Page 19

/Follow me./  Kinzie signs.  Elle sighs and walks behind.
When they turn on to a major road full of people, Elle nods.  “I was starting to think this whole town was made of alleys.”  She looks at Kinzie’s back.  “I know you can't hear me.”
After a few blocks the buildings change from residential to storefronts.  Elle looks up.  The upper stories are still apartments.  The street level are stores.
Kinzie turns right into an alley.
“Finally.”  Elle says.
Kinzie turns around.  “I'm going inside.  I'll wave you in when things are good.”  She walks through a side door.
Through the window, Elle watches Kinzie walk up to the store owner and start signing.  The middle aged, white haired man signs back at her.  Their conversation becomes a dance in Elle’s eyes and what few signs she knows lose their meaning and become movement.
A middle aged woman is talking to someone else.  A scavenger.  He's handing the woman electronic parts.  A teenaged boy.  The woman is handing him cash.  He scowls at everyone.  Kinzie.  The two shop owners.  Her.  It takes Elle a moment to figure out the boy is scowling at her, too.  He exits the shop through the side door and deliberately walks into her with his shoulder.
Elle yields and says nothing.  Watches him walk away.


There I Go, Up on the Roof Again

“What are you doing?”
“Looking at the roof.”  He points.
“Ah.  Is mom sleeping up there again?”
“No.  She's awake.”
Rolling down the driver side window, you poke your head out and see your mother up on the roof, staring off into the distance.  “Hey mom!”  She blinks and plays with her hair.  “Nin!”  She brings her knees in close to her chest.  “We're going for a ride.  We'll be back...”  You shift your voice down several notches and glance at your brother.  “When are we coming back?”
In a most unhelpful and serene voice, Inky replies.  “Depends on how long we stay.”
You snort quietly then lift your eyes back up to your mother.  “Yeah, so… We'll be back soon.  Love you.”

I Don't Know

Goals, gaols, gall ghouls.
Semper tedium: always tarry.
Liner, loner, litergically literal.
Uber flippant: over whatever.

The battle of circles and lines
A jumble of circuits and rhymes.
The prison of nickles and time
found at the sign of the crime.

Pick, peck, poked pock.
Powdered pigeon? Perseverance park?
Truth, toot, tethered tack.
Tedious timer? Terraced tock?


Together to be Apart

The goal of most writers is to construct a cohesive world.  They work hard to create believable characters that evolve in ways that make sense given their environment and the challenges they face.  If the world they build isn't the same as ours (as in many fantasy and sci fi novels), the author works to be consistent in the way that magic and/or technology functions.  History, backstory and supporting cast are all constructed in such a way to shore up the main characters and the story arc.

So what if an author built up a cohesive world and then deliberately starting yanking out the support beams one by one?  No need to speculate.  Read Viciconium. The world and characters get built.  They make sense.  Then, character's names start changing.  Street names change.  Character's personalities and backstories shift.  People disappear and reappear.  Timelines get ripped apart and sewn back together in new ways.  The world itself seems unsure of how it should be.

The marvelous thing is that the reader (me, in this case) still tries really hard to put things together.  Why?  Because that's what humans do with stories.  They try and make sense of them.  Even when the author is dismantling, rearranging and renaming his world page by page, the reader still tries desperately to find the heart and meaning within.

As a drawing of a pipe is not a pipe, so the words on a page that make a story are not a story.  What a beautiful read.  In addition to the dismantling, the book is filled with amazing shifts in tone that perfectly match the mood of every scene.  The author's use of color adjectives is particularly impressive.  Every scene is a painting and the whole book feels like touring a massive museum while each room burns behind you.


Wake up, ya drunk

You count twice.  Including your own, there are three naked bodies in the bed.  Across the floor you spy five beer bottles, three shot glasses and an empty fifth of rum.
You start to sit up to get out of bed but fail.  A combination of muscle cramps and the warning signs of a vicious headache slap you back down onto the mattress.
Trying again, you roll cautiously to the edge of the bed, let yourself down slowly to the floor with a sloppy push-up then crawl to the toilet that sits isolated in the middle of the basement.  You carefully hoist yourself to standing using the splinter cactus of a support beam then empty your bladder.
“I prefer waking to the sounds of a flowing river.”  Inky's voice startles you, causing your stream of urine to splatter on the toilet seat lid and the floor.


Needs More Spackle

Not a fourth wall.
A first corner.
See that?  Right there?  The three intersecting planes?
Kinda hints at the whole fucking room, doesn't it?


Page 18

Two people walk by.  They make a clear effort to not look in her direction.
“Her name was Karlie.”
Elle jumps, screams and spins around.  Kinzie is standing calmly and putting some electronic parts into her bag.  She closes the bag and looks up.  “What?  Aren’t you used to people talking to you from behind?”
“You scared me.”  Elle inhales slowly.
“Obviously.  Come on, we've got other stops to make.”  Kinzie leads them down more alleys.
They come to a fenced off area.  Kinzie signs, /Wait./  She climbs and slides over the fence, landing quietly.  On the other side, she knifes open some garbage bags and rummages through the contents.
When she hops back over the fence, she hands Elle her bag.  “Trade you.”
They swap bags and walk away from the area quickly.
“You carry a knife too?”  Elle asks.
“Course.  Just not so obvious.”
“Wait.  Who is Karlie, again?”
“Was.  My friend Karlie.  Met her a couple years ago.  Didn't know where she'd come from.  Knew how to sign already, though.  Didn't have to teach her.  Shit.”
Elle looks around.  “What?”
“They put a new padlock on the gate.”  Elle points at another fenced in area that has razor wire on the top.  “The old one was easy to pick.  This one looks gritty.  Let's skip this one today.”