When the power went out, I was working on a story. This was the first time, at school. And as my made my way home, I thought about how what I wanted was to sit in the dark, with one other person, and tell them the story I was writing. I had plotted it all out in my head, but was having trouble putting it down into sentences when I was reminded of the inconsistency of technology. So oral tradition revival felt like something romantic in those moments.
The next day I'm talking about this to Gianna and she gets excited. And so we fake it, we turn off the lights and we all gather around and leave ourselves to channeling something.
It became a game of jam sessions, with Graham, Gianna, Sam Adams and I. But at the end I wanted to bring it back to what it was, with me just telling something solo. But the story I had plotted out in my head was told first, so I just went ahead and started improvising off the top of my head, as everybody lay down on the edge of sleep.
Then I thought the story turned out so well I thought I'd write it down as best I could recall. (I wanted tapes for transcript but none were available.) And I'd rewrite it where necessary, to fill in the gaps in my memory, but hopefully the charm of it persists. To me, I think it's very charming, a nice little bit of automatic writing that darts from point A to point B with each of those points being something that occurred to me, and that in their traversal maps out some kind of psychic territory. I think it shares thing in common with the stuff that I like, while being its own thing, which is really all I want out of my work.
But anyway, here's the second or third or fourth draft, probably not quite done. (The first draft is that which I spouted spontaneously, when I closed my eyes and saw arrows.) When it's done I think I'll submit it to the school literary magazine which I don't think is very good. For now it's here, for you to read, maybe to the tune of the Beck song off Mellow Gold with the lyric "The sales climbed high through the garbage pail sky, like a giant dildo crushing the sun." "Pay No Mind." That's just the tune I read it to on reread.
Anyway yeah okay so this story right here is copyright 2006 Brian Nicholson.
It's called "Sugar Suture."
The arrows sailed over the walls of the city, with some hitting billboard bullseyes and the rest gliding down into the populace. One plunged into my shoulderblade, leading blood to spurt and drip like twisting the cap off a shaken-up soda bottle. I needed medical attention, but leechings were costly, and I was uninsured. I also had suspicions that such practices were not all they were professed to be. But blood was leaking with such speed that I wouldn't be able to walk far, and I was closer to the hospital than anywhere else.
I walked into the emergency room and expressed my reservations in regard to the practice of leeching. The doctor told me there was a new treatment, that involved no leeches but produced comparable results. I consented to this, and the doctor then removed the arrow from my back and replaced it with a clear plastic hose. He stood in front of me and started to suck on the hose until blood rushed through, up towards his mouth. He then quickly removed his mouth and put his end of the hose in what he referred to as "a new kind of bag," which started to fill up with blood. I soon fell asleep.
When I had woken, my blood had completely vacated my body for a bag. It had become its own thing, something like a son, consisting of half of myself. He had taken half of my vocabulary. My blood told me that he had his own life to live. I needed something new to pump through my veins.
I left the hospital and went to the 7-11 next door. I walked up to the Slurpee machine, and placed the flared-out end of one of a brightly colored straw into my wound. I turned one of the bubbled lids upside down, and placed the top end of the straw at the lids smaller opening. I cupped the dome in my hand with the straw falling between my fingers, pulled the lever on the machine to the right and filled myself up with softly frozen cherry soda. I replaced my blood with something cooler. I didn't know what I would do about my bones, but my bones insisted they'd be fine.
When I went home to my wife she was bothered by my lack of passion. "What happened to you?" she asked and I explained. And then she said "What are we going to do about this?" and I told her I assumed that everything would go about as usual. "What about a child? I thought we were going to have children, and I'm not sure we can do that now that you're something that's human." I had forgotten all about words like child and children. My blood had taken them when he stole half of my language. So I just shrugged, because I had become something cool. As time went on and I cared less and less about her as I cared less and less about most things. She didn't have the same stuff running through her veins, and it became clear that I would have to leave and go on to other things. But she still needed something.
And so I went down to the pharmacy and bought myself one of those new kinds of bags, and I masturbated into it three times a day for two weeks. When my semen had accrued enough to take on a life of its own, I presented it to my wife and told her that was all she could have of me. And I left the two of them together and went on to pursue an art career.
Then one night at the end of a party that didn't turn out the way as planned I said aloud, "I don't know what I'm going to do about you, bones."
And my bones insisted that they were sticking with me. We were in this together, my bones and I, even though he was bothered by my always blaming everything on him and never acknowledging the closeness of our connection.
When the cold weather came, there was nothing left to keep me warm. The chills that came made me feel like I would shake my tendons loose and my bones would finally fall out, but they remained steadfast. I was hoping I could return to my blood and we could hold each other at night while we slept. But my blood had left the city, to go to war against our enemies. On the night of the winter solstice I received word he had been killed. When I learned this, I cried high fructose tears that stuck to my face. My bones insisted that this was not enough mourning.
I returned to my wife in the middle of the night and drank my semen from the bag. I hoped this would restore me to the person I once was, but it filled up all the wrong spaces.
I left the city with a white flag waving and asked the opposing army if they could help me find the spot where my blood had been spilled into the dirt. They showed me a small patch of land, and I asked if they would do me the favor of burying me alive, so that the dirt would fill my lungs and in this way my blood would be returned to me. They agreed to do this, but made me dig up my own grave. And when the hole was dug, someone pushed me over. I fell into the hole and felt the dirt fall as they shoveled it back on.
I laid down and died and didn't feel myself get any closer to what I once was. Everything gets diluted in the dirt, which outstrips me by a million to one. Now that everything has been eroded, only my bones persist.
And Merry Christmas everybody.