A big dog is licking Carl's eyes he opens them it's the sun 
he rolls over stretches out his hand to the damp grass next
to his cheek squirms out of his bag it's late he gets out the
map the siren keeps rising it's too high for Carl to hear
beyond a wire fence cows graze he walks to the highway.
After a while a camper stops two kids inside a boy and a

girl Carl gets in next to the girl where you headin says the
boy west says Carl.
	How far.
	Far as I can.
	Where you start.
	I forget.

	Off the wall says the boy I'm Scott this is Ova we just got 
	He doesn't own me says Ova.
	That's good says Carl her foot keeps getting in the way
when he tries to stretch his legs Ova is restless squirming
around in her seat she sort of smells funny.

	That's why we look kinda like sleepy we don't get much
sleep says the boy he gags no it's a chuckle we fuck all the
time says Ova each other other people she wears a semitransparent 
white shirt shortest possible miniskirt Carl wonders when
he's going to get breakfast have you had breakfast yet says

 	I'm tired says Ova she squirms stretches rests her head on
Carl's shoulder he opens his window low green hills sunny
quiet still.
	It's great being married it turns you on you married says
the boy.
	I'm hungry says Carl.

	Like it's too much the way Ova turns people on it turns
me on I mean she does that to everybody I mean like don't
worry if she turns you on.
	Why not.
	Why not well I mean you can fuck her if you want to
you want to fuck her.

	I have to take a shit maybe after that says Carl.
	You're an uptight cat you know that says the boy.
	Don't start that he has to take a shit can't you see he has 
to take a shit says Ova.
	Well that's just it he has to take a shit why didn't he take 
a shit before he got in here I mean I didn't ask for his shit.

	Well he didn't ask for your shit.
	Well I didn't ask for yours.
	Why didn't you.
	I don't ask. If somebody wants to give it to me all right
I don't ask.
	Look who's talking uptight. When we got married you

said you were going to find me other men to fuck I suppose
that was just big talk. Already you're breaking your
promises you don't love me anymore tears dribble down the
sides of her nose.
	So what's the matter with him. I pick up a guy off the
side of the road I practically tell him to fuck you what do

you want me to do unzip his fiy I mean there's a limit to
what I can do. Trouble with you is you don't like to fuck
 	What are you saying I love it. I love it. There's nobody
who loves it more than me.
	Yes there is.

	My last wife she was a bitch of an old lady but she sure
liked to fuck. Only she was possessive you know what I mean
possessive I can't stand that.
	Do you think we should get a divorce says Ova.
	Again what for. What good would it do. The divorce I

want is a bigger divorce than you can give me that's what
we all want isn't it.
	What are we going to do.
	I feel like a desert inside says Ova. There's nothing there
but the wind that sweeps it away. Do you think that means

I want to die.
	Trust the wind says Scott.
	I wish I could feel empty like Ova says Carl. A smart old
man once told me what's wrong with me he said I think too
much he said don't think talk. Don't talk do. Then don't
do. Do you understand what that means.

	No says Scott.
	I can't explain what I feel inside but it's very painful
it's like somebody I love has died. Me. If I were driving I'd
floor the gas pedal and drive off the road says Carl.
	Do you want to drive says Scott.
	I want to say something right now and that is I love you

both very much says Carl. Especially Ova but both of you.
And I also want to say something else. I wish very much
that Eleanor Roosevelt were still alive at that he begins to
cry for some reason it also makes the other two cry Scott
pulls over to the side of the road after a while he and Ova
stop crying Carl doesn't stop what's the matter says Ova.


	I have to go to the bathroom quavers Carl.
	Carl can I ask you something seriously.
	What's that Scott.
	Did you have infantile paralysis.
	So did I they both start crying again so does Ova. What

are you crying about says Scott.
	I still have it says Ova they each take one of her hands
sit that way for a while I have to say something says Scott.
	What's that Scott says Carl.
	I can't go on. I can't do it another day. I mean every
morning I wake up and start driving it's the same god

damn thing day in and day out what's the point. I can't go
on driving myself this way what's it all add up to.
	Cool it it's all a trip says Carl.
	That's easy for you to say you just started says Scott.
	You think that's easy for me to say that's not easy for me
to say.

	No why not.
	Why not because I stink. Worse than that I'm no good
at all I'm garbage shit phony all lies says Carl.
	That's not true you're a big bad man says Ova.
	It's all show I know what I'm like. Not worth spitting on
not worth scraping off the sole of your shoe. All fake fake

heart fake guts fake balls oh my god I'm so ashamed of
myself I'm so worthless.
	You. Me. Me says Scott I'm the one who's worthless. I'm
so worthless it's unfathomable. I'm so empty I don't even
know there's anything missing. At least you're not a Wasp.
	I eat you up Carl says Ova.

