In the Wet Spot of Gods
Hey, before my update, let me just say that I wrote a book! If you like my writing you should check it out. If you don't like my writing, maybe one of your family members would like it. It's a book about crazy World War II inventions and it's funny and neat. If your family members don't like things that are fun and neither do you, then don't worry about it bro.
On with "In the Wet Spot of Gods!"
Stay the fuck away from ebay if you've been huffing spray paint out of a plastic bag. That's the only advice I'm going to offer. I left gold fingerprints all over the computer. I used my dead wife's ebay account. Knitter_nora. I say she's dead because it works a lot better on some strung out meth whore than the truth. Nora's banging some guy named Ray from Texas who raises alpacas. I don't even know what those are, but I hope they're mean as hell and bite the shit out of everything. I hope they fucking choke on 'em.
Sometimes I don't think I even woke up to find the keyboard painted up like some sort of false idol and dangling in an empty terrarium. I just died there on the floor of my mostly-empty basement with a plastic bag over my face. Then I realize I'm too goddamn pissed off to be dead. Hell, if I were dead I'd either be dancing around on clouds or getting knives shoved up my dick, and last time I checked neither of those were happening.
I should probably start by telling you about Oak Grove.
Open your mouth and stick out your tongue. Stretch your tongue. Strain it to its limits, until you feel tendons pulling against your filthy hyoid. Press the very needle tip of that tongue, drooling and greasy with your last meal, against a road atlas map of the state of New York. If you touched the right spot, that little dollop of spittle will be just the right size to represent Oak Grove. You can wipe the spit off the laminated page of the road atlas if it bothers you. Some day someone is going to do that to Oak Grove.
That's where I live. A fleeting fucking mess of shanties for the rich. A suburb without a city. Acre lots with poly-vinyl mansions that fill them up like bacteria in a face-down floater. The only part of the town that isn't a subdivision is the post office. Powder blue rustproof on corrugated steel. A postman with gout and the hygiene habits of a slug.
Inside the post office it's like someone took pictures of a lumber yard and then glued it onto the inside of a refrigerator box. My hair touches the ceiling. It smells like bad pastrami.
"Package," I think I said.
The postman had a smudge of shit on the inside of his thumb. It curled around a nasty half-inch skin tag. A fecal shepherd's crook. I don't know what I was on that day, methadone or anthrax spores, it doesn't matter. What matters was the effect, not the drug. You can get the same high from opiates or leaning your chest against a fence post until you black out. One is illegal and the other might kill you. What matters was the effect. I love the effect.
And right then, in that little fly-buzzing facsimile of wood paneling sandwiched in between two houses that would melt before they would burn down, all I could see was that shit on the postman's hand. Fuck did I want to just bite it off of him. Take a big bloody chunk out of his hand and spit it right back in his face. Or kick it off. Or use a kukri and just cleave it with a single fluid motion. Like a jungle animal, my eyes showing white through black face paint.
"Package." That's what I said, definitely.
I said it as I leaned in, my teeth gritted, the heat from my lungs spearing out of my nostrils in foggy strips on the Plexiglas divider. An agony of moments later and he passed a battered box through the slot. It looked like it had been shipped by the US Postal Service along a route that included several bovine digestive tracts and a kidney that had gone sour. There were shapes that might be letters showing through the chyme.
MARVIN (wipe, wipe, wipe) SEACOMB
My name, written on the package right where it was supposed to be. What was it? Why did I order it? SEA, like my name. SEA something. The drugs were being bad to me. I flicked my eyes over to the postman's hand, but it was underneath the counter. I imagined the inside of his little Carroll desk cocooned-up with excrement. He was creating some bio-organic shit-hive accretion that he sculpted with his fingers during every free moment.
I didn't say it. Didn't bother. Who cares? Fuck him.
I stormed my Escalade like Pointe du Hoc and threw that goddamn package against the passenger side window. It bounced back against me. Fuck that thing too. No seatbelt today. It was that kind of day. Let the deer walk out. Let me be ejected and just keep on going. Out into space. I'm coming motherfuckers. I hope you're ready.
