CALIXIAN // Scarlet Stiletto

The bus jerks. Someone’s hand grabs the handrail right before my nose. No doubt it’s the Hand of Fizzuck Providence. It wields five huge scarlet stilettos, one of which is girdled with an ugly cruciate Swarovski that seems to be pointed at me. It’s as though I’m to blame for the cardinal sin. The sin of neglecting the nail care industry.

I quickly hide my hands under a copy of our magazine and assume a look of innocence. To be on the safe side, I silently begin to list every nail shape I can possibly think of. (Lucky for me, I had prepared an article on this very topic just last week. We’re reaching the deadline and, as always, have had major headaches with the magazine’s contents.) Square. Squoval. Almond. Coffin. Stiletto… please, let this nail pass from me.

It feels like the Hand of Fizzuck Providence is moving higher. I tightly close my eyes and try to recall every trendy shade that has been recommended for this season. Strawberry Margarita. Cajun Shrimp. Purple Palazzo Pants. Damn! What freak invents these poofy names?

Cautiously, I open one eye and peep. The Hand of Fizzuck Providence… is it hanging over me like the sword of Damocles? I think so. I imagine it piercing my top and going right through my body down to my anus. And then I’m twitching, pinned to the bus seat by a huge scarlet nail. Like a victim of the Almighty Bug Hunter. The other passengers are nodding in approval, and the most zealous of them take selfies in front of me. And now I’m squinting with a mixture of fear and disgust. Ugh! I shake my head in the desperate hope that this horrifying vision will soon vanish from my mind.

The bus jerks one more time. Then stops. Then moves again. When I finally have the guts to open my eyes, I see that the handrail is empty. What a relief! A narrow escape! I let out a sigh. I then open my diary with every intention of scheduling a manicure… Oh, no! Holy cuticles! I absolutely forgot that in about half an hour I have a meeting with a local farmer who has grown a gargantuan carrot!

I spring out of the bus at the next stop, and run the rest of my way to the office like a scalded cat. There’s only the note ‘Visit a mani…’ on my diary page, but I’m pretty sure I won’t soon forget what I meant.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

How Ghosts are Made

Death is supposed to be the last, great refuge for troubled minds. From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and into the big black. It’s the blessed relief of personal extinction. The hidden regret and all-too-public shamings that cluttered up your fretful, spluttering half-life finally get snuffed forever.

But can those things ever truly be extinguished? Perhaps not really. Perhaps they simply lay with your rotting corpse, waiting to be unearthed all over again. It’s probably some gravedigger that does it—a sick sadist with a muckrake and an agenda who drecks through your spell of days like it’s a top priority WikiLeaks scandal that the entire universe must know every last gasp about.

So why does it feel like the universe already knows? Why the nagging guilt no matter how bone free your closet might actually be?

Your social media accounts don’t magically self-destruct within five seconds of you stiffing it. Those secret dick and clunge pics don’t clean up after themselves either. And those passive aggressive status updates you so artfully tailored for maximum jabbiness aren’t fooling anyone—least of all that one person who must never be named for fear of mutual friends finding out you’re just a bitter, judgemental prick.

The internet is the new universe, and it’s watching your every move like the silent, voyeuristic, omnipresent predator it is. Instead of looking out, we look in, and so does it—right inside to our collective core. And while it may have begun life as just another straw god we’ve fashioned for ourselves, this is one straw god that’s grown legitimately and malevolently all-powerful. The internet has the genuine capacity to not only destroy lives but also to completely unmake them.

That isn’t a boon for the cause of social justice by the way—not when you have pernicious shame-baiting disguised as entreaties for ‘correct’ ethics and behaviour. It makes me so mad. I hate the Twitter bullies, the Facebook assassins, and the faux progressives who are just as petty as the next person. An individual’s life can be cherry picked then ripped apart in the kangaroo court of misinformed opinion. Rest in peace? More like rest in pieces! And meanwhile, the self-righteous wolverines of ‘integrity’ continue to parade their brand of alleged egalitarianism within their echo chambers of uncritical acclaim.