	I'm scared wails Carl.
	Of what.
	I'm going to disappear help. Oh god hold on to me.
	You're putting me on says Scott Ova starts fingering his
 penis you're my big bad man says Ova.
	I'm little.

	You're getting bigger.
	You're right I am getting bigger wow. I'm not really so
bad though.
	You're a shit. Don't give me that nice crap I know you
you think you can shit all over me you prick well you can't.
	Cunt. Who do you think you're talking to. Get in the

	What about him.
	He can sit here and jerk off come on move Carl pulls her
out of the cabin shoves her into the back of the camper and
unzips his fly suck it he says. That's enough he says after a
while she comes up he busts her right in the mouth she

bounces off the wall of the camper blood on her chin.
	What's that for she says holding her lip you forgot to say
thank you he says take your clothes off I oughta walk
right outa here.
	Oh please no she strips polish my boot he says she comes
down on his boot slides back and forth around please she

says he puts the sole of his boot on her tit shoves her down
goes in she starts coming right away I love you she says.
	More than your husband.
	Much more your cock's bigger the spasm rises from her
gut she comes grunting and snorting like a pig in shit.
	You done she says.

	Yeah I guess so.
	How about getting your cock out of me he gets off her
she puts her clothes back on he follows her back to the
cabin. Done says Scott.
	Yeah says Ova.
	How was it.

	He's disgusting. You should have seen the loathsome
things he made me do Carl reaches for the door handle.
Where you going says Ova she locks the door.
	I said where do you think you're going says Ova. Carl
can't answer.
	Smatter cat gotcha tongue. You're loathsome. You're

beneath contempt. You're a piece of shit.
	Carl can't talk.
	Wyncha say something. You don't even exist.
	Carl opens his mouth but nothing comes out.
	Bet he's some kinda kike says Scott.
	Or worse says Ova let's go the camper disappears in a

cloud of dust. Carl falls down on the side of the road and
has an attack he clutches at his throat things are starting to
happen too fast for me he thinks to himself.
	A bus pulls up maybe this is a bus stop Carl thinks out
gets a short fellow with slightly hunched shoulders soft
bushy moustache immigrant teeth he looks like a tramp.

Mam mamia he says he bends over Carl feels his brow takes
his pulse watsa da mat he says Carl points to his throat
starts panting and gagging the fellow turns to the bus
yoohoo he yodels two more fellows come out bearded
they're dressed like tramps or refugees or gypsies you takee
thisee boy chop chop innee bus he says they take him

inside lay him across a seat the bus pulls away Carl claws
at his throat what's with him Uncle Schmuck says one of
the fellows. Uncle Schmuck points to his head kishkas he
says he looks down at Carl with glittering charisma eyes.
Mine share loco zees nowt yolk dah best ben doin what l
tellya. Open you cottonpickin mouth out mit der tongue.

Fairthur mi bye fairthur o so eggsellant. Now say ah.
Something like a death rattle comes out of Carl's throat
followed by gagging he begins to hiccup Uncle Schmuck
grabs his throat squeezes shakes Carl lets out a series of
henny squeaks tray bueno says Uncle Schmuck go on cuk
cuk cuk says Carl cuk-cuk-cuk-a-doo cuk-a-doo cuk-cuk-a

doo cuk-a-do-o-o-o-o Carl is really into it cuk-a-do-o-o-o-o
Aunt Poopik says Uncle Schmuck a big busty manmother
of a woman comes up from the back of the bus vus vilsta
she says kvick says Uncle Schmuck take his temperature
they unzip his pants reach in cuk cuk cuk goes Carl they
work inside his pants he starts wheezing and gasping coughs

his breathing is deeper his pulse improving now outski
vit el tonk says Schmuck say ah ah says Carl louder a-a-
ekco ekco says Schmuck he pulls down Carl's pants Aunt
Poopik grabs his cock squeezes licks it sticks a thermometer
up his ass a-a-A-A-a-ah goes Carl his breathing is good his

color is good his pulse is good Frank takes the thermometer
out looks at it you're okay fella okay auntie that's it Aunt
Poopik lets his cock fall out of her mouth Carl sits straight
up stares around wildly more he says.
	Ah-hah says Uncle Schmuck now he can talk. What do
you have to say for yourself chum.

