A happier death.

Alexander Ziperovich

The somnolence of a cathedral encircled in coal-blackened doves and the howling of the wind above could be the only thing that persisted in a man’s being. The only thing a man could hear beyond the retched tune of the infallibility of a diseased world. There will be no deliverance, the golden scrolls and pythagorus and his minions all dancing hysterically, missing second red buttons on the collars of their tunics, stained with blood and grime. The odor of the ground and the heartily giggling sky mingling like inbred felines. There is a danger in this place, walking like this on this city like Thor. There is a fever in all of this that will produce no more than a storm that would devour the earth and hawk out its lungs histrionically.

To live one must die and to die one must sacrifice; the ancients and the gods and the devils and the angels all in one massive orgy of sweet surrender to the soaring winds of never.

Nevermore. Pickled souls and unwritten golden saffron inscription-less scrolls.

Let us die so that we may live again.

Unchained by the hubris of our emotional dilemma.

A dagger, four fingers in the heart.

Buried with roses and rocks.

French glassine museum freedom.

French glassine museum freedom.

French glassine museum freedom.

Alexander Ziperovich

Pocket-watch back by sixty-six minutes,

We all thought this would stop but it isn’t.

Look into the image of panes of your strain,

Benzo fever for an amnesiac memorial cain.

Sewer cells and whistle bells and things are hell but they always, well?

Bring yourself to be deloused by the moments that brought you histamines,

Cover yourself in your warmest covers and watch the fire’s flickering’s.

Base camp Katmandu,

Afraid I can’t; I’ve already paid my dues.

Pardon me,

May I be excused?

My broken new spectacles.

My broken new spectacles.

Alexander Ziperovich

—-

Vision 20/20 dateline,

See nothing,

Place time.

—-

A shattered illusion that you could have once seen,

Had it been not for the dreams of your dreams of your dreams,

Awaken to absinthe and cappuccinos and more dreams of dreaming’s of funerals and scorpions.

——

Pianists fluttering Chopin E minor,

Nocturne like a nihilistic suicidal flyer,

The end is near, late stage in a metastatic hanger.

——

Drone broken,

Bumblebees and butterflies,

Take that cigarette you’re smoking and give it alive.

Whine to water.

Whine to water.

Alexander Ziperovich

Your serpent in the boiling teakettle, sulfurous,

Plunge dimes and quarters into lucky altars,

The sound of your dead mother’s voice need not be mellifluous.

Agony in a cage for Ramadan days,

All places are raised with the capacity for chan— refrain.

Revelation’s buried in the spine of your ouroboros,

Council with a skeleton decanter made from your abysses,

The epicenter of a gunshot wound must be made from your most near kisses.

BLACK LICORICE.

BLACK LICORICE.

Alexander Micheal Ziperovich

A cerebellum non replacement for the blind deaf dumb,

A heroine making his markers on all the ones that could not be done,

This will be, yes this will be what it will become,

And that is on this divineness earth’s spine,

Right until the vertebra is utterly numb.

Infant’s roars into my ears slivers of shadow,

Imagination does always forbid travel,

Bend the straits and find the refrain,

I saw a red headed prostitute smoking alone in the rain.

Elijah and Isaac, apples in hand,

The wine is new,

no tasteless famine,

Eat, drink, be merry and manage the famished cells that you

Brandish.

Gridlock

Gridlock

I.

            Despite the clouds and the rain, if you look straight up you can see the sun reaching down at the earth like a hand clutching a hazy piece of fire. Sitting on a gunmetal bench, head rolled back, Friend stares up through the silver, wiry sheets falling from the thick gray-dappled clouds weaving and coursing through each other like ghosts, and spits.

            He leans forward and unscrews the top of the orange bottle of Celexa and throws a few more into his mouth, tilts his head back and spits them into the sky like the shells of poisonous sunflower seeds. The pills taste like hammers and nails, like the inside of brick walls, like hospitals and disease. He spits hard so they don’t fall back down onto his face. He aims at the flickering sun and imagines hitting it. There is a small tapping sound as they fall back to earth, tiny obscene pink chunks melting into the asphalt around him.

            Friend’s decided to stop taking his antidepressants today. He grips the open bottle like a baseball and throws it hard away at the gutter, its minuscule contents scattering in the street. A gleaming black crow swoops down from the phone line and pecks at the ground before lurching angrily back into the sky in what Friend presumes is disgust.

