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  • a.p. duvall

So, there was this mile long snake in my front yard. He'd been slithering past all day it seemed, and I could still pick out shapes of what the damn thing had ate.


There was a wheelchair (sans owner), the two halves of a busted up sofa, a carpet cleaner, a few lawn chairs that must’ve been chained together, and an above ground pool that you could find any in Mart for fifty bucks.


I was thinking how amazing it is that so many people still kept things like that out in their backyard, then I remembered all about the laundry, and all about the TV shows I had to catch up on. I shrugged my shoulders - some people I guess - and went inside. The snake wasn’t all that interesting after the initial shock of seeing the big bastard. So I turned my back on it assuming it’d be the last I saw of it.


I put my load of whites in the washer, popped in a little plastic cube that contained enough detergent and fabric softener for a whole week's worth of underwear, shirts, socks, and all my wife's whites too. With a press of the button I started the machine that would do the cleaning and the softening of our clothes. I’d have to fold the clothes when they dried about a half hour later. I was doing okay, but I couldn’t afford one of those folder-matics. Not that year anyway.


With the hard work over I went out to the living room, plopped on the couch, and turned on the tube. I was flipping through the channels, working my way up from seven to one hundred and forty-six and planning on hitting the 600's before watching one of the shows I had recorded throughout the week, when I saw in the reflection of the TV that the snake in the backyard had stopped moving.


I got up from the couch, stomped my way across the kitchen and across the TV room and stopped at the sliding glass door. Just fourteen inches away was where that mammoth reptile laid motionless now in my backyard. Apparently he was slithering around the back of the development and found it’s way behind and in front of my home. All that stood between us was the sliding glass doors with the open drapes. . Open drapes, which I've told my wife to leave closed - I can't tell you how many times. So, I snapped the drapes shut, which is the only way you can watch the TV during the day without seeing a big glare, and I eased back to the living room.


Back to business.


A good twenty minutes later I was flipping through channels because a new hour rolled over and there might’ve something worth watching on any of the channels now. This is when I heard from outside the creaking, and the snapping, and the crashing from trees being felled and their thunderous smashing of the earth and I could not believe this shit.


That wretched sonofabitch snake was entering the woods on the outskirts of my development and knocking over all the damn trees, creating so much havoc and destruction that even with the surround sound on and the volume jacked up, I could still hear just the faintest sound of the forest that's a few miles from my home being absolutely divested by this gargantuan slimy-but-not-really, legless, evolutionarily overlooked, stupid asshole of a fucking snake.


Back through the kitchen. Back across the TV room. I open the drapes and the sliding glass doors. I took a step outside and walked right up to it. It was easily six inches taller than me and I couldn't even see either end of it. “Jesus Christ.” I thought to myself, “it's stopping. Are you kidding me, right now?”


That bastard was going to be there all day. If was stopping now, and if he's just, like, eating everything alive in front of him he was going to be there for ages, maybe even till that night when all the really good stuff was on TV.


I had to stop this. I had to stop this immediately. . Just then the washing machine buzzed and I went to go put my load in the dryer. After hitting the button and starting the machine that would dry my clothes, I found myself staring at the door handle to the garage. This lasted for a good while. I felt like there was something in there that I needed, but for the life of me, I couldn't think of what it was. I had all the pop and beer I needed for tonight in the fridge. I didn't need anything out of the car (just a coffee cup and my phone charger), and I couldn't watch the TV in there because the sound on that thing is terrible.


Once you get used to surround sound like I have, nothing less is even worth it. Movie theatres don't have as good of sound as I do. . The speakers were made by the top Kraut scientists of bass engineering, and some Jap treble technology manufacturer, and let’s just say I have more power in that living room than twelve of the olden space shuttles my parents always talked about.


There’s an artificial intelligence system that analyzes every second of sound twelve times and adjusts the sixty-four specific modulations of sound and their depth in a three-dimensional space accordingly to provide the picture-perfect experience in listening pleasure.


At least that’s what the guy at the Bests-Buys said, and he seemed trustworthy. He talked the whole group of us in to getting this bad boy. I think the word he used that really sealed the deal for most of us, me included, was “pleasure-rama”.


That kid must’ve made twenty-five commissions in one swoop. . The wife and I enjoy it immensely. We watch TV every night, and as loud as we can stand it. Pleasure-rama! . . . .