No deer, no soft Martians that would burst in my jaws. Tires crunching on gravel. My house was dark. That special horrible kind of dark you get right before night when all of the drapes are closed. I went in through the downstairs sliding door and flopped onto the old couch. The box was wrapped in tape. Sadistic shit. My fingernails were useless so I attacked it with my teeth. The only other sound was the big clock upstairs, ticking back and forth. The tape was starting to cut my gums.
"What is that?"
Oh, holy shit, no. Up from behind the other couch, it was my fucking kid and his fucking albino friend Vernon. I am terrified of my kid. You don't understand, you can't. He is twice as smart as me and never gets mad or upset. For a kid to never once throw a tantrum, or scream, or cry; that's monk self-immolation territory.
"Nathan," I said as blood oozed over my molars, "I don't remember."
"Let me see." They stepped out from behind the couch and approached me as a pair.
I reluctantly handed Nathan the package. I saw a flicker and flash of reflected light. Maybe it was the pocket knife I gave Nathan on his ninth birthday. Maybe it was Vernon's pink fingernails, sharpened into points. The tape parted with a Tauntaun gut burst of packing peanuts and Nathan pulled out a brightly-colored box.
"Sea-monkeys," he said with Zen detachment.
I was going to stop him there. I grabbed for the box, but he was too quick. Another flash and the contents of the box poured out into his hands. It should have been a packet of freeze-dried brine shrimp and a plastic kingdom for them to conquer. It wasn't. It was a folded piece of notebook paper and a porous brown ovoid with yellow speckles. It looked like a lump of volcanic rock.
"So that's how the Colombians are handling things," I said as I took it away from Nathan. "You and Vernon go find something refreshing under the sink or something."
"We're going out back," Nathan replied. "We think there might be some clues in the old construction site."
"Great thinking, Encyclopedia Brown," I called after Nathan as they slid open the door. "Maybe you guys can track down some old fridges. See which one of-."
The sliding door slammed shut behind them and I turned my attention to the rock. Do I cook it down somehow? I opened the sheet of paper and turned it to face the waning light.
I took it upstairs to the bathroom attached to the master bedroom. While the tub filled with water I turned the rock over in my hands. There were no markings to suggest its origin or means of creation. It only weighed two or three ounces.
The rusty coloring washed off immediately and revealed a pale yellow surface dappled with dark spots. Like a ripe banana. After two hours the surface began to soften and peel, creating fat petals that drifted on the easy currents of the bathtub. One by one the petals unfurled and drooped away from the swelling pit. The pit grew engorged on the water and a single thin-lipped seam began to form in its center. The petals dissolved into a tangle of fleshy dreadlocks. The lips thickened and parted.
What the fuck are they growing in Bogotá?
After six hours I poked it with a ruler. It looked like a meaty football with a mouth. No. With a pussy. I looked at it again and pinched the bridge of my nose. Number four. Your call.
I fucked it. I'm not ashamed to admit that and I'm not ashamed to admit that it was good. No, it wasn't good, it was magnificent.
If you're a guy, no matter who you're with, you've had that moment at least once where you see a woman, or a picture of a woman, and you ache. You want her in the roots of your teeth. For a second, or for the time it takes for that shutter to snap, she manages to evoke everything you desire. It might be the way she's biting her lower lip or the way her tits hang over the top of her dress a little bit. It might be the curve of her neck or her big dark eyes looking up at something you can't see.
Whatever it is, for that one glimpse, she manages to capture everything you want. That simian king inside you just wants to grab her by the waist with big callused hands and take her until you're shooting spinal fluid into her guts. You want to pour yourself into her, and it literally hurts. Imagine that fuck. That's how good it was.
There was a bent cigarette in my mouth that I had forgotten to light. I'd splashed water on it and liquid tobacco had run out all over the white paper and into the filter. I was on my side, watching the cunt football. Waiting for it to do something or say something. To accuse me, maybe. Or, fuck, thank me.