	Carl blinks looks around one small step for man and a
giant step for mankind he says he collapses back across the
seat and falls into a deep sleep.
	While Carl is asleep he dreams he's Henry Aldrich he
dreams Henry Aldrich wakes up in a silver Cadillac at a
gas station on the Indiana Thruway the gas station is

named Booth Tarkington. The attendant comes to the
window asks how much fill it up says Uncle Schmuck only
now he's named Uncle Don check the oil and water look
at the battery test the air pressure and get the windshield.
Uncle Don turns takes Henry's pulse how are you son he
says his moustache is gone and his teeth are a lot better.

	I dreamed there was a guy and a girl in a camper says
	Fellow with a square jaw and albino eyelids. Travels
with a blue eyed round faced girl also blond. Heck. That
was no dream that was the White Asp and Mary.
	Uncle Don I want to thank you for all you've done for

	Gee whiz I'd do the same for anybody. How're you
	Good but a little lonely.
	Lonely you can have Siss Siss he yells slim trim Siss pops
up in the back seat what is it Uncle Don Uncle Don pats

her on the bottom honey I'm giving you to this nice boy
for a while I want you to show him a nice time he can use
it. Hi hon says Siss she slips over the seat sits next to Henry. 
	Uncle Don says Henry I have two questions.
	You're only supposed to get one.
	Well they're connected.

	Okay shoot.
	The first question is my life is empty and my work has
no meaning what should I do.
	That's all what else.
	What's the meaning of this trip.
	Uncle Don ponders a minute let's go outside to Booth

Tarkington he says. They stroll around Booth Tarkington
Uncle Don steers Henry by his arm Booth Tarkington has
a great deal of civic pride he says. Among other things
they lay claim to the world's most beautiful gas pumps
Henry examines them they are beautiful so much so Henry
feels that he wouldn't really believe it if this weren't a

dream he notes their subtle pastels the brilliant liquatex
hues the everchanging display of colored lights the neon
trim the rocketship motif emphasized with strips of chrome
the elaborate dials the tubing the gurgling liquids the bells
the eight varieties the heraldry of the trademark and literally
above all the giant sign higher than the trees higher

than the hills brighter than the moon. Uncle Don flicks a gilt
hose see that ain't no cherry phosphate they got comin
outa there nope. This ain't your ordinary corner drugstore.
Nosirree this here's what I'd call a shrine why people
come to Booth Tarkington from all over the country you
know that as well as I. What do they find here well shucks

I guess everybody finds something different but most of
em find gas. Now you see what the meter on this here
pump reads it reads 17 point 3 gallons 7 dollars 33 cents
that's the answer to your first question it's in code. A code
that when broken is utterly meaningless. I don't understand
says Henry you don't have to understand everything

says Uncle Don he hands Henry a road map and here's the
answer to your second question. Think sideways. Now
here's the answer to a question you haven't even thought
of yet the magic syllable. The magic syllable is oi take a
deep breath and repeat with me. Oi-i-i. Breathe. Oi-i-i.
Breathe. Oi-i-i. That's right now at least you're breathing

it's a sign of life. Now close your eyes and think about it
as you say it o i o i o i concentrate keep your eyes closed
say it by yourself as long as you can oi-i-i oi-i-i oi-i-i-i-i-i as
he dreams he falls asleep he hears Uncle Don say that
oughta hold the little schmuck for a while.
	When he wakes up he can't remember anything even

his name it's weird he's not even surprised. To his right
there's a field to his left a highway around him a ditch
above the sky. Blue a few white clouds. He tries his body
it works nothing sore in fact he feels terrific. A little horny,
maybe he rubs his cock still there old snake lifts its head
inquisitive then goes back to sleep. He wonders who he is


it doesn't matter it's all geometry what does that mean
Actually he's a nonentity a vacuum a campground of
conflicting tribes in uneasy truce that's what it means
It means angles and velocities and effects of effects of effects
of effects it means luck he feels light buoyant he can't
remember anything what a relief. He looks through his

pockets nothing there something there a road map of the
states something else a crumpled piece of paper with three
words scrawled in pencil

right on he thinks to himself if you're empty and you're
smart you keep moving. Fast he gets up climbs out of the
ditch he remembers something he remembers something
a siren. No not remember he hears it but only in his head
he remembers nothing. He looks at the map. Near as he
can figure he's close to a place called Belvidere on top of

a low hill. The land seems wider here opens and flattens
out. Wider than what he doesn't know image of a city
mountains close hills wide water. I love you. Words in his
head. My head. Floods slides plague reports in the
southwest. Tired of comedy. High winds across the prairie
a storm front from Canada. His first ride is a salesman he

keeps the radio turned to the news. Explosions fires.
Plague reports in the southwest. Around them the corn
is dying they hit miles and miles of yellowing brown wilted
stalks. He gets off at a gas station in a place called Black
Earth a girl comes up to him he loves her.
	I'm in a hurry she says.

