Saturday, May 20, 2017


There came a time, last week I believe it was, unless it was some other time, when my mask slipped away. Or, if it should so happen that I was not wearing a mask at all, then I guess it must be that I was transformed.  

And for that moment – no more than two minutes – the meek and mild me who reveals no emotion was gone.  

I saw it in their eyes.

They could not recognize me.

My heat curled outward through fingertips. I saw hairy tendrils shoot out across the desk and surround them. I roared.

I can only imagine how, in that moment, I appeared to them. Snarling. My familiar face dripping away like wax. The tendrils from my fingers thickening into reticulated tentacles which covered the walls and the ceiling until the whole room seethed in a kind of awful peristalsis.

My words, when they came, had nothing to do with the matter at hand, which was something about a client file gone missing. I forget. O sure, maybe they sounded like client file words coming from my mouth to the others, but to me, when I roared, I knew. This was probably less about the client file than about a dead end life spent alone with bad teeth, thinning hair, and a lopsided jaw. Insults recalled from childhood. Narrowing choices, aging loved ones, and living in the dying days of democracy.

Not smart enough. Not brave enough. Not good enough.

The file was just a file, right?

My office boiled in venom and it bubbled in bile and in that moment, the others saw my true, secret face.

I was ready to ingest them. They said, “Wait. Is this the file right here on your desk?”

It was the file.

I said, “Oh.”

I said, “I guess that resolves that, doesn’t it?”

Then my office resumed its usual shape, I went back to looking harmless, and the rest of the day was average in every way. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Any second now

I am telling you – for there is no harm now in my telling, surely – I acquired the Snap from the man called T who used to run a junk cart down by the old family law building. I say “acquired” here when what I mean is “purchased.” The cart is gone now, and T with it, it seems.

I had heard things, as one does, and one day I said to him, “I’d like to buy a piece of time, please.”

T said, “You want to buy a timepiece?” He reached for the wristwatches.

I said, “No. A piece of time. A Snap, please.”

The apparatus for the Snap itself was an awful thing, like a guitar pedal, an alarm clock, and the bones of an umbrella, all connected by a series of tubes. It came without instructions.

I could only afford five seconds.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


They came down underground and they found me.

I was sitting in the dark yet they found me.

When they found me, alone underground, they said, “Come on out into the light, Harry. It is your birthday next week and we have to feed you.”

My father came. And my mother. And my brother. And my grandmother, too. I asked them how old I was to be and they answered. At first, I believed them to be hallucinations or jinn or projected daimons, but when we’d climbed out into the light from beneath the Harris County Law Library, they retained their solidity and coherence and were not at all like tenuous things.

And now you know what my family looks like and where I work and what I look like.

I swear I am not lecturing to them in the pictures. I just use my hands a lot to talk. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Violence over midnight street sausage

I am not standing.

I am not lying on the ground nor even sitting, properly speaking, but rather collapsed in a sort of lump – as though I’ve gone boneless – at the base of a lamppost. The lamppost, for its part, is standing in its usual place at the corner of Westheimer and Montrose Boulevard.

The light, way up there at the top of the lamppost, refuses to hold still. It continuously zigs up, back, up, back, like an image from a film projector gone bad. Maybe it’s trying to escape my vodka, who knows?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

First flu

My mother declared this to be my first flu, though it seems impossible at my age, me being too old for firsts by now and there having been so very many assorted ailments along the way since that day, long ago, when the doctor rent me from her. Screaming, probably.

I mean to say that I am likely to have been the party doing the screaming, not the doctor. I cannot say for certain.

Almost from the get-go there has been hacking. Fountainous discharges. Infections and wounds of all variety. Over a lifetime, this body has played host to viruses and bacteria big and small, both foreign and domestic, some of which, I imagine, stuck around and remain to this moment, here and now, biding their time.