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The new emperor

Something had changed, or at least the City believed itself to have been changed in some way. To Matt, this was apparent at the moment he’d come through its gate. O the tannery was still there with its smell, just the same alright, and the pox-barn with its remote fires, and, well, it was all still there, but it felt different, somehow. And though a city, when you thought about it, could not really be said to have a belief, not per se, a city was, in the end, made up of nothing more than its constituent persons, so Matt stuck with his initial assessment, that the City indeed believed itself to have been changed in his absence.
He hadn’t seen people, the constituent persons, this riled up since old lady Hoover gave birth to a baby with two heads, and that was so long ago now. Perhaps there’d been another two-headed birth! Perhaps that was what all the riling was about, though this felt different, to Matt.
He scanned faces, all immersed in consultation or else gossip, and he searched for …
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2 a.m.

In the dark, beyond the hedge, the Lady Who Lives in Walgreens was outside of Walgreens. I came near tripping over her. Over her wheelchair. You’ve got to pay some attention, out in the world, it’s not like in your home. No autopilot here. There could be a lady in a wheelchair, in the dark, just beyond the hedge.
I tried to play it off, pretend, act as though I hadn’t really nearly tripped over her and over her wheelchair. I said, “Hi!” I said, “What are you doing out here?”
She said, “The night manager doesn’t come ‘til 2.”
I was not sure if that was responsive.
The streetlights, though making the nighttime navigable, to the extent it is navigable, what with all the nearly tripping, turns street scenes to sickly orange. Sure, you won’t notice it much, not normally, no, but snap a picture, look at it later on, all you’ll see is sickly orange.
She said, “I’m waiting on the mere emperor and watching the stars.”
I said, “The ‘mere emperor’?”
She said, “Or.”
I was not sure if that was responsi…


Stop, stop. There’s something I want to tell you. I’m going to stop what it was I was telling you before, at least for now, about Adri and Katy and Nasreen, and I’ll tell you this instead:

My little brother has released a music album.
Way, way back in the Nineties, which was very long ago, my little brother sat in his room and he played with my guitar. The guitar was blue and white, a Fender Stratocaster, which I still have in the other room, here at the townhouse, meaning I should say, probably, “is” not “was”, though it’s been ages since ever it’s left its big black box.
Back there in the Nineties, while I was far away, paying to be brainwashed about history, and then about law, and then about theology, my little brother was back home and playing my guitar. But he didn’t play guitar like you would play it, or like I would play it, no. No strumming or chords or choruses or verses for him. He played it like this instead: He played little sped-up tape loops, echoing like shimmers for a w…

In that unquiet vastly stitched

There’s a time machine at the end of the hall. I told you about it already next week. It’s not a DeLorean and it’s not a police box. It’s a room in my friend Jason’s house.
The red light, wait, the red light comes earlier, I believe, that bit. I have not told you that bit yet. Too early then. Or else too late. I can’t remember nor foresee which.
There’s a time machine at the end of the hall.
I went there for some clothes, for Jason, for the hospital, for where they’re cutting off his toe, that’s all, it started reasonably. I believed it to be a closet. Believed, reasonably. It wasn’t a closet and have I mentioned there’s a time machine at the end of the hall? I will.
When you flip on the switch for a light – which you didn’t, I did – a red glow appears and the sound of static fills the space. I was looking for undershirts. I found a chair, and a red light, and a little radio, and mirrors cover the walls, and when you sit in the chair like a death chamber electric chair, straps screwed to…

1 a.m.

We must go back now to 2002, I’m afraid, or I’m not afraid, really, not that, 2002 is not such a bad time to go back to as times go, and to Jamie (we’ve met her before, but later), all four-foot-ten inches of her, crouched in the darkness behind her Montrose-area loft apartments with a professional-grade camera in hand. It’s one a.m., which is something which happens every day, just like the “Lady Marmalade”Moulin Rouge version – booming out from Club Rainbow, the premiere club for, shall we say, recently released Houston lesbians, back-to-back with the aforementioned loft apartments, making sleep, for those residents with day jobs, a challenge.
Are you with me so far?
Jamie’s about to hang it up, she has her flashless photographs of Montrose night life for her photography class, when, she’s still crouched in darkness, who should come stumbling out but The Guy from 23, who probably possesses another name but is known universally, in these parts, as the Guy from 23, 23 being his apar…


I am in line at Walgreens and I am purchasing my wine for the night. And it’s cheap wine, too, two ninety-nine if you catch it on sale, only it’s not on sale, tonight, so it’s four ninety-nine and I’m really weighing this financial hit. Here I am, up in sniff-the-cork territory, if it had a cork, into swirl-it-around-the-glass terrain, if I used a glass, which I do not.
The card reader cannot read my card. My chip. Once, twice, three times, then swipe, yes, I know the drill. While I wait for my receipt (in case I wish to bring it back?), I watch the pretty lights from the fire truck out front. It’s the old lady in the red coat again, the one who rides the electric cart, a mobility chair thing. I believe she lives here. In Walgreens. Once she lived in the parking lot.
I walk out and she’s talking to the fire fighters. About what-I-don’t-know. But I’ll ask her about it. Someday.
Now it’s out across Lovett, just down from 90.1 and the hostel, past that valet who stands in the dark wa…

The further adventures of George Soros, part 617

It is a common enough occurrence, so far as occurrences go. No doubt it has happened to you as well. It’s bad judgment by which we arrive here, always. So having determined, amidst the throes of bad judgment, to compose and, what’s more, to post a comment on an internet news article, it was then I heard a pop and smelled the smell of burnt matches, whatever you call it, and I saw, right there in my bedroom, an old man with a wheelbarrow filled with cash.
“Hey, aren’t you George Soros?” I said as the fellow set about handing me a pile of bills. His pointy tail swatted the horseflies away.
This manifestation, if that be what it was, appeared premature to me, for honestly, at that moment I had hardly typed “Actually, I’m an attorney, and you’re wrong” and was at what might charitably be deemed an impasse as to where I might go from there.
Astro hid beneath the bed, distantly hissing.
“You know,” he said and he shook his wattled jowls, “You could double your money if you wrote that on a po…