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Bubble Bobby
Jan 28, 2005

Popping my thunderdome cherry here. I'm in.


Bubble Bobby
Jan 28, 2005

First Time (1495 words)

Foolish as it seems now, in those days I considered myself weary and wise. I was well-schooled in mathematics, a polyglot by nature; I'd traveled through European hamlets and Turkish steppes, read my Freud and Marx and Wittgenstein, made friends and enemies of all stripes while inventing myself as connoisseur of worldly things. By twenty I felt capable and fulfilled in all areas except one: I had never been with a woman.

Like many late bloomers, I was a bit embarrassed by my inexperience. One evening, after a great many beers, I made the mistake of admitting this secret to my roommate, Sergio. He reacted with a combination of astonishment and sympathy.

“Seriously, Andy? Never? But the ladies love you!”

“Never,” I said. “I guess I could have, a few times. But it never really felt right.”

“You know what this means, don't you?”


“We've got to get you laid, son.”

I would have preferred a female guide, but as far as sexual gurus went, Sergio wasn't a bad choice. He was notorious for his conquests around campus, a Lothario of higher learning. Women could tell he meant business—he pounced upon them with silky dark hair, a lazy smile, a deep, sonorous voice. My own face wouldn't send anybody away screaming, but I lacked Sergio's magnetism, his swagger.

“I know exactly what you need,” he told me, a few hours later, at peak drunkenness. “Next Friday. Clear your schedule. If it's a warm night, you're becoming a man.”

“What are you talking about?”

“We're going to take a little drive. Up into the mountains.”

“Sergio, I like you and everything, but I think I'd prefer my first time to be with a chick.”

He laughed and clapped me on the back, a shock of hair falling into his eyes.

“Just wait and see, man. Just wait and see.”

It was clear to me we were headed toward a frat party out in the wilderness, frisky co-eds roasting marshmallows at the RV park, something along those lines. But this was a lack of imagination on my part.

Friday rolled around, and Sergio quickly went to work dismantling my preconceptions. We left our grungy college apartment in Serge's VW bus, heading down the freeway on a balmy June night. We ended up driving two hours, south, into territory unfamiliar to me.

“You want to tell me where we're going?” I asked, after the second hour had ticked by and we had wound higher up the hazy mountain on an unmarked dirt trail.

“We're almost there. Words won't do it justice. You'll have to see for yourself.”

Finally Sergio reached the terminus of the road, a sloped grove speckled with fireflies.

“I grew up in the foothills around here,” Sergio said. “This is where it happened for me.”

“What happened?”

“I can't say.” He grinned. “Walk straight into the thicket up ahead. You'll know it when you see it.”

“You're not coming with me?”

“Nope. You've got to do this on your own.”

I stared into the thicket, but saw only darkness.

“This is a joke, right?”

Sergio didn't reply. He lit a cigarette, pulled a magazine out from beneath his seat, and said: “I'll be waiting here when you get back.”

Annoyed but curious, I left the van and started toward the grove. Moonlight afforded some visibility, but I saw nothing up ahead aside from clusters of trees and shrubbery.

“This is bullshit,” I muttered, kicking rocks as I walked. If this were some kind of practical joke, Sergio would be looking for a new roommate very soon.

Distracted by my irritation, I didn't realized I had emerged from the grove and into a clearing. Before me was a small pond, fringed with lilypads. The surface of the pond sparkled like seltzer, and more fireflies buzzed overhead, agitated.

In the middle of the pond was a woman.

I crept closer, squinting, positive this had to be some sort of Appalachian Fata-Morgana, a trick of the moonlight. I called out:

“Hello? Who's there?”

The woman turned, smiling, her eyelids lowering to slits. She was real, all right, and naked as a newborn.

The air pulsed with a singular electricity, stiffening the hairs on my arm. Some endothermic fluctuation had occurred, and steam rose from the pond, covering me in a silken, sublimate mist. I spoke again, afraid she hadn't understood.

"Ca va, mon amie? Qu'est que passe?"

No answer. It's probably superfluous to note that she was gorgeous. Dove white skin, sun-dappled golden curls belaying down her back. Round, full breasts with pink nipples.

"Hola? Que pasa contiga?"

Nope. I even threw a "salve, dulcis" in there for good measure. Finally, the woman grew tired of toying with me.

“Are you going to stand there all day, or are you going to come in?”

I sputtered.

“You speak English?”

She rolled her eyes.

“Take off your clothes and come join me.”

This was no ordinary co-ed. How could she be, bathing in this pond a million miles from nowhere? This was some elemental creature, a spirit of the mountain. A nymph, a naiad. I shivered.

“Don't be bashful. Come on in.”

I didn't stop to contemplate existential or supernatural questions. Here was a nubile, naked young thing before me, and I was a red-blooded male. I shed my clothes, eager but apprehensive. My legs felt like reflections of legs. I stepped into the warm waters, until I was face to face with her.

“What's your name?” she asked.

“Andy,” I said, summoning some unwarranted confidence.

