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By Keith Buckley


Asked to identify early 1950s style part time bacteriologist discovered in a string of modish Jacopetti flicks: this scam involves theatrical Marie Antoinette costumes along with western eyewear, ambiviolence, gilded hats, and a silk umbrella. Found her body chained to the perimeter fence—spent evening deciding nothing exists in terms of dialectical materials. Went home. Laughed like a hebephrenic at surveillance photos of Sandra Bullock with an Adam & Eve Wicked Ponytail Butt-plug. Got fucked up on tequila, vomited while Skyping ex-wife. When it comes to actually doing the job, it is much more convenient, efficient and less prone to errors to let trained rhesus monkeys determine the outcome for us.


End of North Jefferson Street, Livonia, Indiana– explored the feelings and attitudes through which the perp could roam as in roam between the monoliths, roam between the monoliths, as in roam the plains and hollows searching for the next victim. I led him to an empty retrospective with resounding success. Dumped his body in the tiny scummed-over pond beyond the chicken coops. What a stench. Went home. Wept. Got fucked up on jimson weed, vomited while Skyping boss’s 13 year-old daughter. Self-loathing is all I have for company.


Questionable activities in Sandborn’s Chinatown District: police brawls on Elevator Street, corpses stuffed in abandoned cabins or crushed old car bodies, Scorpion platoons cleared the gawking crowd. Recognized the obscene play consisting of my boss’s daughter in a Marie Antoinette costume stripping to Srebrenica atrocity photos behind the dunes, setting fire to two weeks’ worth of surveillance photos. Crushed some serious skull at the Bicknell Vigo Library– don’t tell me I can’t download surveillance photos of Jennifer Garner dancing with a Rottweiler. Went home. Put the barrel of my Sig Sauer P239 in my mouth until it tasted like chicken. Got fucked up on PVC glue, vomited while Skyping Sarah Palin. She flashed some beav. Score!


Walking the dogs this morning, I stumbled upon an oblique grouping of corpses in the drainage culvert at the end of  street. Simultaneous optical measurements of axial and tangential headwater levels at critical slope indicated three badly fragmented bodies were those of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Kathryn Bigelow, all of whom were last seen alive Saturday night at the Director’s Guild Awards. Deeper inside pipe were crude erotic portraits of Jolie and a man who was clearly not Pitt engaged in physically impossible acts, and these seemed to obviate any additional investigation as formal time-line of the gruesome deposition. I allowed my two golden retrievers the rare luxury of nosing about exposed loops of intestine for any leftovers from the after-party fetes the trio must’ve attended. Imagine my embarrassment when the pale sun and a team of forensic anthropologists found me several hours later sprawled in water-smoothed concrete conduit, aping broken postures of butchered triad and wearing Pitt’s scrubby beard as a toupee. After retained attorney secured release, went home, got fucked up on MCAT, vomited while Skyping Chuang Tzu. Dreamed I was a butterfly smashed on the grille of Kennedy’s ’61 Lincoln Continental.


Went over to Patoka Lake, suffered beach fatigue from all my mechanical thought models, finding a place to model thoughts, finding a place on the gallery floor. How is the standing individual formed? How is the mechanical individual formed? The relic hunters will dismantle me. My thoughts that have outworn their patterns that have outworn the surveillance photos of Donnie Osmond boning Connie Chung. He reappears with desperate irony, his hostility to intercourse, her involvement in child labor scams. Before I could do anything abstract, the icon invention, not abstraction, the icon, invention? Not positive, positive identification, beach fatigue imaginary diseases original usefulness, imperfect original usefulness, imperfect use in its representations set in a canny appraisal of her inconsistencies. Emotion and intent. Even now, as far as he changes, other words together find expression. Went home. Roamed among the broken forms. Get fucked up on moon sickness, vomited while Skyping all my dead relatives thank fucking god I had the smell turned down.


Must learn how to keep things separate without synthesis, volumes, solids, linear volumes, solids, linear translations describing a German festival of masochistic films, the neighbor assured me that he merely watched the sections of metaled road that these gloomy, middle aged men had moved, broken forms, corpses stuffed away in a Ferdinand Comfort Inn. I am building abstractions as a vernacular, probing the hoped-for fatal wound area, assuming sex with the mother, a terrace for the audience who leave the room next to mine, oxygen under elaborate gestures. Never really left home, so came back, got fucked up watching my pores sealing themselves with Burmese lac, vomited blood while Skyping a parallel universe where my life actually meant something.


Band drifted off into a boilermaker fog by 2 a.m., an hour after we’d finished out the set. But that was at the Swing Bar not this bucket of blood with manure-caked floors and mean-looking old men that reeked of pigs. Chin bounces off my chest as I almost pass out again. The steel slide bar falls from dead fingers. Am I really going to pop someone in the mouth with the steel? What? Why? A night of unusually heavy drinking, even for me, that’s why. Eyes concealed by wraparound Ray-bans to make myself anonymous, invisible in yet another after-hours joint where the time of flight/tip clearance melts like a Dali painting. Oiled leathers, but where had I left my bike? Who took home my gear? Bug? Ferd? One more shot? The room blinks out of existence and a moment later, there is light hammering into the back of my skull.  Scream into consciousness, terrified to discover myself piloting a mint green ’74 Ford LTD 2-door eastward on State Road 60. Not entirely painful muscle twitches up left quad would indicate either an involuntary orgasm or inter-ictal clonus within the past few minutes, but can remember little more than the sour taste of cheap Kentucky bourbon. Landscape of November-browned fields, bare trees, and slowly crumbling outbuildings has not changed since last surveillance trip, but something is very wrong. Blurred shapes in the sky. Dense ground haze the consistency of amniotic fluid. Something about chaos, something about Saturn. A thylacine bounds up the trunk of a piebald sycamore, treeing three bewildered raccoons. The alienation from my  own body and, perhaps, any other human being within a hundred miles. A distant whine vibrating against the windshield like a cross between the tornado sirens and the plaintive high-lonesome yawn of my own steel guitar, possibly from the bar last night. And then, the figure in the over-inflated isolation suit and space helmet trudging up the shoulder on the opposite side of the road. His tranquil, cleft-chinned face plainly visible even through the reflective visor, even at the 77 mph he’s clocking in his frantic efforts to get to the next town. Eddie Cochran? Dead for, what, almost 50 years? Put my entire hip into the brakes, watching the approaching resurrected rocker in his rearview mirror. Cochran points to the sky, to the east. I begin to tremble hard as a massive flock of over a million starlings rises and falls across the horizon, describing first the gentle contours of my absent wife’s naked body, then the blistering face of last client who died from burns after a kerosene blowback accident just that summer, and finally, my own horribly mutilated body, shredded through the fractured windshield. Suddenly realize the sound I’m hearing is Cochran singing the phrase “Heavy duty gears hold up under the harshest processing conditions” through a cheap P.A. system, but just as I figure out the chord progression, the Mack Titan, hauling lumber over from Martin County, plows into the rear of the LTD. Then come countless rapid lessons in applied geometry and the scanning servo that is my freshly vented brain unfolds its final signature along a dissolving time-slope. It’s all good, I tell the starlings.


Keith Buckley lies cocooned in a bale of Golden Retriever fur. He wrote for the inaugural issues of the storied ¶ and is a regular contributor to the equally mighty Air In The Paragraph Line. He decompresses from the perilous career of a pre-operative postmodernist by sewing his Zen priest’s robe.