Then, it was as if there was a spider, and the spider was moving up his web as slowly as the shit-head snake outside has been moving, to get to his prey. The spider was the answer to what I needed in my garage. Finally the spider arrived at the trapped fly: The Chain saw. . The chain saw was a gift from my wife's father. I had no idea what to do with it. It was my birthday and, I picked up this box, not knowing the damn thing weighed thirty pounds and almost pulled something. Let me be clear, when I saw my wife's father bring in the package under his arm, it certainly didn't look very heavy. When I went to go pick it up I almost dropped it from the lack of muscle preparedness I had, and I swear I heard that asshole chuckle.


After opening it, I thought to myself, "What the fuck do I need with a chain saw? I've told Lou several times that I hire a crew of Latin gentlemen to do my trimmings and mowings and landscapings. What the fuck do I need with a chain saw?”


I don't know how long I stared at the box, with what was probably a look of concentrated hate and confusion, but the answer to the question I kept asking myself was answered by Lou himself; 'Never know when you'll need a good chain saw.'


At the time I had placed it some where near the top of the list of all horrible gifts from my in-laws, but now I'm starting to see Old Lou's point: Never know when you'll need a good chain saw.


In ten swift minutes I was outside again, the chain saw was at my feet, oven mittens were on my hands, sunglasses in one hand and the manual for the chain saw in the other.


I was thinking to myself that I should maybe get the shower curtain to cover me from all the snake blood I was sure to encounter in the next few minutes, but then I resolved to just spray myself really well with the hose when I was done, and then maybe just have a few beers on the porch, turn on one of the music channels and open the windows, wait for the wife to come home with dinner and we'd picnic with the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, biscuits and the two large sodas while I dried off. Sounded good to me.


Not too long after that I felt confident that I had a pretty decent understanding of what the manual was trying to get across at me. I tossed it aside, strapped on those rocking shades, and (with a little effort I admit) picked up that chain saw and started rocking and rolling. Well, more pulling than anything else.


After a couple of minutes, and a rest for my arms, I got that bitch humming real good. I could see why Lou would get a kick out of this. In your hands you control an awesomely dangerous, pulsating, revved up destruction machine, shooting out gas fumes into your face and bucking in your very grip. I knew right then, that this was going to be incredible.


Pleasure-rama your ass!


I stepped up to that rejected monster-movie creature, laughing and screaming about how much I would enjoy the slicing, and how I hoped he get doesn't move at all. Just bleeds out and stops making so much noise. I couldn't even hear myself over the snarling and ferocious sound from the machine that was powerful enough to shake my whole body and was almost too much for me.


Pleasure-rama?


I was just inches away from the snake. The sun was muted by clouds, the snake shifted ever so slightly and I was suddenly in its shadow. I brought the chain saw up to slice and the saw's teeth shattered on one of the window-sized scales and the crazy thing shot up in the air. . I lost control immediately and I knew, before the saw could come down and slice right through me, exactly what was going to happen.


It would not be pleasure-rama. I knew it.


I saw a show on TV one time about a guy who was sliced in half when he was trying get to the rattler off a 200-yard long rattlesnake that had been going in circles through his wind farm for three days. I wondered if this could be the same snake. I never saw a rattlesnake, so I couldn't tell from what I could see, and if it wasn’t the same snake, I wondered if this snake and that snake knew each other and if they got together once in a while just to talk and discuss life as snake that is muck larger than your average garden snake, and if they did, the next time they meet one will say to the other, 'I had a guy try to chop me in half with a chain saw, instead he cut himself in half, and the other will just say, 'No way! Me too', and if there's an afterlife what would me and that guy who also cut himself in half say to each other?


There's no way to prepare for the conversation. No situation has given you the ability to converse with somebody who died the exact same way you did. Who'd want to have re-live their death with some douchebag who went through the same thing you did, with no way of being able to ever stop it.


“Oh man,” I think, “the afterlife is going to blow.”


I did feel the spinning metal chain cut, break, and sear its way through flesh and bone. I did hear the snap of muscles and ligaments and feel the spray of blood on me. But the blade wasn't going through my skull, just through my shoulder. Before the world went black, there was a horrendous popping sound followed by what sounded like waves crashing on the beach, and then I was out like a broken television.


Several days later and here I am in the hospital and I feel like I have died and gone straight to hell. My arm is reattached and the doctor said it was healing fine, and with all the robotics and whatnot my arm will probably be better than ever in about two months, but the bed I'm laying in feels like a mattress filled with packing peanuts and the TV only gets the basic seventy channels. And nothing is ever on.


