Night Maneuvers

I maneuver my
Terror knife to private zones.
Habitual me.

Lousy memories,
Fantasy and irony
Fuel my hate nozzle.

In praise of the plunge,
Long patterns leap from the gut
Painting fluid clouds

Not of mundane shape
But of soft diffusion and
Dark, growing splendor.

Now, calmly cleaning.
Ever mindful of the warm,
Rich cherry desktop

Zone of habitual terror

Zone, praise, terror, fantasy, lousy, memories, private, patterns, gut, desktop, plunge, clouds, mindful, irony, mundane, knife, nozzle, habitual, diffusion, maneuver


“Watch this maneuver” I say to Jeremy, elbowing him in the ribs, as I jump from my moving Segway onto the pale green lawn surrounding the governor’s mansion.

“Park Core” he shouts and launches his off the sidewalk and into a small fountain nearly toppling the perched gargoyle onto some unsuspecting penny wishers.

“I wish I wasn’t soaking wet” says the oldest boy, wringing water from his t-shirt. The picture on it is of Garfield with books strapped to his back and the caption “learning through osmosis”.

Its funny that the word “osmosis” actually means the diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane. Surprised you didn’t know that.

Wreaking havoc in public places and correcting the improper use of words and phrases is nearly habitual for this merry band of pranksters. In times of economic woe, like the one we suffer from today, their dubious acts are aimed at public officials and corporate fat cats who‘s excesses are abundant and a constant slap in the face for your average work-a-day Johnny.

Jeremy and I pull our plastic forks from the fashionable blue JanSport backpack he’s wearing and begin to assemble the words “free nozzle” on the governor’s lawn, but before we can finish an husky security guard whom we’ve tussled with before is bearing down on us with a can of pepper spray in one hand and a 3 inch pocket knife in the other. Lord only knows what he plans to do with the pocket knife, but sufficed to say we’re afraid to find out. I assume his job is just so mundane that to cut up a couple punks would be the adventure of a lifetime. Also, because he says “I’m gon’ filet me some street toughs” in a thick southern drawl.

I’d call it irony when the Segway in the fountain starts to short out with a loud POP!, CRACKLE! and SNAP! And then a flash and a plume of smoke causing the ever approaching security guard to briefly turn his stone gaze away from Jeremy and I. Mindful of our opportunity for escape we start running in the direction of the clouds which are looming ominously over the subway station just a couple hundred feet away. We plunge down the staircase and over the turn-style hopping the bar with one hand while flipping the bird with the other. The grizzly looking recipient of our protruding appendages slides over her desktop like the Duke boys used to slide over the hood of the General Lee and sets after us minus one pair of pumps and one crimson red wig, the former for speed, the latter completely unintentional. When I see the hairpiece falling to the ground I double over in laughter holding my gut. WHACK! Suddenly she thumps me with her nightstick and I’m falling to the ground. The last thing I remember is thinking how weird the patterns on the floor seem in intersecting lines of grey and white tile.

At some point later I wake up in a private room. My arms are handcuffed to the back of a metal chair. I’m alone with my thoughts and scour my memories for anything that can help me out of this untimely situation. What happened to Jeremy? Where is everyone? What the hell does “free nozzle” mean? The room is damp and lousy with the smell of grape drink and cigarettes, mostly cigarettes. Briefly I return to a fantasy I had in high school wherein I was seduced by my home-economics teacher, only…where were the cinnamon rolls? But this isn’t a fantasy, the feeling fades and in enters one of complete terror. Is this it? Am I finally going to be held accountable for all the years of public disturbance, uncivil disobedience and absurd for-instance our rabble rousing crew of pranksters has unleashed upon the fair city of Chicago. Suddenly it hits me…praise Jesus this isn’t real. Its merely a pretty lame episode of The Twilight Zone.


Private Melanie for work-a-day Johnny

 Zone, praise, terror, fantasy, lousy, memories, private, patters, gut, desktop, plunge, clouds, mindful, irony, mundane, knife, nozzle, habitual, diffusion, maneuver

I work at Auto-Zone three days a week. 10 hour days slinging oil filters and answering questions about the which spark plugs fire quickest and whether or not you need a gap wrench at $7.95 to ensure the pre-spaced Split-Fire spark plugs are sized appropriately for your 1997 Honda Accord. Praise God if it isn’t complete terror. I spend the day lost in fantasy about my one true love. To say I’m a lousy salesman would not be an understatement as each benign question only beckons memories of my soul mate Private Melanie Rundel, 82nd Airborne division based out of Fort Bragg and currently serving in Baghdad. Its somehow easy for me to relate the sale of simple quart of 5w-30 with the time she taught me about the importance of using natural oil when applying patterns of camouflage during recon missions in Iraq. She is the ultimate soldier with the mind of Sun Tzu and the steel gut of a commercial grade Dixon model 3200 trash compactor. I love her beyond words and constantly day dream of the next time I swipe clean the nearest desktop and plunge my love piece into her waiting flesh clouds. I’m mindful that my comparisons matter little to the customer. All they care about is getting whatever technological miracle will make their car get to their next appointment. Isn’t it irony that what they want and what I want could be so different yet matter equally little in this mundane existence we call lives. It’s a knife in the back every time some one requests a nozzle, radiator hose or otherwise. Its almost habitual to think of her. Jokes aside, I long to hear that pet name and for her to “turn me on.” Diffusion is my only recourse, and so I jest with each sale of power steering fluid until my gal returns. Only one more maneuver behind enemy lines and her tour is complete. Auto-zone is promising me a week off.