998 Slices
Medium 9781574415650

Grip

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

Grip

I love the pole vault because it is a professor’s sport. One must not only run and jump, but one must think. Which pole to use, which height to jump [. . .] I love it because the results are immediate and the strongest is the winner. Everyone knows it. In everyday life that is difficult to prove.

—Sergey Bubka, 1988

W

hen Ewan began pole vaulting again, he did it secretively, furtively, a thing he held inside his chest until it pulsed—like a family secret, or a lie. Lucky for him, it was a sport well-suited to solitude: You didn’t need someone to hit ground balls to you, to rebound missed shots, to return your serves. It had been eight years since his last vault—it was hardly a sport of casual pursuit—and he missed it. Really missed it. Standing at the end of the runway before his first jump, he felt a buildup of energy course through his limbs, the sensation so visceral that he closed his eyes and simply let himself feel the weight of the pole resting in his hands, that lovely feeling of anticipation. It was the day after he and Cora decided, officially, to start trying for a baby, him making a nervous joke as she pulled him to her that it was time to see if his boys could swim.

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Medium 9780253016881

Dale Rumsey

Edited by Michael Martone and Bryan Furu Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Dale Rumsey

It’s the wife’s family business. We have the concession, pumping the latrines, outhouses, comfort stations, porta-potties, and septic tanks over at the big Henry David Thoreau County Park. The park’s in the floodplain and sprawls along the river’s swampy, scrubby, piney bottomland—many acres where the sun don’t shine. It is a known fact that most of the alien abductions take place here. Or so it seems. It makes sense this is the place where the aliens come to abduct folks. The park is remote and rural with many secluded nooks and crannies and hidden glens surrounded by stands of virgin forest. There is a high percentage of Winesburgians who have reported their live vivisections, endoscopies, anal probes, and invasive explorations. Folks disappear from these woods every day, the fires in the grills still smoldering, only to appear, days later, naked as God made them, staggering through the stands of quaking aspen, swaying birch, and seeding cottonwood. They’re a mess. And in my role as custodian, I have started a collection of alien scat left behind on these occasions, I suspect, when the spaceships jump into hyperdrive or through the wormholes or whatever. The crews do a little light housekeeping, I gather, before they shove off. One day I will have enough such samples to open a museum. I assume the visitors from outer space use the facilities themselves before commencing with their deliberate cathartic probings on us humans. They wash their hands or flippers or tentacles after relieving themselves. The water hereabouts is potable, artesian. The pumping facilities are over near the ruins of the old windmill and water tank that looks, now that I think about it, like some space saucer itself. Back to the scat. The first thing that strikes you (after the wide range of consistencies) is the variety of colors that shade into the blues and violets or are marbled with veins of orange or fluorescent flecks of green, chunked with copper, gold, or silver. Some leavings, years later, still radiate heat that is generated from something more than your normal mechanisms of decomposition. One elongated turd came equipped with what I can only imagine is its own treatment system—alien protozoa that then ingest the crap and excrete their own manure, leaving trails of slime in a kind of woodland forest camouflage pattern impossible to detect unless you are looking for it. Other piles are left behind wrapped in a kind of otherworldly wrapping paper, a frozen ribbon of blood-red urine tying up the package in a neat bow that, over time, subliminally evaporates into rusty ropey smoke. Or the waste is encapsulated in a stonelike outer shell of coprolite, a kind of geode or chocolate bonbon with a gooey soft center. I suspect that like many travelers our visiting anthropologists experience irregularity sparked by their own unfamiliarity with the microbial life they have to ingest while on the road. The liquefied residue, in certain spots, can be prodigious, and often I’ve found that the semisolid piles seem to steam, outgassing helium instead of methane or, even more remarkably, neon, which, when it sees the light of day, becomes excited and illuminates itself into drifting clouds of flickering pastel colors. Many aliens seem to ruminate, and the expectorant is as colorful and interesting as the other excretions, and a number of the extraterrestrials also seem to be coprophagic, like rabbits, expelling, after partial digestion, edible pellets that are then consumed. I have found such pellets with what I only can guess are alien teeth marks left behind in haste, the toilet stumbled upon by an innocent lost terrestrial hiker. Needless to say, I have found this strange poop mixed in with the everyday earthen spoil, as the abductions often include bowel scoping and the local subject must also endure a pre-op purgative enema of the GI tract before the procedure is to begin. I also pump the holding tanks at the outpatient clinics in town where more pedestrian colonoscopies are performed. Heck, I have had that procedure myself, studied with interest the photography of my insides out. Not gutsy so much as I have a professional curiosity. What creeps me out about all this is not the fecal matter but the drugs that seem universally applied by aliens and gastroenterologists alike to wipe clean the memory of the event. When one is under, one is not so much under, but instead says anything and everything, a kind of logorrhea, to the occupied operating staff. Who knows, perhaps the spacemen are much more interested in what comes out of our mouths than our anuses. In my expert opinion no one’s shit don’t stink, even the alien kind. But I have gotten used to it. Still, I have never gotten used to this other odor. The stench of our own stories is so attractive to us—bug-eyed and antenna-twitching carrion-eating creatures that we are.

