Excerpt: The Suiciders
By Travis Jeppesen.
The house. A stained gothic apparition of a dump, abandoned when found. Matthew’s friends were there a lot, when they weren’t running away from him. To keep him company, he bought himself a fat fuck parrot. Fed it dead possum every night at the same hour, when he remembered he was still alive. The parrot’s name was Jesus H. Christ. Matthew sat there. Adam is over on the floor. Peter sniffing whiteout. Yellow cup drools. I have so many friends, it hurts me to know them at times.
These bad boys had stopped going to school. They had better things to do, like fuck knows what. They would be great artists some day, if only you could learn to consider death an art. Get that fucking whiteout out of your nose, Peter. The whiteout is my muse, Peter responds. A milk stain around his nostrils. Goddamn entropy hovering like a cloud.
Peter disarranged some wires. Some fancy music got played. A song of evil spirits getting naked in the zoo. Let’s go to the zoo! Matthew protested. Which one am I. I don’t want to go to the zoo, they don’t have any goddamn art there. Matthew will be a pedophile and look at all the children. Children have brains they don’t get for free. Their parents must pay a lot of money for them. Then they destroy the state, everyone gets fucked in the ass. My sooty membranous gyration.
I decided to go take a dump and read the bible. Multi-tasking has come to define this century I woke up one day and found myself in. You can’t blame us for the state of the world. We’re just some teenage kids with bad hair.
Adam, meanwhile, was squeaking. One of the reasons he got kicked out of school. Because he’d just sit there all day making high-pitched noises to himself. Like a mouse dying of cancer but really really enjoying it.
Pretty song plays. Adam bit himself just for fun. Bit his wrist until the blood came. Flowers for Algernon. That’s the name of the TV Movie of the Week. Forcefeed television demented fears, it will reciprocate via Evening News. Jesus H. Christ flew over, landed on Adam’s head, fluttered its feathers. Hey Matthew, can a parrot fart?
Adam continued to squeak. Matthew picked up a guitar. Peter covered himself with a blanket. He wanted to forget something. He didn’t remember what.
Joy can only be excavated from ruins. It has to match a definition of primal. Every which way you yearn, you still prefer doing nothing. Maybe that’s what’s so philosophical about your bodily movements.
I want to go to the zoo. I want to go to the zoo. I want to go to the zoo. I want to go.
The teenagers had so many friends. That’s why they didn’t need each other – they had all the others. Still, they wanted. One day you will grow up and want something too, then you’ll realize it’s all been a big mistake. I cleaned my butthole with a page of genesis. I found the story dry. Whoever wrote the bible didn’t understand the mechanics of language. Not the way Adam does. He’s a real poet, sitting over there squeaking. Sometimes when he gets carried away, little white things appear in the corners of his mouth. The teacher threw him out of class. Then he came over here where he could squeak in peace, away from the dictates of the western world. Here, we leave our televisions on in silence. You can even make love to the radiator if you want. Situational broadcast from the radio in the kitchen. Sometimes I go in there to hallucinate a girl. She never comes back twice. She must be afraid of what she finds here.
The house we found ourselves. It didn’t even cost anything. People moved out, no one wanted it, we invented ourselves in here. Rush through the introductions so as to not find out too much about each other. The only thing we had in common was this desire to be teens for the rest of our circumstance.
Satan’s ashtray. This part of the world the sun don’t come out too often. At least we had the animals. The animals are there for us when the sun isn’t. Sometimes you dream the animals going into the sun. The sun swallows all the animals on this planet and burns them up into magma. We have to live in a world without animals, it is so sad, you want to die. But you become an animal instead, and therefore death will never come to you. Peter bit himself again. Or was it Matthew this time. Wait I’m so confused. I have difficulty telling my friends apart from one another. That is because they all look exactly the same. The same stringy black hair, empty eye sockets, hollowed-out expression. My friends are merely effigies I keep to remind me of the animal inside my mind.
A cherry-flavored tiger one for breakfast. Apricot pussy for dessert. A corpse called your mother. Are you going to school tomorrow? Laugh at the funny joke guys. He’ll never go back to school again. Not after this disaster area. Watchfulness; you have to keep aware, the authorities. The satellite expression. Adam stood up, walked across the room. His head drooped to accommodate his maudlinity. He tripped over a shoe, but then it turned out to be not a shoe at all, only the shadow of a shoe. I think I sprained my ankle. Then he drank a gallon of spoilt milk.
Our bass player just died of heavy metal music. The music told him where to go and he followed. It was so sad, all our friends came to the funeral. They wanted to pay their respects to something they’d never have the language to understand. Once they all realized how dumb they were, they started laughing right over his grave. Heavy metal music played, and all my friends fell in. The bulldozer came and now I don’t have to deal with that particular shade of reality no more.