            He stands and hawks a big, pink clot of bitter chemistry out of his mouth and watches as the collection of tiny pink tablets grudgingly make their way down the street and are washed away, their pink tails disappearing after them. The rain picks up and in a few moments, everything save the orange translucent bottle is gone, wiped from the street and erased from sight.

            Friend walks over and nudges the bottle into the drain with his boot. The sun emerges from behind its veil of clouds, casting an elongated shadow of Friend down the street. The sluice of rain trembles on Friend’s head as he stands there, staring into the gutter.

 

Birth

Birth

by Alexander Michael Marasca Ziperovich

 

1.

 

“Cemeteries…” The scant sun rang glass bells upon the tombs, the bigger tombs, the domes and all the decaying white angels. It was hot in the cemetery in autumn, once again. There is no tragic comedy greater than the furnace of sun heating a single blood stream on October in a graveyard.

 

“But I’m not in a grave. I’m on ‘planet earth’. Why?”

 

Along the Kinshasa highway in Zaire in 1976’, the same truck stops from where HIV/AIDS originated, that is where they found it, this unholy fever from the bleeding jungle. CIA, USAMRIID, KGB, FSS, even the PLA; it became a household name. The deal of all devils: Russia and America’s 2012 pact against the Chinese. It began in North Africa with the Gates Foundation’s polio vaccination campaign, which inflicted long, coursing paralysis and ultimate freedom from life for the recipient in the form of a single nosebleed. They all marched back to the jungle for the witch doctor’s bushmeat to live.

 

Going back to the source was the only sensible thing to do in the interests of National Security they said. Congressionally delicate declination; Suppression via the media; Human complacency.

 

It was just too far above their pay grade.

Pluralism favors the brave and rarely the incompetent.

 

EXECUTIVE ORDER MAO-91 was declared. Signatures were scrawled in a darkened anteroom by three men, one Chinese-American, one Russian-American, and one President of the United States of America.

 

It’s now 2019 and the entire continent has been devoured, eaten alive; ACTION-ORDER-1918 has been activated but the pilots won’t fly the choppers, the soldiers can’t stand post and nothing is working and everything is dying.

 

EO: PROCEED PROCESS DEEP-SEED-SLEEP-89

 

The White House that was airlifted years previous to a remote province outside Shanghai in the form of a Buddhist temple dwelling was burned to cinders after the chief-of-staff and all his AIDS were doused with Cherosene and Kerosene and spit on by the counter-counter-revolutionary infectious squads.

 

They died shortly thereafter, hemorrhaging Khmer Rouge propaganda from the spleens that erupted from their facial orifices.

 

EO: AUTOMORPHEUS SECTION 3 is initiated.

 

The President was orbiting the earth with two or three AIDS until a sizable splotch of Pluto cracked the hull. They breathed in the gaseous ship for six years and six months, staggeringly conscious. It seems Pluto has intentions beyond not being a planet.

 

And that is all.

 

2.

 

“Why isn’t really the right question and I already know how, mostly. I think the real question is, is? Why is? What is?” He ruffles pebbles with his broken rag boots, heels like dry planks, splinters in his feet with every single step.

 

He kicks a rock and breaks his little toe.

 

The last childbirth on earth, in Monrovia, in the heart of the plague, the child was brought forth. The mother died instantaneously, convulsing while bleeding from her nipples.

 

The child never saw a picture in or outside of Liberia or anywhere for that matter. No description. No one knows how he exited the womb because there is no one.

 

He delivered himself.

 

And he was alone.

 

And that is all.

 

3.

 

Lying prostrate on a thick slab of marble stone he glares up at the sun.

 

The sun stares back harder. He stares back harder. Ardor. Heroism. Heroin.

 

He had blinded himself like this before when he should have been in kindergarten so this was no new silly ploy; he had satiated himself by becoming the enemy, nemesis and guardian of the light of the sun, begging it to explode in his nocturnal days without affect.

 

The light warms his face. He turns away disgusted. “Assembly line garbage bulb.”

 

A floating, dancing, singing blur. His mother’s face again. “Assembly line garbage whore.”

 

A caught, designed, mutated beyond control virus manifested. “Assembly line garbage teardrop.”

 

He propels himself so that he falls face first into the soft dirt. He inhales the soil. It never works despite the centuries of deadly peptides, pesticides, protein-molecularly changed rental signs.

