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The Formulaic Cure

I never thought I would be here telling you this. I never dreamed it could be true. What we have accomplished, it is indescribable. But here we are. Based on your work, your years of painstaking research, Josef, we have done it. The cure is in me. I feel it coursing through my veins. I can only meekly attempt to remotely explain to you what the serum has done, nay, is doing to me as I write these words. I am a new man. It is just as you said it would be. Everything you imagined is true. It is real, Josef! I am living, walking, breathing proof! I am no longer constrained to the mediocrities that exist in others. I am no longer a slave to human kind’s ills, pains, misfortunes, or internal dilemmas. All of my fears have gone by the wayside. All past shattered hopes are now laughable! Every minuscule worry, every outlying woe—gone. Poof. Like some wizard’s cloud. Josef, I am free of it all.

You were right all along, my friend. If only you had not fled. You could be here now with me to enjoy this wondrous new feeling! How can I explain? It is exactly as you described it would be but it is so much more. It is like one hundred thousand orgasms in one hundred thousand bodies, yet they are all in you. When you take the serum (and yes Josef, we have liquidized the medicine using your calculations), there is an instant rush of elation followed by a lifetime of glory! And oh am I in it now, Josef! If Heaven were an actual place, those souls who inhabit it would be breaking down the Pearly Gates at a chance to come back down to Earth, to New Mexico, to our lab, to drink of this goodness, to know what it is to know to know all. Oh God how I wish you were here to share in this with me. This joy. This pure ecstasy of joy! Ring the bells and wake the dead! Joy is here to stay!

I forgive you, my friend. I forgive you for leaving, and I understand. Believe me, Josef, I know now. I know how difficult it was for you. Being on the verge of this … just on the very cusp of this! … You had your doubts and you expressed them deeply to me. You hid the last vital element from me. You hid it, you sly dog you! And I chastised you. I yelled and I screamed and I beat you with my terrible cane and you left. You took your secret with you. But Josef, I am nothing if not fastidious. You left with your knowledge but you left behind your apprentice. You taught me well, dear teacher, dear friend. What did you think? Did you think that you could just go away and that would be the end of it? Did you think I would not forge forward? Did you think I would not utilize my many years by your side, watching you, learning from you, studying your brilliant mind? Josef, I am only what you made me, and Josef, you made me you.

HERE I AM, JOSEF! Look at me! Look at this world and this life! For the love of God, look at the cure! It is in me! I tell you now, and I hope you can hear me: I tell you I am free. I am everything and nothing. I am the leaves and the grass and the poems and the stars. I am the new Job, beaten down to oblivion… but I do not care! There is nothing in my past that is of any worth anymore! It is all gone, my friend. It is all as if it never existed. My days of torture and my nights of indecision—they are but trifles. As I write to you now, I am whole, I am entire, and I am beyond perfection.

You had it all here, sir. Everything. And yet you left it undone. You ran, from your own design. And now I know the truth. You did it. And you kept the final piece from me because you were scared. Admit it, Josef. Admit that you were scared, and then admit that I am sacred. Because I have formulated what you (forgive me, Josef) did not have the guts to see through. And for what? Where are you now? What far corner of this rock we call a planet have you flung yourself to? Wherever you be, these words I write, they will find you. For I plan to introduce your brilliant serum to the world. And when it is done, you will hear me. And you will see me. And you will know me for how I know myself. And you will know your neighbor for himself. And believe me, my friend, you will know yourself. And we will all be one.

It is just as the poet said, “Every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” It just takes some getting used to. And

And

And when your mind is jumping like trains off a track, well you just have to focus, Josef. You just have to focus. Because everything is gold. It is all so pure. Like a thousand bodies orgasming into one no, I said, it is like one hundred thousand! Or. Yes one hundred thousand ideas that are oh

Josef. It’s …

Where are you, Josef? Lorraine is dead. She’s… she’s dead, Josef. And she has always been dead. Oh God Oh God Oh God NO. I cannot think because it makes my breathing so heavy and my chest clenches and my heart clutches and I cannot even see or be. I cannot be, Josef. For the love of God how can I not be?? How can she not be?? How can any of us BE??

The ingredient is not right. It …. I must have miscalculated. No. Cannot. I am FREE! I am BEAUTIFUL! I am LIFE!

Josef, I must die.

Come out of your cave and come save me. Or kill me. Whatever makes the most sense.

And is the least painful.

