Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Swatsika Holding Company

“You’re young for your age.”

“Get distressed over it, why don’t you?”

People barked orders. A man built like a Coke machine dove under the raised wooden porch. Some folks drifted inside.

The house was large.

“People have got to be in a hurry these days. Always in a hurry.”

“These days?”

“Come off it. Go flex your muscles somewheres else.”

“I will not stand for this kind of…”

A dismissive wave of the hand.

“Most of the pictures I cropped that day were less than stellar. I am not talking head shots. If I were talking head shots, that would be different. I am talking just ordinary stuff like kids smiling or looking away from the camera or looking uncomfortable and scratching at itches under ill-fitting clothing maybe.”

“Thoughts of god come and go. The radio whiffs its own scent. We lose every time, but what is there to be lost?”

“I am not an instrument of the past to be used as you see fit.”

“Lately I’ve been having nothing but ordinary thoughts.”

“Let’s not get behind of ourselves.”

The sun was getting all dusky, bristling the rooftops with tinges of old-fashion charm.

A cannon, bereft of its cannonballs, gunpowder-less, sat unused and lost its luster on the browning grass of an ancient battle site.

“Can you really be that down if you’ve got nowhere to fall from?”

“The light of day was like a smile until that guy on the street accosted me, asking me for change, and I told him I only stayed the same. It was stupid, and I deserved his wrath.”

“Counting backwards is never as easy or as hard as you think it’s going to be.”

“Wedding receptions make me nervous.”

“The nights are becoming less forlorn but more tempered with boredom. It’s not an even trade off.”

“I guess whining can become a life style choice.”

Evening came on like a lottery prize.

“Gentleness can become a curse.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I care. I care about things that are happening to everyone. That includes me, of course, right?”

“It should. But don’t me wrong either.”

Elevators went up and down.

“A million different people, and you’ve got to choose me? Hell, I could’ve taken a taxi.”

“For all I care there is no difference.”

The washer stalled. The moon slipped its face under the dark hood of clouds. A cricket died. Behind torn curtains a symphony conductor decided that the bare essentials of life were enough for him. He’d given his soul to St. John the gambler.

“What can you leave behind when you’re flying faster than light, kind of, at least?”

“What? You take the bus. Come off it.”

“The days take off and sprint backwards low and high with or without sleep, again.”

“I only trust the voices of parakeets.”

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of…”

“I am the first lady of the land. Nobody can stop me from covering my face.”

“Veils speak their own language.”

“I have no bad habits of any kind.”

“You’re a gorgeous dancer, even if I say myself.”

“Life’s a missile on my shoulder.”

The crock pot bubbled. A star died. Television stations declared their sanity. Curves straightened up. Candles lit themselves. A song taught a piano to dance.

“Why is it always good lord? Couldn’t it be bad lord?”

At a certain point cramming into the backseat of a car became necessary and embarrassing. There weren’t enough seatbelts to go around. There wasn’t enough legroom. Kneeing the backs of the front seats was about all one could do, that or roll down the windows and let the wind blow your hair all around.

“There were some quality control issues with the merch. It needed to go through certain discrepancies, inefficiencies in the production process. We all knew there was something lacking. We’d see the stuff coming down the line, and it’d be missing certain things here and there. Not so much that just anybody’d notice, but we saw this stuff all the time, so we noticed. And it just kept getting worse.”

“That’ll take the lint out of your belly button.”

“Get off of my toes!”

“Sorry I am not.”

“You’re small for your size.”

A letter was sliced open with a pulled-apart paperclip.

“Charles Blondin funambulated his way across the gorge below Niagara Falls. He did it many times: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man on his back, and sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet.”


Pittering sounds came from the bathroom. A horse got a cough. A kitten became happily enraged.

“Luck isn’t something you can lend out. It happens in sporadic bursts of spontaneity. Just accept that and you’ll be much more pleased with the way your life happens to be going.”

“When I see your name flashing in my phone, when it’s in my inbox, when I dream you alive late at night, when I sing to you like a grasshopper would, when the morning creeps up on me unaware, well, then that’s different, right?”

“Be curt and courteous, please.”

A common cold was making the rounds.

“Just because you’re acting like a sea monster right now that doesn’t mean that you can go swimming in my pool, okay?”

“Oh that’s just paltry wingless crock-of-shit type of stuff.”

The stores were all closed for the holiday. A bird shat on a fire hydrant.

“Quit prying into my stash.”

“Ah. Let it go like a kid would a balloon.”

“Jolly was kittering with us.”


