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Just for you... Because I think you're swell.
Love You and There's Nothing You Can Do About It
Orchids From Aum
The Oz Suite sampler...
No We Love No One
They came down from the sky one night like baby spiders
cast to the winds, tucked into pearlescent spiral shells suspended
from parachutes made of no earthly silk.
The children. Newborns, back then. In all the colors of human
Their mysterious mothers, or mother, did not announce or
claim them as they floated down on to cities and towns; lonely
houses and camp sites and caves; and even cars and jets and
tanks and beasts of burden. I found out later the shells found
submarine and missile silo crews in their depths of sea and
earth, religious hermits who had lost themselves in deserts
and mountains, the insane in their asylums, the criminals
in jails, everyone, wherever they sheltered for that day’s
turning from the sun. The shells stuck to doors and windows
and hatches and rocks, on and beneath the ground and the sea,
in the air, miraculously adapting to their environment so
that no harm would come to their contents or to their nearby
I remember that’s how it began. As simple as that.
No explanation, at least, none that Dad and his new wife Doris
could understand. Dad was like that big guy in war movies
who carries the heaviest gun but needs the smart little guy
to tell him where to shoot. He’d shake his head and
frown the same way for a flat tire and a death in the family,
like every troubling event, no matter how great or small,
reflected the same great mystery. My Mom wanted more out of
life than an unwanted child and someone else’s profound
sense of awe for life’s challenges, and left us both.
The woman he found afterwards didn’t mind his consistent
approach to existence. But she didn’t have any answers,
Like the universe, the shells simply appeared one day, delivering
their burdens to every living man and woman. Me and Silas
got off, of course, along with everyone else under sixteen:
even whoever made all those babies didn’t trust us kids.
I was the first in the house to see them come down. Silas
was asleep. Doris was online talking to her sister and Dad
was in the living room reading a science magazine. I was looking
out the window, bored with games, TV, books, homework, everything.
I liked looking into the dark places between the street lights,
under the trees between houses at night, because my mind could
fill the darkness with so much more than what I could see
was real in the light.
Bring Me The head of That Little Girl Dorothy
When the Witch calls for Nikko, it’s never a good
In the Baum book, the Flying Monkeys were compelled to follow
the Witch’s orders by the power of the Golden Cap, which
could be used only three times by it wearer. I should be so
lucky. Three times and out would have saved us all a lot of
blood and tears.
In reality, there never was a Golden Cap. The Flying Monkeys
are no more coerced into the Witch's service than her Winkie
guards. Long ago, choices were made. Bargains struck. Desires
fulfilled. Bonds forged. We do our work of our own free will.
Regrets, though a
burden, do not inform our actions. We are mostly happy monkeys.
Violent and stupid, but happy.
There’s hardly any real wickedness in the books. Some
might say the same about our Land. Those who wouldn't, can't,
That's my job.
As King of the Flying Monkeys, the burden of regret falls
most heavily on me. As does the responsibility for fulfilling
our bargain with the Witch. It is Nikko the witch calls for
when she wants her Flying Monkeys to attack; Nikko who leads
them to their victims, looks back on the bodies broken by
his tribe, and sheds a gentle shower of tears. It is with
Nikko that the Witch shares her troubles, jealousies, rages,
petty frustrations and pompous ambitions. Nikko is her most
intimate confidant, the most trusted of lieutenants, the one
who stands by her side as she peers into her crystal ball,
and the one who is left, even now, alone to whisper into the
ears of her many captive heads, and cackle.
I am the creature who satisfies her every wish and desire.
Some say it is the fur that stokes her lust, and others
the wings, but I know from experience how much she likes tails.
And, of course, there is always the frenzy of a Flying Monkey
unleashed, and the way blood drips from a paw when the fury
subsides, to spark a dying fire back to life.
Service to the Witch has its rewards. As king of the Flying
Monkeys, and as bearer of our guilt, those pleasures also
fall mostly on me.
The Witch has summoned her Nikko. The Flying Monkeys screech
from their towers, knowing I will lead them soon, again.
It is not a good sign for whoever has angered the Witch.
In this dream of a real world, I work as a design consultant
for a large and famous marketing firm with an enormous stick
up its ass.
"Maribel," they ask, “which do you think
works better?" as they hold up wedges of the color they
call lemon so subtly different in value it would take powers
of perception both superhuman and from another planet to tell
them apart. But the palette under consideration at this meeting
has been cleared by the legal department against infringement
on competitive product colors, and the team is desperate to
come up with the ?new avocado,' and they know through grim
experience what'll happen if they don't get my "input,"
so I have to make a decision based on my years of immersion
in the tastes and fashions of this so-called real world, my
grasp on the hungers and desires of the consumer masses, and
the statistically proven color preferences for particular
products by our target demographic.
Fuck the lemon. I want to blow them all to hell.
The Wizard Will See You Now
When I was ten, my Daddy killed me.
It happened after I got sick. Threw up. In the middle of
The Wizard of Oz, the musical version everyone’s seen.
Right at the start of the Yellow Brick Road number.