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Medium 9780253006837

22: Bashir Binladen

Abdourahman A. Waberi Indiana University Press ePub

22

BASHIR BINLADEN

WAR INTO OVERTIME on the field now. President brought in a lot-lot draftees to replace all the dead. And then Scud 2, it start talking negotiations. The chiefs went quick-quick into town to get armchairs, A/Cs an radios. Ran like rabbits to pick up armchairs before their friends. Chiefs of Scud-there, they so-so hungry they'd eat their rebel boots. President so happy, he decorated the wounded, soldiers without arms, soldiers without legs, children without papa an mama. He accepted wounded rebels in big hospital to make buddy-buddy with second-in-command of Eternal Opponent. So it real peace now. Cept Eternal Opponent left for Paris to take refuge, he said war-there not over, said Scud 2 sold out corrupt. Him, watch out he gonna throw Scud 3 onto the field now.

Hey, that true truth cause ambush start again at Randa, Ambado, As-Dara, an all. So us we stay stuck in military positions at Dikhil, Tadjoura, Obock, an in the Mabla. We defensive forwards to save the sovereignty and gains of the united and indivisible nation, that fat rich language like French head of diplomacy talk. So all that-there, not too bad for us, right? Me, that's how I kept my job. All the guys relax; we have fun after we cried a lot cause of buddies dead on the sideline like Housseini in Adaylou, the one who bought and sold the pink pills. Everybody knows the pills-there come direct from Mogadishu; they love pills there too much so they can keep on with fierce war. Normal, right? But you can't make fun of the other monkey's cunt when your own ass-there naked too, even. Somalians, they in deep shit, but we got our problems too. The whole world saying: Somalians, Africans, all a bunch of savages make civil war all the time. Well, gotta understand us. What you expect when politicians-there they pick up all the pots an chow? When they eat the skin off the nape-a your neck. You pick up rifle, that's all. Us, we don't got comfort, villa, car, pay vacation like French, English, an even Norwegians who're nice cause they give NGO money an keep their trap shut. Me I say if a big white guy he wanna take my place, I give it right away an go screw his wife an daughter. That way it democracy between us. I give my place an he take my place here. Then I take his wife. Tie, ball in midfield. Be serious now and stop that crap about rightsaman, rightsawoman, rightsababies. We got a right to the good life too, don't we? Sick of drinking our own sweat. Draftees wanna admire shooting stars too, cept what they see's tracer bullets singing sweet little songs like this: “C'mere my little honey, come this way, been waiting for you for a long long time.” Draftees, they like that old camel the family gonna kill to eat him cause he's too-too old. The old camel, he say to chief of camp: “I worked for you all my life. I marched, marched, and marched to carry your tent and your merchandise. You got all you needed out of my back, now you wanna eat my meat and bones. After that you still get more out of me cause you'll take my skin an you'll make shoes with it, right?” So there you are, us draftees like ole camel-there cept us, we younger. That's all. Gotta stop bringing tears to my eyes. I close parenthesis.

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Medium 9780253223432

Chapter 14

Jim Cohee Indiana University Press ePub

Chapter 14

Catholics wore brown uniforms and went to Thomas Aquinas School. They wept at the toes of popes, lit candles and prayed for the dead, went to purgatory, and bobbed up and down in vats of boiling turd balls for a million years. Whatever Catholics do, I dunno.

For the purposes of locomotion, secretive, deeply disguised Mrs. Menard swallowed vast quantities of water, then shot it out of her tube under tremendous pressure and jerked backward through the air with her tentacles dangling behind her. She steered with two fleshy flaps of skin, which she used, when necessary, for wings. Her tube was powerful too, and she could glide through slippery air for blocks. Any predator who wanted Mrs. Menard was going to have to face that tube, and any man who stood in those flaps was going to die.

Mom said, “This is interesting, isn’t it?” She put the French dictionary on the kitchen table. It was smeared with dirt and little clumps fell from it. “Isn’t that odd?”

I looked at the dictionary.

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Medium 9780253008183

15 Splendid, Silent Sun

Jason L Brown Quarry Books ePub

Yelizaveta P. Renfro

11/6

Claudette—

You’ll never believe where I am—or rather, you’ve already surmised from the picture on the reverse of this postcard. Yes, Nebraska. You know, that state in the middle somewhere, just another corn-filled patch in the quilt of indistinguishable states that make up the interior. You see that farmhouse and the gently rolling fields of corn in the picture? That’s why I’m here. To find that. Not that particular house, per se, but what it stands for: that open and uncomplicated life that’s vanished in L.A. Nebraska. Just the sound of the word conjures up images of corn and wholesome tow-headed children and the Fourth of July. It’s more American than apple pie, right? Of course you’ve never thought about it. You’ve never been here. It’s the coasts for you. Fine. But for me, this bland Midwestern Americana is the exotic. I’m here to see it all.

Brian

11/7

Claudette—

I went on a little stroll today around Dudley’s neighborhood and had the scare of my life. I was maybe three blocks from Dudley’s house, just walking along, looking up at all these grand old houses with big porches and porch swings, as Midwestern as you please. And then, out of nowhere, came this awful buzz like an air-raid siren—or at least what I imagine an air-raid siren to sound like. The noise was all around me, coming from every direction, and for a minute I thought: Holy Jesus, the Soviets have launched their nuclear weapons at last, and here I am stuck in Nebraska! Nonsense, of course—how long has the Cold War been over now? When did the Soviet Union fall? I guess it was some vestigial fear from childhood, when the commies were the bad guys. Who are the bad guys now? I couldn’t remember, as I stood there paralyzed, listening to that awful wail, waiting for the big old planes swollen up with bombs in their bellies to come roaring overhead. Would they be painted with swastikas, Muslim moons?

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