Snake shirt man

Yesterday I remarked on FB that a co-worker whose monitor stands at an angle such that I cannot see it from where I sit was moving in such a way that I had to assume he was either watching K-Pop or had a snake in his shirt and of course someone (Ms. Jersild) asked ‘Why not both?’

Indeed, why not both?

Why NOT both?

This morning, snake shirt man has an earworm, apparently, because he is singing to himself and hitting the high notes like a castrato stepping over an electric fence.

Now he is eating cake and can’t sing and eat cake.

This morning, sitting on the stairs at home, I put a cat under my shirt, because of all this.

I guess an advantage of a cat is when you have a snake under your shirt you don’t know if it wants out or is just being a snake, but when a cat wants out you know.

Animals I have had under my shirt at one time or another:

  • Duckling
  • Puppy
  • Adult dog
  • Kitten
  • Adult cat
  • Tortoise
  • Spider, but not for long
  • Other crawly things, especially ticks
  • Chickens of various ages
  • Child
  • Adult human
  • But no snakes yet

Songs of Ruination

[man]
Gather round ya bastards
and I’ll teach ya a lesson
for pissing in all the corner
and pissing on my blinds
Yeah right snarf your food up
then it’s back out in the cold
cubic meters of litter
and ya piss on the toaster
too bad it wasn’t plugged in

[woman]
Honey are you singing to the cats?

[man]
Um yeah

[woman]
Why?

[man]
It calms them while they eat.

[man]
who pisses on blinds anyways?
who gets ideas like that?
only a cute little tuxedo cat.
who pees on appliances
on the stove, boiler and microwave?
it’s the fuzzy little grey psycho that’s who…
too bad it’s not snowing
and freezing with ice
i’d lock you out all day
it would make me feel nice…

Lunchtime asteism

Man: Why do you call me Mr. Peanuts?
Corvid: If we called you Mr. Peanut we’d be exposing ourselves to civil litigation over trademark violation.
Man: Why not Mr. Sandwich? You eat more of my sandwiches.
Corvid: Peanuts are better for caching, they don’t get soggy. And you can carry three at a time in your beak.
Corvid: At least three. You can carry three easily, more than that, it might lack grace.
Man: I’ve been meaning to ask you, why do you sometimes cache vittles beneath the tires of parked automobiles? Don’t you mind your food getting squished?
Corvid: Ehn, we haven’t figured cars out 100% yet.
Corvid: They make great toilets, though. That much we know.

New cleaning lady

We have a new cleaning lady at work because the old cleaning lady saw a ghost.
I realize one normally teases more suspense out of a ghost story, my apologies.
You notice we have a new cleaning lady? a colleague said.
Yeah, I said.
The old one was cleaning downstairs and heard a lady taking a shower.
Okay, I said.
Except there was no lady taking a shower. It was a ghost.
Okay, I said. Could she like tell by the sound it was a lady taking a shower or did she check? Why would she look into the shower if someone was taking a shower?
I dunno. Maybe she could somehow hear it. She asked the manager and the manager said, no one is taking a shower.
They went and looked?
Maybe they went back and checked and no one was there.
Okay. We’ve had ghosts for as long as I’ve been here, I said.
Yeah? I heard someone died or killed themself or something.
Someone killed themself in the other building a long time ago when it still belonged to someone else.
Yeah?
Someone upstairs said they heard a baby crying. And a secretary told me she felt cold spots.
The other building haunted too?
Someone heard someone walking in a room upstairs, when no one was in the building. And someone else saw footprints on the carpet — footprints being made, as if someone were walking across the room as they watched, only no one was there making them.
Ok.
It’s too bad about the cleaning lady, I liked her. She liked to talk about philosophy.

