Suggested Audio Candy
Charles Bernstein “Elm Street Suite”
The Brutal Word Wrangler is in severe need of a recharge right now. It took me forever to traverse that canyon and I’m fairly convinced I left a slither of my sanity back at that old log cabin in the woods. One thing is becoming painfully clear and that is that I seem to operate as something of a bother magnet. Should there be a shit storm approaching, then I will invariably wander blindly into its eye and end up caked in feces. What I would do for an easy life, a few nights off would do, just some time to rest my weary cockles and catch up on my masturbation. Right now I’m backed up to the teeth with unspent semen and growing tired of the salty gums. One knows what one should do in such instances and that is switch off, shut down, and count some sheep. Thus I have just prepared myself a cup of hot cocoa and hot water bottle, and it’s time to grab myself those forty winks I’ve been promising myself all month.
Ordinarily I consider sleeping to be a somewhat pointless exercise. While I plan on catching up on my Z’s when I’m dead, it just seems so counter-productive. Even more disparagingly, I have recently begun to suffer from insomnia and there’s nothing more aggravating than laying there in darkness staring at the blackest spot on the ceiling while waiting for the slumber bunnies to drag you down the rabbit hole once more. Once I’m there I’m on easy street. You see, I love me a good phantasm or two as waking up in a cold sweat seems far more invigorating than simply switching on like a droid each morning. I want to feel as, pleasurable or not, it means I’m alive and it’ll take more than a few harmless night terrors to convince me otherwise.
I’ve been laying here dormant for the past thirty minutes and my mind can’t help but race. If only there was a way of clearing my mind then maybe I would stand a better chance of making dreamland as, right now, I’m stuck fast in waking darkness. Bonus Brain doesn’t help, I can hear him playing lone backgammon behind my right brow and, at last count, he was on his fifth sambuca so I already know he’ll be waking me up at some point, likely right at the moment I’m about to embark on copulation with my dream maiden as he loves nothing more than to shit on my baking tray. I do have a pair of crimson ear muffs which I keep in my bedside dresser but, considering he is shacked up inside my cranium, they’re about as useful as an ashtray on a bobsled.
Well it’s about fucking time. After what feels like forever, I’m starting to feel decidedly sleepy and can feel my already tenuous grip on reality starting to slacken as I start to drift towards the Sandman’s inviting open arms. It is time to cross my arms like the great Nosferatu and slumber. I’ll leave my lampshade on for Bonus Brain of course but, other than that, the Wrangler is out of commission for the foreseeable. Fret not as I’ve left oatmeal cookies in the fridge; feel free to help yourselves but I do request you leave me a couple to dip in my morning tea. Sleep well Grueheads, if the bed bugs bite then you’re doing something right.
Goddammit. Feels like I’ve hardly even got my head down and some callous bastard’s gone and woken me up just as things were beginning to get juicy. I feel an instant chill and, even more disheartening, is the audio emanating from directly outside my bedroom window. I sneak a peek and there on my lawn is some snot-nosed little brat skipping rope like it’s not 3 am in the morning. I consider lobbing an apple core at her but admittedly the song she sings is rather infectious. For a few moments I stand there mesmerized by her hypnotic tones and secretly waiting for the moment she comes a cropper and falls on her stupid little face but I’ve got better things to do than stand around gawking. Looks like I won’t be sleeping so I may as well head downstairs and prepare myself some croissants.
While in theory that sounds like the perfect way to start my day, considering my staircase appears to have been injected with marshmallow fluff it’s not looking such a savvy move anymore. Let’s not get it twisted, there’s nothing finer than toasted mallows over a crackling fire but I prefer them in my cake hole and not oozing between my toes. After descending the stairs like a paraplegic ballerina, I make it to the bottom step. Looks like the heating isn’t due to come on for a few hours yet but it just so happens there’s a boiler room in the cellar so it won’t take long to get the place toasty. Granted, my last basement outing proved far from pleasurable, but I console myself with the fact that I’m on home turf now and that old log cabin in the woods is but a fading memory.
