Some dude comes to the door and asks if he can use the phone, car broke down. Steve tells him, sorry, but his phone – like the cable, and much of his life - is temporarily out of service; but Steve did have some tools he couldn’t resist and “duck” tape – and even as he was unable to help himself, felt confident he could help others; so - as sitting in the dark is boring – Steve grabs his tools and volunteers to provide the assistance Gus seems to so urgently need.

When they get to the parking lot; across the street from where Singer’s Signs used to sell the Sign of the Times - where, the last, going-out-of-business sign still hangs in the window; same window now reflecting Steve reflecting on the two-year old Prius sitting unresponsive in a pool of its own fluid; the scarred-up blue paint appearing at least five years older than Blue Book value..,

Steve sees there are two animals inside the car and advises that Gus, considering the heat, should have at least cracked the window before he left them alone.

Gus tells Steve that it doesn’t matter; they won’t be bothered.

But how couldn’t it matter; and Steve wondered as well, there were PSA’s on PBS describing the danger; he’d seen them. So of course wondered about.., but then wondered what were these critters peering over the back seat of the family car turned taxi; what kind of animals are these? Certainly outside of common coverage and never seen in any edition or even special edition publication.

Gus didn‘t remember what they were called - got them from wal-mart – they were on sale – two for one – shipped freeze-dried from some slowly sinking pacific island. Calls them This and That.

Steve moves closer for a better vantage point; his attention caught by the black and white one and wondered which one was this. Gus, confused, assured it wasn’t that one. So Steve sought to confirm that this one was That and that the other one: the white and black one: was This.

Gus confessed he didn’t remember – didn’t really know for sure – which also seemed to not matter which deceptively teased with epiphany; cause if you don’t have identity., can you die in a dangerously confined compartment, in the heat.., and wouldn’t that explain why he felt it unnecessary to crack the windows..,

Without identity can you be known; and if not known can you be missed; and if not missed do you even exist in a reality dependent on a shared sense of identity?

What?., I don’t know.


Like I said.., it doesn’t matter, they won’t be bothered.

But why would you buy something you know nothing about and are now in charge.., responsible for their well-being?

Like I said.., they were on sale.., two for one;

Gus didn’t get what Steve didn’t get.

And they’re so fucking cute.

They’re small.., and furry. Everything small and furry, outside insects, is so fucking cute. The Age of Innocence. It’s when they grow up, start shedding, and face the consequences of yesterday’s ignorance - the penalties of previous generations that things can grow ugly.

Gus wondered what that meant and Steve wondered where he’d heard it.

Their claws could grow into razor-sharp talons ten inches long with teeth projecting into a vicious and terrifying grin that could pierce metal.

Steve looking through the back seat window; on the right-side of the car, depending on your orientation; and even beyond the darkened tint could immediately see the problem; there was an aggressive tear in the floorboard and further inspection would reveal a severed gas line which Steve was able to work magic on with his “duck” tape and two plastic tie-wraps.

It’s only temporary, you understand.

But before Steve could attack the problem; and just as he was reaching for the door handle; Gus cautioned and warned NOT to let This and That out of the car.

They’ll run away?

No. They’ll eat the tires.

Steve feared this was going to turn into a cheap Gremlin knock-off. He certainly hoped not. But was in danger as he was as familiar as unfamiliar with the work – might blindly and carelessly travel well-worn paths to questions already answered – a waste of time Steve could not afford.

Time was growing short - a truth too many could not admit. Still there were groups devoted to the preservation of time; and through foundations that grew in time, could afford the necessary advertisement to alert the public and advise on how to, at least, slow it down, the clock accelerating towards dooms-day annihilation; proclaiming useless conversation an existential threat and should be avoided, as much as possible,
allotting recommended time frames for distracting dialogue.

Serious people went so far as the vow of silence for a sense of commitment – which proved counter-productive as it, also, served to stifle their siren. At first others would speak for the speechless but then identified with the expanding stage as it became a production onto and of itself; became the voice that overshadowed and disappeared the voiceless.

Steve didn’t get what Gus didn’t get.

Didn’t he see the movie?

And Steve was sure he knew someone who knew, who understood..,

Wizkey; Oh yeah Wizkey.., that’s where he’d heard it.

.., who understood, understanding is severely based on what you expect to see.

Wizkey is a self-proclaimed Hoodoo guru that can heal all but himself.

And what you expect to see is confined by what’s already understood.., Understand?


But what besides confusion would you expect from a drunken deity.., maharishi gone mental.

He also once said.., we can always clearly see the seeds of another’s sorrow while remaining completely blinded to and by our own corruption..,

Shit like that, and breathing exercises.., did get him laid.

Steve thought about all this to forget about all that - still unable to ask the question that would conjure the answer popularly rejected.


© 2016 by Steve McNuttin