I was an octopus with no tentacles. one cycloptic eye fixed there. a two dimensional scan at all the things i so desperately wanted to grab at, but couldn't. shampoo bottles and graham crackers littered the floor of the damp ocean. i ate the foamy concoction as it floated up. it tasted like it sounds... graham shampoo... gra-poo.
there were others like me, aimlessly patrolling our bizarre world. a pink one with a pink bow stabbed through the top of her eye slit jettered sporadically to me... a sad look in the one black eye. i got scared and pulled my head out of the box, dropping it with my real hands, in between my real feet, onto the real floor... really.
Ernest had the same savage grin on his face that he did twenty seconds earlier... before i put my head into the box.
"where'd you get this thing?" i asked, still appalled.
"behind cow's beefwiches. i took the garbage to the dumpster. i use this stool to stand on and it slipped as i threw the bag over my shoulder," he mimicked the throw, "and i fell into the fucking garbage dumpster, right into the box. man, it was trippy in there. i was a sky tram on a snowy mountain. all these people had their skies leaning against the seats and their boots were talking to each other... but not the people. since my body was the floor, i could feel them talking. the ski boots were speaking czech... i don't speak czech, but i knew what they were saying... somehow." he lit a smoke and let his body fall against the table in our kitchen, "man," he added pointlessly.
i stared at the box and saw the insanity of it; ernest, a greasy 24 year old in a smock, worn out and working at cow's beefwiches, always offering to throw out the buckets of grease, bags of reject patties with just a bit too much grime on them, smoking a quick bowl on the way to the garbage house... standing on that stool and slipping from the over flowing ooze... a strange mixture of grease from cow's beefwiches, won ton soup from the chinese food place, and chemical fetuses from the new lab/abortion clinic... the ooze making a force that penetrated steel... him slipping... half swing of a twenty pound bag, falling into the thing... smell of century old cheese and won ton soup... him landing head first into this thing at my feet... a horrible vision of being a gondola that listened to shoes talk about nothing. well... that was how i see it, you got your own image.
i nudged the thing with my foot and peered back inside. nothing. it was just a box, nothing special. just another sad, ordinary box.
"frightening, eh?" ernest said, looking down with me.
"ya," i said.
he bent down and picked the thing up. "but what isn't?" he stubbed his smoke in the ashtray and put the thing over his head. he was unreachable now, i knew... a zombie in the kitchen. i lit one of his smokes and he spazzed from orgasmic electrocution and threw the thing off his head, just like i did.
"wow..." he said with glittery eyes. the box laid between us and i snatched it. i don't know if he had a sexual or homicidal tale, a weird or mundane yarn, a strange or plausible story... it didn't matter, everything was fiction, and nothing is scarier than life... so i put the box over my head.
i was looking down at hands between knees. they were my hands... one should know one's own hands... they were spread across my lap... i think. these clothes weren't mine and this place wasn't my apartment. there was a table in front of me with at least twenty peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on it. they formed the shape of a pixilated heart. a pack of cigarettes, a box of matches, and a full glass of beer were dead center. a vase full of marbles at the corner of the table... all the colors meshing together. i curled my fingers, as i always do to get a satisfying crack, and nibbled on the table.
graham crackers... again... it was a graham cracker table. the crummy table was before and just below an open window. i looked out, down on red roof tops above yellow buildings. the sky was neon pink around this... scattered orange clouds lingered. this isn't too bad, i thought, and grabbed one of the sandwiches. i ate it. it was good; really good. i then lit a smoke, drank the beer, and just kinda stared out that window at the orange clouds in the nuclear sky.
a terrifying sound hit me hard. it came from below the window... a buzzing that was getting louder, creeping up my spine. what is this god awful sound? i wondered nervously. a black blur came up and hovered there. it was a bumble bee, the size of a full grown gorilla... puffy with fine hairs sticking all about... wings cutting the air at incredible speed. i froze and looked into the massive creature's eyes... like two round shattered black mirrors above the snout... a protruding tongue lapping in and out like the point of a soggy clicker pen. i freaked, my face reflected a thousand times in broken replication. it moved like lightening then, a few feet back, then edged closer. i quickly took a swig of beer and spat it, spraying the beast all over. i flicked my cigarette at the thing. it wasn't intimidated and shivered from my only defense. he pointed his ass, four foot stinger and all, right at me. it bolted into the room, my chair was flung backwards as i jumped up. the table fell, sandwiches with marbles scattered around the room. the thing grabbed me with six legs... i expected the stinger slicing me, but it didn't come. he was just LICKING me... a strange dry tounge scratching my face. it felt like a quick moving hotdog smothered in crisco. i screamed. the tongue was tearing apart my button up shirt. i tried to scream more, but my face was pressed in between those eyes, a brow of heavy bee hair suffocating me. the stinger was between my legs, moving to and fro in an alien dry-hump motion... fuck.
i threw the box on the floor again and kicked it across the room, endorphins flooded my brain. ernest was smoking now, still casual and against the table.
"so?" he asked.