	Me too.
	Good can you drive.
 	Sure I can drive he's pretty sure he can drive let's go she 
says they get in her bug I'll go till I'm tired she says. She
drives. Fast and intensely without talking at Tomah they
change places still without saying anything to one another

he can drive. At La Crosse they stop for lunch still no talking
when they cross the Mississippi he asks her name she looks
at the map for a while picks a town. Alma she says what's
	Do you want me to drive yet Rex.

	I'll take it to the other side of the river they've been
crossing the river for about a half an hour already it seems
Alma he says I have something to tell you.
	I know it I don't want to talk about it.
	I love you.
	I don't want to talk about it.

	What do you want to talk about.
	I don't want to talk about anything I want to drive.
	Across the Mississippi the land is less amusing it seems
to Rex. The dying corn is the same only there's more of it
and more of it is dying. And there are these long uncooperative
stretches of pure distance naked to the eye and to

the wind rising across their widths ripping through
occasional islands of cottonwoods way off to make the bug
lurch and shudder when a wave of it hits. Everything is
more serious here they stop for coffee in Rochester home
of the famous clinic that's been trying to cure us for years
it gains stature and loses ground every day.

	By sunset his love is hopeless desperate. He knows that
she's a fugitive doomed that she's committed some definitive
act planted a bomb participated in an abduction acted
as an accomplice in a bank robbery where a guard was killed
or if she hasn't already done it is about to do it. She
refuses to talk or allow him to talk he knows by osmosis by

sitting next to her attending her silence isolation. Or
maybe she's the blank page on which Rex writes his story
maybe its Rex who's done all that he isn't sure it doesn't
matter either way he's frightened the news speaks of road
blocks. There's been an escalation of the latest deescalation
intensifying protest thereby increasing backlash.

Harassment seems standard procedure passports checked
at every tollbooth contraband searches become beatings
and rapes pacifists found murdered on back roads noone
under twenty-one or black can travel by airplane. An army
of agents has infiltrated everything there are provocateurs
double-agents triple-agents noone can any longer distinguish

plot from counterplot even the agencies. Everybody by
now is either spy or counterspy it doesn't matter which
at least that's Rex's opinion the important thing is don't
trust anybody. Even if you love them. Even yourself. Above
all don't talk don't say anything it can only be used against
you. Besides it won't help it's hopeless. Unless you have

the power that's what frightens Rex most he thinks he
might have it. That's why he sweats and shakes next to her
as if he can't contain what¹s surging through him as they
approach a place called Blue Earth looking for a motel for
the night.
	That night they stay at a place called The Vacancy

Motel out in the flatness near Blue Earth which they never
see that is they see the earth but not the town big hard
clods of it blueblack out of which grow rows and rows
of rustling brown stunted useless corn at the edge of which
on the flatness in the winds sweeping toward them out of
the immense fields and then away and then another wave

toward them again they lock the door behind them in The
Vacancy Motel. As soon as they put their things down he
grabs her and tries to give her a kiss she shoves him away.
	Alma he says all right she says. If we have to blabber
here it is. Three weeks ago I was gang raped by a bunch of
hardhats what about it.

	How many says Rex.
	That's quite a few.
	Damn right so ever since then I'm not fucking anybody.
	Even me.
	That's right sonny.

	Well. I guess I can understand that.
	I doubt it.
	I mean that's really tough luck I mean it must have been
awful I mean . . .
	Shut your ass.

	You heard me buster shut your ass.
	I mean don't talk when you don't know willya.
	Okay sorry.
	Okay sorry she sneers she lays down on the bed and closes
her eyes.

	What was it like says Rex.
	You really like to blabber don't you.
	You don't have to tell me if you don't want to.
	I'll tell you. They said take off your clothes girlie you're
going to get fucked so I took off my clothes and I got

	And that was it.
	All sorts of ways I didn't have much choice. I never got
fucked so many ways before. Or so many times. They just
told me what to do and I did it I didn't have much choice.
	It must have been awful.
	I kept having orgasms. I didn't want to I couldn't help


it. I COULDN'T HELP IT. I wanted to. I never had so
many organsms. I tried to imagine it was my boyfriend
then later after it was over when I was with my boyfriend
I tried to imagine it was the hardhats. So I got scared and
I'm not fucking anybody anymore that includes you buster
so don't get any ideas.

