Excerpts
The Gorelets Omnibus
Michael A. Arnzen
Armadillo Fists
Carlton Mellick III
Anatomy Courses
Blake Butler
Sean Kilpatrick
Doom Magnetic!
William Pauley III
Fill the Grand Canyon
Andersen Prunty

Fiction
Disambiguation
Donna Fleck
Pink Nausea
Gary J. Shipley

Nonfiction
Possibility Spaces
Lance Olsen

 

Aging & Regressing
Andersen Prunty


Estelle blares the horn and I start climbing into the Jeep when she tells me I have to sit in the back because Clarence is in the passenger seat. I don’t see anyone but I do what she says. She seems really on edge. I sit in the back and wonder why the top has been removed from the Jeep and really wish for the millionth time that I had a coat. She rips through the side yard and bounces into the alley. We drive through a series of alleys. I never realized Dayton had so many alleys but it seems like a half an hour before we’re on any type of main road. And then it’s only to bound up onto 35. My arms are wrapped around myself and my teeth are chattering and the speed of the highway isn’t helping at all. By the time we reach 75 South my blood is finally pumping and I’m starting to feel less like a corpse.

“Where are we going?” I ask, knowing I should just enjoy the ride but, given my past experiences with Estelle, I know wherever we’re going could lead to savagery and horror. I think I’m okay with this.

“Clarence has a cane!” she yells. Spit mists out of her mouth and spritzes my face. It smells like Listerine and death.

“What!” “Clarence! Has! A! Cane!”

“Great!”

“And it has a skull on it!”

“Clarence sounds like a badass!”

“What!”

I repeat myself but it doesn’t elicit any response. The rearview mirror frames Estelle’s wild eyes. We’re in the fast lane and doing well over a hundred. There are very few other cars on the highway. She stops and tells me I have to drive.

“I don’t want to drive.”

“The arthritis in my knees is really fucking with me. Get behind that fucking wheel or I’ll cut your face.”

She slides over into the passenger seat.

“What about Clarence?”

“Clarence got out a half hour ago. He’s a limp dicked motherfucker. By that I mean he’s my son and I have had sex with him.”

“Therefore you know all about his erectile dysfunction and his penchant for relations with mothers."

“The next time I hear fancy talk like that I’m biting your ear off. Get this bitch moving. It’s stolen.”

I slam on the gas. Eventually we pass a stadium-sized church fronted by the skeleton of what used to be a giant Jesus until it got struck by lightning. I think, Jesus was a cyborg. Estelle stands up and unbuttons her top. She’s not wearing a bra, her nipples extend to her waist, and she bounces around. “Look at these, Jesus!” she shouts. It’s just like Mardi Gras.

“Drive faster!” she says. She’s still standing up, her breasts and loose skin flapping in the wind. I try to turn on the heat and she karate chops my hand away.

We pull off an exit somewhere in Cincinnati. She spits directions at me and I robotically maneuver the Jeep until we’re in front of a dilapidated Victorian house. It’s the only house with any lights on.

Great! Maybe she’s taking me along to another one of her parties. Estelle hops out of the Jeep and winces. She buttons up her floral-patterned polyester church dress and I realize how conservatively she’s dressed. She goes around to the back of the Jeep and grabs a couple five-gallon cans of gasoline.

“Grab those.” She points at a couple of roadside flares

“What are we doing?”

“We’re having fun. We’re making the night glow. We’re aging and regressing.” Then she growls at me and lashes out at my cheek with a claw. It hurts. I think it’s bleeding but I’m holding these flares and too preoccupied to check. We walk up onto the porch. She sets down the gas cans and tries the door. It’s locked. She tells me to kick it in. Says it’ll be a blast, a really big time, a fiesta, arena rock.

I kick the door several times. I can’t kick it open. I’m chubby and weak and not a master of kicking open doors. The door opens anyway and an old man stands on the other side.

“Why the banging?” he says.

Before he can say anything else, Estelle throws herself on him like a wild cat, gouging his eyes, kneeing him in the groin.

“Grab the gas! Splash it around!” she says.

And the next few seconds are filled with people screaming and running from the house and I’m splashing the gas all around the perimeter of the room I’m standing in, the fumes enveloping me, and I’m having a really good time and immediately want to move to another house and do it again. I look back at Estelle and she’s continuing to rip at the poor old guy’s face and when he seems immobilized she grabs one of the flares and sparks it up and tosses it into the room. I run through the open door and head for the Jeep. Estelle’s limping along behind me, silhouetted in the hell orange glow of the house. I sit in the passenger seat. My hands are shaking. My nerves are shot. I can’t possibly drive. And I begin to wonder if what I just had, what I just experienced was, in fact, fun. Or was it just something I felt and I’m confusing that for fun? Or did I just do whatever Estelle wanted me to do?

Estelle gets behind the wheel and we swing through another series of alleys and then we’re at a parking garage and we’re driving to the top of it and then we’re out of the Jeep and standing against the concrete barrier and Estelle is pointing at the burning house and mouthing the word, “Beautiful.”

I think of the mutilated man inside, rolling around on the floor and screaming.

Estelle moves a hand with knuckles the size of walnuts over my cock. It’s unresponsive. She reaches into her giant purse and pulls out some pills and tells me to take them so she doesn’t have to rip out my tongue and I do it.

In a few minutes I’m rock hard.

She crawls up onto the hood of the Jeep, hikes up her skirt, and slides down a huge pair of underwear.

She says, “I’ll let you wear my wig.”

She says, “You’ll have to get the lube out of my purse. You’ll need a lot.”

She says, “Yeah, that’s it.”

She says, “Yeah, just like it’s 1939. I’m the magic paper bag.”

She says, “Fill me while the world burns.”

She says, “Faster. Harder. You need to lose some weight or you’re going to break my hips.”

She says, “Come on my tits. Spray 'em with that shit.”

And I’m doing everything she says and I’m looking at a lighted sign beyond the Jeep that says ROOF and has an arrow pointing up and the light is blinking and then it’s going dark and we’re lying in a puddle of grease covered with a crocheted blanket that smells like mothballs and gasoline and I ask, “Who was that man?”


Andersen Prunty just is.