Flies

I respect a fly’s imperturbability. When I swat one away from my food, he buzzes up to my face, and circles off, as if the bzzzzz of his wings is yelling directed at me for my rudeness. He then persists at my food. If I get mad and try to kill him, he will zig and zag me with cunning and speed, but he does not give up his cause.

A fly is always a “he” to me, not beautiful and dirty. Flies are old men who don’t take shit from young punks like me.

Unless I squash them, then they are just dead.

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Ryan

Ryan

A man sits in his apartment, lonely and lazed on the couch watching bad TV. An advertisement comes on for a dial up prostitute service. There are beautiful girls, made up and shining, perfect tits and their vagina’s ready to be filled. He dials and they offer a number of names to choose from. He chooses Ryan. He pictures a twenty-four year old redhead, hair to her shoulders the same length all the way around and curled in at the bottom towards her neck. He pictures blue eyes and fair skin and a porno plays out in his mind.

A knock at the door.

Ryan enters, tall, with short black hair and a black leather jacket. His jeans are black, as are his shoes, but he wears a tight white T-shirt.

The man is dumbfounded. “You are a man?”

“Yes?”

“ I was expecting a woman.”

“Ryan. I’m Ryan. You ordered me. Hey can I use your bathroom a minute?”

The man nods and points at a door across the room. He feels trapped, he did order Ryan, but surely the ad had only women. When Ryan comes out he tries to explain but Ryan expects payment.

“I came all the way down here fella, so how do you want it? What are ya into?”

“I’m terribly sorry, I don’t want anything.”

“Then why did you order? I can’t come all the way down here just to be sent home, I have to make money, right?”

“Yes, I can see that, but I don’t want to fuck you. I could try but I don’t think I’d enjoy it much,” the man pleads. “You know?”

A smirk pulls on Ryan’s face, “Yes I suppose you wouldn’t, but I still need to get paid.”

The man pulls money out of his pocket. He counts through the bills, all folded separately and disorganized in his pocket. He counts them out. “How about I give you fifty?” he asks, holding out an offer of cash, and still leaving some folded bills in his reserved hand probably equaling thirty bucks, but it’s hard to tell.

Ryan thinks hard, and accepts swiping the money and heading for the door.

“How much would it have cost me?” the man asks.

“Depends on what you would have wanted.” he pulls out a piece of paper, and on it are various sex acts with prices: 1 night $130, anal $30, facial $20, cuddling $40, whipping $25 etc.

The man looks at the list, he had expected it to be more expensive. Ryan has left and the man stumbles to the door still looking at the paper, then looking out the door at Ryan leaving down the hallway of his apartment he calls, “Have a good night, Thank you.”

Ryan puts a hand up over his head, waving but not looking back.

Hamburger

He was born of grass and grain, broken to the smallest elements, reprocessed in way of protein, fat and carbohydrates, and grew into the left rear of a black and white spotted Hereford. Life was slow, his host was lazy and fat, and so thus was he too. He longed to work and flex his muscles but exercise existed only in the way of walking and casually drifting during the graze. Over the years he grew bigger and perfectly marbled with delicious fat.

One day his host was thrown into a chute and a needle full of steroids was pumped into him. It burned for days. This was just the beginning of the pain he would feel in his life. The shots would continue, always in the ass, always in him. Then one day, he and the spotted Hereford would be herded inside a truck and transported for a grueling 400 miles, then carted into a factory and put in a long line of others just like them. The fear of his host would send endorphins into him and he would tense with the fear as well. As they approached the front of the line the fear great unbearable and the meat of his whole body was tainted. Then a bolt tore through the skull and brain of the spotted Hereford and it died.

He did not die though, his lifeblood drained slowly from him, and strength of his cells depleted slowly and agonizingly. He was hung from a hook among thousands of other parts like him. It was cold, colder than he had ever been, and he didn’t move for almost a week. Then he was pulled down by a short man with a thin black pervert mustache and short hair, and brown skin of course. The man brought him to a small room, and cut him, his body, from the the bone he was connected to. Next he was shoved into a grinder with hundreds of others, all abused and unhappy like him. They were torn apart and mixed together.

He was packaged next. In hundreds of different packages pieces of him struggled on Styrofoam, encased in saran wrap. He could hardly breath and felt himself beginning to rot, a hundred fold times at once. He was then moved in another trunk and placed in a store.

