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1 Kindred

The red balloon kissed the wall of the Joy Motel, Home Of The Two Hour Nap. Static charge held it there quivering, waiting to explode.

Street level. Smell of dry ice; legacy of the deep freeze. Footprints: hourglasses in snow. Turning the corner, the balloon going pap pp pap

Scratching sound, distant clicking, deep space voices rising and falling in a wash of white noise. Breathing.

Gauze of sunset, the pavement lunar? Time dilation made the street a postcard, Joy Motel, nowhere, out there, balloon moving everywhere.

Open windows unblinking in a row, uppers and lowers, drapes slapping gray concrete block walls. Seductive shadows, rusted bicycle.

Kindred staggered out of Tourette's with a bottle, vision clouded, hallway infinite. Room key chained on maple, carved like a duck.

The doctor running. In my room again? Kindred snorted. What's he looking for? Conduct unbecoming a psychiatrist, yes. A man of his stature.

Breathing, again. The whole building is breathing. The hallway a ragged throat and Kindred being swallowed. Swimming toward the light.

The guy working the stick at Tourette's, Big Q Leeks,saw the notepad Kindred left behind.The hell, he'd drop it off at his room, lights out.

Kindred knew Leeks had seen the note because he had the exact same note in his hand. He needed no visitors, just neon behind his eyelids.

Flicker of an eyeball in the peeker of 214 as Kindred lurched past. Clicking of a lobster dancing on a glass table. Blip of music, low note.

Twittering and tweeting, the parrot in 222 always knew closing time. Hello, Phil! Hello, Phil! Kindred slid the duck key into 223.

The door is unlocked. You're free to go. We've made significant progress. Look at this chart, Mr. Kindred. Sorry, our time is up.

But my insecurities remain. There is something not right about my nose. I need to know what happened. Don't ask me that. I told you. In 127.

Free to go? Kindred paid $4 for the 7 & 7 & 222 w/ the parrot sounds he made parroting the man garroting the man in room 224: Vacancy soon.

Ticking in the ductwork. Congestion in the lung. Moaning in the ceiling. Siren in the woodwork. Dust in the keyhole. Snake in the drain.

3 AM and lucid still, flash on glass, winter lightning. Kindred stone still, back against the wall, listening. Heartbeat city, here we come.

There was the time in Reno, Kindred age nine, government men in a white van. Rubber gloves. His father down. Engine dripping from the chase.

Shiny shoes from little man POV. Should he tell the dr.? Might help. So would a cement shake-up. Belly flop the ice machine. Ah, escapades!

Psychdaddy must never know. Psychdaddy does not love me. Pen poised, that smirk, air hissing from his hawknose. Narrow black tie.

Is psychdaddy transcribing my babble? Does he write down every word I say? Why does he stop so often? Does he have a 140 character limit?

Drinking with Floyd Mask had been a bad idea. Why two identical notes? Now Leeks had one. Indecipherable scrawl. Happy Birthday? No.

Crow on the roof. Cat in the dumpster. Claws scratching steel. Tap tap of morse code. Claustrophobic cleaning woman in the shower stall.

Kindred age eleven sent a fan letter to Philip K Dick. The reply came back from Rod Serling. Twilight Zone guy. Look out the window, kid.

Lincoln got shot in his backyard. Civil War soldier got hanged. Time stopped forever when a guy dropped a watch. The window? It was TV.

Leek rattling his doorknob. Kindred opened an eye. Paper sliding under the door. Yellow. Not the note. Bus ticket. Stamped and used.

His father fighting back. No hope. Kindred running flat out across the moonlit desert. I'm only nine, dammit. Last time he ever cried.

Bus ticket one way from Chicago. Used Saturday. Kindred was born there. Fell in love there. Killed a man there. Bought a bus ticket there.

Backfire echoed off the glass and ricocheted into his cranium and exited through his right eye. That would be Floyd, finally rolling out.

Neon leaked through the drapes and dribbled onto the carpet, puddling. In his bare feet, Kindred could feel the charge, buzzing.

The crackle of light made the bus ticket cream, peach, the gray of a dead man, cream again. Variations on drinks down at Tourette's.

Walked to the bar, pharmacy sign messed up 1/2 block down his nerves, Scrip City, the why tipped to the right by wind. His dr. used a stylus

Kindred again, 3rd person: Janssen the 2nd, Nikki Dank the 1st. Heads close to formica, the bartop a shared conch shell. Rod Serling lied.

He took the bread slice he stole from Bumpy Face, squirted Dank's lemon slice on top a layer of sugar, the sop startling him like maggots.

Kindred wandered through 20 years of summers as he num-nummed away, once he worked 3 hours opening a can of dog food w/ a broken fan blade.

Billboard tattered paper flapping whipcracking Hanna tanned legs sand beach scuba waterlogged Joe Walnut sinking bubbles rising red balloon

You don't mind if I record this do you? Psychdaddy shifting his coffee to his other hand. Kindred's left eye twitched. Where's the cam?

The first question was always the same. More like a statement than a question, actually. More like a command: Tell me about Trinity.

Kindred bared his teeth in a clenched grin. This doesn't hurt. He squeezed his thumb into his thigh, stabbing. OK. 'Badda bing badda boom.'

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5 comments:

Steve Malley said...

Bit like Philip K Dick collaborating with James Ellroy. Fun!

horatio salt said...

thanks for stopping by, steve. we'll leave a light on for ya.

Charles Gramlich said...

Could be the future of the novel. Or maybe it's just weird. Interesting, though. Definitely intersting.

horatio salt said...

@charles: thanks for plugging in. glad to get your feedback. weird is good. kindred might have purchased a corrupt brainstream at the Terminal. he's timeslipping...

B.K. Bazhe - bazhe.com said...

well written - you are talented;
where can i buy your book?

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