“I'm Daphne.”

“Thanks,” I said, turning crimson. “You're cute. Come here often?”

Daphne wrapped her arms around me. This would not be a courtship with much conversation. Before I knew it, her lips had pressed against mine. It was no ordinary kiss. My innards swelled with an Aphroditic wind. My loins sprang to life.
I'll spare you the actual details of my deflowering. It was short-lived but passionate, I can say that much. When it was over, we stood basking in the sultry glow of the fireflies, an idiotic smile plastered on my face.

“I like you,” Daphne said, running a slender finger down to my navel. “Stay here with me.”

“I'd like to,” I said. “But I have to run.” I thought of Sergio, waiting in the van. I had to tell him what happened.

“What? You're leaving?”

“You're lovely. But I can't stay here all night, can I?”

“No,” she said, grabbing my arm. I felt an icy chill in my lungs. The fireflies were going crazy, like a swarm of bees.

“I'm sorry,” I said. “I'll return soon.”

“You can't leave,” Daphne said, and her eyes flashed with elemental fury. I clambered out of the pond, searching for my pants. “Come back here!”

The pleasant mist had evaporated. An angry hail began to rain from the heavens, pelting me with golf-ball sized chunks. I shielded my head.

“You need to stay here with me!”

I heard the churn of a fierce wind, a pitch-black funnel cloud forming in the sky. I high-tailed it back to the fan, startling a sleeping Sergio.

“Go!” I yelled, as the roiling wind chased us. Sergio hammered on the gas, and we sped down the mountain, escaping just seconds ahead of the tornado.

“What happened?” Sergio asked, once we were clear of the hysteria.

“I got laid,” I said, breathless. “Then she got crazy.”

“Hmm, yeah,” Sergio said. “I guess you left kinda quickly.”

“And you didn't?”

“Nah. I stayed there for like two days straight.”

I returned to college life, and things were normal for a while. Then, nine months later, a baby appeared on my doorstep.
There was no note attached, but the tyke was swaddled in birch bark, his basket a bundle of reeds. He had my eyes, and Daphne's golden locks. Terrified, I ordered to Sergio to drive us back to the grove, my lovechild wailing the entire way in the backseat. I trudged back out to confront the nymph, but she was gone. The pond was frozen over, a thick piece of glass.

I couldn't simply leave him there. I named him Andrew Jr., and reluctantly accepted the mantle of adult responsibility.
I never heard from Daphne again. Junior's in the other room, playing video games now. I've grown to love him, but I've noticed the torrential rains when he gets moody, the lightning flashing from nowhere when he scrapes his knee, the freak blizzards when he gets bored.

So if anyone ever tells you she can't get pregnant the first time, I've got an elemental child and a few words to say about it.

Bubble Bobby
Jan 28, 2005

That's what I get for not having read magical realism since college next time I get some free time I'll be kicking everyone's rear end with super clipped hardboiled prose it's gonna be sparse as gently caress

Bubble Bobby
Jan 28, 2005

Since someone picked Homer Collyer is it all right if I do Langley?

Bubble Bobby
Jan 28, 2005

crabrock posted:

you can do whatever you want.

Cool I'm in with Langley Collyer then


Bubble Bobby
Jan 28, 2005

Fat Cat
[1300 words]

I'm a fat cat

Whore scullery maids, loutish frog chefs with their sticky webbed fingers, they've taken everything, the thieves, raided every last morsel from our beautiful kitchen, even the banana rinds in the wastebin, the blackened cake clinging to the undersides of the stove racks, the crumbs swept behind the refrigerator

I'm a fat cat

Don't they know Homer needs food? He's an invalid you frog thieves, gnarled and nephritic and helpless as a child. He's crawling around on his belly with his nose to the ground, sniffing for his next meal--

There they are, outside the window! Their brimstone silhouettes, swaying and laughing, horns tapping clink clink clink against the pane

Get out of here you devils!

Homer whines in his bed. His cries like a cat's mewling. He's just as afraid of them, these devils. Poor Homer, or maybe lucky, he can't even keep watch for these beasts, so clouded is his vision. Blind as his namesake. I can still see the blue of his pupils but he cannot see mine; he stares at me with dead eyes and his screwed up invalid's face and I rock him gently and sing

I'm a fat cat You're a fat cat we're all a family of big. Fat. Cats.

Shuffling down onto my knees, over the invisible tripwire, the ratchets and pulleys strung to the golden chandelier above, swaying softly in the dark. How graceful that chandelier, my father's priceless jewel. How tragic I'd needed to rig it with bad intent, how I prayed it would crash down onto the head of the Jew Real Estate man and the slug Polack landlord. How unfortunate they'd stopped just short of its taut spring, laughing and heeling away, cuntish hellspawn. How Homer keened and wailed. That night I wiped hardened calculus from his cheeks, drool bubbling on his chin

They won't be back it's all right they won't be back

Our parlor. So pristine and ordered. A treasure of books, each one in its right place. Newspapers in thick stacks, waiting to be read, waiting for Homer's convalescence. Lilac, lavender, saffron. The spotless Steinway and its reams of sheet music. I play a chord, savoring the resonance. No need for a tuning. As harmonious as the day it was purchased.

