Archive for January, 2009

Zero Zero



Staring at the limp, contorted frame discarded on the checked tile I wondered about the very concept of irrationality. It is absurd in that it implies rationality to be valid by extension. It is polarized. A direct rejection of the tragic spectrum of behavior between logic and emotion. A rather optimistic assumption that we – humans – are more divine creation than brutal beast. Good and evil. Up and down. Meaningless simplifications. A rejection of what we know. I surveyed the cluttered mixture of logic and emotion trying to delineate the two. Crimson is such a romantic notion. The reality of the matter is muddy, clumping brown gore with seams of shiny black. Yellow and blue blotches rising to pink shreds on sickly pale skin. Hemoglobin is far more ambitious than artistic canon would have it. The dark ichor is, however, flecked with spots of that fabled, passionate red.

I wonder for an instant whether those beautiful crimson spots in the otherwise revolting mess are part of what makes us examine murder in terms of irrationality. It’s so concise. So aesthetic. So naive. I make a quick estimate that this battered woman last stirred less than 24 hours ago. Perhaps less than 12. I imagine the body as an extension of the killer – a sportsman his ball or a driver her car. Quarry and prey. I envision the ecosystem between them. I try to extrapolate the breathing end of this rotten root. Killers don’t often know their victims intimately. They always do, by definition.

A lobby. A place of transition. A public place. Floor to ceiling windows, clearly penetrated by casual gaze, yet revealing a backdrop mundane enough to go completely unnoticed. Visible and transitory. Potentially deliberate yet obviously impractical. Rife with evidence. A veritable panopticon. I look up and take note of several surveillance bubbles advertising cameras within. How much of the setting comprised emotion and how much logic? How intentional or reckless is the exhibitionism? Staring up at the cameras I have difficulty believing this is an example of that rare, almost mythical species, the crime of passion. Or at least I suspect that passion, like crimson, is always steeped to some extent in the hideous spectrum of gruesome earth tones before me. Semi clotted blood, and reason befuddled by hormonal intervention.

This, like all things, is a function of systemic behavior and arbitrary imprinting, a volatile alchemy of logic and emotion.





He was still shaking. Stop it!, he thought so loudly he almost said it. Someone was looking at him again. Go away. He wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening, like he always did. He wanted to float back into the nebulous garble behind his eyelids. Every time he stood up from the dusty, oily piles of plastic upon which he dreamed, he got one step closer to having to admit defeat and move on. Where, however, was still an abstraction – like knowing the upcoming layout of a stranger’s house without rounding the next corner.

Good. The person was leaving. He never spoke to members of the constantly morphing group of derelicts and junkies around him. He didn’t want to become involved in the directionless, continuity-devoid soap opera that they conducted to draw attention away from their miserly misery. Community, was the word. They were a lot like most groups of people he’d gotten familiar with, actually. Overly dramatized interpersonal relationships devised to distract people from their realities. That didn’t bother him, though. Sometimes he was even jealous of their singular belief in the status of their own existence.

He knew he was a cuckoo here amongst the pigeons. But if he could just stop thinking about it so much, maybe he could linger a bit longer. Stay in this nest and eat his filthy semi-digested worms for just one more day before having to shed the mucous that bound his wings. Birds. Blue daylight – blustery static monolith. Ears hear ears hear ears hear only if my hands can touch. He felt himself slipping into what was once called a tonic clonic, back when people said things to him and he was better at pretending he didn’t hear them. Now they had a different name, and he irritatingly couldn’t help but respond when talked to, but the difference was he didn’t care so much anymore. So he couldn’t remember what this was called. But he knew what it was.

He was still shaking. He was still thinking. He was going to have to get up.




A muffled cacophony of rusting automatons and wind crammed into geometric confines. It was the closest approximation of silence Ash could expect. Through the venerable concrete and rebar overhead, across the whirring gulf between the prefab monoliths and far below, caked in layers of urban soot and beads of sweat, the city rumbled. Fourteen million nervous little romantic tragedies played out to the soundtrack of four generations worth of plastic-encrusted numeric conceptualism. From within Ash’s musty, two-thousand cubic-foot compartment, the city outside was only a ritualistically-ignored synaptic static, leaking in uninvited through the balcony door.

Stationed on a dusty, upholstered seat, Ash surveyed and edited a lurching spread of dissociated images. The grating, hysteric thud of electronic music pounded forth. More than a few curt, diagnostic conversations occurred in a variety of media platforms. The output writhed and clicked like a sprayed cockroach as Ash’s spindly fingers and hazel eyes flashed across the display. The machine on the chipboard desk was a mutated Theremin. The stoic gearbox danced with Ash more eloquently than any partner she’d known. Sizes, hues, contrast, focal points, volume and layout jumped at her whimsy. All this with an eerie accuracy that pundits measures in terms of ‘intuitiveness’. Synaesthesia was perhaps a more accurate diagnosis.

The night was humid as a cave. Ash couldn’t have been tired if she wanted to. She’d been tossing around her nest since before the sun had risen the previous day, catnapping through the hottest parts of the afternoon. She recalled seeing the sun setting. The view was a quicksilver display of reds, mauve, daylily orange and faint hints of green where clouds’ golden edges faded to turquoise and then sky blue. The sun was almost menacing in its subtle power. The silent key to all the earthly locks, she thought. The image had fought its way through her waking murk and pressed some undocumented button in her forebrain. It reminded her of her own warmth, obscured within the general heat of the city. Like two electrodes across a Jacob’s Ladder, she had been connected to that sun for a brief, groggy moment. Then the frizz of coffee and simmering pan of civilization below her had brought her back to her place – just a spark in a chemical inferno.

Now, in the dark, she fidgeted mercilessly against data. She compounded and interpolated information in search of an elusive detail. She sifted through every seemingly relevant article and video log she could conjure up out of the machine. She navigated all the perceptible degrees of separation from where her gut placed this detail. Her eyebrows cramped and her carpal tunnels protested in vain. In certain moments she lost the thread of hunches and was left with nothing in front of her but a series of unrelated text files and images. Miniaturized amnesia, she thought. She grouped, compressed and labeled these dead ends and red herrings numerically – hopeless conglomerations of evidence. Like the boxes of parts for forgotten appliances that she saw at the pawn shops on the strip.

When she was a child, her mother had said Ash had a woman’s intuition. She remembered crying about the way an uncle had spoken to her in a conversation that occurred out of the earshot of her parents. Several weeks later she woke to the sound of her father drunkenly threatening the uncle and shoving him out the door. The image of her father battering her uncle on the mucky front lawn buried itself in the silt bottom of her memory like a mosquito egg, only to bubble up years later, complete with bloodsucking stinger.

At a young age, the concept of women having some special, almost mystical power had excited and behooved her. Now, her artificial carapace of vapidity, layered on by many too many curt social interactions, told her that the idea was a relic. Just a throwback to that brief, historical moment between oppression and integration, when the ideals of feminism spilled over into the realm of the philosophical. She hoped it was not so. Particularly in light of the fact that she was searching for something that she wasn’t sure even existed, and had no idea what relevance it might bear, were it to present itself. Women’s intuition or stress-induced insanity, she thought, tentatively opting for the former.