Calling, calling. Is there any body out there? Is there. Oh, Great Spirit . . . Was it you jiggling the toilet handle, or was it just that damn ghost who licks the leftovers from his fingers as he claws through the curtain and the wall. Every evening, when it rains. Every night, on the floor.

And my new favorite song is showing as little doubt as I possibly can. Can I do that? Oh, yeah, well of course I can. Give it here. I'll show you how it's done. It's all about auras, really. Quite simple. The aura is a globe glowing a color that represents the aesthetic sensibilities of whatever sick eye is fixed on you. Mine's blue. And you?

I say! Could I be using obeah without knowing it? Oh, God . . . please no.

Wait, God. We're right here. Around the corner, in the dark, smoking joints in your name. We swear our love to you, over all the ice cream in our freezer. Cookies-and-cream. And the cucumber, too. Or why don'tcha geh-tah life, creeptaster. Who d'ya think you are, flunking litmus tests, puking in the fern? You're going crazy out there in your forest, aren't you? Well, you're not alone in that, Big Brother, 'cause all us foxes going there too. Crazy, that is. So peace out, Mt. Meadow. The Big Mango, as we call it, has some name written all over it. Not mine. Not yours. But some.

And I can see a million miles into the distance. But I won't ever tell a soul what's there. It's like a dream come true, short and sweet. Short and sweet. I can show you. Follow me. Way deep into the hollow tree. I'm trying to wedge all three swords free.

. . . and once I find that idiot needle, I'll make a compass point and go.

And on that day, we will bake silver bile from scratch, and the ingredients we use will alter the course of our duraflame, dual-engine lives. Someone marked the porcelain base. Smells like cat. It's cat urine, and it reeks from the bathroom.

God, again, please save the Mastodon. Bottle her last drop of blue blood. Or is it too late? It's never . . .

Oh how I'd like to create something so abashing, so cataclysmic, that it would lower even the most sturdy ruffian to his knees. I try to think of the heaviest, most solid things, swallow them whole and digest them, and then purge myself of them.

Anvils drip from the angles of my eyes.

And like a blast from a geiser, I want them to leave me with such a force that birds in flight are knocked to Heaven, leaving an indention in the ceiling that acts as a cruel and clever reminder of what could be, should be, would be. And I want gentle, house-bound spirits to tear through into another dimension, leaving gaping rifts to hang open like flaring nostrils. The earth would leak air and deflate into a worthless, rubber sack for me to fill.

The bounty would be mine, and I would refuse to share.

Kings and queens tug-tug my glossy robe, but I will kick them like dogs. In diamond-encrusted slippers with very tough soles. I will never find another needle lodged through my five feet. And as I sneer here, as I stomp here, as I swagger and strut, the celestial prosecutors will gaze on, swinging their iron shackles. The gods will not condone such outrageous gluttony. On their signal, mercury will rain down and pool in the palms of my hands.

But I'll lap it away and pat my belly, leaving the dried, dusty silver morsels on my lips and at the corners of my mouth. Another shining trophy. Not a soul. No one dares to smite me. At this altitude, the lightening, the thunder, the heavy, green clouds. They are mine to count, to polish, and to cache away in a vaulted tomb. They are mine, they are mine. I do not want them, they are mine.

No, am I intelligent? Am I so cruel? I thought, perhaps, "reserved". No, I'm not feeling blue. I would never expect that from you. But at least try to understand. I think hard in the place of having to work hard. It's the claim of erudition. It's reading alone. Some sacrifice. But I care and love through whatever "through" I can stomach.

Until I vomit.

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