The creature of the brilliant day

The creature walks, the ghost, the spirit from the vacant house that youngsters see at dusk, over their shoulder or their father’s arm, watching from a cracked window, a curtain moving slightly in the breeze; it walks in autumn cold, clear autumn sun in a new winter coat and realizes, this is what color was made for, a crisp fall day – gold, orange and yellow against a sky of jigsaw-puzzle-blue, birch trees knitting it together with white and black and children in red jackets. The creature is eating lunch, cookies that are not what they promised and something with penne and curry and chicken and it walks a different street, past the artist’s mansion, where the crows do not know its face, not to avoid sharing, but to avoid interacting, and not out of some misanthropy (or miscoronisy) but because this afternoon demands one’s full attention. Pavement, dead leaves, brown grass, hand rails, green grass, tree bark, tar, a scrap of paper, apartment house facades, a mother speaking on a mobile telephone in a back yard while a small bundled toddler plays, facing away from her at an angle of 45 degrees, staring at something. One crow says something to another crow in a friendly voice, not a warning voice. A black limousine tailgates a black SUV. A man jogs past wearing a light summer jogging outfit – shorts and a white t-shirt. The creature walks.

Underneath your static

Yeah I dunno.
What if you could turn off your negative background static, those echoes of the life-long big bang that formed your universe, the shame, anger and fear, the self-condemnation and self-judgement and autoaggression, the internal voices, the slogans, the cringe-worthy memories the sting of trauma the black holes of fugue and forgetting, the pleasing and the covering your ass and the projecting and just be?
Not be yourself, just be.
Just be, just think without interrupting yourself, without drama without interruption just be without thinking just be without having to just be?
Is that a thing?
What if you could do it for, say, 45 minutes?
Would it have a positive effect? How long would it last?
How often would you have to repeat it?

Oldfish

Oldfish hangs there (hang? is there? When you’re surrounded by water permanently so that you no longer even perceive it, you can’t really say swim, especially when you’re not swimming, but you can’t say ‘float’ either, not if you’re a fish, because floating… floating is the last thing a fish does, if you know what I mean, floating is just another word for turning the belly to the light, for meeting the gulls, for taking the air (except, of course, if your swim bladder goes and you lose bouyancy and sink instead, drift down, your sphere of visibility (I almost wrote sphere of light, which sounds too metaphysical) shrinking to darkness as the sunlight weakens and visibility decreases due to increased density of suspended particles in the surrounding water (which remember you don’t perceive, being ubiquitous) drift down to, finally, the bottom of this bottomless lake and stop and hear nothing but the sounds of life coming from far away until they fade away)… we’ll just say is) Oldfish is there at the center of his sphere of visibility thinking about how language brings him no joy anymore. Language used to be a thrill all the time. Not that language no longer interests him. It remains his primary way of experiencing and manipulating his world. He is hardwired for that. He remarked, he felt unexpected pride and an upswell of love when he remarked a while ago about how a reason he sometimes spoke slowly in conversation or felt it hard to keep up with a group talking fast was because everything he heard was seized upon by his mind and the language analyzed and dismantled to its constituent parts and each of them held up to the light and turned this way and that and the refractions observed and the different potential meanings and intentions regarded and correlated and catalogued, puns in this column, malapropisms here in this pile, etc., possible intended hidden meanings and double entendres and triple entendres… and Youngfish said, Aha that’s where I have it from! (meaning, Oldfish concluded, less a hard and fast belief in genetics than a feeling of (familial and occupational and etc.) relation. It was a loving (love of Oldfish, love of language) thing to say and made Oldfish happy, despite his declining interest in language, because language continued to and would always define him before anything else (surrounded him and permeated him like water, but a water he was conscious of and took great pleasure in swimming in, now maybe less than before, but still) as he continued to be here in his sphere of visibility, the dimensions of which varied according to several variables including depth (distance from source of light – sun or moon), density of matter suspended in the water (affected by depth, activity in the lake – churning by swimmers or boats, for example – season (more leaves and other debris in the fall, as well as lower angle of sunlight) and into which at any moment — this is another fact that defined him, that explained or was used as an excuse for what had a different cause, his anxiety, his hypervigilance — Bigfish could swim, appear suddenly, in which case either It was all over or Evasive action was taken or Bigfish was interested in something else and You lucked out, but You never know, in the end, until it is too late, or not too late. Oldfish hears further than he sees, he swims, his sphere of visibility moves, shrinks in the murk by the shore where teenaged humans swim and kick up mud and splash, grows toward the center of the lake until you get to the shady side then darker again although clearer water. Oldfish sees the furthest near the center of the lake, on the line between sun and shadow and there he remains a while, not basking, maybe resting, maybe eating a Smallfish, or a bug. Maybe thinking. Somewhere is Bigfish, but here is sun, and cool shade.