 

He is immortal until his natural death.

 

His maternal grandmother died at 103 years of age, chain smoking through the oxygen mask until finally ripping herself out of the ventilator so as to continue swigging cheap brandy. She died a few years later.

 

“No excitement here.” He breaks his other foot and his shoe unfastens itself and runs off of him into a tombstone like a petrified rodent. He kicks off the other boot and raises his hand to the sun letting it soar into the sky but it only lands some three or four feet from his feet, up and down, like those carnival rides designed for the insane.

 

He climbs a cliff.

 

4.

 

He climbs another cliff.

 

5.

 

He summits Kilimanjaro and Everest again and asks the question that has plagued him for all of his sixty-six years: What is?

 

6.

 

In a frothy tornado-like motion he screams at the valleys and canyons and plains below and listens for one sound, an insect a bird a snake a Chihuahua but there isn’t the faintest echo. He bites his tongue, sits down and bleeds onto a carcass. He imagines an ocean suspended at this altitude. Even here the graves continue to flower and bloom.

 

The ocean scarlet with the blood of the last infant-boy-pubescent-man.

 

He drinks deeply of his mind and vomits all of it out onto the snow and the sand.

 

7.

 

Is the question is? The question is.

 

The answer is:

 

This place was virulent with hatred far before Ebola or HIV or Influenza.

This place was virulent with love far before vaccines, cocktails, or morphine.

 

There is no explanation because God refuses us.

There is no explanation because Satan loves us.

 

Why there is nothing and everything?

Why there is everything and nothing?

 

It just isn’t what you wanted.

 

It is what it is.

 

And is it?

 

It is.

 

And that is all that is and all that ever will be.

NEAT.

Neat.

by Alexander Michael Ziperovich

A Short Story

—-

“…the old man would ever have.” Almost arching his prepubescent back up toward the ceilinged sky, the child breathed in Hemingway’s finale. “Get back to the Abacus. Now, Charles.” He glanced sidelong at the horrid teal wall with the crooked spines of the books. “I’m just putting away my ultimate division scenario arithmetic, Ms. Apple.” He had adjusted the room so that he might read a short story, here Hemingway, over by String Theory, Ezekiel, by addition/substraction he kept the Koran.

The Abacus was a wretched teal bubble stick with which Charlie never would have been exposed despite his extreme calculative abilities, which he could perform in his heart, if not for his father and his mother’s docility toward his father’s hatred for art. “The only art you’ll ever have boy, is the art of selling paint for cash.” It was a wretched time to be alive. It always was. He imagined himself languishing in the desert outside Cairo building pyramids and tombs with massive rock and—. “Back to work.” The Abacus slid into his hand like a snake and he gazed at it lovingly for the sake of Ms. Apple.

He took the Abacus to his corner of the nearly shrill room full of the pain of children being forced out of art into death. As was customary for him and Abacus Hour he turned inward and faced the corner that was his that day at the Academy for the Righteous Arts and Splendors. “Georgina, I need your string theory proposal in two and a half minutes, you’ve had three days by golly!”

He gingerly worked the Abacus with his small, nimble fingers and pried it in half so that a small Papyrus scroll rolled tight fell into his torso. He unrolled the ten foot document about seven inches and his fingers hurt and he knew what arthritis was and he glanced at that horrible wall covering the heavens and asked why, again. “The Beauty and Solace of Man Lie in The Struggle to Achieve the Freedom of Paranoia from The Reality of The Beasts of Servitude…”

Ms. Apple was staring into his physical cave where he was reading his scroll that he had created based on the diseased ideas the Academy suggested he was experiencing due to a strong and difficult to pry open codependency with his mother and the world above the teal. They suggested aversion therapy based on Pavlovian and B.F. Skinner models.

“No.” He knew he would be forced to burn it himself. He had worked on the transcription from only his mind in the fashion of Dumas forever.

“Bring in the slavery bucket!”

All the children immediately turned inward, angst, pain, and humorous sadness on their faces apparent as the color of their scorched eyes. Charlie moved to the middle of the chamber.

“THE SLAVERY BUCKET!” The children chanted once, twice, thrice.

A black crockpot filled with gasoline that supported a single, tiny, white candle appeared.

Charlie fell face first into the drum of gasoline right before the commencement of the Slavery and the entire Academy was burnt from the very innermost sanctum.

