This Is Not a Song About a Train, a Transuranic Element, Or a Penis

The below was written in a class of people that loved to criticize and analyze, often in an inane fashion. Inane they want, inane they get (and I’m ashamed to admit that this was chosen to be published…imagine the other sorts of offal):

“Ah! Help me!” Doris the Spider shrieked, its spindle wrapped around its own leg.
“Hark, hear I a spider?” A passing masculine post officer (that is, a meandering mail male, if you get the joke!) arched his ear to the trees, tipping his official cap to face the beastly sun. He dreamed of the girl with the crumblingmilkskin, a queer-looking adjective used to describe the most glorious of subjects, and did so as if an idiot.
“I am a spider! I am trapped! I am a trapped spider!” The spider, dizzy with famine, belabored on in delirious permutations, still struggling his eighth leg free from the yarn. Meanwhile, several feet below, the postal carrier drank soup from a canteen, irony from the scene at hand. He was French, and therefore he spoke with an accent, but he did so in a way like never before, and then only this once:
“But, meester spidehr, je suis afraid; what eef you bite me?”
“Dear boy – but a child! – I wouldn’t do anything of the sort. I am but a frail widow, all elbows and thumbs, and should I desire to bite your tender flesh, I probably couldn’t!” The dear old spider cried from a thousand plastic eyes. The sun, a hasty cardboard cutout, began to sink slowly from a complex system of pulleys and string. The adolescent ate a little cuticle, craning his neck so the tip of his papier-mâché cap tickled the lowest ring of the controversial web.
“I need some time to ponder,” offered the young officer to a despairing arachnid. With comedic effect, the courier slumped beneath a tree named Frederique, his hat left dangling in the spider’s midst, just out of reach. He (the mail officer) pulled out a book of famous French poets, and read aloud [all parties shout in unison], “The thumb holds its right foot behind its left ear/ its left hand in its right hand/ on its left leg jumping over its right ear.” The young man’s confusion played with the licentious branches, who laughed back at him. Ha. Meanwhile, in the purple felt sky above, the near-insect whimpered inaudibly. The animatronic moon frowned in solidarity (after which a rocket hit it in the eye, which is a reference to that famous French movie), and while Mademoiselle Spider appreciated the moon’s gesture…well, you know the story.
Feather-sawdust blackbirds cawed and pecked as they devoured grubs, wrigglers and nymphs, which were all rudimentary props, anyway. As this occurred, the mailboy finished his novel, then shot to his feet. “I have the answer I need,” he exclaimed. “Action: that’s what life is all about! These famous French poems tell me so, and I believe them now, because I do!” He lit a cigarette as a form of miniature illumination, and gazed his giant UFO eyeballs onto the arachnid yarn cradle, which is another way of saying web. He looked at the web, I mean. “Monsieur Spider, wake up,” the boy said, ignorant to distinguishing araneaen gender characteristics. Spoiled from birth, the courier refused to be ignored or trivialized, and impatiently shook the web from Frederique’s branch. “Arise, Monsieur Spider! Tu t’élèves! Ti alzi! I don’t know many languages!” Twenty minutes later, it hit him: his dear spider friend was resting (he was wrong though; she was very much dead).
Alone and sans parcel, the young man finally recognized the death, and pinned it to his cap, a black octagonal badge, then marched into the faux-cypress forest.

INTO THE FOREST!