They stopped doing news reports on me the same day it happened. I didn't cut myself into more pieces than the last guy and I was going to live, so I can't blame them, I'd be a pretty boring news story. The snake is still making news though. That fucker.


Everybody hates him. And not even for what he did to me.


Because of him we got all these young devil worshippers covered in each other's blood and patchouli oil and fucking on the snake's trail. Through people's backyards, through the broken forest, through the broken Walls-mart, schools, graveyards, you name it.


These are people all mystified and in awe of the giant worm, and they're just real annoying dicks. I saw a couple the other day fucking at the far end of the parking lot. I couldn't tell who was what.


And some local-annoying-dicks-of-a-different-breed-quote-un-quote-musicians were on the news as well. When you’re outside, like walking from the car to the front door, these four kids can be heard for a fucking mile, I shit you not.


Something called Bear-Trap, or they are Bear-Trap, or some horseshit, and all they all do, that’s all four of them remember, is make music with pulsating bass-stations. That’s not a band. . A band is a couple of guys with microphones, a drum machine, and a keyboard that makes laser music.


Call me old fashioned.


The wife just left the hospital, she couldn't stand the TV either. Only she is able to go home and watch whatever in awesome pleasure-rama.


The doctor made me promise to exercise the right arm, that’s the one that had been sawed off and been reattached just a few days ago, to let whatever he did to me do what it does to me. And man, the drugs. I'm in love with the drugs I'm on. I feel great. No pain whatsoever. Keep 'em comin', doc!


Anyways, I said I would work this out, so here I am. Just clacking away at the retro-ass notebook, typing out this story again before I delete it again, while I flip through channel 5 through seventy-two again, trying not to wince at the archaic sound system this hospital room has. . Just a few more days, and I'll be out of here.


Back home with the big TV and the best god-damn Kraut/Jap sound system five hundred dollars can buy.


After all, home is where the Pleasure-Rama is.

  • a.p. duvall

Say hello to the last living Anarchist

Say hello to the fast dealing switch


Straight and narrow strayed the arrow

and forever was he taught

a glass and mutable thought in a subterranean husk

mimicking what he once was broke

poor and sick and thick as lead


None of that matters

in case you thought it did.


Existential angst made me huff paint

And turned my morals in a bondage mask

As my cool ambitions began to suffocate

In Fortunato's damp and silent cask


The thought came like a blues song:

Slow and true


The thought came like the shakes:

Again!


both stomach n' hands


Overcoming your nature is an uphill battle

for veterans and starters alike

It'd be easy you know to say I’ll stay another day

but I just got my conscience weighed

I’m going off the reservation


I feel captured, you feel enraptured it’s not like I have a thing

I wouldn’t throw away

going off leaving nothing but an abrasion


Say goodbye to that tongue tied bitch

Say goodbye to the last loving Anarchist

  • a.p. duvall

Twas 14th century China, and I was perched on my village's highest defense wall, looking out into the heavens on this one particular summer evening, when it happened to me. I was concentrating a particular beautiful constellation and in the exact instant before I blinked an incredibly golden and azure colored dragonfly, or maybe shooting star burned across the sky, then I blinked.


When my eyes opened, there was nothing beautiful in the sky.


Each star black. Only the entirety of the moon's face remained, flooding the night with it's radiant purity. I felt levitated within my own body, and I felt as if I were both being stretched by the Emperor's horses, and also shrinking to an incredibly tiny height of that of a sugar ant! My ancestors called my name and then they began to shout all my outstanding trespasses against the golden rules of the Universe and I began to curse them, curse them and their golden rules, and that it was only I who could possibly find the truth to the Way.


No, I was not their pawn, I was Freedom incarnate, and prepared to wreak havoc, as if I were all of the caged Titans freed to rape and plunder Zeus' fields and those under his protection and house. It would be them who would be standing at Judgment being branded by the law of justice as sheep, and their throats will be ripped from them, making them useless, allowing them only to speak, "Bah-bah Bah-bah" for all eternity.


And then all of that. All that love for freedom and emancipation and the declaration of liberation and stimulation, was gone. With the wind, with the jazz, and for the love of all the things that I ever gave a damn about. Great apathy struck and took root, and I felt deep in my bones that the World, and the Way, and the Universe, was all a useless lie.


A dead weight around our necks as we swim out further and further into the seas of truth and oceans of love and liberty. There was no infinite conscious being watching, or guiding, or creating, or destroying.


There was only coincidence, and luck. And once that sunk in, it took, and never left.

© 2020 by a.p. duvall.
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