Joe bought one of him, and Steve, and Mary, and Phil and Irene. A restaurant named Dottie’s Cafe bought him in bulk. Slight variations of his torture happened in their homes and businesses. His body mutilated with burning spices, and left to sit and marinate in pain. Then heat, always heat. They burned him alive, till most of him was dead. Some left more alive than others, but always his outsides were charred. Then he was eaten.

Chewed up and swallowed, mixed with different acids and pushed through the stomach of a human, and now and then a dog. There was not much left of him any more, his senses no longer wished for it to stop, wished for those peaceful days in the field, getting fat in the sunshine. At this point he just went with the flow, which eventually ended up coming out of his new host as shit, or passing through the element process again and becoming proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The parts that just became shit, ended up on the ground. It sucked him up and produced grass and other new vegetable life with what little nourishment was left of him.

He never died, just continued on and on, but it could be said that there were parts of his existence that he enjoyed more than others.

The Mechanical Beast

The Mechanical Beast by Jon Raby

This story began long ago – three years ago for Awlison, one of seven pups – but well before this the story began. It began when there were forests less inhabited by humans, when wildlife had room to run, and hunt, and live. When humans were not encroaching on the wilderness with buildings and toxic run off, and the systematized harvesting of so many homes within the forest. This story should begin before all of these terrible forces of destruction but it will not, instead it will jump right into the middle.

A truck slammed its breaks and from behind the metal grill, a deep, low pitched honk steadily yelled in all directions. The she-wolf could feel its intention was focused at her, she froze not knowing what to do, for a split second all of her being just stopped. What this huge beast was she did not know, but she was aware that it could surely outrun her, and was large enough to kill her quickly if it wanted to, if she could only know where its head was located.

When the honk stopped she came to her senses. The giant beast of a truck was no longer moving, she had not been attacked. She was still alive. Quickly she darted out of the street and back onto the small black rocked ground next to a building. She was unaware of her surroundings as she had never seen things like this before. When first she ventured into this unknown world a few hours earlier somehow her senses had been scrambled. Now she knew not which way was home, something she had never before been at a loss of, and the things she saw seemed to get stranger and stranger. Colored lights, big machines, strange structures, even the animals here wondering in a daze completely unaware of her, and seemingly each other as well as they passed by without a glance. They went inside of structures, which looked to her a cross between a tree and a cave, and came out again a few minutes later with something white in their paws that they put to their mouths again and again.

The sun had not yet risen, but soon it would. Awlison had ventured into this city setting in the middle of the night on the trail of a raccoon. She was hungry and had to feed the puppies in her stomach. She and her mate lived in a section of the Medicine Bow National Forest in southern Wyoming, where the elevations range from below five thousand feet and jump to over twelve thousand. It is a place where farm land is sunny and within thirty miles snow banks stand six feet high. Awlison was just a wolf though, in fact a sheltered wolf, she had never ventured down to the farm lands to pick off sick calves. She lived high up in one of the ranges and trekked through the snow to her den. Only with puppies in her belly and a sick mate at home, did she dare to travel so far away from home, and to such unknown places. On the trail of the raccoon she knew she was in danger, but the drive for food had pushed her to follow her prey farther than she should have, and when it ducked under a parked car and then scrambled out the other side and up a building, she had already lost her bearings. Slowly she had begun to pull them together and realized where she was, or maybe better to say she realized she had no idea where she was. The smell of a local restaurant smoking meat at two in the morning had encouraged her to push on, and the excitement of this never before seen place had dulled her senses. In those early morning hours she pushed into the city much farther than she should have.

Now she was fully aware of her stupidity. Hiding in darkness against a dumpster on the asphalt of a cafe parking lot, Awlison’s mind ran frantically with fear and need. She needed to get back to the forest, but which way had she come? She was nearly a full day’s run to her den and to her mate. She knew that if she could find her way out of this place and back into the woods, she could make her way home to him, but the hunger she felt was more than just an urge, it was weakness in her muscles.

The first rays of the sun shot down on the road in front of the cafe, only slightly visible to the wolf. A door opened from the rear of the cafe, and a man headed directly at Awlison. She pushed back against the wall with nowhere to go. Her butt tucked under her, and her spine formed a large C shape. She stared intensely at the man as he approached, ready to fight if need be, but again the obliviousness of these animals surprised her. He came within feet of her, threw a garbage bag in the dumpster, turned and headed back to the door he had come from.