“Ratzenburger. Mack, mack,” the frogs croaked, provoked by the falling bits of frozen cloud. The snow stopped just as I wrote that, go figure. The mail child, burdened by the heavy load on his head, dragged his knuckles through the familiar trees. String, deadwood and failure flashed through his eyeballs and, slumping again against a tree, the boy heaved his famous French tome into the darkness for the mushrooms to digest. “Platzenfinger. Zach, zach,” chirped the crickets.
“I know that now,” whimpered the boy, and thought about things other than spiders (more like bears, daughters, and spun sugar, though not necessarily all three.) “Were it capable, my face would be wearing a frown.”
“All the better,” whispered nothing. “It takes the tortoise over seventy muscles to frown, you should know.” The boy had a start.
“I do know. Who said that?”
“…line. Sorry.”
[“’It is I, the lonely cypress beneath which you weep,’” whispers the stage manager, slightly peeved.]
“Ah! It is I, the lonely cypress beneath which you weep,” offers The Cypress. A bough is waved for clarity and confirmation. “I see you’ve killed that spider.”
“I have,” sobbed the courier.
“And you didn’t even show the courtesy to properly identify her gender,” yolks The Cypress, picking his metaphorical teeth cannibalistically with a matchstick.
“Are you going to guilt-trip me, now?” The postal worker got to his feet, kicking a small chunk of amethyst along the pathway for no significant reason.
“Wait, wait, don’t go, my boy, for I know what truly troubles you. I just want to help, now.” Ignoring the diplomatic plea like a proper Frenchman, the post officer started along the path anyway. “Les femmes,” belched the Francophonic tree. Stopped in his velvet mud footprints, the adolescent sighs, his back to the arbor. “It seems we know one another better than you may have thought,” Tree mumbled, flashing that wooden smile. George Mason was the first President of the United States of America, and one would imagine their teeth to be rather similar, were his teeth wooden. They were not, and real trees haven’t teeth, anyway. Perhaps they were similar, after all?
“Does that mean you know about what I did to Sabine?” The courier shuddered at his silence and, with a further moment’s pause, continued: “how much do you know, then?”
“Well…enough. I know, you know, enough.”
“It sounds like you’re lying, though.”
“I’m not.”
The boy withdrew a dagger from its sheath, and waved it threateningly at a bony bumproot below. “Prove it, you Dago bastard.”
“Okay, take it easy, now. I know exactly…why, you were both carved from this very forest. This is where you met.” The courier didn’t buy it.
“What’s her name?” A long spell of silence filled the darkness.
“…Sabine?” Eyeing the shiv, the tree’s leaves quavered.
“Ha! I knew it! Of course you knew her name: I just told it to you! No more trick questions; tell me why you lied, and tell me quickly or you’re losing some sap.”
“I…”
The courier took a swipe at a small branch, to The Cypress’ horror. “Tell me what I want to know!”
“I…I was lonely.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t believe you.” The once-sedentary courier sliced off a twig, sheer menace in his eyes, and the cry of The Cypress sent a pod of crows fleeing to the paper sky amidst a tangle of wire.
“It’s the truth!” The Cypress fiought off a flood of syrupy tears. “I just needed a friend to talk to, and I sensed your sadness. I sensed it, because I am a tree. I mean, don’t take it out on me, man.”
The courier was full of shame. “You know, I was a tree once, too.”
“I know you were.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah,” said the tree.
“Yeah.”
“Boobs,” said the tree.
”Right. Well, I’m just gonna, you know, get going before…” Slowly, careful of his friend’s feelings, the courier inched down the pathway before –
The Cypress: “Wait, Perineum! Don’t forget your book in the thicket!” Resigned, the mailman retrieved his reading, then froze:
“Hey, how did you know my name?” By the time the postman turned back, however, his new friend had disappeared!
Actually, that’s a lie because we’re talking about a tree, here. When the postal worker turned, in truth, The Cypress was still there, but…hey, look, a transition.

