For someone they wanted nothing to do with, their conversation scraped along with complaints and abhorrence of the other person to patch over their silences those disquieting silences. For someone they choked on the idea of their existence anywhere in the miserable world they dragged the mention of acts and supposed acts from place to place on the surface of their so superior exploits in the shooting range of this latest version latest delusion of colluding in the midst of the latest craze such a fucking craze crazed crazy ride without wheels minus a keel keelhauling their body hastily put together in their utterances under their breath coughing and spitting and swallowing regurgitating back up the idea of them and the whatever it was along under the surface along the length of the dayshift swingshift nightshift for the graveyard the length of the graveyard.
They had lunch in the cemetery reclining against cold stone and against the years against the years of birth premature deformed and still hush the genetic copyists chromosomes behind your heads come out with your incomplete now with hollow heads with some extra room to flush and rush and push down the phrases and phases multiphased paraphrased compromises elapsing pushed down phrases get out your plungers the waste is clogging the young the old and the stuck paralyzed with hope drugged with the scent of decay salted with formula of the disposed.
Andersottle: Doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Bulen: Can we make a pact never to mention them at lunch ever again?
Gridlo: Can we make a what?
Bulen: A pact.
Gridlo: What the hell is a packed what?
Andersottle: An agreement.
Bulen: Can we make an agreement not to waste our lunchtime discussing them?
Gridlo: Of course. Why didn't you just say so?
Bulen: What is that on your shoulder?
Gridlo: You're just trying to freak me out and there is nothing there on my shoulder which shoulder right shoulder right I'm right there's nothing there you are so full of it.
Andersottle: No, it's right there on the left your left shoulder my right your left.
Gridlo: Leave me alone and eat your tomato spinach and bean burrito.
Bulen: Tomato spinach?
Andersottle: As far as I'm concerned the tomato spinach and bean burrito doesn't have a leg to stand on compared to the potato and chili burrito.
Bulen: Where did that bug go off to?
Andersottle: The one on his right shoulder the left your left my right right got it now, bleck.
Gridlo: Pay no attention to him he's just trying to stir the pot.
Andersottle: I already pay no attention to him.
Bulen: Sure, don't take me seriously and when your skin is rotting off don't come crying to me for help then then when it'll be too late.
Andersottle: It's already too late. The insects and everything else outnumber us and our skin is already rotting off between the pores between the bites and the stings beneath the wings beating over our skin and our heads and behind our words blowing them over falling over each other to get another one in edgewise if we could just get it in there however we all think it all fits and it doesn't with all the other pieces knocking each other out of place just won't stay in place as we move as we're stranded trying to convince each other tug on each other's hearts beating under our skin under insect bites under wings you can hardly see under wings you can see through under wings that carry us from one tunnel to another one darkness to another where the little light doesn't get any closer just stays where it is right there there is no big picture just a big puzzle stored in thousands and thousands of water damaged boxes under and along with the other lights that don't get any closer just sometimes they're further apart or closer together they are the nuisance when you close your eyes they don't go away those lights they don't lead anywhere or signal anything except when you lose power all the power that is lost all the cords all the extensions tangles hidden behind things that light up or go dark and blank until you lose something that falls back there where you can't reach back there behind there and whatever has fallen forgetting what it was so quickly as if dropping off out of existence and you grip and slide and drag the weight as if opening a chunk of the wall from the wall revealing arteries of cables and dust and the tangles knots and coagulation of little tunnels for power to eke through while it feels like your stomach will spill out onto the tangles your neck pulses throat tightens warmth and dust tangles little tunnels capillaries of power eking out the potential energy for what the little lights that move further apart or closer together fading in fading out in a sea of blank when it doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Gridlo: You really enjoy using that phrase.
Andersottle: It has its appeal for me.
Bulen: What was that?
Andersottle: All that I just went on about?
Bulen: No, what was that flash?
Gridlo: What flash?
Bulen: There was a flash by you or on you.
Andersottle: Do you mean a light coming from somewhere like from a passing car reflected off a mirror or windshield or coming through the trees?
Bulen: No, it's overcast as it has been most of the time.
Gridlo: Maybe the flash is coming from inside Bulen's head like an ocular flashing. Could be migraines.
Bulen: I don't get them, but if you keep it up you'll be the migraine of me.
Andersottle: Is the flashing shaped like a stop sign? Is it maybe beaming off a stop sign an octangular stop sign?
Gridlo: Ocular in the eyeball, dumb ass.
Andersottle: I'll shine a fiberoptic scope up your dumb ass.
Bulen: A beam, it's in your eyes both of them I see them now glowing subdued like an artificial light emanating from within your head.
Andersottle: Are you accusing me of being artificial?
Bulen: Of course not, I'm just saying. Why would we accuse each other of being artificial? What good would that do?
Gridlo: Reminds me of a song where the lyrics are about looking and the person the other person looking at the what they were saying or wrote what they were watching on TV or was it the movies they were or was it just the one person not the other the first person or was it the other one looking at the movie they were watching went out to see no it wasn't a song it was a film it reminds of where there were people who were trying to tell the difference between people and artificial ones actually it was robots trying to hunt down the last people who were pretending to be artificial machines to be the last remnants of what people were at the time before the robots or computers or was it now that I think of it the artificial intelligence was good no they weren't good they just things done productive and all the last remaining people were actually shits actually I think.
Andersottle: Did you follow any of that?
Bulen: I think I was able to only latch myself onto the middle part.
Gridlo: It went something like that.
Andersottle: Why do movies that pretend to be about how movies follow certain determined patterns that try to be more real end up being about how artificial everything is and no different from other stories that already did that?
Gridlo: I find them superficial. Just be yourself that's what I say.
Andersottle: So you say.
Gridlo: I'm just saying.
Bulen: Being oneself can't seem to go beyond the bathroom or filling out forms.
Andersottle: Having a conversation with you is like trying to rein in a long-tailed dog swiping knick knacks off small bookshelves, endtables or chairs.
Bulen: Why would someone put knick knacks on chairs? No place to sit.
Gridlo: We're having lunch in the damn cemetery.
Bulen: If someone asks where we go?
Gridlo: Tell them we went to the mall what's the difference?
Andersottle: We could tell them we've been displaced and to fuck off.
Gridlo: Now you're sounding like so and so.
Bulen: We made a pact and they get brought up anyway.
Gridlo: I didn't mention their name.
Bulen: Yes, but the point is to avoid any references.
Andersottle: How do we know we haven't been making any references?
Bulen: I guess we don't know. We'll never know.
Gridlo: Kind of makes agreements pointless.
Andersottle: Agreements are necessary how would things function people function? Things are based on agreements.
Bulen: They seem to be more based on how to get around them.
Gridlo: Now you really sound like like the reference I'm not going to explicitly make reference to - damn - too late.
Bulen: Too late. We are late for getting back.
Andersottle: This headstone is better for my back than my office chair.
Gridlo: There, you see, we'll never go back.
Bulen: Yeah, we'll never go back.
Andersottle: No, we'll go back.
Gridlo: We'll go back.
Bulen: We'll go back.
No one moved and no one stayed and even though their return was later and later on a route of inevitability its eventual collision into monitors substituting inconsistency with randomness affected births and deaths minimally as less references and more references crossed each other among the knick knacks collecting on window sills holding blinds down where eyes no longer stare out onto the cement driveway covered with mislaid correspondence and ants traveling in a line their long thin line.
- Max Stoltenberg