A growl rumbled from the wolf’s chest and out of her sharp teeth, “Grrrrrrrrrr.” It ended in the name of her mate, “Rrrr—eg”. She called for him, a longing that traveled over mountains and through the distance that lay between them. And he heard her distress, laying on the floor of their den, he pulled his strength together and tried to stand. He could not though, a dead salmon he had eaten contained parasites that had infected his body, Salmon Poisoning it is called and ninety percent of canines who get it die. Grreg’s body was trying desperately to fight now, but the parasites were winning.

Awlison sat for a while, still lost on what to do, but it was time to go, she could not stay in that parking lot forever. She tiptoed forward out of the dumpster’s shadow, and slowly to the corner of the building. On the street there were a few more people. As the day was beginning more and more people would arrive, but the wolf did not know this. She watched them, meandering along, though no turns lay in their path, always they held something in their paws.

She was able to move behind building for a while, across little parking lots and driveways and under bushes. She found holes in fences to push through, but this was difficult with her wide belly. She came to a brick wall with no way past but to go to the street. Creeping along it, to the end she came to the black asphalt, another car sped past, still some unknown creature to the she-wolf, causing her to pull back. She built herself up for a moment and with an energized fear she jumped into the road, and ran across it. A man watched, surprised to see a wolf in town, and pulled out a phone to call the police. He believed a wolf in town must be crazy and dangerous, so it must be shot. This was only sometimes true, and not in this case.

Once across the street the she-wolf was again able to make her way out of view, but the farther she went the less familiar things became. More buildings, more cars, everything became louder, she heard whistles and machinery from a not too distant factory. It seemed she was going deeper into the town but her senses told her this was the way to go. The truth was that she was close. The town lay in a valley diagonally stretching towards her home. She was on the correct side of the valley and needed only make a hard left to get out of the town and into the woods where her sense of direction would function better, but her current path kept her in the heart of town.

Eventually she came to a large field containing sheep, it stretched acres and lay on the corner of the town. Beyond the field she did not see mountains, instead she saw more grassland and then large buildings of a distant city. Awlison could not decipher the buildings as a city, and the green of the grass pulled her to enter the field. From within the house of the property a boy had seen her, his awareness keen due to an interest in his surroundings, far less dulled than that of an adult. When the boy told his father, the man grabbed a rifle and went out to protect his property. In the boy’s heart he was saddened for this mistake in telling his father, he felt something wrong in killing the wolf, but he was young and mutable and listened to his father’s instruction of halting a danger to the herd. The man drew the rifle to his shoulder and looked through the scope, scanning the field tactically in a zigzagging left, right, down; right, left down pattern to cover all the space that lie in front of him. He almost missed her, but then there she was, white fur blurred with gray interspersed throughout her straggly hair, kind of small he thought but still dangerous. He aimed the crosshairs a little in front of her, breathed in deep, and while exhaling steadily, he fired.

The shot rang out across the land, a high pitched sound of a bulled cutting through the air, tore the peacefulness of space. Before Awlison recognized any sound, the dirt in front of her face exploded, some kicked up into her eyes, blinding her, and the concussion smacked hard the inside of her ears. She spun, back the way she had come, running as fast as she could. Another patch of dirt exploded behind her, she shifted her course with each of these blows in a lawless escape. The man’s arm flinging bullets into the chamber, each with four jolts of the bolt action mechanism. He was firing too quickly and in the she-wolf’s instinctual movements she seemed to turn at just the right moments.

She made it off the property and onto the street, running at top speed in a panic past cars and people, the town now alive with the risen sun. They pointed and yelled at her, some in fear, and some in anger. Cars honked, the sound familiar to her now. After what seemed like an eternity she found a long driveway on her right and shot down it. There was an old rickety house at the end. She came up to a wood pile and burrowed her way between a crevice in the stack. This was not a good place to be but her body was weak, and the adrenaline could not carry her further. She hid in there for nearly fifteen minutes before thinking of coming out. Fear had overtaken her, she was transformed into a creature other than herself. Unknown to the wolf time was of great importance. Animal Control was on their way to the area and soon they would come down this driveway.

