All the animals were gathering into it and hubbing themselves up and up into a hive-mind  affirmation:  I can do this.  Fox bit rabbit’s foot and rabbit’s other foot thumped badger’s nose just as badger was clamping teeth onto bear’s thick excuse for a neck and well, bear was just kind of luxuriating in all the cute little teething going on about him and upon his hairy hard-to-harm hide.  The vast layering and undulating wash of animal sounds was not a cacophony, but a busy-convention humming rumble that rose and splashed and heaped again:  yaps, whines, growls, chirps, squawks, hisses, snorts, hoots, purrs, shrieks, and quacks.  An outright roar or two was voiced, and here and there a grating screech or a quavering paean.  And everywhere a continuous undercurrent of snuffling, slavering, gurgling, and wheezing, out of which rose up yet more of the caterwauling, grunts, barks, moans, squeals, warbles, gobbles, snarls, squeaks, bellows, bleats, croaks, and calls of all kinds.  Gazelle gashed ape just as ape grasped hold of hawk while hawk was flapping upside buffalo’s scruffy head and buffalo had been nodding off to the hectic-gorgeous exhibition of a bird of paradise stropping about before him as if for all the world the ravishing little thing meant to take the burly bovine down with sheer showmanship.  And just so sweeping horns and spiraling horns and curling horns and cloven and solid hooves and unsheathed claws and bared fangs and slashing beaks and batting paws and beating pinions and clutching talons and thrusting tusks and limbs and snouts and flanks and muscle and fat and fur and scales and skins collided carnival and kaleidoscopic.

Yes, the animals were gathering into it and hub hub hubbing themselves up into a hive-mind determination:  I can do this.  They shoved in and shoved in and snapped and raked and champed at each other in cooperative menace.  And the brain case fit them all, snug but always with room for one more as they poured in and in, battling and mauling and mangling and goring with good humour and team spirit.  The bites and stabs became more sincere and at last pelts were pierced and pain-shrieks erupted in tandem with gouts and fountains of dark hot blood spraying and spouting on brown and gold and black and auburn and blue and grey and white and tawny bodies that turned crimson-splotched, deep-soaked with sopping scarlet.

And the brain case began to glow, dim first, then brighter, and its casing gleamed and buzzed and juddered and throbbed, thrumming all the animal sounds into a careening vibrato that would scare the pants off any hominid hombre west of any place whatsoever.  The copious animal bloods mixed and ran down the vibrating walls and pooled down into the grates in the curved bowl of the flooring and began to wet the mouthworks below, a huge smacking of huge lips licked by a vast tongue and a vast sound rasped up out of the throat yet further below and then the vocalisation was released from out of the great animal-packed, internally bleeding head into the hanging air:  I CAN DO THIS.


‘Mass Distraction’ by Bill Rogers (aka Giveawayboy)


As If Shades Knew Not

This is a self-contained piece of ‘microfiction’ or ‘flash fiction’ that I attempted a while back.  I’ve now incorporated it into a larger story.  I’d love to hear from people as to whether it does or doesn’t work (on its own) and how or how not.  (The story’s title, ‘As If Shades Knew Not’, is from a 17th century poem by George Herbert called ‘Evensong’.)


Angie says this city’s a living thing and I say I already knew it ever since mom took me out the door to the places she always had to go every night after night and I felt its yellow breath in my collar and its lamp-lights fixed their dots onto  my eyes and never went away even during the day and the hard pavements hit my feet hard and became my bones all cracked and crudded for everybody to walk on every day and night under the lamp-lights on my eyes and the cries down those blind alleyways from cat-people and people-cats, torments and loves and torments and loves and all the things I thought I would never ever in a million city-years know but I know now because the city’s a living thing Angie said and I already told her I always knew it from the time I spilled onto the concrete with my mother into the night after night of walking on the pavement-bones past the skeleton-tenements full of skull-prominent tenants ranting about rents in the pavement because my bones are cracked and crudded the doctor said because he’s a mouth of the city and the city wants me to know it knows I know it lives just like Angie says this city’s a living thing and I already know it the way I know about heavy kisses in the dark and how the city takes us back into its bonework and veins like it’s taking mom the way she’s half in and half out but only heading in, her skin grey cement now and she says I did it but I didn’t because my bones are cracked and crudded for everybody to walk on, the city did it and it knows I know and never lets me go.

Image(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)