“Like tittering, but more eventful.”


“Trap the bundle of your worries under an army helmet.”

“We can be commonplace if we want to be.”

During the vespertine hours a worm crawled up out his hole to meet his maker, but all he got was moonlight.

“Kitchen appliances make or break me. I want a longer attention span. I need to dry out and give a rustle to the leaves of your rankled emotional make up.”

“Hardly the problem.”

“Don’t counter balance my tipping act. I am fairly balanced and headed towards the lewd side of things, if I can afford it.”

“Queries into the nature of new beginnings were rare. In fact, it doesn’t even warrant a mention, though I’ll go ahead and mention it anyway, because that’s the kind of lady I am.”

“I used to be able to tell the particular sound my father’s scooter made apart from all the other sounds of scooters that went past our house when I was a kid. I knew when he was going to be walking up those steps to our door. It gave me opportunity to prepare myself for the worst.”


“Like an ant?”

“No. More like an emmet.”


The leg of a TV tray buckled, causing the whole contraption to fold in on itself, and the Tupperware went a tumbling down.

“It always seemed as if she were a little too well rehearsed in the things that she was saying to you.”

“I need a break from sweat.”

“Don’t get all miffed.”

The wind of the incoming subway train was thrashing the hair of people waiting on the platform all around. A watch was dropped and lost in the inviolable territory of the electric third rail.

“Don’t curse my name.”

Cars parked. The weather remained the same.

“Sentimentality will get you nowhere mister.”

“What’ll punctuality get me?”

“Oh, you’re displaying some of that old potboiler charm of yours I see. Throw out your lines, but don’t forget them.”

The songs playing had cell-phone rings built into them. Everyone was constantly sneaking peeks at their phones.

“I am suffering from a hebephrenic form of hebetude. It’s dull and childish at the same time.”

“At least you’re not the boss of me.”

“Don’t turn the blame around on me, you son of a rifle.”

“Well, we’ve only had a few minutes to get this whole shindig together.”

“That was a long few minutes.”

Munitions were shared by the gun club with the belles lettres aficionados. Everyone won.

“I am not laughing at anybody here, including myself. I am ready to be swept away.”

“Then why are you wearing those damn sunglasses?”

“Offer a guess. Be my guest.”

“Hiding away?

“I’m not the type to haggle politics over highballs at cocktail parties.”

The UPS driver played his trumpet from the passenger’s seat of his brown truck while on his break. Oil dripped. Shopping bags filled with recycling.

“I’m really good at starting conversations, but I’m bad at making them end.”

“I need to get her out of that space she’s occupying in the universe of my affections. I don’t know what to replace her with though. Leaving it empty won’t cut it.”

“Coffee grounds and orange-peel slices.”

“My minds skips over things. It flits from this to that.”

“I’m sometimes lickety but I’m never split.”

Plastic healed the poor.

“Nobody cares about my face as much as I do.”

The tennis courts buzzed spinach-green underneath the white lights. Two possums attacked a rat.

Washing the hair with a cup of Drano cleared up all but the most disastrous of headaches.

“If it pleases you, or me, then it just might please somebody else too. Don’t you think?”

“No. Me? Hell. I don’t think. I do.”

Creditors called and were hung up on. The moon went down. Lions became un-tamed.

“You’re like the sister I already have.”

“Yes, and when it comes to salsa you were born to be mild.”

“Window washers of the world unite.”

“And we are sometimes born out of clumsiness or just breached ramparts of contraception.”

Some fresh air slipped through the window, and a few people breathed it in, deeply, with looks of un-consternated ease on their big-top faces. Rather than stand on tiptoe, many rubber-neckers merely relied on the hasty asides of those of the more gangling persuasion to tell about the action.

An oboe was thrown out of a fourth story window.

“I am lazy with verbs.”

“Go tantalize a misanthrope with your abecedarian wit, not me.”

A toe was shaved.

“Rules of thumb don’t have to be obeyed if they go without saying.”

“Say it; don’t bray it.”

“And you’re the one who checks her hair in the security-camera fed TVs in line at the drugstore.”

“Poop talk. Poop talk. It’s all poop talk.”

A Rufous-sided Towhee chirped a chewink into the milk of night’s waterfalling forgiveness.

Scrabble was played.

Getting up to leave at last, an elderly man with a chipped front tooth and thinning cupriferous hair, adjusted his rawhide belt, pulled up his drawers, made a low mooing sound, not unlike a fog horn, and, smiling glumly, fixed to make his final exit from the premises.