Looking at the house she smelled something. Chickens, she saw chickens. She crept out towards them, they were loose in the yard, foraging for bugs and worms in ground. When Awlison, the she-wolf, babies in her belly, wild with hunger and exhaustion, was close enough, she charged at a hen, grabbed it by the neck and killed it instantly. The other chickens squawked and ran in all directions calling out to no one and everyone at the same time. Awlison tore into her prey quickly, not taking it back to a safe place to eat, for there was no safe place. She ripped into its chest, blood rushed out of its still beating heart and feather flew in the air. She swallowed the meat without chewing it.

Still on all fours, she looked up and saw a man. He stood staring at her from the steps of the house. She jumped back a short distance, and got into a defensive stance facing him.

But the man did not move.

Her eyes darted left and right and then back to the chaos from where she had come at the end of the driveway.

Then the man spoke. “Alllllrrrriiiighttttt.” he said. Very slowly and softly.

The wolf did not understand his word, but the tone soothed her a little.

He backed up slowly and pulled the screen door open with a hand behind his back. He continued to face her. The door squeaked, but he stayed calm.

Awlison wanted so badly to run, but she rooted herself, waiting for her surroundings to make the first move so she could react.

But the man did not give her reason to react. “You’re oh-kayyy.” He assured her, and stepped slowly backward, one foot now inside his house.

She just watched him, not moving a muscle.

The man barely moved as he turned his head off to the left, and his eyes followed further to the side of his house and beyond. In his mind he told her: this way.

She took her eyes off him and followed his direction.

Eyes on her again, his mind pointed past his house and focused on an image of tall yellow grass, and then a forest in the distance.

Awlison was too relaxed, she tensed again.

But the man exhaled and stepped backward all the way inside the house. “Go–” he said to her loud enough for only him to hear. And he was gone behind shadows.

She stood there not moving, but she could feel him inside of her head, urging her to move to the side of the house. One step at a time she crept to the calling, the chicken still in her mouth. On the side of the building she could see broken down cars and metal scrap. The large beasts lay in wait for her, but they did not move, they were not alive, she could now tell. With courage she walked to them, sporadic head and eye movements still darting in random directions. Behind the bone yard of old machinery was a long field and way off behind it were trees.

The she-wolf just stared for a moment. Letting her senses tell her what to do and if she was safe. In confirmation with the latter she scarfed some more chicken meat down her throat, then leaving most of the carcass on the ground, crept off through tall yellow grass. Then she broke into a run and headed for the forest, and for her den with Grreg inside working hard to win his own battle for survival.

She heard the man again in her head. She felt praise from behind her, as the man stood behind a window watching her run off. “Good girl,” he said, under his breath.

Staring at my Whiskey

Alone I sit at the old tavern on the corner of my block – dim lights and decaying 80’s hits pull me deeper in my chair. Alas I stair at my glass as my eyes have outworn their welcome on the waitress in front of me, the tattoos already studied on her plump arms and going down onto barely hidden heaving breasts. I’ve watched every ice cube slowly melt away before I take a sip, watched the dark color of my whiskey waiver, and fade away. The water off the cubes forming fine spirals before spreading into the alcohol and killing the bite from its taste. I look around me, to the laughing and flirting of the others in the bar. I loath them in my envy, until my thoughts work hard to convince me otherwise. I hearken to their laughs for they pierce my solitude. They are stupid in their drunkenness, while I am stoic. Moreover I expect their conversation to be well below my musings, even under my own intoxication. Again my gaze shifts to the brown liquid in front of me and blurs as I drift into thoughts of past happiness. I dive into the liquid and come out the other side of the glass. In my mind I am in a hot climate and everyday my life feels purpose in being a foreigner. I hold hands with the one I loved and laugh with friends. The summer rains come and pour down on me, soaking my clothes but within hours they will be baked dry. Walking through back streets with my friend I search for a pool, or break into one later in the night. Where smiles abound and good times blossoms I intercourse with the past. In the bar again a smile cracks my face as I pull from this dream back into reality. With a big gulp I finish my drink and head home.