	I'm sorry Alma but you've got to fuck me.
	I've got to who do you think you are Wonder Wart Hog
or something.
	I've got the power.
	The what.
	I've got the POWER.

	What are you trying to freak me out.
	Rex reaches down into his pants and pulls out his stick
of dynamite I'm it he says he holds it up.
	You're it.
	I'm it.
	So. You're it.

	That's right so don't fuck around with me or I'm liable
to blow us both up. Once my fuse is lit it's out of my hands.
	So you think you're it she reaches down her dress pulls
out her stick of dynamite I'm it.
	Rex goes pale. You're it then he says this is it he takes
out his matches. You want to go first.

	You go first says Alma Rex lights his fuse shuts his eyes
tight puts his free finger in his ear.
	Tell me a little bit about yourself says Alma. How did
a nice boy like you end up this way. Where did we fail you.
	Rex opens his eyes when the fuse is lit history cancels out 
he says he puts the dynamite in his mouth his other finger

in his other ear his eyes focus on the fuse as it burns shorter
they grow larger larger more crossed they're bulging out of
his head BANG. The dynamite goes off like a trick cigar
Rex falls to the floor.
	Rex screams Alma. Rex. Rex Rex Rex Rex she's all over
him kissing him hugging him feeling his heart his brow

taking his pulse rubbing his dick Rex opens his eyes wipes
a little soot off his face that's all he asks.
	I love you says Alma.
	Your turn undress says Rex she takes her clothes off lies
down on the bed.
	You're it you know the rules says Rex Alma nods Rex

lights her dynamite imagine it's the hardhats says Rex he
sticks the end up her vagina Alma groans shuts her eyes lies
frozen how did we get into this says Rex. Why are we here.
Why are we doing this to ourselves. What's the point of it
	Data accumulates obscurity persists says Alma the fuse

burns down to the dynamite there's an instant's pause then
a sizzling sound they look at one another wide-eyed.
	A dud whispers Rex a DUD. It's a new world.
	Now we can settle down get married and lead happy normal
lives says Alma she takes the dynamite out of her cunt.
	Get dressed we're going to find a justice of the peace says

Rex they leave get married go shopping in the supermarket
come back with paper bags full of good things to eat.
	You put the stuff away dear I'll start cooking says Alma.
	What are we having for dinner says Rex.

	Yes I think of it as your tongue. I love tongue there's
something so male about it what do you suppose that is
they tickle one another.
	How do you cook it says Rex.
	Take the tongue says Alma. Boil a pot of water put it in.
Add a bouquet garni of marjoram thyme basil and bay

leaf. Allow simmer. Prepare three medium onions whole
two large carrots four stalks celery with leaves seven and
a half sprigs parsley eight peppercorns and at the right
moment pop them into the pot. Allow simmer. Consult the
stars and jab occasionally with fork when it stops flinching
remove from fire immerse in icy water for thirty seconds

peel and trim. Do not remove the schlung repeat do not
remove the schlung. Return to boiling water briefly. Carve
and serve.
	Sounds scrumchy dear.
	She wiggles her shoulders and after dinner you know

	Make bunnies.
	Ah hah hah.
	He reads the paper she cooks when it's done she carves
starting with the very tip the first incision is the circum-
cision she sings gaily she slips it onto his plate. Followed

by some nice firm red middle slices he pounds the table.
	What is this I want the schlung.
	You can't have it it's too fatty and gristly and disgusting
and nitty gritty with all them little veins and shit ugh.
	Don't hand me that I want the schlung.
	It's not good for you.

	Fuck off give it to me or I'll shove a carrot up your ass.
	I put it down the Dispos-all here she shoves some tongue
into his mouth isn't that delicious.
	Um you're right it is delicious can I have some more.
	They eat tongue. They eat and they eat. They eat tongue
till they're helpless till tongue is coming out their assholes

they eat tongue till they can't talk anymore then they make
	Should I take off my clothes now says Alma.
	Yeah I guess so (urp) .
	She takes off her clothes unzips his fly pulls down his
pants jumps into bed spreads her legs wide gaping let's go

Wonder Wart Hog she says sock it to me.
	He stands there with his pants around his ankles like I'm
too full.
	Whaddyamean too full feed me some a that raunchy old
schlung baby I'm hungry.
	Don't be so aggressive.

	Who's aggressive come on ram that dynamite up my cunt
and light the fuse.
	What is this Sadie Hawkins Day.
	So whatsa matter with Sadie Hawkins Day that put you
	Are you gonna start with the woman's lib rap.