Charles incinerated the split Abacus and smiled, burning in flames.

Art or nothing.

Blood in, Blood out

Blood in, Blood out

by Alexander Michael Ziperovich

Curdling type A sitting up in the tier thinking, how could a man get this way?

Robs my loyalty & my wealth; we know what comes first, you abject coward.

I want to ride; spit unhealthy ideas into the back of your mind.

I can’t; my life is too important – your life isn’t noticed.

You threw me in jail cause you weak, “you swore you’d never hit me,” whilst sobbing. Ha.

You’re three times my size but your heart is paperclip’s for detectives: you ruin lives!

You have no heart, even with my protection when the beef would spark and was on.

You run into the bushes and hope no one sees. You’re a part time DA attempting felonies.

Come trot into my forest again and they will make you see. Let your eyes see me.

You don’t like jail because of fear of the unknown you rat bastard; Sammy The Bullshit.

Even listen to the same beats as me despite your ‘creativity’ trying to take lesson plans,

you can’t; you’re a dump truck dumb fuck with an index finger that loves to write blood.

Blood in, Blood out

Blood in, Blood out

Blood in, Blood out

Blood in, Blood out

And that’s all I got to say about that particular piece of shit.

PS: what you need is a little time to reflect pelican bay status and that can happen for you without me or my real people squealing like a B I T C H.

BITCH.

Over & Out.

Everything is Either Dying or Dead

EVERYTHING IS DYING OR DEAD

Alexander Michael Ziperovich

Like oil drying up and rending a city to dust, love will leak out of a man like blood, leaving him cold and stupid with rage. Passion shall be buried, lost forever splayed out on dirt. Strength will succumb to weakness, honor to corruption, and finally, or throughout everything, life must abdicate to death.

I.

Inside the light of a dusty, slightly incomplete moon, hung as if suspended by an invisible string above a rutted field inside a halo of pale blue, a broken switchblade refused to eject from its rusted spring. In the cradle of the handle lay its blade like an obstinate child.

There was a sound, two sounds in quick succession, the second followed closely by the first. The first was a single gunshot, unmistakable in its license, throbbing heavily as might the deep crack of a whip had one pounded the sky.

The next sound was small, a sound only the producer of the first sound would recognize, a body falling backward, backward, backward gasping, down into the earth landing with a horrible diminutive thump.

Then a third sound, the sound of frantic running, of thrashing cattail blades being trampled, swept away beneath desperate footfall.

And there were no more sounds to be heard and the night was again vacant, silent in its indifference to the lives of men.

II.

Rusted oil machinery is scattered idly about like dead beasts that refuse to die peacefully and fall into the earth, as does everything else in death. Five old men, shoulders sagging, their heads slightly lolling, stand around the wraparound porch under a peeling sign above them proclaiming General Store’s existence. A plastic jug is being passed slowly about them, the massive metallic monsters gleaming grimly down at them as they drink the piss-warm booze in the swelter.

The dead oil rigs much like Bartlesville, skeletal and unmoving, decaying- one massive steaming carcass in the dirt. The men of Bartlesville much like the dead rigs, sweaty, brown, slowly awaiting their death in the dirt.

In the faces of the men there is a new awareness as they begin to see a figure emerging from the haze, chewing tobacco leaking down the sides of their upturned chins like tiny rivers of shit. These men are turning their heads now to stare at a red-faced girl carefully stepping out of the passenger side of an old green coupe, which has pulled into the small lot that the General Store shares with the adjoining Bartlesville Inn a small distance from where the men stand. They are staring at the girl and at the swinging abundance of her hair the color of the flesh of a ripe peach as she retrieves a worn floral print suitcase from the car.

They are watching her waving, smiling back at the driver in her windy, billowing red dress as he is pulling out of the parking lot and who is now speeding back down the only road that delivers cars and the people in them back to the 95, which is the interstate highway that provides those that drive on it the sole view of the town of Bartlesville. Those travelers, afforded their brief, inconsequential glimpses of the town, those who do not live there among the dead, oily beasts, those without any reason to be there but who are simply lucky enough to view it as detached, perhaps wistful observers of the detritus of a crumbling America as they move on to better, more ideal destinations, they will never be forced to think about or consider or to even remember ugly meaningless little Bartlesville and they will regard it and quickly disregard it as one instinctively regards and than quickly disregards the ugly, transient things of life. Consequently, they will never hold the things that happen there within their hearts and the things that happen in Bartlesville will be of no importance to themselves or anyone else and they will all be happier, for they know nothing of the souls of the people that live in places like this and in their ignorance they will be at least somewhat more graceful and free.