Dorothy and her band of make-believe brothers, and her little
dog, too, were skipping off to Oz. The dizzies caught my head,
and my stomach felt real bad, and the next thing I knew I
was barfing up meat loaf and mashed potatoes all over the
basement rec room floor. Good thing we had that super turf
carpet stuff. Mom twitched, but saw I wasn’t looking
good and instead of yelling, she sent me to bed.
Dad didn’t care about the mess. Didn’t bother
to clean it up. He just sat on the sofa, staring off, like
he was set up in a stand on the edge of a meadow lining up
a buck in his sights. Nothing would move him, not bird shit
or kid vomit. He never checked in on me, either, once I was
in bed. Mom came by a few times, took my temperature, said
I had the flu and loaded me up with pills and juice. Kissed
me on the cheek, and on my forehead. Held my hand.
I didn’t feel so bad after I knew I wouldn’t
have to go to school the next day. But I didn’t feel
like getting up and celebrating, either. Worst thing about
getting sick was missing the attack of the flying monkeys.
That and the Wicked Witch of the West’s Winkie guards
marching into the castle.
I dreamed they were coming after me, though. Wings beating
and furry hands reaching, they dove out of the clouds like
a swarm of bees. I ran, beating them off, slapping their silly,
wide-opened mouths shut, poking them in their big bug-eyes.
The only thing that bothered me was their screeching. After
a bit, the screeching nearly made sense, and I stopped to
listen to what they were saying. The words didn’t come
together in sentences, so I listened harder, and pretty soon
I recognized Mom and Dad, and that’s when I woke up
from my dream, hot and sweaty, but also cold.
For a few of minutes, I thought I was still in a movie.
But not the Wizard of Oz.
Instead, I felt like I’d been dropped into one where
the killer breaks into the house while the parents are fighting
and the kids are crying and no one's paying attention to what's
really going on. You know, shadows all around, silence in
the corners, deep night on the other side of the windows,
and the family's trapped in their own world, oblivious to
who's in the house with them. Short, sharp music tells you
something bad’s coming.
I was in the house with them, and I was coming.
For a while, it was fun. Felt like I was stalking big game,
like those cats on the Discovery Channel. Listening for the
sounds of my prey. Waiting for the moment to strike. Getting
ready to do a thing that was going to be fast and hard and
Then I got scared. Had a feeling something else was in the
house. Watching me. Waiting. Suddenly, the movie wasn’t
fun. I remembered I was sick. Laying in a bed with my back
to the darkness.
Maybe I was the prey. Like Dorothy, chased by the Witch.
I sat right up, heart beating like bird’s. Shaking
all over. Stayed frozen for a good, long while. Stared into
every corner of my room, making sure no one was there. I was
a little dizzy, too. And hot. Had to think hard to figure
out if I was still dreaming.
The yelling got louder though it didn’t sound closer.
I figured Mom and Dad were fighting about me. I felt bad and
got up to tell them I was sorry but I really was sick and
not ‘acting out’ like Mom sometimes said I did
because she was having my baby sister in six months.
I mean, to be honest, I wasn’t happy about getting
a little sister. Never asked or even wished for one. Carl
had a little sister and he said she kept him up at night crying
and the house was crazy and they never went out anywhere anymore
because of the baby. Jamal always complained about his older
sister. Me, Chris and Carl thought she beat him up all the
time and he was too embarrassed to tell us. We sure never
messed with her. Chris had a younger one, too, but she was
only a couple of years behind him and he didn’t seem
to mind. Sometimes when somebody's parents took us to the
mall, or to a party, she'd tag along. Once she held my hand
when we were going up an escalator. It was embarrassing. But
kind of nice, too.
The Wizard of Oz was back in my head when I went downstairs.
The monkeys were gone, but “Over the Rainbow”
kept playing in my head, and I had to check to make sure I
wasn’t wearing ruby slippers. The guys would never let
me live that one down.
And I still felt the witch, or somebody, watching me through
a crystal ball.
The movie was all around me, too. The color part, only the
colors were super real, while the steps I was walking on and
the rail and the wall I leaned on for balance felt like cardboard
fakes. It was weird feeling, like when Bobby and Jamal and
Carl used to come over Saturday afternoons and we'd fast forward
through every horror video we could get our hands on to watch
the good parts while Mom was busy cleaning and talking on
the phone and Dad was fixing something or other and they both
thought we were watching the game. After the guys were gone,
and Mom and Dad were sleeping, I’d be all alone in my
room when those good parts ran in my head over and over, until
I'd get more and more scared, because the good parts aren't
so much fun when you're by yourself and it feels like it’s
the dark that’s keeping those parts playing, over and
over, in your head.
I might have been on the Yellow Brick Road, only Dorothy
and her gang had left me behind and I didn't even have a dog
and it was getting dark and the Wicked Witch’s flying
monkeys were in the clouds, getting ready to dive.
I felt like I was missing a good part, but maybe that was
all right since I wasn't sure I wanted to actually be in that
I was going to see the Wizard, but I didn't know why.
The yelling stopped when I reached the living room. The
quiet made me more scared than when they’d been making
so much noise.
I went into the kitchen.
That’s where I saw Dad stabbing Mommy in the chest
with a big knife.
copyright 2008 Gerard Houarner