The painted mirror
When we got to the museum, a man in a hat with a shadowy face leaned out from between two pillars, and whistled us over to him. He confided in us that there was a secret exhibit called The Painted Mirror, and it would show your past, present and future. He drew us a map on the back of a cocktail napkin, and as we looped our way through the corridors, past the armory, Asian displays, and past the bummer wing, where the sad faces of bedroom eyes Jesus will get hung on crosses for all eternity, to a small room where nothing hung except The Painted Mirror. Sure enough, as we stood there, our past, present and future began to unfold. We walked into the room, waited with expectation, and like always, left defeated.
We are friends
Two bears lived together in a cave. They loved each other, and all was well, except that one was a tiger. They lived and loved for a long time, and it didn’t matter that one was a tiger, so Tiger never told Bear what he really was. Bear and Tiger had a friend named Eagle, and Eagle was a wolf. They had been friends for a long time, and everyone liked who they were, until Fox moved into the woods. On his first day in the forest, Fox thought it might be polite to introduce himself to his neighbors. Bear was more than delighted to meet Fox, because she had never met a fox, and thought his orange color was the most beautiful she’s ever seen, but when Fox left the cave, Tiger remarked to Bear, “I don’t know what kind of game that Fox is playing, but he is certainly NOT a fox.” Confused, but willing to learn, Bear asked gently, “Well, what do you mean? He was nice enough.” “Puh! Nice enough I guess, for a liar. I’ve seen foxes, and that was not a fox. I don’t think we should have him over again.” Those were Tiger’s wishes, and that was the end of the conversation.
The shark and the time machine
The earth was much as it is now, but buildings that have crumbled were new, and deep below the wicked surface of the sea, a shark found a magical cave. He didn’t know how special this cave was, so when he returned from a short venture into the vast chamber, it made no difference to him that the cityscape outside the water had changed from stone cathedrals to skyscrapers.
OR, The cave was a time machine. And when Shark swam out again, a million years had passed, but it was still silent at the bottom of the sea.
Bloodlust and cowboy boots
Everyone wears cowboy boots now. It’s not just about the cowboy boots, though. It’s the pocket knives, the feathers in everyone’s hair, and it’s this new, peculiar brand of mystical rock. Most disturbing, though, is the bloodlust. It’s impossible to walk down the street without coming across the small, lifeless bodies of decimated vermin. Blood and fur gets tracked into coffee shops, record stores and bookstores all over town, and you can tell who goes where. I can just imagine the new after parties; drinking to the point of anger, and rushing the streets to fuck up nature’s last-ditch effort to eek a way into the hard pushing future. Dancing in clubs, on floors slippery with the perfect embodiment of everything we took for granted, and fucking hated. Laughing hard, sliding across floors, covered in the guts of everything weaker than us.
It’s your dreams, stupid
Steve started waking up next to stuff that appeared in his dreams. Every night he lay in bed thinking hard about gold, or world peace, or beautiful ladies. But he dreamt of giant bats with giant tits, mangled dogs, and sharks in itchy wool dresses. Once his apartment was full, Steve felt he had no other option except to line up these monster fucks and drown them, one by one .
Lady No-English Likes to Hear You Talk About Time and Space
Lady No-English began showing up to class. It was cheerfully ridiculous, I thought. But once, while the professor was explaining in heavy science vernacular something about a giant hole in the universe, she caught my eye. We stared at each other, listening to a subject so clearly unknowable, regardless of language. Silently we sat together feeling the incomprehensible truth of infinity.
In time they came to understand that their world wasn’t going to get any better. That they may as well sink into the soft downy couch of ennui. They would always be lonesome on this planet. Haggard, spread too thin, left feeling like an old country and western song, moving too slow only to relate one sad and deepening point. Sick of working, they weren’t sure what to do with their hands anymore; feeling each stretch of tendon to be in vain. So, they carried their hands around in rings of remorse, constantly brushing off the dead cells, jumping at any chance to change. They knew now, after so and so many years that things would always be this confused. The dreams that they dreamt were the only points of consciousness left, and impossible to share in full. No one touched anymore, for fear of retribution, being marked as the vexed; knowing too much to be safe. So the world loped around in its orb, spinning inaccurately and lacking preciseness. But it didn’t matter anymore, because speech was fading, barriers were breaking down; the sharp blade of distant future cutting less and less often through all of their todays.