The oldest of the men turns and looks away, squinting at the little green car disappearing down the interstate and briskly he spits on the ground as if he were trying to rid his mouth of something particularly distasteful.

III.

The huge burlap tent, which had been set up and pitched by the men and women of the traveling Apostolic Church Of Christ in the blistering sun the previous day on the periphery of town was now filled with the desperate, hopeful incantations of worship and from within the golden glow of the tent you could hear the fevered, impassioned cries of praise punctuating the pauses in the speech of a deep, drawling voice of a man on a megaphone:

“Come wary, come ye forlorn, come find ultimate joy walking with Christ, know peace as you bring yourself to a life lived in God’s embrace, find newness in your lives, find rebirth and the serenity that has escaped you, find the joyous love that has eluded you, find the everlasting acceptance and salvation in the Lord Jesus!”

Just outside the din of devotion, sitting on an upturned bucket, sat one of the men that had set up the tent, one of the traveling members of the Church. A recent member who had just signed on and whom no one knew much about. His first name, Charlie, and a few vague details about his life were all that he offered to those that inquired. He was a welcome help to the traveling mission, though, and he was quiet and grateful and he did not cause problems as he kept mostly to himself and was otherwise amiable and so he was as accepted as any of the other anonymous men and women that made the traveling Church possible.

The brassy glow from the entrance to the tent spilled down upon him, illuminating his icy blue eyes. He sat and smoked and watched, glancing at the people coming and going. His face handsome and young but weathered in that peculiar way that a man’s face becomes hardened when he experiences such a brutality so early in life that it is written on his face. His icy eyes like deep, cold oceans conveying a stolid melancholy to all that looked upon him.

A girl with a flushed red-face and long hair the color of the flesh of a ripe peach tapped him softly on the shoulder.

They could be seen running together into the dark, hands intertwined, until they were beyond the golden glimmer of the tent.

They found an old tree above a small, rare patch of grass and they made wondrous love under the quivering stars blinking in the sky.

From the golden tent could be heard voices singing “Hallelujah”. The voices mellifluous, carried by a meandering wind to the embracing lovers like the scent of a flower in a dream.

IV.

Henry’s lifeless eyes were still open, terrified and open. Elijah bent down and closed his brother’s eyes. It was a day of reckoning and the face of the dawn sky was flushed with anguished collisions of purples and oranges and reds swirling like fires above the shuffling men, huddled above the dead body in the field. There was Henry lying on his back, an astonished expression locked onto his gray face, the cloth of the shirt over his heart embroidered with a rusty red flower where he had been shot.

The brothers looked up, up and away from each other out into the distance. Just now there was a jagged shard of vengeance settling and lodging into each of their hearts. Elijah again bent down and picked up the unopened knife that lay a few inches from Henry’s body and put it in his pocket. They turned and walked off, out of the field, leaving their brother. They would let the women worry about Henry’s funeral; they had in them the visions of the machinations of death to be carried out upon another in reprisal for the death of one of their own and in their fury they were solemn.

V.

Charlie sat on the bed in the small motel, warily cleaning the pistol with a gray rag. “They’re coming for us.” The muscles of his jaw fluttered in his face as he ground his teeth together. His forehead creased and his whole face seemed to squint as he spoke, “I killed him and his brothers will come to kill me but I won’t let them hurt you, darlin’. I don’t care what else, Georgia, they won’t touch you. An eye for an eye, a life for a life and all that, but not yours.” Georgia sat on the bed with her back against the wall, her knees drawn up against her chest. She looked up with eyes that begged, “He tried to rape me.” Charlie spoke softly, “And that’s why I killed him.” He whispered, wiping at the damn gun, “That’s why I shot that piece of shit.”

“They can’t kill you if you kill them first,” Georgia said. Charlie pondered this for a moment, stopping his wiping and then resuming it again as he began to speak, “Yep. I reckon that’s true.” He thrust his bottom lip out in thought, closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath. He placed the gun and the rag on the floor next to the bed and reached out toward Georgia and rested his ear against the small bump in her belly and listened as she cradled his head in her soft hands and kissed his stubbly cheek. “Can’t we keep running?” Tears streamed down her face and chest onto his face and chest like silent rivers. “No.”