He mutilated the half-tone conversation with his wand. Adam half wanted to become a wizard ever since he saw that movie, but none of the tricks he tried out worked for him. That’s one of the reasons why he started cutting himself, I suppose. He stares at a picture of himself on the wall. He squeaks to himself in a made-up language. This language is so private, I’m not allowed to reproduce it here. You will just have to move in with us if you want to learn something.
Oh all my endeavors. They have left me with a ringing in my ears. I took my foot to the dentist to get it fixed. He removed all three of Matthew’s teeth. That is more than any of us deserve. I sniffed some more. Pink dots appear on the ceiling. If only I weren’t so against it. My thing is to make the silence an outfit I can wear when I go to my favorite shopping mall. Flowerpot falls out of the window, lands on our neighbor’s head down below. Sorry, whatever your name is. I’m thinking about fire this week also.
Blood is one way to isolate yourself; words are another. Adam sits down on top of my imaginary friend. Get off him you pervert. I don’t want to have an honest discussion right now, okay? There are gramophones that will fit up your ass. Matthew in the kitchen trying to make a cup out of sugar. Can we steal more furniture, guys. Go into the forest and fashion a couch with the twigs you find there. I’m afraid of the forest at nighttime. But it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, dingus. It’s still dark, though. That’s because you forgot to cut your hair.
Winter tends to last a long time. A cat in the windowsill. Matthew sits on Adam’s face. Farts out a volcano. Let’s take a roadtrip, you guys – still sitting there. Adam doesn’t seem to mind. Maybe that’s because he has no mind. He’s so burnt out on substance, he’s not even real no more. He’s just a living breathing body with no reality to call his own. I think you’re straight, he says. No, he’s a fag. Maybe he’s bisexual. Maybe he’s trisexual. Maybe he’s a transvestite. Maybe he’s transgendered. Maybe he’s a hermaphroditic dwarf with no future. Maybe his genitals can’t be transfigured into a name. Go away, you anus.
Anus McGuinness is a name Peter calls Matthew at times. But we have all sorts of names for one another. Sometimes Matthew is Marc. At other times Peter is Marc. Then there are times when Adam is Steven. Mostly, though, we prefer Lukas. Lukas for Matthew and Peter, of course. Lukas could never be Adam. Adam is more like an invocation for Marc. Marc being the persona created by Peter. Peter isn’t his real name anyway. His real name is Samson. But even before he was Samson, he was really Peter. Except for that phase when he was Andrew. But he never likes to talk about that period, it was really rough for all of us. In those days Adam was Marc. Matthew got upset, stole that name away from him. I almost became Peter the other night, but decided to remain Zach. At times I squeak just like Adam, but I remain Zach. A name is a core. I can only respond to whispers.
Who threw out those goddamn boxes I needed those for my dead canary collection, shouts Peter, Peter coming into the room screaming at everyone like his goddamn dick got stuck in an electrical socket. Hey Peter, you can’t talk to us like that, said Adam, we are supposed to be your friends. If you were my friend, you wouldn’t have thrown out all the boxes. Now it’s raining and the boxes have melted into the cement outside. Wanna see for yourself? No, I don’t like looking. Well, I can’t blame you, but next time, could you please do me a favor and ask before you throw out anything. What about a chicken wing? Can I throw one of those out sometime? Sure, just take a photo of it before you do. That’s all I ask of you. Samson.
He induced a trauma by that one.
Diarrhea in your brain. Call out nuclear holocaust to the late arrivals. We are spending one more week at the end of time. After that it all becomes over. Over in big fat capital letters. Here, tell me a quick story about the endgame.
You hear a knife being sharpened in the kitchen; you look outside and see a raven. See, even transsexuals have names.
It’s so desperate, to have an illusion all over the floor. My life is a toilet of recycled objects. I remember entire days of not moving, staying completely still, just to see what would happen. Muscles atrophy, the toenails fall off one by one. You collect them all in a soup can and take them down to the salvation army to make a donation. They don’t want it, so you’re sent back home, a milkman once again. Nothing to do but put the toenails in the frying pan, summon a shaman.
It is important to go away from here at times, I know this now. Hey guys, should we take a little vacation? I don’t know how, I have no money. We can steal our parents’ car and depart this world for one last time, if you know what I’m truly saying. I’d rather sniff whiteout and fake death, says Peter. You don’t know what you’re saying, Adam. Of course I don’t – that’s precisely why I said it. People only say things they don’t know, can’t understand. That’s what social discourse means. The words when spoken collide into each other, and in that explosion, meaning gets formed. Some spend their lives chasing after it, never really understanding the process until it’s too late. Once that happens, they’re already trapped in a delusion bubble. That bubble pops, and little babies float up to the ceiling.
