W.—round, filmy and loosely kept—spat blood profusely for pure pleasure. On the sidewalk, in the halls of settling brick buildings, over green spears of academic grass, W. bit his inner lip, right side, square in the middle, and spew forth the new flow of his oft seen blood and saliva just to hear it hit.
Like bird shit on car metal sometimes. Others, it was a slow soggy swimming pool of a sound like a kid pissing down the shallow end. Those were the good ones. Their gospel spurred him on.
Wait though. On more occasions than he could bare recall some of these spitting crusades punctuated only with an old fashioned SPLAT struck him as the most disappointing, the most redundant. They caused W. to flip his gray matter in its bone pan. And reconsider. Faith?
His reactive thoughts backfired: You should quite, my man. You should just stop trying. I mean, what’s the point? Spit like life, even when infused with blood like the body, is only hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms—only stardust. Isn’t that what they say, the humans, stardust? It’s stardust. That’s good, stardust and energy. My spit is of the stars, and I shall not contain it within this one vessel of the body.
Milling its hot cherry into the wet London concrete with the ball of his booted foot, W. crushed his American Spirit to the sidewalk. What a sensation sound gave him, the torque of soul leather on cement rubble. He could even hear that last hiss of fire and water.
Turn he back then to chipping the blue polish from his nails, while thinking that black might have been more cheerful. Such a drab day deserved more black polish.
No visible humans were walking about, and W.’s head was too heavy but only on one side, only because of the titanium plate that held his brains in. So, tilting to the left from his late Spring car crash, he saw a continuous imbalance in the visual weight of the world.
On one side of the picture, onerous squares of blank gray sidewalk framed street gutters with their yellowing Fall leaves floating in chemical-sick rainwater, prone and emaciated, weakened by disintegration, through a sewer compost and on out to a flat untrustworthy river. A river that hid its victims well.
The other side of this picture, lightened by diagonal lines and clouded by visual noise, was a localized haunting of slugs and condensation. W.’s internal fulcrum could find no equilibrium in this two-sided rendering of the actual. All was jitterbugs and tossed salad for W.
Whenever he moved along a sidewalk, and two or more humans were coming toward W., he would unwillingly migrate toward them—pulled in by their gravity. With surprise and obvious disgust the humans would archly pull away and rush past him, or flee to the opposite side of the street.
But this time, alone on the sidewalk, W. noted the unique slime trail of each slug that worked itself up to light speed at his feet. Yes. That noise they made! The succulent hiss of a trillion self empowered pores lubricating the jolly fellows’ paths across their universe of two square meters, each little dirt clod or piece of stone a star, each small rubbish pile a new planet for the jolly traveling fellows to explore in their way with antennae slowly caressing, probing, tracing the contours of every tidbit internally.
The sounds of which came to W. as a concert of saxophones blowing. He’d known that music before. Those long curved horns of the Swiss reverberated out to him from some snowy mountain memory, the only truly ripe and fitting comparison—the image of blind, cartoon-colored martins moving over the metallic soil of some forgotten planet.
Were these slugs merely space travelers of the overlooked galaxies at his feet? Aliens incognito from another dimension? Time Lords!? They could be doing anything at that speed, and who would know?
If only W. could explain to the humans about the boisterous slime-conducted astro-pilots. Share their subtle language.
Slime Drive, he would intone. Martins are all around us cruising at full slug speed to unknown sectors of the sidewalk. Look, you, a wormhole in the street; it leads to the third planet in the Dogtrot system on the other side. Think of the possibilities.
But humans would not understand, never sensing more than their input filters allowed. The unseen mesh of some intricately laced membrane keeping too many things from them; their eyes, ears, noses, tips of their fingers, pads of their feet, the bumpy skin over their nipples, all selecting only the must sanitary, mundane, or sanity friendly stimuli…!
So, W. only spat his consternation. Spat he blood! For saliva alone was not enough, too light, too watery. While W. heard the pulsing of molasses from a thousand trees, over a thousand kilometers away, the humans could not even hear their own hearts, which bestirred his soul to flight, or the murmur of their skin as it warmed and began to darken in the sun, which ignited his blood to flame.
Blood to flame.
The heady phrase evaporated as W. lit a fresh cigar, stepped off the sidewalk, and wandered into the street.
K. Shawn Edgar | Frost Demon | Slug Whisperer | Prose Poet