table of contents
table of contents — stories

1 9 9 9

Great edges, great frames and sheets crashed through the resplendent atmosphere. The 21st century had come. The night was hung with stars by Disney, but Disney was dead and his eyeballs burned in a thousand pyres. Doric columns of chromium reached for useless roofs set at a rakish tilt, sucked upward to a hopeless neon heaven.

Every god, every vice, every disease, every unsought and foiled and subverted wish had its own magazine. Smiling flesh fell out of their covers into the mouths of the illiterate. Monitors monitored them. The voice of the artifact was heard in the land.

In the malls and the parking lots, under blazing stadium lights greater than them all, the working folk were compelled to dance tarantellas of selection and consumption between their shiny trucks. Hither and yon they danced, the dust whirling with the dust, tossing about their packages and their bags. Late grew the night, but the lights would not release them. Out in the great spaces beyond, great roads ran down into the brightly lit darkness.

Managers in iron vests wept for the pity of unsold merchandise.

Music blared. Young men fell in love with their resentment and stupidity and made rough love to them, grunting harshly with effort. After awhile they fell in love with their own harsh grunting as well. When they grew old and tired they remembered love as something they had seen on television where it jiggled up and down. The harsh grunting remained, echoing in passageways.

Children were processed in large bright smooth fluorescent plastic containers where nothing could harm them but the bland empty oozing of time smoothly oozing empty blandness. Behind the lucite panels pert assistants dreamt of lawsuits.

Numbers multiplied in boxes and ran down wires to every metal thing. They began to infest the animals like fleas. They bored into plants and made colonies. Finally they began to infect even the most ancient and hallowed microorganisms who waved their cilia helplessly againt the thready flood. Slowly, they pulled everything into a spiral of money.

A vacuum mounted the podium.

A vacuum mounted the podium.