Revenge of the big jazz

(a calorodyssey)



She had been considering not getting high today, for many days now, as the second or third thought of the morning each morning, usually after a first or second, an effort to recall a dream, usually a sex-dream, which was the kind of thing you desperately wanted to tell the person in question in the dream about, but of course could not tell the person in question about because, gushing down the forking nose that was the person’s nose, that lovely nose, even if it was couth to tell people about your dreams, this would be too much. Her neck hurt from craning down two feet to meet the shower-head.

She didn’t own a buster, but sometimes her palm was sticky and semi-satin like you imagined a wet cave wall would look like, would feel like, and with her strength, she reasoned it was possible her fist was a crucible all its own. Sometimes the hot water rolling down her hips got caught in a contour and it ran straight down her pelvis and she’d shudder then give’r and get off all over again, though at least this time not on the sheets. The heat put her in heat, that special keyhole preview of hell buddy wrote about in Infinite Jest.

The meekly knocking fridge tech surprised her: In a towel and leaning comfortably down on the top of the fridge with her elbow to show him the problem with the freezer (caustic rattle, melt pooled along the white rubber seal), having not even gotten to the second or third thought of the day past the “must cum” directive, out-of-joint with time today she did not get high.



She didn’t have any English muffins to make a breakfast sandwich. Egg with ketchup it was.

She felt a deep throat ache, wired as she was with years of fast food neurochemical dependence. She imagined herself a child in vacation bazaaranalia, overlarge t-shirts like “I put Ketchup on my Ketchup, at Cavendish Boardwalk.” 

She knew she shouldn’t share this true, known part of herself with her 1.4M followers on her fitness Instagram. She was sad she’d missed the window on the tumblr and MySpace epoch.

On a third-slide outtake pic with a ketchup gloop glossing her mouth in the corner where the top and bottom lip met: “IS YOUR MOUTH BLEEDING??” commented one of the simps. 420 likes on the comment. Nice.

X texted her “I have arrived for you. Or will have, v soon.” G hadn’t known she was even in town.

And the freezer drooled like someone after dental surgery and, fuck, no, there weren’t English muffins in there, were there?

Under that little rockslide bounty of ketchup packets a forgotten garlic clove like a blackened little bird skull. 

Sandwich deli meats into the cast iron frying pan with the quick psst of EVOO frying spray, then toggling the closer burner for the fork scarred non-stick rig there. She drew hot water onto the Babel dish-stack, needing just one plate of any size, then rotated back to the stove and cracked the first egg, just one little recalcitrant eyelash of shell spooling out with the usual cache. The second egg, last to evict in the carton, seemed fine until she tried to gently coax it from its styrene pinch, its small head wedged into the bottom, + then this whole affair is like an ice-tray of rogue yolk. No garbage bag in the can, even though that was where the first shell had made it to, so a dancer’s lean in to paper-towel scoop that bit, scales of justice with level-carton yellowing up with soaked yolk in her off-hand, and finally above and left the sink a black garbage bag viciously toro, toro’d until its mouth was open wide enough for the carton, its nape free for the little pinch catch at the top of the wastebin like hanging a cartoon pet on a coat-hook. The hot water was still shush’ing the new scattered dish diaspora. She spun again this time to the drawer below the chrome toaster, retrieved the final fit fork. She was on her A-game today. The wasted hot water raaaaahhhhhh in steady cheer for her. The fork gently twisted and flipped each writhing sunburnt Tuscan ham slice. She drew the water’s encouragement to a close with the groan of counterclockwise attention. If she could maintain this level of lucidity until after she’d eaten she would force herself to do dishes right away. Fork in hand epiphany, but too late, she went to find the little bit of eggbound broken shell, by then long-globbed into the perfectly sunny egg. 

An hour later G’s stomach growled again, startled unlevel the black and white lo-res home-printed photo of her late mum—pictured here happily with X, the first and last time the two had met—hanging on hallway wall G leant against.

X and G met up with X’s little clique—clique which had dropped G as soon as the pair had split. They all had Phö. G did a lot of smiling and nodding, mouth full the whole time, little perfect round burnt noodle pucker there on the lips, tight and small like 1920s lipstick. Along the scummy pond the widowed swan chose to let them pass without a honk, generouser than usual; pylon-orange bill split like the cheque at lunch: no tip. X gingerly plucked a chubby bit of noodle that had slipped into the clutch that was G’s many carabiner-clipped keys and threw it a few feet shy the widower swan.



“I’d climb dick mountain mouth-first for some proper FDG right now.” X squinted. Then she shushed G, who hadn’t been saying anything.

A fist of lightning chalked then jump-cut off the verdigris of the sour blue sky. 

X shared: “In L.A. we don’t do lightning.”

X brushed a horsefly from G’s knee and gestured gentle to the trail with a subtle tilt of the head.

The two gulped as one at the vision coming down the trail. Her nose an icebreaker cleaving through the so-much-sun, collarbones and that perfectly socialized swivel and hip bomp bom gait. 

This Object of Desire was a little ways down the main path still, but if they were lucky she wouldn’t divert her course back to the main road or through the field. 

Oh, that incoming displaced gravel sonic simmer from her, well look at that, tabi-toe’d Nike trainers, light as spun sugar.

G wanted to prove something. She slipped out the AdidaCrocs and flipped the one aux-cord strap she hadn’t lost already back into the ‘heel setting.’ G looked X in the eye and whispered: “in case she only likes athletic gals.” She gestured to the strap. “Sport-mode.” 

“Drop the meme-speak.” 


“You used to be funny. Good at trivia. Quote Trek, TNG no less. Now what?”

No energy to be a nerd now. No energy to be a real person. Do computer work. Film your stretches, film your trot as it terraforms the earth in your gigantic image. “Now—”

“Now now, don’t take things so personal.”