He’s had up halloween decorations from over a year ago. No those cobwebs are real. Why doesn’t he take them down. I can’t answer such formulations, there’s no question mark at the end. Outside, a small dog barked into a microphone; New Orleans. That wasn’t a place you escaped from until a few years ago. A kidnapped child is better than not having a childhood.
Suicide satellite burns up the shadow at times. Salvation screaming out the window. Jesus H. just flew away.
The coffee sweats when you cook it. Chinese noodles for breakfast again. Sometimes we talk about hiring a young girl to come clean up after us. I’m sorry did I just step on your foot. Okay then I’m glad I didn’t.
Adam slides the tape into the VCR. It’s our favorite movie, I have to admit. Sometimes life gets stained with a collection of rotten memories. Like the one I’m having now. A cow just fell out of the window.
My mother always told me to be weary of anyone bold enough to assert who they are. I guess that’s why people like to relax in front of me. Are you regular? An image flickers on the screen. Dwarf bukkake party. One teenage dwarf has no skin. She rubs her tiger breasts in front of the hung young Latino with the sour expression on his mouth. He doesn’t want to taste anything that can’t be store-bought. An anorexic legacy of terminal illusions. He will put his penis inside just to satisfy her. Another dwarf is male. He has to fuck a fully grown woman. I think we like to watch the dwarves fuck because it gives us a reason to live. At least that’s what Matthew said once. Can you believe him? I can’t. He just stepped on my mother’s foot. I didn’t even know your mother was over here. She came to pick up the tar from last night. Give your face a window to look out of. A lamplight on the other. Greed is my salvation; the dwarf just ejaculated on another midget’s face.
Adam takes out his boner, starts headbanging with devil horns raised high in the air. A representative of this delusion. Dream forecast keeps you wide awake. One of the dwarves comes out of the TV screen, crawls into the living room. Comes face-to-face with Adam’s boner. Adam’s boner has a face on it, you see. Dwarf proceeds to lick that face.
Don’t fuck the dwarf without us, you traitor. We’re the suiciders. Everything we do we do together until the day comes when our animals will eat us. Say bye to your mother, we’re watching porn.
Didn’t Lukas tell you? Adam’s mother did porn too. Shut up, fuckface. There is no benevolence. There is only the juice of freedom. Drink it till you puke. Just don’t get any on the TV screen. Not while I’m masturbating.
The feeling is constant: no relief.
Spiders crawl out of the dwarf’s butthole. Adam is surprised. He catches one of them, says he wants to keep it as a pet. The only rule is he’s not allowed to give it a name.
I take a photograph in order to cherish this moment forever. I don’t want to see it go. But I know I’ve already stuck my thing inside the dwarf; soon it will all be over. The word over in capital letters. The dwarf shrieks as it chokes on Adam’s boner. A pornographic whirlwind. I wish we had a camera here to cherish this moment forever. Instead we will have to keep it inside ourselves; memory can’t be trusted. Memory is a pathological liar without a state. You can’t call the police on memory, you can only use a stick to banish it.
Whenever I hear someone screaming, I think about freedom. The dwarf’s head just went through the television screen. Now you ruined the image forever, Matthew shrieked. I was just getting ready to ejaculate all over this pretty lampshade, too. Stop sulking, Matthew. You can always call Adam’s mother over here. Shut up, fuckface. Adam don’t hit me, you know I’m allergic to violence. Pour salt on the thinnest rainbow.
Let’s invite a bunch of children over and encourage them to talk about memory why don’t we. I want to see what they’ll have to say. Making love to the radiator is so much fun. Dead dwarf don’t like no bukkake. There Adam, your spider is trying to escape back into the realm of buttholeland. Don’t let him. I will make a leash out of string so that I can walk him around the neighborhood. You can’t go outdoors here Adam this place is dangerous. There are cops and homeless people all around. We were homeless once too before we found this place. We don’t want to get found out, or else it’s back to school for all of us once again. School – yuck. I don’t want to learn about slavery.
Should we give the dwarf a name? Not the dwarf, just its corpse. That would resolve things. Yeah, you’re right, I hate it when that happens. We’ll go into the kitchen, build him a coffin out of sugar. That way the decomposition process won’t take so goddamn long.
Adam’s pet spider crawled up his left nostril to take up a nap. Matthew made coffee. Peter has so many friends, you just wouldn’t believe. So many of us died that year; we had bad luck. But then another year would come to make us all alive again.
We sat up all night playing boardgames and fantasizing bloody murder. Adam doesn’t have school in the morning. Good. He can make us all toast. Look – out the window – our dwarf is chasing after a rabbit. Guess he’s not so dead after all. But soon, the rabbit will be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Travis Jeppesen is author of the novels Victims (2003) and Wolf at the Door (2007), the poetry collections Poems I Wrote While Watching TV (2006) and Dicklung & Others (2009) and collected criticism as Disorientations (2008).
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, October 17th, 2009.