VI.

The gunmetal sky shone darkly as the last of the twilight was being swallowed up by the gaping black mouth of the night. Elijah pulled into Bartlesville and idling his red truck, stepped under that smothering sky. Clouds of dust hovered mirthlessly around him as he got out and surveyed the town. Off in the distance was a massive tent being dismantled by a a half dozen men. Elijah watched the tent collapsing into itself as the stakes that held the poles that held the tent aloft were ripped one by one from the ground. He again imagined what it would feel like the moment he killed the man that murdered his brother as the tent fell in on itself, crumpling feebly into the ground like a crumbling tissue.

He got back into the truck and drove until he found a secluded darkness where he could rest until the light of the day would allow him to begin hunting the man he would kill; he envisioned himself slaughtering him like the pigs he had watched his father slaughter as a small, scared boy on their farm. He picked up his .45 and gently laid it on his lap, lightly caressing the grooves of the trigger between his thumb and forefinger until he fell into a deep rhythmic breathing where he waited.

VII.

The grinding sound of the key opening the lock woke Georgia up, who stood and went to the door. She was both terrified and relieved as Charlie tore his way past her, removing the gun from his waist as he slammed the door shut behind him. He was breathing hard, he had been running and sweat lined his creased brow and soaked the center of his heaving shirt. He sat erect on the bed, gun in hand, “Elijah’s red truck is here.” She came and sat next to him on the bed, Charlie between her and the door. “Did he see you?” He clutched the pistol and put his back against the wall. “I don’t know.” The tip of his index finger just on the trigger and like that they too waited.

VIII.

In the cloudless sun the monstrous machines looked as though they were grinning, massive steel jaws hungry for prey. The day was burning down into everything, the white-hot sun making it all a furnace. There were no birds flying above or at best the thick, hungry heat had devoured the sound of them singing.

Only a few wretched vultures circled the site where the Apostolic Church had been the day before, morbid beasts that were much like the oil rigs in their ugliness and their brutality, turning an orbit above the debris that had been left behind by the church in the dirt.

Elijah began cruising the town at first dim light. There was a man running in the far distance, running away it seemed, from him. Elijah raced toward him and had ended up at a decrepit motel where the man must have entered but he had been  behind and could not ascertain which room the running man had found refuge in. Elijah looked up for a vantage point from where he could watch the comings and goings of all the rooms’ inhabitants; there were two sides and each had its own set of rooms and doors.

He drove away and found a small turnout on the side of a road on a hill overlooking the motel and he parked, staring from above.

Charlie knew he was out there, waiting, watching. He could feel him, his rage like silent clapping thunder. He knew the murder that filled the heart of the man outside as he knew the murder that filled his own heart when he shot and killed that man who had tried to rape his pregnant wife. There would be blood. It must not be Georgia’s blood that was spilled. Charlie pulled the shades back from the window with the barrel of his pistol and looked out but all he could see was the dust and the sun blazing down on the mottled parking lot outside. There were no red trucks. There was no nothing. Still, he was out there somewhere waiting, watching.

Both men sat and painstakingly cleaned their guns as they watched the sun burn into the earth like a searing hot brand.

Georgia laid on the bed, beads of sweat on her neck, her face like a prayer, her hands clasped together resting on her abdomen, her hands rising and falling with every breath. Charlie sat near her on the bed, his finger brushing the trigger, the gun on his knee aimed at the door. “We wait until the darkness.” After a minute Georgia asked, “Then what?” Charlie looked down the barrel of the gun, “I kill him or he kills me.”

IX.

The ball of fire in the sky was dogged in its hold on the heavens and it seemed that the sun refused to fade away and the day took on the dimensions of weeks and months and years in what seemed to be its infinite dominion over them all. Time seemed to have died and by the time the bright white light afire in the sky finally began to recede into a lesser light and finally, after that, into a twilit half-light, time seemed no longer to ever have been.

As the darkness enveloped the town of Bartlesville and covered the motel in its blanket, enshrouding Elijah and his red truck, the men were ready to kill each other with the same hateful conviction of that horrible sun’s incandescent authority over the earth.

