Here’s a link if you’ve not read Part One of The Griminals | Or continue reading for Part Two below…
The lucky ones, however, like me, we just happen to spend all our time under a rock, or in a garage banging a drum, or in front of a screen under the flickering bulb of a basement office. That’s our bad lifestyles turned good. Or maybe it’s a right place thing? Or maybe it’s just our good uncommon sense protecting us? Anyway, that’s the moral of this storytelling last-stand: Life’s terms-and-conditions can change without notice.
At the birth of 2010, my wife said it’s time to turn out the lights. She misspoke, our lights were already out. Our bonds dissolving. It had happened dining-room-dimmer-style according to her: Didn’t you see it coming, my love? And Mike Tyson punched-in-the-face-style, lights out, according to me. No I hadn’t seen it coming. Timing kaput.
Only now, several years later, when I replay all our bumblebees-on-steroids jumble of life details. All our time together. All our happy pain. Like, for instance, her at the farm with a friend, and me at the duplex in Hillsboro solo. Or, more comically, her imitating the Beatles badly at the rock-band-of-the-dead den in Beaverton, and I’m just skating those asphalt waves alone in the oncoming darkness.
It’s that tendency I have of being somewhere else when the abstracted scriptwriter is cutting my part and changing the scene without my knowledge, that has put me in this lucky position of still having a living brain and heart when most people are either doing the Eater’s stumble-strut in the street or screaming in their hovels.
Timing rebooted. Mine, of course, not my ex-wife’s. She’s probably an eater chowing down on some guy’s still beating heart.
The screamers and eaters pingpong their contagion phone-game style for about two weeks before me and Milton Fife notice a hiccup: As more screamers become eaters, the chaos slows down like cars in a traffic jam or planets, moons, and stars in an aging universe. Their slothfulness will be their true death. And it will be our salvation. Or so Milton Fife says.
“Piss, take a” says Milton Fife, peering through his binoculars and leaning a bit too far out over the guard rail. The building on Fawcett is no fortress but it’s tall and already vacant, so the street level windows and doors were boarded up. Pretty much half the streets in the city have buildings in this wasted state. All courtesy of a declining national economy and rampant debauchery on the part of those who take and take. Now, however, it’s a bad situation turned good—when the down side is up and Eaters are filling the streets.
“Hey, which ones should I aim for?” I reply to Milton Fife. “The Pogo dancing clump with the hippy-haired mammoth at the center? Or the group by the car who look like they were all students at a beauty school?”
Milton Fife, a galaxy unto himself, happened to crawl out from under his rock about a week after the screaming started. He wasn’t even surprised. Saw it coming, he said. People have a natural desire to eat other people—the ultimate delicacy. Milton and I met on a fire escape. Me, with an armload of arrows and a compound bow fresh from Dick’s, and him with a bag-load of fancy English tea biscuits. The kind with a thin layer of fine foreign chocolate. A symbol, he told me, of what we’d become.
You people have such a small view. Petty concerns and the ability to foreshorten real ones, that’s what I like best about you and the whole of humanity. It makes me giggle in my blood. Plus, any of you who happens to know how that feels, you’re one of me. Except now we’ll never meet. Because, since you’re either a screamer or an eater, you’re all fucked. And you know it. You finally know it.
Before this dark and cloudy spring, I spent most my time in a small room writing phyllo-poetic journals for an online turd pool. You know—what they used to call a social utility. Daft bunnies.
Pine needles, you just fall and pile. Fall and pile. No needle knows where it will end. Tumble through the barrage of other falling needles, alike to each other in so many ways, and yet the only one in its needle skin. Tumble till they stop you, needle. Tumble, kid, tumble. It’s thick mingling in the end for most tumble buddies. A few outliers, however, land free. Untouched and untouchable, they eventually sight others of the outlying chance spread. It is then that falling and piling become flocking and future building. Don’t we all hope?
I wrote crap like that, you know? The turd pool ate it up. These days my posts go up on the sides of buildings and run more like this: Tools with tools are taught the answers to the first questions in a classroom of Industry’s own making; monsters from convenience. Convenience is the impregnation and the birthing. Tools, our babies become. Daft bunnies.
But since none of the subhumans can read, I gotta guess my “views” and “likes” would be quite low due to the limited readership. Thomas and I comprise the audience, an army of two, an army of also, and that suits me better. It’s good to have your readers be writers. Writers are > readers. They know the venom and the juice. They live it. They love it. They write and choose their own medium—skin, canvas, 80%-recycled, or digital bits. Sculpting their own style, they can take it or leave it; whether or not someone out there reads them is the least important element. That’s why writers are the best readers. This idea falls apart in the turd pool, of course, but so does everything else. Eventually.
As for Thomas, currently he’s gone small and Old World by penning his words in a blueish calfskin binder on non-bleached off-white pages. Pages with tiny words reminiscent of earthly stratification. There’s no “school” here, old or new, for Thomas. His method is simply primal, and I suspect he’s close to using blood as ink.