	Can't take it huh. Big dong can't take woman's lib. Can't
get his weenie up. Thinks he's a dude but he's just a dud.
I know your game buster you thought you were escaping.
You thought you were going to club your way out with
your cock. You're a fugitive. What's your real name Rex.
	I don't have a real name.

	I ought to turn you in. A fugitive and no real name but
I'm not you're lucky. I'm sending you to a meet you have
to deliver a message this is the message. Speed increases
space expands repeat.
	Speed increases space expands what's your real name.

	Then you are it.
	I was it before your greatgrandmother met your
greatgrandfather now I disappear she walks to the door
now you're it.
	Wait where's the meet.
	In Mitchell ask for Mitch she disappears, Rex lies down

to think about it takes notes. What now Rex wonders what
next he closes his notebook his eyes tired of simulation how
did I get into this I allow his mind to wander play with
possibilities he daydreams he's lying I'm lying in the sun
on a chaise inventing stories about himself above a blue
ocean bougainvillaea eucalyptus jacaranda blue sky white

ships sail by there's an undefined loud noise and an ellipsis
his reality comes down on him with the force of an overhead
garage door coming down on his head I've been hit
he thinks I think I'm not even surprised beware of head
wounds expect the unexpected speed increases I get up he
can get up discover I'm bleeding he's bleeding. Profusely.

Blood on glasses notebook blood running down cheek
blood coming out of mouth tongue must have bitten
tongue so that's it. Could have bitten my tongue off a bee
stings his arm. Tetanus says the man in the white coat. You
shouldn't worry.
	Where am I.

	Up shit's creek mein schatz. He's a short man slightly
hunched shoulders black beard charismatic eyes.
	Who are you.
	I'm Mitch but my real name you should know is Frank
Stein. Doctor Frank Stein. Who you.
	I don't know.

	There's your first problem sonny I want to see your
license and registration.	
	I lost them what are you going to do with me.
	Vay if I tell you you'll plotz.
	What is this place he looks around at the Turco-Romanesque
decor the strange mosaics out of The Wonderland of

Knowledge 1939 this is an old castle says Frank chust like
 in the old days mit Boris. Only it's made completely out of
corn. Barbaric so much of our work here lacks conviction
he sighs zo mach schnell the storm comes. We need information
from you schatzie.
	What information.

	Your life story.
	I forgot it.
	Make it up shtunk. And no lies remember this is the
Corn Palace. The walls have ears.
	It must be a maize.
	That's the kernel of it. Zo. Hurry up don't try to tell the

whole thing at once do it part by part the story of your
head the story of your legs the story of your cock. Start
with the heart for example tell me the story of your heart
do you know your heart has a memory.
	My heart doesn't remember anything.
	Putz. Make it up it's the same thing.

	I don't want to remember anything I want to be numb
and ruthless. And beautiful.
	Patty. Laverne. Two blonds in lab coats come in what
is it Frankie they say in unison. Pull down his pants and
get the electrodes oh my god he thinks to himself they're
going to take my temperature he struggles against the

straps holding him down they're going to get inside wait
he says.
	Ready to talk go on.
	I can't remember anything.
	Make it up Stein hands him a pad of paper make it up
it's a confession no lies Maxine faster Maxine rolls in a

bank of electronic equipment dials lights coils beeps Patty
attaches an electrode to his penis Laverne one to his tongue
Stein gives him an electrographic pencil plugs it in it's
simple as long as you're writing nothing happens as soon
as you stop a mounting current of electricity is sent through
your body growing in strength with the length of the pause

for example the character on the table shrieks his body jerks
zo get the message the first question is write an essay on
your heart my heart he writes shriek my heart my heart the
story of my heart is the story of my life shriek my heart
dilates and contracts shriek my heart shriek my heart aches
a drowsy numbness dulls my sense I think I'm having a

heart attack have a heart home is where the heart is shriek
my heart is my basso continuo imitation of my heart thung-
CHUNG thung-CHUNG can't write prolonged shriek a
history of my heart when I was a boy thung-CHUNG when
I was a child thung-CHUNG when I was a fetus thung-
CHUNG thung-CHUNG pulsation plasma protoplasm in

out thung-CHUNG all things provided all in those days I
was a fish worm amoeba thung-CHUNG dilations contractions
can't write prolonged shriek all things provided all
in those days open-close thung-CHUNG open-close my
heart was open it took it took gave back what it had
demanding and generous beggar and prince open-close then