BACK IN TOWN!
It was morning, and the country sky looked like an unblended Arnold Palmer, which hadn’t yet been invented. Confused, cold, crapulous (not really), crabby, caroling (not really), and still cautious, the delivery boy wheeled his beaten bike into town. Trying desperately not to wake the dogs, he instead woke a rooster, who cocked, “doodle-do! Doodle-do! Doodle-do!” Everyone in this sleepy town of Oreo was sleepy no more, and the page imagined all the guilt that could occur at his return (since most people dislike selfish abandonment). Clutching his book a little tighter, however, he changed his tune: “My niece is cold because my knees are cold,” he said to himself five times fast, finally sated, then slipped unnoticed into his parents’ small villa.
Resting on the foundation of a happy childhood, the house had serious insect issues. The walls of the courier’s bedroom were built of meringue, the trim fitted with a most effeminate array of spun sugar roses and ribbons, all fortified with the necessary inclusion of iron bars within. Bugs like sugar, which is an issue. But you see, his childhood, previously revealed as rather privileged, was also magical, and had to be treated accordingly.
He, the first of the village to be able to move freely, at his own will, without assistance from above, amazed the elders, shamed the youths, and overwhelmed the ladies who, despite their deepest desires, still lacked the bits to distinguish themselves for the town’s stringless beau. Regardless, they each desperately vied for his attention, he being their best chance of a ticket out of “town”, while his parents spared no expense to make certain that he was treated with the greatest form of luxury that a rural captive would ever know. Thanks to his figurative wings, the mayor charged him with the responsibility of connecting the town with the rest of the world – something that had never happened before – as he delivered and received letters and foodstuffs and biological weapons from the mythological corners of the world. Soon, the town spilled over with ancient abaci; giant neon signs advertising ferns; the last known Pinta Island Tortoise on earth, and a stockpile of mustard gas capable of handicapping the entire continent within an hour of its sublimation. Each jewel in the town’s crown had arrived by his hand (or foot, if you prefer), until it was a thriving Secretopolis, leaving the primitive villagers kissing his feet, though only if that were the will of the stringmen in control above. Everything was in order, everything accounted for. Everything accounted for, that is, but the outcast postal worker’s unending and debilitating loneliness.

The mayor, having been a second father of sorts to the boy, recognized this sadness and, to show his gratitude (or superstitious nature, I suppose), the mayor had grown from the very spot of his courier’s birth a new tree and, whittling it down over the course of many years, had come to form the hopefully-ideal mate for his town’s savior. Soft, beautiful, warm enough, she exhibited all the traits that a quasi-man might look for in a woman, but most importantly: no strings attached. Ha! Because they’re…well, nevermind. No, actually, I’ll say it. They’re marionettes. That’s the humour. Because usually marionettes have strings attached. Except in his case. He doesn’t have strings.

Shrouded in secret, the mayor presented this bird-of-a-feather to the downtrodden messenger from within the belly of a giant bear – we’re talking, like, “big enough to fit three people in his stomach, sleeps in a volcano, eats chunks of the sky,” giant – and the sight of this simple, unassuming, common beauty surrounded by bile filled the mailhero with hope and excitement, though, by nature, he was cautious. “The only thing I’m wondering, Lord-Maire: is she going to be, uh, alive any time soon?”
“Oh. Shit.”
The mailman set off immediately, going subterranean and into mossy mountain tunnels, within icebergs tips and on top of water, searching for the type of spell to bring his lovely to life. He mixed mangoes, martinized dresses, drank potions, played mancala, but each time he returned to his lass, he found her corpse not only lifeless, but warping. Warping, damnit!
Time was running out and, hearing rumours of a shaman in Burbank that specialized in animation (with the exchange of material goods), the boy hopped on his bike, which he loaded with all sorts of reciprocal items – gilded bouzoukis, relics from Zhuangzi himself, ricin packets. As he passed the Original Bob’s Big Boy, however, unsure of whether to turn left or stay straight, he hit a pothole, flipping into the air, causing everything to go black. Indecision. When he returned to REALITY, surrounded by curious, obese Midwestern housewives in Bugs Bunny sweatshirts, he also arrived at the disappointed realization that anything he could have had for bartering, excluding some snobbish, out-of-print anthology and a Thermos (with vinyl, and stripes, and a cup built right in), had been stolen: all hope was lost.
Walking his beaten bicyclette back home, atop the Los Angeles River and through melting ice and within rocky holes and from just above hell, his despair could not be contained. Had he the capacity to cry tears, he’d have gone dry; had he the means, he’d retire in the Caribbean, selling papaya to townfolk; had he his druthers, he’d have packed it up a long time ago; had he the courage, he’d fight the tyrants of the world and end hunger; had he the energy, he’d have taken the scenic route. Alas, he hadn’t tears, so he stayed on his course, until……………………………………………………………………
“Hark, hear he a spider?”

(And then you start over at the beginning again.)

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~ by nearhelsinki on September 12, 2008.

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