a-guy, you know?”

Warren pretended to not be having a conversation with anybody at all. He stared a bit more penetratingly at the Time Wasting Device and shuffled his feet in the metal shavings on the floor. It was a sawdust effect these folks were going for, and, for now at least, it was working, or so Warren hoped.

“Today is not your tomorrow just yet,” ventured Cutter. “Remember that the next time you have a not-so-incredible orgasm or when you’re dumping the non-compostable waste.”

“Dumping?”

“Yes. That’s right. That’s it. Got it now?”

Warren was less confused than he’d ever been. He wanted pancakes with tiny specks of silver in them. The harm that it would cause seemed minimal to him. There were elephants at the beginning of the rainbow, and that was plenty of something, and then perhaps some more.

“Mr. Peace? Hiya! Mars to Mr. Peace! Everybody home?”

The gravy stain on the back of Warren’s shirt collar was in the shape of Venus de Milo. Cutter, of course, had failed to notice or note this. Instead he was sidetracked by such thoughts as, ‘Why in heaven’s sound are my hands so damnably cold?’

A drop of lime soda was the pinnacle of understanding justness. Or so it seemed to Warren Peace just at this evened-out odd moment. He genuflected, mildly, and said in the direction of the Time Wasting Device:

“I am substantial, and I can have good things and bad things, and being happy is not as rich as being sad. Oh, do not marry my current culvert of dissatisfaction to The Seesaw Girl.

“I want a soundproof chamber for my soul. It doesn’t need noise, but maybe windows. Claws perhaps. But never gloves. Somewhere it might happen upon a fumble or a dropped dime. Get it a new set of wheels. Give it a Scantron test about birds. The hours leak away, and it’s cold, and my soul’s got it too loud. Weeded with blind luck, if there were a garden at my disposal. For now, it rides the bus and coughs into a cold fist.”

Cutter watched a flock of flying cockroaches wing and flutter, dive and pitch, crest and moan, and finally settle into the low distance of what was left of the sky’s expanse. It reminded him of diamonds being crushed by bulldozers on beach sand.

“I am the régisseur of all things minimal!” (Mr. Peace said that.)

Cutter: “You are not sure what considerations to take. You are not at peace, yet. So, keep breathing.

“Do not oppugn any of what I have yet to say. Like this: The hills are dead with the touch of silence.”

Warren Peace stood up, trotted half-liveredly to the Bill Paying Station, folded his hands over the Pay Nodule, thought about freezing to death, pretending that one leg were a few inches shorter than the other so as he’d have an excuse (if only in his mind) for being constantly teetering back and forth with faked shivers; cried; didn’t pray; and then paid his fine for not being resilient enough in connubial (not to mention concupiscent) matters. Then? Well, then he reached in his pants pocket and found a gum wrapper there, and he tossed the aforementioned gum wrapper on the floor where it joined the metal shavings. Warren thought about how nice it was to be rid of things, and he looked at the wrinkled shiny foil of the wrapper there among all the silvery metal shavings, and he thought, ‘That’s nice. Real nice.’ He walked away from everything.

Cutter watched all of this from a safe distance. The moon glowed turquoise. Cyanide was in all the 7-Up cans. The air grew chunky with Baby Ruths and Caramellos. A high Rubik’s Cube system funneled in from the northwest. Cutter grew antsy as it sprinkled Mountain Dew. Nobody was whistling.

Cutter watched Warren Peace walk away, seeming to stumble a bit as if his equilibrium were greatly disturbed, as if he were feeling the actual rotation of the earth in his gut and couldn’t shake it, which perhaps (another perhaps) he really was feeling, that innards-twisting wrench and lunge of pull-pull antipodal struggle.

Cutter grew sad. He began to sing: “The old man’s asleep in his tiny booth of keys. He’s got caterpillar eyebrows that look like they’re about to get up and shimmy away from his face while he snoozes on unaware. Take the mountains, go on and take them all away. Stand here. I’m all out of courage, for now. The coffee guy’s taking up sneezing as a hobby. Too blue to go. The grass grows yellow just like her hair. I’m not dressed for the artists to be taught to create. I’m not over what I want or under what I ain’t.”

Cutter thought, ‘I’ve really got to stop singing all the time,’ but he knew that he wouldn’t.

Cutter pulled a scraggly piece of smoke-stained parchment from his boot and, with a peacock feather’s tip, wrote this on it: “I am loafing through the pages of being me when I should be leafing so new to sap tree-like instead, but the iron’s hold is rust’s only bond, and I am out of STOPs for the red light’s dawn. Damn my sense of harmony and distance. I will watch others for signs of recognition — a Dürer’s Rhinoceros of hope, or perhaps just another perhaps, perhaps. Railroad. Buffalo. STOP. That is not all…”

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