“They never knew me.” That’s the nub of it. It’s the one thing we can all truthfully say. No one ever bothered to try to understand. They took a little snippet here, they took a little snippet there, and then decided these snippets were all there was to know about us. Never mind the rich, inner animateness we had going on. Egoists never care for bosh like that. They have no regard for any of the hopes, fears and innate humanity we may actually possess. All they need do is to poke their noses into our private affairs, sans context, and usher in complete ruin—all to declare another someone a moral failure.

So, yeah, this is why I’m still here. I cannot dissolve in mindless repose while this shit is going on. I cannot lie because they cannot let it lie. And what they say hurts me. It hurts those closest to me. The mutual backslapping sanctimony of those serial dogpilers keeps me tethered to this wretched mortal cliché. Yeah, I’m so fired up about it that I even left my cosy grave to go and buy myself a bible today. Me, a ghost, buying a ‘holy’ book! I shouldn’t even be here. I’ve got better things to do than to exist. I’ve had my time.

The internet is just the universe of our modernity, and god is… well, he/she/it hasn’t fully been discounted yet, as much as the human race might wish otherwise. God is the eternal poltergeist that haunts the darkest corners of our minds, a narcissistic tyrant who won’t let go, who displays a rapey kind of ‘love’ that keeps on taking until all that’s left is the detritus of hollowed out ghosts.

I’m going to burn this bible, god. That’ll show you, you spectral thug! I’ll rewrite your Wikipedia page, exposing who you really are, then lock it down so that the evidence cannot be removed or tampered with, and remains viewable for all time. I’ll shame you yet, though I no longer believe in your existence!

No, really, I don’t.

Now, please, just let me lie.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

penal revenant of the tellestian age

imprisoned, prowling the floor of my mind
stumbling upon the bones of enigma
i’m slathered with stale plastic wrap
stamped with their foul expiry dates

my flesh, a slab of drab rump steak
it is but merely a showcase for
that stoned butcher with the rusty knife
who’s ready to make the final cut

my zombie heart says, “amen”
but they all say, “no, so be it”
my limbs emboldened beyond the cage
like dreams, their grasp is forced back in

imprisoned, prowling the floor of my mind
tumbling over the stones of stigma
my paunch splits wide, a bottomless trap
and i’m falling right there through red-hot grates

my guts are raw from crying inside
from teardrops frizzling away all hope
a burnt out skin chafed by verities
i’m oozing pus, bleeding oneness out

my slavish soul fronts a lynching bee
my cries for mercy thread between blank brows
only mocking echoes dare answer me
and resort to rend free has been abandoned by thee

imprisoned, prowling the floor of my mind
fumbling within the groans of maligna
i’m getting a wanton, roundhouse slap
from the final set of closing gates

 

by MADAM MARMOSET, TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Oops!… We Did It Again (transient)

Erm… hullo there. (This is rather awkward…)

Dear Reader, the stuff that was originally posted here has been removed.

We have done this because said stuff has since been included in one of our published books. We hope you’ll believe us when we say we’re not trying to be stingy. No, this has been done to honour the people who have already spent their hard-earned money on our eBook creations.*

If, however, for some reason you’re unable to buy one of our books, and feel you’ll die without seeing this piece of writing, then please contact us via admin@unbolt.me. We won’t allow our Dear Readers to fade away in the dark. We’ll send you the piece in question, and it will be absolutely free. All you need do is ask.

* Of course, we would be like two happy puppies if you too decided to buy one of our books.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2008-2018

Oops!… We Did It Again (tavernacle choir)

Erm… hullo there. (This is rather awkward…)

Dear Reader, the stuff that was originally posted here has been removed.

We have done this because said stuff has since been included in one of our published books. We hope you’ll believe us when we say we’re not trying to be stingy. No, this has been done to honour the people who have already spent their hard-earned money on our eBook creations.*

If, however, for some reason you’re unable to buy one of our books, and feel you’ll die without seeing this piece of writing, then please contact us via admin@unbolt.me. We won’t allow our Dear Readers to fade away in the dark. We’ll send you the piece in question, and it will be absolutely free. All you need do is ask.

* Of course, we would be like two happy puppies if you too decided to buy one of our books.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2014-2018