the revolution as he writes he gulps air like a fish lips
protruding neck laboring like gills his body squirms
wriggles undulates a great worm with a head and a notebook
on its chest everything was turned upsidedown
I don't know when this happened apparently I did
something wrong there wasn't enough of anything or so they

said when you wanted something you had to make out
papers I became stingy and brilliant I shone like a
diamond I was closed as an ax-edge then I was king but it
didn't matter I wasn't loved his chest heaves again again a
sob tears through his throat the notebook falls to the floor
my heart prolonged shriek his body jerks he clutches his

chest Stein replaces the notebook am I dying he writes
adjectives applying to my heart black dried tiny prune coal
cinder clinker terror petrified brittle bursting can't write
I'm dying shriek shriek prolonged shriek prolonged shriek
endless weird despairing terrified heart rending shriek
accompanied by convulsions streaming tears green vomity

drool he curls up like a foetus uncoils with a snap into
back arch on head and heels erect penis shooting great gouts
of sperm into the air coil uncoil repeat repeat half repeat
collapse smell of shit as his bowels void silence. Frank
Stein undoes the straps goes to the sink washes his hands
gets out his doctor kit softly hums to himself

			Cook a goulash
			    Bake a cake
			From these parts
			    A man I make
he puts his hand to the cold immobile chest the wet icy
brow lifts an eyelid and looks in with a flashlight applies a

stethoscope thumps the chest a flicker animates the face
or is it his imagination Frank freezes almost stops breathing
as if there were only air enough in the lab for one of them
a strange sound comes from the body on the table. A kind
of spastic panting sort of like a baby starting to stir and
without fully waking just beginning to cry ah ah ah-huh

ah-huh a movement flicks across the face this time no
mistaking the left eyelid begins to flutter the lips move a
bit a horrible twitching starts first in one part of the face
then another the left cheek goes into an awful spastic
convulsion the eyes begin to blink ah ah ah-huh ah-huh
aah aaah aaaah CHOO the sneeze jerks his trunk forward

almost upright then he falls back gesundheit says Frank.
	I'm dead says the body on the table.
	He lives cries Frank.
	Oh god I'm a corpse.
	He lives he lives.
	Dead dead says the corpse.

	He lives he speaks. A real mensch yet.
	I'm a zombie.
	You speak. You know yourself quick what's your name.
	Name. I don't I can't . . .
	Don't think make it up.

	Good what do you feel Ronald.
	Where it hurts.
	All over I want to go back.
	Too late schatzie too late.
	I hate your guts.

	Don't be melodramatic quick describe yourself to me.
	A big bag of protoplasm no shape. Very thin skin
sensitive as an amoeba.
	What else.
	I'm a river flowing. Flowing through an ocean. The Gulf

	What else.
	Help me.
	What else.
	I'm hungry.
	Ja ja mein kind I baked you a cake he goes to the stove
gets one of the pies.

	Ess ess he gives Ronald the pie Ronald sits up takes it
hefts it in his hand slams it right in Stein's face Stein
staggers back clawing whipped cream out of his eyes was ist
loss was ist loss.
	Ronald runs to the stove picks up a chocolate cream cake
heaves another bullseye Frank stands gibbering in the

middle of the room a Boston cream pie hits him on the
left cheek have you gone crazy he licks and picks at the
confections lumping his face a cherry cream hits his right
ear this you call gratitude he says I'll kill you screams
	Kill says Frank he spreads out his arms.

	I can't I'm out of pies this is a mensch asks Frank.
	There are serious things going on out there Ronald yells
terrible things are happening. Is there a way to live without
murdering one another. Are you trying to make a
baby out of me.
	First things first.

	No life isn't like that. Everything at once that's what
life is like. I'm horny get me a woman he screams.
	Laverne yells Frank.
	Never mind I'm leaving. There are serious things
happening out there people are suffering.
	This is news.

	Our lives are an appalling slapstick. On the other side
of the TV screen real blood flows I've got to get out of this.
I'm leaving Frank slumps to the floor. Mazol he says.
	Power says Ronald he walks out of the Corn Palace data
accumulates he mutters to himself. Obscurity persists he
takes out his notebook and writes it down.

	Enlightenment grows he says enlightenment grows he
writes absence remains between words behind them my
pen driven by panic of empty space leaves its track he
writes it down as he says it.
	Speed increases space expands my investigations proceed
but toward what is an open question everything is ambiguous

nothing is what it is he writes it as he says it.
	Evidence is ubiquitous suspicion is pervasive fantasy
hardens reality seeps away.
	I have an overwhelming intuition of a plot one more
clue one more theory and everything falls into place.
	Will fall.