I felt guilty and nasty. I felt like I'd done something wrong. Yet there it sat, dumb as a pork sirloin. It didn't give a shit, so why should I?
I wanted to bury it out in the backyard. Not like a favorite dog, but like a dead rat. Something lousy and ugly that you want out of the way. Something Holden Caulfield would call fucking phony.
I went out back in my boxers carrying it on a snow shovel. There was a storm brewing above and it was windy and starless. I walked it over to the drainage ditch that separated my property form the swaying plastic tarps of the construction site. When I tried to dump it, it hung onto the shovel. I shook it, but it wouldn't fall off. Finally, with all of my might, I swung the shovel and the cunt football released. I flung it over the drainage ditch and against one of the plastic tarps. It hit with a wet splat.
The damn thing stuck. I cursed and spit my bent cigarette out on the ground. I hopped over the drainage ditch and approached. The tarp rattled, the dreadlocks moved.
"Eeerp," it said to me.
It looked like a cyclopean cunt-faced medusa now, all gooey and slapped up onto the tarp at eye-level.
"Fuck you," I said to the thing.
It was Vernon's wispy old-man voice. His eyes glowed in the dark. He was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with my son.
"You re-hydrated it," my son explained, "and brought it out of suspended animation."
"Jesus Christ you two are worse than ghosts," I looked back at them over my shoulder. "Don't you have some coffins to pop out of and go 'blah!' or something?"
"We're here for that, dad!" The wind whipped and howled around the tarps.
Nathan raised his arm to point at the cunt-medusa and its wriggling dreadlocks. Vernon crouched down and then sprang into the air, vaulting over the drainage ditch on an obvious course for my re-hydrated lover. I felt suddenly protective of the thing I had wanted destroyed and forgotten moments earlier. My son didn't think I was worthy of it, but I wasn't about to give it up without a fight.
I swung the snow shovel at Vernon and smacked him off course. He plowed into the nearest hanging tarp with a terminal thunk. He was stark white in the darkness, naked except for a pair of briefs and scarred with a thousand injection sites of colloidal silver. His parents figured blue was better than nothing, but they hadn't taken. I'd seen his splashed piss in my bathroom before. Like a broken thermometer.
"Fuck off, Vernon!" I shouted at him as he scrabbled for purchase on a plastic-covered pile of lumber and I brandished the snow shovel menacingly.
"Dad," Nathan shouted, the wind screaming now, "let us have it! You don't understand what it is!"
I threw the snow shovel at Vernon and tore the cunt-medusa from the tarp. I cradled it in my arms like an infant.
"Eearp," it cooed.
Fluorescent yellow rain began to drizzle down from the storm clouds above. It burned where it splashed on my skin. Vernon hissed.
"You think I'm stupid?!" I screamed at the boys, clutching the cunt-football close to my chest. "Do you think I fucking care about your big words?!"
"No!" Nathan shouted.
Vernon edged closer to me. The phosphorescent rain stung my eyes. It battered against the plastic tarps.
"I've got a locked roll-top desk upstairs full of big words, you little shit!" I shouted through clenched teeth, the angriest I've ever been. "I've got benzodiazepine gel in an old toothpaste tube! Glyconubutrene in a 24-hour patch! There's a dendritic neuron stimulator called a happy worm I paid to smuggle out of gray lab in Cairo! I've got uncut cleinemorase and horse-strength tablets of vodoxic! I've got bigger words than yours in my fucking blood, kid! In my fucking shit!"
"Eaaarp!" The cunt-football shrieked in sympathy and flapped its lips against my chest.
Nathan held up a leather-bound folio. The rain flowed in neon piss-streams from its cover.
"In here, Dad," Nathan said, shaking the book and stepping to the edge of the drainage ditch. "The Conquistadors called it 'matriz del cielo' when they found one in Mexico. The Aztecs worshipped one. It's…a womb."
"I bought it on fucking ebay!" I spit back at him.