Treading carelessly on the staircase means a burst of Sterno flame. Careful Langley avoids the inferno, scooting to the bathroom. A puddle of murk in the clawfoot tub. I take a pot from beneath the sink and ladle water into it. The Jew bankers have stopped up the faucets. They're trying to starve us out, like the siege of Tyre. The rain brings our only drink, leaks in the roof. This roof never used to leak! The brutes stalk up above, tearing out the shingles. But they won't win. We'll remain here, hunchbacked and slithering, until the darkness is total.

My batteries lie dead and rusting in the workroom. Those wonderful days of light and heat, wires humming like an angel's choir. Nothing now but the thin flicker of the kerosene lamp, warming Homer's swaddle, keeping him safe from the terrors of the night.

I leave the waterpot beside the stairs. Those fools who talk of clutter. I know precisely where everything is in our home, every loose screw, every mote of dust. But these meager drippings are not enough. Homer needs food.

I'm a fat cat

A fat cat's eyes will regenerate with nourishment. Sclerotic limbs and crooked joints will reform, as Jesus healed the lepers. But there is no food in here. The only food is outside, among the Jew bankers and hulking negroes and emaciate whores who twist their spindly legs around ungulate feet. But there is no other choice; old Langley has no choice. I crawl past boxes of heirlooms, past scavenged pipe and coil and spring, part of the Collyer provenance now, a stout and sturdy fort to ward off interlopers. Wriggling and squirming to the barred and frosted window. One by one I pull the boards away until the gelding light of Harlem's Babylon filters in. The pane thunks open and out I slip. In the alley's damp sludge the footprints of vandals are everywhere.

Sewage and decay in my nostrils. A dumpster adjacent to home has been padlocked shut. Rats scurry over the top as I yank and pry.

Beasts! You men are beasts!

I slink behind the buildings, away from the sulfurous street lamps. Beneath a shuttered and dark storefront waits a pair of stale donuts and a half-eaten pear. Into the sack they tumble. But it is not enough. It is never enough. They hoard everything, waiting for us to shrivel and die like slugs. They will not win.

Past narrow backways, sneaking by window squares of dull light, spying faces. Cackling voices ring out ahead, and my body goes stiff. Flattened behind an awning as a band of negro thieves tramp through the street, singing loudly. Tribal drums beat out in time with their warped and sunken faces.


A real cat has crept next to me, back arched, puffed up and irate. No fat cat he, but a mangy rotten thing, whiskers askew, a low growl buzzing from his feline gut.

Out of here beast, I whisper

His eyes glow. These demons lurk everywhere. A kick sends him scurrying back to whatever foulness he came from. I straighten myself and then

Hey fella, you all right?

Lord, how they sneak! Whipping back I press myself against the building's edge. This man wears a wooly mustache and his arms cradle a big brown box.

I'm fine leave me be

Listen pal, if you need a place to flop I'm on my way to the shelter right now

I'm fine I said do you understand English?

The man moves his shoulders. He's not afraid, this one. A rarity, perhaps not a Jew or a Polack or a drunken Irishman or

Suit yourself but you look like you could use a meal, here

From the big brown box he tosses something and I snatch it from the air. A tin can of soup. Sealed tight, but they're crafty, these demons, with their botulism and needles and sneaky sabotage but

But Homer needs food and the can does not look tampered and so into the sack it tumbles and the man walks away and I creep back home, sack over my shoulder, back into comfort and safety, past the fort of springs and cushions and lampshades and onto my knees once more, scooting through the peaceful stacks of newspaper to the thin flame of the kerosene lamp and Homer's cooing and

Claws on me digging

A jolt and a shudder, a rat! A fat disgusting rodent with wiry tail scurrying past me, bloated and verminous

You will not have Homer's dinner!

Sent by the man, sent by the mustache man, what a fool I am, what a sucker

Out you beast!

Pressing forward, swinging the sack like a bludgeon. Homer mere feet from me, dead eyes staring, and I

The rat comes again skittering past my face. I shriek, skewing left, elbow slipping, a dull thwing

A thump, a crash, God's thumb on my back. The weight of ten years' worth of news. The food sack tumbles into oblivion. No pain. A gentle rising pressure. I suckle for breath.

Homer's cooing stops. He stirs. He is coming, he is coming to save me.

Homer rises from his bed, silky white hair nearly touching the ground. Light radiates from his core, like an angel. His muscles taut and rippling, legs like oiled pistons. His eyes clear and blue. With a single heave he tosses the papers from my back. He takes me in his arms, as I have taken him so many times before, and with a gentle smile he rocks me. The light from him burns so strong it is nearly white. As I sway back and forth in his arms, he begins to sing

I'm a fat cat
I'm a fat cat

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