	Must fall into place. Oof.
	So what are you says Tommy.
	That's okay you just ruined my shot you realize that. I
mean you oughta watch who you're bumping into when
they're taking snapshots of the Corn Palace.

	I was thinking about something.
	You guys look I'll tell you what snap me standing in
the entrance there here's the camera it's all set Ronald
focuses Tommy in the viewer hey have I ever seen you
before says Ronald.
	Not unless you hang around La Fange, Minnesota that's

where I'm from name's Tommy. Want to snap that picture
Ronald I'm a tourist what are you.
	How do you know my name is Ronald.
	You look like a Ronald come on I'll give you a ride you
need to talk to someone.
	How do you know.

	I can tell by the way you keep moving your lips here's
my car they get in what's the notebook for says Tommy he
starts the car.
	I take notes on what I say.
	It's interesting I'm getting messages ten nine eight seven

six five four three two one zero testing testing abcdefghijk
Imnopqrstuvwxyz ga ga ga goo goo gug gek I've said this
before can't stop talking we've lost it I've been hit lost and
not going to get it back let's start from there I forgot what
I was going to say I forget I forgot I forget I forget thank
god at last what now sodium pentathol in the beginning

darkness sound of worms crawling through vaseline thung-
CHUNG e-e-e e-e-E-E-E H-A-A-a-a-a-a-h thung-CHUNG
e-e-e-e-E-E-E H-A-A-a-a-a-a-h a roaring wind followed by a
roaring wind pump a rising wind and then a falling wind
pump the worms the pump the wind worms pump wind repeat
repeat here we are in the middle of our book speeding

along on the breaking crest of the present toward god
knows what destination after the first word everything
follows anything follows nothing follows the world is pure
invention from one minute to the next who said that.
	Shakespeare says Tommy he turns into the feeder road
and accelerates forty fifty sixty seventy high beams drill

into dark on U.S. 90 somebody give you a shot of speed
he says Ronald sits with his hand over his mouth his cheeks
puff collapse air farts through fingers mumble mumble
mutter waw waw fup says Ronald can't stop it's not me get
a gun who said that someone's talking in my head remember
everyone has assumed an alias including you including

me zero in on reality the plot the code the infrastructure
they're poisoning the air and stealing the oxygen that's
part of it also selective famine the roads clogged with
completely dispossessed people who have nowhere to go and
nothing to do but starve to death they're already in partial 
control of your body there are ways of getting it back follow

my instructions.
	Hold it I need a new cartridge Tommy takes a cartridge
out of the dashboard tape recorder replaces it with another
hurry up this is the last cartridge he says the speedometer
jumps from seventy-three to eighty-seven to ninety-three
seven one hundred Nixon is in on it Kennedy is in on it

I'm in touch with Garrison anyone who knows about it is
in on it or dead slow release of population control poisons
into environment fallout shelters for the rich oxygen
reservoirs underground anticontamination farming fear is a
stick of dynamite when the fuse is lit history cancels out
I say they are stealing the oxygen from the air and taking

control of our bodies am I crazy or you all right that's
your opinion but remember the plot ends in death. Yours.
	Faster I'm running out of tape says Tommy the
speedometer moves from one hundred to one hundred three
seven ten a siren starts in Ronald's head rises falls rises
falls rises follow my instructions learn to read the true

meaning of events learn to breathe from the diaphragm
assume the lotos position get your head together sensitivity
training total encounter synthesis in carnal joy family
tribe affinity group we're into the macrobiotic diet learning
karate yoga doing bioenergetic exercises boycotting grapes
it's everybody loving everybody like animals like a

herd of animals group flesh it's being the way you are it's
being bad it's acting bad it's good it's at the bottom of the
hole it's what fills empty space what you have inside you
what is it it's not a thing it's a shape a definition a name
it's the sound of god playing with his yoyo it's glycerol
trinitrate seventy-five percent porous material twenty-five

percent a detonator and slow burning fuse speedometer
at one thirteen seventeen the siren in his head rises rises
it's not in his head it's behind them ahead flares across the
highway red lights flash on and off.
	Don't stop says Tommy he hits the brakes the car skids
straightens out hurry up it's almost over he says blah blah

blah says Ronald Tommy hits the brakes again blah blah
again blah blah blah blah blah the car slows to a stop
blah blah blah blah blah a man comes over to the car I
want to see your license and registration blah blah blah
blah blah he wears a long red scarf over a trench coat hairy
mole on nose it's over says Tommy blah blah blah blah

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah look out he's got a gun.

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	Ronald Sukenick    Cover    All About OUT