Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: short stories

Before the Light Turns Red

Reposting this old drabble from 2012 because I deleted the old blog it was on in a fit of entropy. Might post more of these if there’s anything salvage-worthy. Anyway. This piece is based on a gorgeous song by Unwoman, called The Heroine: unwoman.bandcamp.com/track/the-heroine

I urge you to go listen to that. And when you’ve read my piece, to read this excellent post by @earlgreyhot, also inspired by that song: earlgreyhot.com/blog/the-heroines-demons/

~

Cross the street before the light turns red, arrive out of breath at your theatre. You’re playing someone who’s losing her love tonight again. Five hundred sirens blare to dampen the sound of the bombs. The play is in the basement, no-one’s here to take my ticket. Everything goes crimson and I hide in the dark behind a pillar. Fifty thousand pairs of hands grab me when I catch a bombflash in a shard of glass. I get thrown out. Remember me as more than the shadow I will glue to the wall. I hope you believed I would show.

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A SHORT SCENE

WOMAN
And this is “Silent” Jimmy.

MAN
What, because he’s always quiet?

“SILENT” JIMMY
No in fact it is because I will not stop talking, for example that one time that all of us were drinking beer and someone made the mistake of asking me to define the word “pleasant” and everybody had managed to drink up two more rounds of beer before I finally got to a punctuation mark in my talking. I’m a bit better now of course but still the most commong thing that people tell me is inevitably–”

WOMAN
Silent, Jimmy.

“SILENT” JIMMY
That.

Scream the Throats

We sound the drums, rattam; we stretch the skin taut and beat them until they burst and the music stops. We fall the rain, we gather the clouds, we heavy the air until one struggles for oxygen and the music stops. We play the strings, we boom the thunder. We grin, rattam; we sharpen the claws, we scratch against all the glass surfaces we find. We throw the stones, we pound the blood in ears and wrists and jugulars. We close the eyes, we make you scream until the music stops, we beat the drums, rattam, we beat the drums.

~

Old, very old, impossibly old thing I wrote for my dear friend Pao (@Panterdjuret) and wanted to have available on this here website as well. Edited a tiny, very tiny, impossibly tiny bit because things change over the years. Two words are different.

The Night that Led to Lilac Mist Next Morning

The sun had just set behind a hill but Hafiz knew that if he got on a quick camel, or if he could steal his neighbour’s moped, he could drive out into the desert and watch it set once more. This time of year it would roll gently along the edge of the hill as if it was made for this before plummeting into the depths below and casting the world in darkness. For now, the sky was a watercolour palette in the process of being washed out, blue streaks mixed with pink and red, green over white, everything eddying together. He shook his head and walked toward the sunset. Marya would be home by now, and she had said tonight was the night.

~

(When you sleep, your dreams escape through your mouth. Sometimes they get caught in your throat, trapped between dimensions, and they get into your blood and escape through your eyes instead. If you open the eyes of a dreaming person they cast colourful images on the nearest wall and it’s the most dangerous thing you can do, because raw dreams are not meant to be recycled like that. Somewhere faraway there is a legend of a man who gets a piece of cheese stuck in his throat, which makes his dreams go awry. The faraway people have got it wrong; likely the piece of cheese would pose no harm at all, because you can’t get cheese in your bloodstream. It’s offensively wrong.)

~

When Hafiz reached her hosue, he calmed himself down a little. Climbed the vines up to her balcony on the third floor and watched the colour fade from the windows opposite, and then waited. She would notice him soon enough. He could hear her cat meowing from her bed. And when she did, she would put her hands around his throat. He relaxed his muscles one by one, like they did in certain kinds of yoga. Deliberately falling asleep.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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.