"That may be," he tried to sound soothing but he had to shout to be heard over the storm, "but it's a meteor, dad. From the XN-77 event. Half a million years ago they showered the earth. Most of them burned up-"
"Golden Palace could have bought this shit!" I looked down at the cunt-football and wiped the searing rain from its vagina.
"A few of them made it down to earth," he continued, "some of them ended up in museums, others were destroyed. But some…"
"Some what?!" I shouted and kicked at Vernon. "Some of them what?!"
"They were used. They," he hesitated, "Jesus, dad. Gandhi. Einstein. Mohammad. We'll never know who they gave birth to, but they gave birth."
"You're fucking joking me," but he wasn't.
He never was fucking joking me.
"I've already contacted the Vatican, they're-"
"The Vatican?!" Betrayal, like a box-cutter in my piss-hole.
"They monitor them, they keep any…troublemakers from being born."
They arrived on cue in a fleet of conversion vans. They wore sunglasses and black and red tracksuits with crucifixes on the back. They had lots of gold jewelry and diamond-encrusted walking sticks. One of them swung a burning censer of aromatics, another carried a boombox on his shoulder playing organ music.
They crowded the far rim of the drainage ditch, forming a line. An umbrella opened behind them with a pop and they parted to make way for a man in a shimmering white track suit. He wore a gilded miter set with diadems. The rain sent ripples across his body as it passed through him. I looked at the kindly face of Pope John Paul II.
"You're dead," I told him.
"Ehhhhh," he began, "we're like the Jedi. Our power levels are off the charts."
"Midichlorians?" I asked.
"Lucas," he laughed. "We're part of God's plan, Marvin. We're here to collect the Grail."
"This is some DaVinci Code bullshit," I screamed, "and I'm not playing around with that shit."
"Marvin, let's be gentlemen now."
"I thought you guys were all pumped about Jesus two?!" The cunt-football writhed and murmured unhappily. "What's the deal here?"
"We looked into that," John Paul explained, "it turns out the Rapture isn't that great, so we're doing our best to hold it off as long as possible. If that means aborting some meteor babies, well, I'm infallible, right? So it's God's plan."
"You're a bunch of assholes!" I backed against the tarp. "I'm not going to give it up without a fight."
"As you wish," John Paul nodded sadly. "Let's do this, boys. Custard, take him down."
I never thought bishops could move so fast. They were on me like an ironic Sponge Bob costume on a college kid. I managed to keep them off for maybe two seconds by flailing my free arm and then some padre with a bull neck and those stupid Morpheus sunglasses with no rims tackled the shit out of me. Another one grabbed the cunt-football. I hung on with all of my strength, but they were beating me with hymnals and screaming in Latin. One of them doused me with holy water and it went right up my nose.
I started choking and I let go. I let go of the football. Might not stop me from making the wide receiver draft pick for Cincinnati, but it's no way to protect your meteor lover. It disappeared into an egg-shaped reliquary attended by a pair of guys in special green tracksuits. They dashed off to one of the waiting vans while the rest of them finished up their beating cool down period. Don't want to get cramps after a workout like that.
They left as quickly and suddenly as they had arrived. Nathan couldn't look me in the eye. I held my ribs and groaned and walked into the living room. I flopped down on the couch and instinctively turned on the TV. I couldn't switch channels because TiVo was recording Showtime. I don't even get Showtime. Fucking thing learns my TV watching habits, yet it can't tell when it's recording on a channel I don't have. It's Helen fucking Keller learning to recognize road signs so she can pass a driving test she's never going to take.
"Dad," Nathan murmured.
"Shut the fuck up and get me a can of gold number three out of the garage."
He started toward the garage.
"And bring me my good huffing bag," I was surly, "the one with the dragon on the side."
They sell used rape kits in a vending machine in Shinjuku. I like that. It's specific, to the point. It even lists the girl's blood type on a sticker you can see through the glass. Hariko N., Type B, age 17. You know what you're getting when you buy that. It doesn't matter what you're on.