I remember getting shit stone drunk on Skyy Vodka and Southern Comfort and writing this while Matt and I were laughing stupidly about how alcohol is yeast excrement. We were commiserating about our mutual lack of girlfriends. I pulled this from a notebook that was so badly scrawled it took half an hour just to puzzle through some of the finer details. For example the “(wanna fuck)” looked like “Uwannd7uckI”
Maybe my future time traveling self will go back and tell me not to be so soggy since I ended up marrying the girl a few years later.
yeast poop makes me happy
one creatures waste gets me wasted
but the taste leaves someone to be desired
like that girl I ‘love, care for, appreciate’ (wanna fuck)
the best substitute for intoxication
is sex con amigas, ya dig?
why else would I be drunk
when sobriety becomes society you
gotta make a change towards impiety
and cut loose the obligations
all for naught or more they are
or aren’t if you’re stuck
nobody knows whats going
on but they’ll tell you anyhow
that’s why Christians are tight fucks
they can’t relax to save themselves
This is one of the complementary short stories to my first novel, Fair Coin. Before I finished the whole story I really wanted to set up a bigger ‘world’ and then use the book to just draw a line through it.
In Fair Coin one of the Defining Moments comes when protagonist Maynard revisits a dark chapter (literally a deep crimson) by visiting a page in his journal that was marred by a tragic encounter with a troubled student.
In a nutshell Maynard happened to be in the library when a psychotic kid shot the girl who rejected him and then himself. Blood spattered all over the open page (hence it became crimson, actually a rusty brown color) and then the troubled kid shot himself in the head.
There’s an allusion to a third casualty because the bullet travels through the troubled kid’s head and (after being slowed and deformed) hits another student in the head.
This story is about the third casualty. It is incomplete but I may get around to digging out the paper version and finishing the transcription at a later date.
By Seth Keipper
Imagine, friend, that you could be reborn in the midst of your busy American life. I can tell you what its like if you care to shuffle a few pages of my busy life into yours. Wiped clean, with only your most basic functions intact you would reenter this world trembling. But life is not so gentle as to allow smoothness of this sort. Your tale would be as a marathon through a hurricane on the darkest day the world has seen.
Some will call me cynical no doubt. They themselves have never been teleported from a quiet evening of study to the bottom of an icy lake of dread. Nothing compares to the horror of your forced ascent, lungs and mind burning in equal time to the top. Only when you arrive there is ice. So much ice blocks you that all your willful blows create not even cracks. Yet somehow through the pain you survive long enough to penetrate and escape. For a fleeting moment you burst forth, a triumphant whale into the shining night landscape. And the lungful of air you were so desperately fighting to exchange for another is ripped from your body into the vacuum of naked space.
Not so many words will assuage your ills if you do not let them. This can solve nothing without proper reception and that can only be provided by you. Keep in mind, no rules, reject rules without choice behind them. Simply become aware and then attack as soon as you are able. Make Patton proud.
Afterwards you may look back on this passage and wonder why I wrote you in the first place. But a night or two spent away from my usual vocation is no great loss to me, and the potential gain is limited only by your resolve. But though black is a great comfort to me, I shall paint you a picture with as much prismatic flair as I possess. And I will hope you reject your spectrum as I have. We begin.
Bang. You awake in stillness. Everything is white, bright and an echo of a very loud noise hangs on the edge of echoes. Dreams you have left behind in awareness, none followed you into this new world.
Nothing is here though. Well, wait a bit, there is a rustling noise somewhere. You have no sense of self, of time or direction and locating it would be impossible. All of your world is white and you don’t know what white is. Nothing is different, nothing contrasts and white is as meaningless a word as zero and amount. But you couldn’t even count that high if you tried.
The sound you cannot identify is the friction being caused by your exhaled air molecules onto the sheet lying on your face. Tiny little blips rubbing and bumping into each other form eddies and currents invisible and undetectable. Sheets have no apparent need or function, they merely are. And the concept of a molecule is as inconceivably remote as extra galactic politics.
You don’t even wonder if anything lies behind the sheet.
Vague discomfort accompanies spent time under the sheet. Without sense of self, of purpose, of place, desire and ability you simply feel irritated. If you were a microbe you could at least flagellate elsewhere. Instead you lie under the sheet and latch onto whatever little sensory data comes your way. Then there’s that sound again. But different this time, unlike the friction of breath this sound is sharper and more distant. It must be outside the sheet. Outside?
Another sensation is creeping up on your awareness now. Not that your awareness is in any kind of shape to exist beyond animal reactions. Your brain is still gearing up and knowing that might bring solution or comfort in and of itself, but its mighty faculties are not yet fully operational. All this has no place in the sheet, confusion at last. This first feeling is progress, a very vague and remote distinction between what should be and what is. You still have no idea that your oxygen supply is decreasing, but your cells do.
Invisible things change inside your infrastructure. Hormones speed to your heart which speeds nutrient delivery to cells more quickly. Your ignorance lies in front of an operation as complicated as Overlord and as mundane as blinking. The body does not need higher order thinking though. About a billion chemical clutches slam successively into high gear. Muscles, that cannot be exercised but by living, contract in perfect concert. The result is an awesome alteration in lung pressure suddenly increased and the resulting cough. What tempestuous fury your body has created! The boundary of your universe leaps away briefly and settles back on your brow.