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The fall wind blows slow o’er the moors of my soul
I’m at peace with my serenity
The kitten purrs in soft, puffy bursts
I’m at peace with my serenity
The house it settles as we here nestle
I’m at peace with my serenity
Light rain comes down on our hometown
I’m at peace with my serenity

I put her to sleep by counting her sheep
I’m at peace with my serenity
Her brother’s sweet eyes are not yet dry
I’m at peace with my serenity
I pick him up and rock him calm
I’m at peace with my serenity
Soon he hushes, my heart of hearts blushes
I’m at peace with my serenity

And back to bed, “Is he?” you said
I’m at peace with my serenity
I tell you “Yes, we are so blessed.”
I’m at peace with my serenity
You hold my hand, you understand
I’m at peace with my serenity
Your ghost still looms all over this room
I’m at peace with my serenity
And then comes pain swallowing pain atop my pain
I’m at peace with my serenity
I stifle my cries by telling myself lies
I’m at peace with my serenity
We will never be what we were yes we are
I’m at peace with my serenity
You’re coming back as a matter of fact
I’m at peace with my serenity
Admit your mistake, it’s ok, you were weak
I’m at peace with my serenity
Your daughter is screaming again and no one is dreaming again
I’m at peace with my serenity
I’m at peace with my serenity
I’m at peace with my serenity

Yes.

I am at peace with my serenity.

Ode to Pie

I’ve got cherries, you’ve got filling
Peter’s bringing roll-ing pins,
Somewhere out there blackbirds flocking far far from this hot o-ven.
Dough is needed to be kneaded, please friend, squash it lov-ingly!
Where’s the timer? Holly’s got it. Oh that’s great, I lovvve to sing!

<Repeat chorus 700 trillion times.>

Fin.

For Maya.

That one can go and jump in a river, too! If you think he’s any good then you take him. For all I care, make him your slave. He is not for me. I’ve had my fill of rank amateurs and I haven’t the patience anymore to watch over wasted talent. To be helpless against the festering. To see that grace fall away. No, I cannot.

But you can wield an iron fist. Or steel. I know how much you like steel.

Don’t patronize me, Kubrick. It doesn’t help. <It helps.> I’ve too many things on my mind. Go. Leave me.

Yes, your majesty.

<Kubrick bows low then waddles away.>

I am, to my self then. <His whisper in the room slowly builds through what follows.> And though I have as much desire and passion in me as the horizon has sky, I am nothing without an army. <He goes to the window. The land is dry for as far as even a mighty king can see.> I must find him.

And then, as shocking as sudden witchcraft in April, the traveler came riding.

What is this? But another failure, surely. Come to flaunt his sophomoric abilities. The men will cut him down. Come, traveler. Come and lose the game if you must. Ah, I see you are brave. Or stupid. Whatever you may be, you mayn’t enter. You are unworthy. Ah, here comes you doom now. <The drawbridge is slowly lowered and the king’s greatest three champions ride through. The traveler charges.> You charge, would-be hero?! Ha! Then it truly is a wondrous game!

The traveler rides ferociously. His steed’s trail kicks up behind them. The very ground is demolished under his speed.

Bravo! <He applauds and cheers wildly.> Ha ha! Your unabashed courage precedes you, sir! You have turned me! I now root for you as we are in each others’ courts! It is for pity though, to watch you die.

As the bridge is raised behind them, the king’s greatest three champions meet the traveler on the path. There is hell in their fight. They would protect their liege at any cost, at life or limb. This would be the first (and last) occasion they would ever lose both.

O! O! No! Do not kill them!

A cursed wind is blowing and whether his hollering reaches the traveler is suspect. The king’s greatest three champions are cut down. Their horses flee in three different directions, riderless.

STOP!

The traveler makes his work seem like play. There is no honor in what he now commences to do to those men’s lifeless bodies. The king does not turn away.

I command you in the name of this realm and every other! <The traveler stays his hand. The king’s third greatest (lifeless) champion is spared a scalping.> You have proven yourself, sir. It is you who was meant to lead my massive army.

The king hurries down the tower. In his haste, he can see only his victory-filled future. He storms through his castle, past the ladies-in-waiting (always waiting), past his countless rooms and through his golden halls. Kubrick sees him coming and follows just as hastily. He would follow his king into Oblivion if necessary. But for now, it is only to the gate.

LOWER THE BRIDGE!

Lower the bridge! <Kubrick echoes.> Your majesty, what has happened?  <The drawbridge is lowered once again. Behind them, a larger than comfortable crowd (what Kubrick considered comfortable) was gathering. The king’s army were… where were they?> Sir, your army…

This man shall lead my army, Kubrick! Come!

The bridge is lowered slowly. The mechanism grinds. The king and his serf can now see the traveler, standing at the far edge of the moat. The king roars with pleasure. They now cross.

Welcome, welcome oh mighty champion who slew my very greatest! Tell me, where do you hail from? For I desire to know which town to shower with riches!

I am a man of your people, sir.

They had reached him. Though he wore a heavy cloak of black and the mid-day sun burned down on them, the traveler perspired not at all.

Yes yes. Go on.

The traveler’s face was made of twisted, polished vengeance. He hid it to perfection.

I have heard the news of your challenge. I have heard the news of all the failures you received.

It is true that bad news travels.

I have seen with my own eyes how you do govern.

