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
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.
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.
has short stories in Synchronized Chaos
and Bookends, poetry in the Wilderness House Literary Review and also in the Nov./Dec. issue of Split
Sometimes he thinks he’s
a comma, other times an exclamation point.