Johannes Punkt's Flaskpost

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The Vaudeville

…or How She and He Killed, Erotically, an Officer of the Law

Here is some erotica featuring heavy references to lyrics by the Mountain Goats. I have forfeited explanations.

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THE EEL GAME

This is a game that came to me in a dream a year ago. If you play it, I am not responsible for anything. I am updating the rules here because as time has passed the game has only got more refined in my brain.

Pre Game Rituals

The game is played seldom, only in times of drought or catastrophe. The elders will hold secret council late at night. They will light a small fire but they will not tend to it, and the rest of the people who live in the area will pretend to sleep when really they’re glued to the windows trying to catch a glimpse of the faces of the elders. The way to decide who will host the game is this: they have a poisonous fish in a bowl. The first elder puts the fish in their mouth along with water, and with a kiss transfers the fish to the next elder. The elder that bites the fish, or is bitten, dies and becomes the host. Their family is the one that hosts the event.

The way to choose a champion is more varied. The customs differ between families and places, but there are three main categories. The first is the diving game, which is a game where contestants dive to the sea floor and pick up rocks in their mouth. Generally this will include backbinding of the hands and a blindfold, and be done on a still day, but there are as many variations as there are games played. The heaviest stone marks the winner. The second category is the saltwater game, which is played by drinking saltwater until one vomits. The last player to vomit is the champion. The last category of games is the catching of live eels, where the champion is the contestant who catches the most eels. One champion is needed from each household, and anyone can play.

The Eel Game

The game requires at least one eel per player, and a maximum of eight eels. At least three champions are required, and the optimal number varies depending on the locale. The champions wear damp clothes full of holes and pockets and tight bands, which make it easy for the eels to slither around inside the clothes. The eels can enter and exit these garments like coloured handkerchiefs from a magic show.

When all is set up, the room is filled with saltwater to ankleheight. Champions are placed in positions and fitted with eels, then the game is begun. The objective of the game is to fulfill one or both of the following criteria:

Be the last one on the floor with eels on them

Have twice as many eels as the secondmost eeled player

Champions are not allowed to touch other champions with their hands but they may bump into each other with hips or shoulders, as long as this is not considered ‘violent’. A common strategy is for champions to stand next to other champions with sleeves or pockets toward theirs and try to coax the other champion’s eels into their own clothing. Games are usually slow-moving, somnambulist matches between two champions at a time, while the others buy time. Another common strategy is to coax eels out of other champions’ sleeves without bother to catch them. Once an eel has touched the floor, it is out of the game. Strategies are manifold and it all depends on the type of player.

Raincloud Found Dead in Malmö

…witnesses in the area claim to have seen a man clamber up a drainpipe that fell off just as he got up on the roof, where he hurled insults and scrap metal at the sky until a raincloud formed. Reports differ on what happened next: either there was a tempestuous argument, or fisticuffs broke out immediately. By this time it was raining too heavily for anyone to stay outside. Just minutes later the raincloud fell dead from the sky and the man was nowhere to be seen. And now over to sports as the weather, understandably, has been cancelled.

Fiending

tell me some good news, roche

I’m sorry, you’re really asking the wrong man.

i’m really fiending for a fix, man

I’d love to be like “Okay Dee, the world is full of sunshine and butterflies and also death has been rendered obsolete.”

haven’t had any in weeks. my eyes are bulging. my veins are poppin. c’mon

But the best I’ve got is “I didn’t literally die in the last 24 hours.”

Just tell me that, then, the sunshine and the no-death thing. Just make me believe it. Come on. I’m gullible

I’m bad at lying.

man
man
man
dammit

THESE LAMPPOSTS

My story “These lampposts” was published today over at Minor Literature[s]. Go read it, and fall in love with something flickering.

minorliteratures.com/2014/07/03/these-lampposts/

An Automicrocosm

You can find a new flashfic of mine, An Automicrocosm, over at the Flash Flood Journal: flashfloodjournal.blogspot.com/2014/06/an-automicrocosm-by-johannes-punkt.html

FakeReview: Instruction Manual for Murdering the Nobel Committee for Literature, by Ursula Perquith

Taking a page out of M. John. Harrison’s book, er, blog, here: ambientehotel.wordpress.com/imaginary-reviews/

~

First of all, I should like to say that if you are not familiar with the terrific work of Ursula Perquith you are sorely missing out. Her third book well lives up to the expectations. It was slightly delayed due to a fight with her publisher, but she has since changed publisher to someone who dares publish the daring work that she is writing. Her first book, for those unaware, was called World Awareness Day, and it cannot be summed up. The main conceit is about a sudden wave of awareness spreading through humans like viruses, and, well, just read it. You will understand. Her second book – more controversial than the first – was called Ursula Perquith. It details her life but it is not an autobiography, as she makes clear in the text, and she will actually stab you with a pen if you try to call it that. Now, her third book is a masterpiece and even harder to summarise than her two other books.