Your majesty, might we …

Kubrick turns. The villagers are unreadable masks.

Enough! Lead my army, Champion! Together we will make our world great as it once was!

At first, he does not acknowledge the presence of the steel in his belly. Surely, he has fallen victim to some cruel dream. But no. Now he can not not feel it. It is the entire blessed universe.

MY LORD!

Kubrick removes his sad blade from its sheath. He rushes the traveler and can only manage to die bravely next to his king. They traveler lowers them simultaneously, by the power of his two steady arms.

The king gurgles something. He knows himself to be dying and yet he remains, nonetheless, firmly impressed with his murderer, who now speaks.

You have turned your kingdom to dust. Go now to the eternity of your own making.

The traveler drops both his swords and with them, those men. The king’s body crashes and his life pours out of him as he settles beneath the hundreds of plumes of dirt.

At last…

He dies.

On the drawbridge, the people gathered all know—Anarchy is here.

The traveler grins viciously. From the castle’s high walls, the king’s soldiers sigh.

Everything was fine and good and people all got along,
Someone invented a mighty contraption that turned pollution into sunshine,
Nicotine turned to dust and cancer was eradicated,
The economy hadn’t seen a dark day for well over 100 years
and criminals long ago had turned to a life of hospital volunteering.
America changed all her town names to “Splendid Place,”
and cities were thereafter known as “Happy Havens.”
Literature was Utopian in nature and not a single reader cared for the past…
Until Twilight hit the Public Domain.

Life as we knew it was shattered.
Atlas shrugged and was found dead in a ditch
And children ran amuck in the cornfields.
Ravens pecked our eyes out and we laughed as the blood poured out of their sockets.
Bella Swan’s perfect shining love had returned.
He glistened under the guise of Project Gutenberg, creating his new realm of evil.
Billions of readers once again lost their way.

I have known the worst times I will ever know.
–I hope to God that statement is true!–
And so I cannot live another day
In this silly, heart-shaped world

with no light

and no moon.

Character Flaws

I don’t believe we’ve officially met. I’m the one who makes you move, sing, dine, swim. I fill your air with lungs and smoke and then I fix you with a broken arm. Yes, you surely owe me a bundle. Come on now. Get off that ledge. I’ll clear all the internal organs from your sky. There you go. Breathe, brother. It’s all right. It’s all right. Yeah. You’re just tripping. Sorry you don’t remember how it started. I put it in your drink when you went to the bathroom. Man, what a wild fucking night! Did you know you’re a murderer now?

What? Who said that?! I would never! You’re ok. She’s alive. I was just messing with you. She’s waking up right now. She’s in your bed. Her head is swollen from your jug of wine and she is missing you. The light in your apartment is too bright. She is closing your curtains and making your bed. Damn she’s a sweetheart. How’d you manage to get her? Oh right. A gift from me. You’re welcome, you lucky bastard. Hey, do you think she’ll make you eggs?

Don’t cry. It doesn’t become you. It’s not in your character. Or is it? God you are beautiful to me. Go ahead and change. I love that.

Look at your watch. It’s six o’clock on a Saturday. The world is waiting for you. She’s your oyster. What are you going to do? Don’t look at me like that. It’s your life. Make up your mind. Go inside or jump? If you jump, I will most likely catch you. Or stop you before you can. Or maybe I’ll just let you die. End of story. Goodbye. Maybe your show of emotion here is actually just pitiful to me and I want your pain to ease. No. You’re out of your head and crazy right now. You don’t even know who you are. The drug is wearing off and leaving long, thin, black traces of madness on you. I don’t like this look on you. Shit, I apologize, all right?

It’s too late now. She’s leaving. She’s gathered up her clothes and her purse and she’s gone. I think we’ve really done it now. She doesn’t like to lose control. And she told you that. She’s crazed in her head now, too. But she resents you for last night. I’m sorry buddy. Maybe you should just fly.

NO, I WAS KIDDING YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!!

Stop.

Re-write.

“Thank you for a wonderful evening, Sam,” she said, looking out over the buildings at the coming morning. “I feel safe with you.”

“You sure that’s not just the wine talking?”

“I only had two glasses!” She punched him playfully on the shoulder. It felt to him like a fly had landed there. She was so small. He laughed.

“I’m not quite sure how we’ve got here,” he said. “But I am extraordinary in this moment.” She smiled. And she kissed him.

“And I am extraordinary, too.” They knew it was true and their hearts swelled with the knowledge. Fresh air filled up their lungs and the sky moved inside them.

Stop.

I’ll see you two again. Have a good day. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t make you.

The Almost Cake

I was in the grocery store yesterday.
(Totally true.)
I walked up and down the aisles.
(As I tend to sometimes do.)
I almost bought some cake mix
(for to bake a cake with.)
Because of you.

But I didn’t. And I don’t know why.
Somewhere, a friend cried (but did not know why.)
Existence is a tricky business.