"i was almost raped by a giant bumble bee!"
and that was that.
we spent the rest of the night getting drunk. we sat opposite each other on my circle of a persian rug (i have no chairs) the box face down in the center, the city somewhere outside the walls. mr. bungle played as we drank cheap rum over dirty ice. we stared at the thing a long time. of course we had our speculations. ernest said that it was a tear at some cosmic seam, leading to a place created by acid dreams. it was where psychedelic visions went after they died. i said that it came from the new high tech lab/abortion clinic. the abortions they performed
were done with a new procedure involving drinking a neon green liquid. after ingesting the stuff it would do the job for a pregnant woman in two unconscious hours... the thing would just slip out in green slime
and die. cow's beefwiches shared the parking lot and dumpster with the clinic... along with the chinese food place. i suggested a type of connection.
"fetal dreams?" ernest asked.
"maybe... or lab chemicals mixed with burger grease and fried noodles created some kind of monster box... or maybe we're just crazy." he considered the idea.
"maybe," he said. we finished the bottle and smoked until morning. we were too afraid to look into the box again and fell asleep right there on the rug, farting and coughing all night long. and that was that.
after tea and cigarettes the next morning, we regained our courage. we took the thing to a park. the sun was humping the earth and we settled down under a lazy oak tree... ready to experiment. we were in full swing until we sat down. a stalling silence consumed us. ernest lit a joint and took a good long drag. speaking with smoke filled lungs, he said "abra cadabra" and handed the joint to me. i took it and he put the thing over his head. he was gone now, and i smoked the doobie. there was a woman in a powerfully blue dress sitting on a bench across the grassy slope. she was staring at us. i stared at her. her dress hugged the concaves of her body like maple syrup would... brown hair veiling oversized sunglasses and a paper mache mouth underneath... at least it looked like paper mache. she was pretty. ernest heaved the box in the usual spasm onto the grass.
"jesus fuck," he said between heavy breaths and gulps for air, "hypodermic needle lake infested with severed arms... piranha mouths with sharp teeth in the palms... biting at me."
he took the joint from me and leaned back in the grass, smoking the grass.
"it seems so real," he said.
i took the thing and put it over my head now and said, "like a dream, eh?" i was trying to make some kind of emotion impact, but mumbled it. he didn't hear the mutter and just laid there, reminiscing. i looked across the grass at the blue dress on the bench and put the thing over my head.
i was cotton. i felt wet from toilet water. this cotton body was stuffed into a small red and white striped fabric body. it made my arms and legs with large white feet and puffy white mits for hands.
i had a green and white polka dotted sailors hat stitched to my head, green yarn for hair streaming down. my large palm-palm red nose was suspended above my painted smile... sore and red cheeks... a green bow tie somewhere below my chin. i was treading water and gasping for air with this everlasting smirk of a mouth. i was a child's clown doll in a porcelain white toilet. a tin voice was saying over and over, "ever bob for apples? ever bob for apples?" gnashing teeth would try to bite me... stirring the water. i looked up and saw only a 2-d stick figure head, wearing a 2-d blank mask. the eyes were white circles and the mouth was a poorly drawn half circle... shaking as it said again, "ever bob for apples? ever bob for apples?" and came down again... snapping. the giant mouth clenched my bow tie. the mouth took me above the lid. i was in a 3-d bathroom seen from a flat mouth. use your imagination. the teeth sawed at my tie as the mouth said, "you gimp about? you gimp a trout?" right into my ear. it was as real as pudding.
next thing i saw was the box fall to the grass and bounce onto a pair of ruby red slippers. i slowly looked up at the body in front of me. it was the woman in the blue dress, with the blues... she was looking at me and took her sunglasses off. her eyes were the colors of a forest... all meshed together to make a blotched brown... her face had the same unworldly look about it. her eyes were turning opaque and ernest stirred. he seemed to just have noticed her too, sucking at the joint.
"what are you doing?" she asked with a gentle curious voice... something about her made my spine twitch. we didn't answer and she more than nudged the box off of her shoe. i realized she had been watching us put the box on our heads, convulse, then throw the thing away like the weird thing it was.
"we don't know," said ernest, "just playing with the box, i guess."
"hmm... ok. can i try?"
my immediate response was a nice fatty 'no', but ernest beat me to it and said, "ok."
i thought about the horrors we were introducing to this girl. the possible coma we may inflict on this stranger... but she was playful, and sat criss-cross applesauce with us under the old oak tree... then put the thing over her head.
it was a long second before her face came out of the sun at an incredible screeching speed and hovered, large as a metaphor, ten feet above us. her face was in the same bizarre second dimension i was getting used to, and i looked up into the great opaque eye. all the forest similes were gone from it now. her body was still sitting in front of us. i quickly looked back and forth from her body to the giant face above us. it blocked out the light. by the look on ernest's face, he also had the shaking fear in his bones... he saw it too. i lit a cigarette, which i now smoke, and wait for the expression to turn sour and the arms to convulse... the body impulsively throwing the box down in maybe another second... everything discarded with the box... including us. the wind seemed to whisper 'good bye' into my ear. i whispered the same to ernest, another thing he couldn't decipher from my whisper. the big fucking face up there turned bad, into a scowl... the same kind of scowl that only a woman could make. i shuddered, wanting to feel something else, and took my head out of the box.