On the Upswing

It is funny how time happens. How we change and grow. And how we recede back to ourselves. I have been in and out of such strife lately, self-imposed mostly. My want for challenge meeting my actual challenges. I feel so lost at times, feel like I am dealing with too much, and pride myself in my ability to handle it. This must play a part, my vanity in this respect keeping me in a place I wish to get out of, but cannot make wise enough choices to do so. But slowly as I acknowledged where I am making these shortcomings I make small steps to get myself out of them. It is an ebb and flow, I was so low and now, where I am starting to do good and see a good path, I feel so high. I cannot look at it logically, I must see it as an out of my control way of the world. When I do I feel the lows instead of the highs, I wish I could take anti-depressants and stay on an even keel. But I cannot allow that. I worry that the great parts of life will be dulled. Right now I think I am about to get a new place to live, my own place for the first time since I have moved back home. I am surprisingly excited to start my next semester of school. I am getting comfortable in some relationships that I have been shy about, and most importantly I am feeling positive. I have been wanting to find some settled feeling, to be in a content place, but it has been elusive. Now I think I may find it, or some part of it. I know the ebb will come, I will always be drawn to more strife but if I have something stable to fall back on in that strife, I imagine it will be easier.

It’s almost finals and I find myself writing this just for fun?

Gatsby Uncovered: Daisy’s role of Svengali

Despite Gatsby’s role of hero and or central character in nearly every criticism of The Great Gatsby it seems clear that this is in great error. Daisy is the true main character, she is the driving force of the book, the connecting factor and the victor in the end. The Great Gatsby has been misinterpreted from a male-centric standpoint up until this time, portraying Daisy as weak and emotional. I will show you how Daisy is clearly the feminine heroine and main character of the book.

Past reading have seen Daisy as a weak and fragile woman whose wants and needs are debated over and fought over by Tom and Gatsby, but those needs are not actually true to her. In the scene where Tom and Gatsby confront one another over who Daisy loves, Daisy’s voice is barely heard. Both men seek to speak for her as Gatsby says, “‘Your wife doesn’t love you,’ said Gatsby quietly. ‘She’s never loved you. She loves me’” (116). Daisy for her part stays mostly quiet, allowing the men to speak for her and fight for her. She is seen as afraid to speak, but the end result of this scene is that she has two men and can easily choose either one. Though she seems weak she is actually in control.

Lets cut to the chase here. Daisy is the Svengali of the story, she is the underlying driving force through all of the book. First she is why all of the characters know each other. Daisy meets Gatsby five years previous to the story and leaves in him such a want for her so strong that he devotes the entirety of the rest of his life to attaining her. Daisy is Nick’s cousin and why Nick was around to witness the story and then write it. Nick would have no story to tell without being related to Daisy. Jordan was her bridesmaid and friend. Tom is her husband. Myrtle exist merely as an opposition to Daisy’s happiness, an opponent to take Tom away from Daisy. She is the Villain or enemy, which every story surely needs. There are no other characters with such a central role in the story as Daisy.

Next Daisy is the driving force for Gatsby, the assumed main character of the story. It is made clear that everything he has done was in order to win her, a five year plan, meticulously enacted. Daisy turns Gatsby, in all his power and position, into a little boy, when they first meet again after not seeing each other for five years, he become full of fear visibly shaken, so much so that Nick reprimands him, “’You’re acting like a little boy…not only that but you’re rude. Daisy’s sitting in there all alone’” (84). The image of him looking out a the green light of Daisy’s house is unmistakeable a sign that he is entirely devoted, even controlled by Daisy, his need of her having full control over him. “But I didn’t call out to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling” (33). Had young Jimmy Gatz never met Daisy he would never have had the drive to succeed to such lengths as he did.

Myrtle’s death is the climax for Daisy’s story. Myrtle who is seeking to steal Tom away, to steal away her husband and the father of her child, Daisy’s opposition. Daisy win Tom back during his fight with Gatsby, but also kills her competition literally, destroying any change that Myrtle could attempt to keep seeing Tom on the side. Daisy was driving when the car hit Myrtle and killed her, and Gatsby chooses to take the blame for her. Daisy not only is victor but she finds a scapegoat to take any consequences. It is a beautifully enacted victory for her.

The book ends with all opposition to Daisy’s happiness gone. She goes on a trip leaving all behind. She proves to be a strong woman not a weak one. She gets what she wants and she does it without mercy. Though it is not the surface view, it is still undeniably that Daisy makes out well in the story and that she brings the story and characters together. In the 1950’s a strong, non-gentle, non-submissive, non-virginal (yes she does sleep with Gatsby, cheating on her husband) and non-angelic woman for a main character would be unheard of. The same is true for the period the book represents, the 1920’s as well. Nonetheless if we look below the surface we can see that she was the main character and she does break the patriarchal view of the stereotypical woman.