They looked back to the OOD in sync, both worried their arguing might have scared it off, and it was gone, so light and airy she as likely evaporated as gone down another path.

X wrinkled her perfect nose, nose like the finger pointing at the day-visible moon, that pseudo-Buddhist aphorism that was funnier when it was about looking at the wrong thing.


X was convinced by her fav K-pop star’s recent remarks that the talent for writing and music and all that was innate, and like any good recent convert, she was happy to, unsolicited, share that path with everyone else. G wasn’t sure what she thought about the whole thing. The question always spilled into a different one for her. 

Before her growth spurt everyone had loved G’s writing, unanimously, and while she got the occasional rejection, the ratio was still about 3:1 in favor of the Yays. That was B.S., before spurt, and P.S., well, not a nibble. 

On the other hand, she’d edited her struggling friend’s fully-fictional magic realism immigrant-with-no-interiority “fantasiobiography” about his granddad coming to a dustbowl Saskatchewan in the 30s, and he’d made six-figures for it at a big publishing house, no publications to his name before all that. Some of the advance reviewers said things like “A triumphant opening paves the coruscating yellow brick road to an interesting tale sure to en-spicen the multicultural slumgullion that is Canada’s velcro literary tapestry.” 

G’d written the whole opening. She’d handed him the scene where he found a magic nail polish wand disguised as a toilet bolt cap, and with it, summoned the succubusian magic guide (with just enough hints she ought not be trusted, aka, so he didn’t need to be accountable to the truth of things, which of course he didn’t know and couldn’t know because his traumatized grandfather was essentially catatonic and refused to share any of it) who appeared in a slutty costume of a comic book character from a comic that only existed in-book, a la Watchmen mise-en-abyme. One Goodreads reader had retrieved an ARC from net-galleys and complained about the ending. She hadn’t written the ending, but she still took offense. 

G was quarter-black, but her Grandfather had bounced once he’d knocked up the then teenaged grandmother and the family didn’t talk about it, much to the frustration of the family doctor who looked a fool for not being able to explain away G’s titanic growth-spurt with some hereditary bio-proof.

“I must still be talented,” she thought. “I see things differently, don’t I?” 

“I don’t fuck untalented people,” X said from the cradle of the old-oak Y that was G’s legs. When are we now? G worried. What year is this? Cooper asks pseudo-Laura.

Must’ve thought out loud, she thought inside now, surprised how easily her gargoyle guard boiled away when X shone the moonlight that was her Xttention on her. 

X recently produced a comedy special for some boring white guy in Toronto. “Zillenials seem to really love when the comedian doesn’t smile, or laugh at his own jokes.” She’d rested her chin on the bundled camping chair, pitted and throbbing bit-lip red where her dermatillomania had robbed her of her porcelain unity.

“You didn’t like it?”

“It’s just four jokes. He walks a couple blocks, unlocks his storage locker, grabs one car tire—” 

“On rims?”

“No, just the rubber part.”


“And he carries it back a couple blocks, answering biographical questions as blandly as possible. Then he gets to his building, goes through the first set of locked doors, squeeeing the tire against the glass of the door and barely getting it in. He gets through the second door easier and with a different key, but every time he drops the whole chain full of way too many keys on the first try of the second door. And then he gets another key out for the mailbox. There’s always some more mail in there for him each time he gets back. It takes 10 or 11 minutes for each trip. At the top he gets in, goes inside to his friend who’s watching his couple of cats (who are fucked, beyond high, and who are fascinated by the tires as they come in and wheel into the boiler room and then form a Babel donut ring). The first time the tire thuds onto the floor, and he comes out and tells a joke. Thereafter each time the tire fwomps onto the previous with a diffuse medicine ball pang. Every time a tire goes down he comes out panting, grease and dirt on just the right side of his black jeans and black short sleeved T-shirt, because he only carries the tires with his right arm, right, because on one of the questions on the way over between the first and second tire he jokes he needs to work out his right arm because he’s a porn-addict and he’s left-handed, you get it? So his right side is filthy. After he tire he stops to pant and pats his thighs with his hands and does a little double slap on them and then tells a joke.” 

“Surely not the same joke each time.”

“Basically. Each one ends with the same punchline, but about a different celebrity who died in a car accident. The last one is a lady and her scarf somehow, I dunno.”

“Did he just make it all up?”

“I mean it was one long take, I imagine so. It wasn’t terribly organized. I wasn’t hired on until the night before the shoot. CRAVE was really worried the guy had no oversight and they weren’t gonna get a useable special out of this.”


“As organized as a box of assorted Band-Aids.” 

“Are they not usually organized?”

“How did we ever live together and know so little about one another?”

“I mean—”

“And you wouldn’t believe it. He tells the last joke, walks back to the locker, and he grabs—”

“He doesn’t”

“He does. A fifth tire. The spare.” 


That night G woke up from sitting asleep in front the shoe-rack to a link from X. G wasn’t wearing anything but a sports-bra, which she did to remind herself not to go on another walk, actually go to bed. The link’s caption read: “the ocean is on fire, isn’t that wild?” In lieu of clicking through the puritan orange thumbnail, G went to look for porn instead. A random video generator took her to a JOI: a femme Carl Jung cosplay said two things that clambered deep into her centre like the left end of the piano sounds: “look at it grow,” & “consider the shadow,” and when those words came into her mind she saw the flaming ocean, the flames and smoke growing, the sable anaconda so thick it cast its own blacker shadow across the burning ocean below.

She got high and came again, to the same video, anticipating the gooseflesh at the Lynchian delivery.

She sucked a refrigerated ketchup packet dry, like a Freezie.

Her thoughts smashed along the floor like the last beads of water in the shower.

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