It works. Breath comes much easier now that a pesky wall of phlegm has been resettled. Such wonders your hulking automaton body can do for you, and you aren’t even aware you possess it yet. Sounds outside the sheet grow louder. Louder?
Finally the rudimentary gears of your brain crank out a pitiful and weak realization, something is beyond the sheet. You are not yet a thing though. Only the sheet is a thing for you. Speech, worry, nurses, awareness and miracles are miles down the road. So are miles, so are roads.
Barely in contact with your nose the sheet, having resettled itself, causes a strange blindingly quick reaction that causes you to wrinkle your nose. You have a nose! What’s more you have a face and feet and other parts of the body. One by one they come to your awareness still without name or form. Now you are a thing, awareness of body but not yet of self is achieved. Also after long effort you succeed in wiggling your fingers. If you could comprehend a word like universe you would be lord and master of it. But for now you are the ruler of the sheet!
Like any good leader, you explore this new and uncharted world. Fingers send signals of ‘cool’ and ‘soft’ to your brain. Feet curl in ecstasy you did not know could exist, legs bend stiffly in discomfort. With your arms at your sides your hands begin to wander. No purpose but discovery motivates them over the muscle of your legs, the swell of your abdomen and the wrinkled patch of sensation that is your penis.
Ignoring the obvious aspect of self exploration you soon have the inexplicable desire to touch your face. What shape is it that lies beneath the sheet? Where do these images come from? Only your nose is discovered by its height, and the mouth by its activity. Moving your hand is surprisingly difficult. It can only bend in two places below the shoulder. And something resists when you press against the sheet.
But like the persistent being you are, your right hand finally manages to find your face. Delighted by the bristling cheeks and slippery nose you continue to explore. First you feel eyebrows, then the right ear and then around to the left side. Disaster strikes you just above your left ear.
Sound comes, like the sun to a man who knows only moonlight, into your ears. And it is you who makes it. Ignoring this, you shriek out in pain at the horrible feeling of something soft and wet on your head. Guided by forces that are not entirely your own, the right hand is thrust forward and to the side, sweeping the sheet away. White was first your world, then pain for a moment and now terror is all you know.
Imagine Cain being pulled from the Garden of Eden and dropped into New York City rush hour traffic. Your mind balks at this new place with its new things and new rules. None of it makes sense, everything you know fizzles away. The size, the shapes, the colors and the movement send you scrambling. All the world is awash in fractal nonsense and your brain is at a loss to comprehend. You long for the sheet but cannot think or move to get it. The reality of the sheet and the room are totally at odds.
I admit I cannot well convey the horrified helplessness of being wholly confused. Since I awoke screaming and nurses came in to see what the dead kid was yelling about I have only found one account of a similarly horrifying experience. This was a page from a journal entry of Isaac Moines, a veteran from Vietnam that was accidentally put on the receiving end of a full B-52 bombing run.
Explosions tore through the ground and air alike. One second passed from them being distant thunder to instantly upon us. Watching the twenty men in front of me engulfed and dissolved was the last conscious thing I remember. After that I could not breathe, the air was literally sucked out of our lungs by the bombs. Shockwaves turned the air into hammers that pounded me from all sides and shoved me through the brush a foot or a mile off the ground. Rational thought was impossible. It seemed the only thing that was real was fear. My brained screamed incomprehensible orders to flee but in the face of impossible confusion they went unheeded. I could only crumple under the forces around me. It was hell writ large. Afterwards the stench of cordite, burning blood and hair filled the air. The world has been utterly silent since. No man or God has devised a situation as terrible on earth or hell, and there isn’t a man or God in this universe that could convince me otherwise.
The shock and horror of those few moments were drawn out into my first day. I was actually almost seventy-five hundred days old, but three days before my first day I got shot in the head and had to rearrange my calendar. Funny thing about bullets, they keep going a lot further than most people realize.
No, I wasn’t the victim of any sort of murder attempt or assassination, it was an accident. The bullet passed fully through another man’s head before tumbling into mine and cracking my skull. Lucky for me the other fellow’s skull and brains slowed and deformed the bullet enough so that it only knocked me completely unconscious and largely unaware of my former life.
Life for me and death for the guy and some poor girl he shot. The girl died first, and then the guy’s and my brain’s death occurred within a few milliseconds of each other. However long it takes a .38 slug to travel through a skull and about 50 feet of air, I never bothered to figure it out. But though my memory died I somehow lived. In a sense I did indeed die. Three days after coming in my heart suddenly stopped and was utterly resistant to resuscitation. And about two minutes after that it just started beating again. Now it’s no miracle I am sure, stranger things have happened. But if living made me want to give God a high-five, the state of my first week made me want to punch god in his fucking face.
When I stuck my finger into the socket of my wound (the first part was about me you know) I awoke screaming. My barely functioning brain was so unable to function I could not distinguish them walking in or when two of them passed out. Only nurse Jones had the good sense to sedate me and calmly hold me until I could breathe again. The earliest time I barely remember now, but wrote it down when it was still fresh in my mind. Some semblance of normalcy returned in the next week or so, but not my memory.
Long before knowledge of the past became important Nurse Jones explained a good deal of the present to me. First, she told me that I was in a hospital, a place to heal. Then, that I was in an accident and needed to be healed before I would be ok. Thirdly, that I had a loving family of two moms and a brother. And they would come visit me soon.