Charlie took Georgia by the arm after a last look outside the window, “We’re leaving. First car drives by I’m getting it.” He waved the gun for emphasis on how this would be done. “Ready?” He already had his hand on the doorknob. She began to go to her suitcase but Charlie simply said, “No.” The door opened and they ran.

Elijah stared hard, his eyes cutting through the darkness like knives and he saw two dark figures emerge into the black night, two figures, moving too quickly. He started his engine.

Charlie heard the truck start and knew as did Georgia and they ran faster, diving into the pitch black toward the interstate and the lights of the few cars on it.

Elijah maneuvered the hill’s sharp turns heading toward the figures, which were weaving in and out of his vision like ghosts, like blurry heat waves from a dying fire, and he focused and aimed his car in their direction and sped up. Finally he was close enough to see the face of the sonofabitch that murdered his brother, he saw him reach down to help Georgia up onto the interstate and Elijah turned and drove onto the onramp where he ascended onto the asphalt where their guns would meet.

Charlie ran into the road with his pistol in the air and aimed it an oncoming station wagon, which swerved to miss him, the driver correcting hard and finally smashing into the median after turning 180 degrees. Elijah drove up and passed the steaming car and spun around and stopped in front of it a few yards up the road facing oncoming traffic and Charlie and Georgia.

Bullets flew at Elijah as he got out and he found safety behind his car, leaning out to return to fire. They had traded two rounds each and neither man had hit anything.

The red truck’s headlights shone brightly and cut a large swath of light through the darkness. The station wagon and its occupants, a family of four, were screaming and sobbing as they tried to get out of the steaming wreck. It appeared the driver, the father, had broken his neck in the collision.

“You know that shit brother of yours tried to rape my Georgia? You know that?” He leaned out into the light and screamed. Elijah yelled back at the top of his lungs, “I wish he would’ve killed the whore like I’m fixing to after I dispense with the spilling of your worthless blood!” They traded shots again, both each very close to hitting flesh. They were both down to three bullets each.

The little girl from the back of the station wagon began limping into the road, in shock from a concussion, walking directly into the middle of a firefight. She stumbled out into the light from the red truck and screamed for help but there was no reply.

Charlie and Georgia were safe behind the station wagon and Elijah couldn’t find a shot. He quickly stood, trying to smoke Charlie out so that he could shoot him in the heart. Charlie saw him stand and rolled once, twice and landed on his belly and took aim and fired and he saw Elijah pushed back by the impact of the bullet that had just ripped through his right shoulder. Elijah was screaming like a pig being slaughtered but he knew it wasn’t a fatal wound he had incurred and somehow Charlie knew this too.

Elijah fell to the ground and lay on his stomach like Charlie, his shoulder leaking blood creating a small puddle, the wound spurting blood every time his heart beat.

“I’m fixing to kill you right here and now, Elijah! Save you the pleasure of fuckin’ bleeding out all over this nice highway!” Elijah howled, “You come fucking kill me then you fuckin’ coward!” Elijah used all his strength to roll onto his back, right arm lifted with his finger on the trigger.

Unfortunately, the first thing he saw was the ataxic, screaming girl, her arms reaching out like she was blind. The gun exploded into her abdomen. The pain had blinded him and he had killed a little girl. He watched her stagger and collapse, her wailing turning to a soft gurgling whine. Elijah was seething with anger and anguish and hate and pain.

“You shoot that girl, did you? Let me help you, here, motherfucker.” The triumph in Charlie’s voice, his gun leveled at Elijah’s head. But something happened and Charlie’s gun did not fire even though he had rounds in the clip, something had jammed. Elijah barely lifted his right arm again, gun in hand, to fire his last shot as Charlie watched through those icy blue eyes of his, and Elijah shot Charlie dead center in his chest. Charlie fell to the ground wheezing, tears leaking out of his eyes, blood out of his mouth. His voice wet with the blood coming from his mouth he begged, “Georgia, Georgiaaa.” Blood fell as a steady stream from the corner of his mouth to the highway as he begged for his Georgia to kiss him before he died.

She ran to Charlie sobbing, horrified at the three dying people strewn across the ground. She went down and kissed Charlie on his bloody lips looking into his rolling eyes, and she picked up his pistol. She slid the clip out and jammed it back in and cocked the hammer. “I love you, baby.” She put the gun to Elijah’s forehead, letting him feel the hot metal searing his skin. Crying, she pulled the trigger and everyone was dead except her. Georgia suddenly became aware of sirens and screaming police.