The book starts off innocently with a woman stepping out of a train as it halts at a station, and she then goes on to kill a person, using scissors and piano wire. Onlookers look on, but no-one does anything. She then goes on to book a hotel room, and we find out that it is the great Nordic capital of Stockholm that she is murdering in, and what’s more – we find out that this is actually a sequel to her second book, starring the same main character.

Throughout the book, she commits more and more murders. They are all very thought out and performable, except for the first one which is almost ritualistic in how willing the victim is. At the third murder, the reader – if they have not looked at the list of names and addresses in the back of the book – finds out the names of those who have been killed so far. Curiously, they all share names, addresses, and appearances with people on the Nobel Committee for Literature. As she kills them, she explains that this is fiction, and that we are sympathising with her, and that it is okay. This word “okay” repeats itself through the book like a corruption of data; at one point a whole page is just the word “okay” again and again and again until the plot resumes as if we hadn’t missed what was behind that wall of “okay”s.

One element that tantalises about this book especially is how the police handle the murders. They do not have an investigation running, but once they stop the main character when she was speeding. She explains that she thought she was on the Autobahn, and the police officer kindly explains that she is in Sweden where there are no Autobahnen. She is fined heavily. The police officer does not remark on the bloodstained dress or the almost-corpse in the back-seat, and we the reader feel this absence like a loss.

The fight that Ms. Perquith had with her publisher, as you might have guessed, was about that list of names and addresses at the back of the book. And the maps. And, I presume, though I was not privy to the conversations, the many smiley-faces after this list. And the coupons for knives that are included in the back, too.

This absolutely riveting book is of course not an “instruction manual for murdering the Nobel Committee for Literature” because they have not yet given Ursula Perquith the prize she so richly deserves. That would be ludicrous. Rather, it is an instruction manual for thinking more deeply about things, and taking action, and feeling alive. I have never felt more alive than I did when I was engrossed in this book. I did not mention her many published short stories before, but I will mention them now. She has a book coming out next year which is a collection of her best short work, entitled “Night Shits Beauty”.

Silk

Here, Brad (@Squidshire), I wrote a fanfic about you.

~

A thought stopped him dead in the middle of the moment, and he forgot what he was doing. He had been holding a knife, but he was not holding a knife anymore: it was safely lodged in the middle of a loaf. He always cut the loaves in half, in half in half in half until they were the thickness he preferred, this was his way, a thought stopped him dead: I wonder how things would go if I pupated right this moment. Another thought: Leather gets more grim the more you think about it.

He bought long bandages of silk and they arrived rolled up like papyrus scrolls. He half-expected there to be hieroglyphs, but it was just so smooth. Right this moment – perhaps a moment could be a few days long. Brad had always considered moments to be like loaves of bread, infinitely divisible. Maybe a moment was composed of several moments closely stacked together. In someone’s eyes, in the eyes of a very old tree spirit perhaps, his whole life was but a moment. He paused momentarily. What was he doing?

He was in the bathtub. He was wrapping himself in silk, a contorted dance in a small space, and he could already feel the new enzymes in his body begin to bite at him, break him down. This was good. People said you could not feel your insides, because you have no nerve endings there, but Brad had always felt inverse like that.

There was the issue of whether he should leave room to breathe or not. He decided against it, but he covered his nostrils the very last thing that he did, writhing around in the bathtub because he had wrapped his arms in silk and could not move them. And then he felt the oxygen leave him like a lover, reluctantly saying farewell, promising to come back.

He was in a deep sleep.

He had never considered himself to be divisible by half, but it turned out that he was. By half by half by half. His organs, once content to be contiguous, loosened their border policies and enmeshed. The silk was his skin and not. New organs were forming, like ex-Soviet states after the fall. He had never counted his organs before but he was sure there was more of them now. Something cracked. It was the sarcophagus he had made himself of silk; to think that something so soft could still crack like ice.

Brad realized that his life was divisible by half, and he had just heard the crack. The thought that had stopped him dead had actually killed him, and for a transitional period he had been dead. He looked at his wings in the too-small mirror of the bathroom, after wiping away the dust. There was a lot of dust to wipe away.

Drinking Game

Drink if you have bad reasons for reading these rules again.

Drink if you want there to be a reverse tattoo parlor, that sucks the faded ink right off your skin along with any scars or marks or pasts

Drink every time you look over your shoulder because your pattern recognition is oversensitive

Drink if the words “bad excuse” stand out to you as much as your name

Drink when you have a small, quiet room

Drink when you run out of words, again, as punctuation, as an endless row of commas,

Drink to me

Drink too much

Drink up

Okay.

Okay: the best you will ever feel is “okay.” When I was little my grandmother smoked like a chimney and died. My mother couldn’t bring herself to say those words; she said grandmother “stopped breathing.” I was slow to grasp the full scope of that statement, okay. Grandmother once drew me a diagram about explaining smoking to me. Okay, she drew two sinewaves one under the other and she talked. She said you feel good and bad, smokers feel bad and worse. And when they feel okay they think they’re feeling good. Yeah? It’s not just smokers. Yeah. Okay? Okay.

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