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George Sparling
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An Old Game

 

by George Sparling

 

  

    Craig’s death was unforeseen. He had lived alone forever, it seemed. A man alone in his triplex apartment, who garnered power by rubbing his trepanned skull, parts of his brain’s bones removed, a metal rod serving as the corpus callosum linking left and right hemispheres. Three buildings, three residences, thankfully in range of his terrorizing endowments. He needed them.

 

    Craig, a recluse, escaped isolation by lurking in nearby renters’ minds. He worked them silly, their hearts aflutter, their brains brought to near-stroke conditions, how he made them perform vomit-inducing abominations on one another. He rejoiced in acts inflicted on them while they slept, tearing apart their dreamy bones, putting them in slightly rearranged order so they might function in what they considered daily patterns.

 

    He made them squeal like pigs, temporarily perforating and scarring their organs, his initials tattooed with his own blood inside their stomachs, hearts, livers, spleens, sexual organs, their memory zones. He made them believe their loved ones had died or were tortured to death. An old game, mind- and body-fucking, a tradition deeply revered by Craig. Every night he performed the same rituals.

 

    He made a Judas hole in aluminum foil covering a window and saw this: Persons in Hazmat Hazard suits, full-bodied protective gear covering them, including gas-masked faces, loaded the tenants into armored vans and drove off. Why, he had no clue.

 

    At dusk, tenants reappeared, taking turns, eyeing him through the foil’s hole. Then they smashed his door down and fell into his living room.

 

    “This guillotine contraption is quick and fast,” one tenant said. “Shaming isn’t all that painful.”

 

    The foot-wide blade chopped both hands off, and he died.

 

    The tenants’ orifices began to bleed. They never stopped bleeding. 



George Sparling likes slow baseball games, red beans and quinoa, nightmares, fast flowing rivers, Ravi Shankar, death metal, Tom Waits, wet mornings, nostalgia, rooming houses, cold nights, docks, The Moby Dick Cosmic Ocean, mania, unwarranted lofty thoughts, death metal, Dennis Cooper, depressing novels, art brut, and the odor of eucalyptus trees.

 

He has short stories in Synchronized Chaos and Bookends, poetry in the Wilderness House Literary Review and also in the Nov./Dec. issue of Split Lip.

 

Sometimes he thinks he’s a comma, other times an exclamation point. Edit Text

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