That baby would be born in the maternity ward of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester.

His name would be Charlie.

God & Satan Discussing Evil

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Alexander Michael Ziperovich

“How about this,” god and the devil had already signed a treaty some time prior as god was simply too brutal and calculating an opponent, a master in the conduct of war; satan really had no choice but to accept his plush exile and his secondary status in hell (which he felt resembled Vegas in the summer in any case). They were broaching the question of the image and subsequent creation of man again, bickering like children over plastic toys. “How about for every sixty or seventy kilos of meat in every man you create in your image, you let me throw in an ounce or so of my pure, unadulterated evil?” He paused grinning. “I mean you can’t totally handicap me here and make me completely reliant on some unwieldy army of bureaucrat demons to possess people! The overhead alone on that kind of operation would bankrup-” God interrupts, stroking his cottony white beard, “You want me to let you be a part of the image of man?” The reverberations from his soft chuckles creates most of Asia and reality television. “Listen. I have already decided that my being the sole entity from which the image of man should be derived is already going to be an important part of the book I’m going to ghostwrite so that man is righteous and divine and my PR people all completely agree on this.”

Satan sat patiently listening and replied when the rumbling of god’s voice began to dissipate, “Yeah, I know you’re going to create the religion thing and have some book confusing, self-contradictory narrative written so you can see who truly has ‘faith’ and find out who the ‘true believers’ are, despite my thought that it would seem much simpler and far kinder to just show yourself indisputably every once in awhile to prove your existence for the sake of not only man’s sanity but his eternal salvation. Look, I think it’s confusing enough with the whole race joke-” God clears his voice to be heard and the minivan comes into being. “Yes, that should prove delightful entertainment insight into man.” The devil slowly continued, “God, you see, you have all the advantages! Throw me a bone here!” He timed this plea perfectly so that it was uttered at the very moment god was being draped in his brand new custom-tailored 20% cashmere 80% angel tongue robe and he was off guard. “Fine, satan, you can have the smallest bone in every man created to do with it what you will and it will be infinitesimal in size,” God lit up the heavens with a sly smile. “And I know you think big things come in small packages,” The devil sits in his rocking chair, one leg crossed over the other. A smug sophisticate. God continues. “But I said you could have that small part of man for yourself and my word is, well, it is the word of fucking god so the deal is done.” The devil sat dispassionately. “Now. Dear satan, do pass that mirror with that white stuff on it you plan on growing in South America with that rolled up dollar bill please.” 

I Will Now Expunge

Alexander Michael Ziperovich

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i light my eyes on fire after the completion of this

this soul i vomit out splattered onto this page

chunks of hate; love; loathing; desire; regret; pain,

so many carrots, peas undigested

a disgusting rectitude but colorful

the family of blasphemy

and all the world remains indifferent

and all the world remains indifferent to this tragedy

like an illegal mexican immigrant packaging rasberries

as prostate cancer remains indifferent to cranberries

the entire mess displayed like a picasso painting

whilst auntie 2, 3, & 4 do their best to console us,

non-sequiturs about her mother not being consistently complicit

in the love of my life’s tainting? bathtub screaming pedophiliac raping

as if it was a fucked up painting instead of a shattering of a beautiful girl

and the razors inside her were not making loud sounds scraping away her soul,

her soul being sold; sold for nothing, just taken

RAGE AWAKENS

little girls thrown into slavery

little girls turn into women with infected wounds,

and a life that impatiently needs replacing

or a life they give up to be taken by satan or death

THIS. this, you unfit m0th3r, is your disgusting

complacence, your skull vacant leaving good filled with hatred,

i love this girl you brought into this world only so you could ensure she’d be raped,

raped and forsaken

as you lay dying a ragged old tuberculosis tumor fake caring

amazing at tearing organism in some lonely hospice/orphanage,

perhaps then, just maybe all alone in that pit on your way to the next,

will you know what it feels like to be prey; swearing to yourself everyday

that what you did was not the same as laughing and setting traps,

setting traps for your daughter to fall into until her spiritual, emotional, physical

neck snapped and she collapsed because of something you might refer to as a

“momentary lapse” in judgement but we all know the facts

i hope your tears are of the same blood that came from your child

as you let old men, as you heard and watched and gleefully allowed her to be

F U C K E D

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