Damn it’s hot down here. I must’ve forgotten to set the timer as it appears the furnace has been blazing all night. You could fry an egg on my forehead right now, such are the sweltering conditions and, to make matters worse, I keep hearing strange screeching noises and they’re beginning to freak me the hell out. I think I’d better do what I need to and get out of here fast as an overwhelming feeling of consternation is beginning to take hold and the temperature is rising by the second. As if things aren’t ominous enough, that pig-tailed piss ant is back and skipping rope in the corner of the room. She must be unhinged, one wrong move down here and she will invariably end up scalding herself on the hot pipes and, when this happens, she had better not come crying to me as I get cranky when I’m tired and consider her solely responsible for coercing me from my slumber.
I decide to pick up the pace and make tracks before things get any weirder as, if recent experience is anything to go by, they have a tendency to do precisely that. Problem is that I feel like I’m wading through quicksand and don’t seem to be getting anywhere fast. If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect myself to be still sleeping as this is a common complaint when catching Z’s but I know that simply can’t be true. It takes what seems like an eternity to traverse the basement staircase and, just as I clamber up the top step, the phone rings. I consider picking it up but knowing my luck it’ll be some nonsensical survey or somebody trying to sell me Amway. Besides, there’s a tongue flapping from the mouth piece and French kissing a cordless phone isn’t an appealing proposition with morning breath so I leave it well alone.
Instead, I step outside for some fresh morning air and, for once, my timing seems to be spot-on. It’s a glorious day for a little exploration and, while I may not have been granted my eight hours sleep, I would be a fool to let a chance like this so begging. Perhaps a trip to town would get my day off on the right foot and, given the early hour, I would be guaranteed to miss the crowds. A stationary school bus is looking like my ticket out of here and, despite the fact that buses have a tendency to pull away as I approach, the driver of this particular vehicle must have seen me advancing and is keeping the engine ticking over.
What a congenial fellow, he’s even opened the sliding door for me. I clamber up the steps and look around for an available seat. There must be thirty-odd kids on here and all of them are looking decidedly the worse for wear. Whitney Houston always used to harp on about children being the future but, judging by this sorry bunch of ankle-biters, I’d say she must have been on crack when she wrote that.
The door shuts behind me and we are mobile before I have even ascertained a spot. Typical bus driver, they seem to revel in the human pinball effect and it really gets my goat if I’m honest as patience is a virtue which he is clearly lacking and I’d be within my right to note down his driver number and report him to the depot the moment this journey is over. However, I’m determined not to let him dampen my spirits at such an early juncture and prepared to let it slide on this occasion. The problem is that there is only one available seat as far as I can see and it happens to be next to Jimmy “Shit Pants” McGee from number 12. Think I’ll remain standing you know as, should the funk cloud surrounding him by any indication, then it would appear that he has just partaken in the first of his daily bowel movements. Hold on, our driver seems to get something off his chest.
“You’re all my children now”
Thanks for that. I’m almost forty though so, unless I’ve been ageing like Starman, I’m fairly assured I didn’t come from your loins. Moreover, I’m reasonably sure that there’s a 30 mph limit on this stretch of road and he seems to be starting to exceed that. Next time I’m taking the monorail. I guess that, considering I’m the most mature passenger on board, I should remind him that his pedal shouldn’t be quite so close to metal.
“Excuse me sir but I think you may want to slow down before we have an accident”
With that, he does the precise opposite, sending me hurtling headlong into the lap of Little Jimmy Shit Pants and that’s the last place on earth I wish to be right now as he is midway through squeezing out his second stool of the day. Great Scott, what do his parents feed him? And when did they decide that he no longer required diapers? At least senior citizens have an excuse for smelling like feces. Hold up, our driver is back on the tannoy again.
“Raise your hands if you wanna go faster”
Faster? FASTER? I’ve had it with this bag of dicks. He’s not even wearing the correct uniform, I’m fairly sure that a crumpled old fedora and red-and-green striped sweater is not standard issue and, by the looks of it, he could do with a manicure. I’m not spending another second on this wretched death trap, he’s already passed three stops and I think I’d rather walk the rest of my journey. Problem is that all the doors are fastened and he only appears to be picking up speed. Not only that but he has been laughing maniacally for the past couple of blocks now and I can see his shit-eating grin in his rear view mirror. Actually he looks as though he could do with a chapstick for those manky lips. I wonder whether he kisses his mother with those?
No available exits and I’m now beginning to fear for my safety. As a last-ditch attempt to halt this bus ride, I dash towards the back doors and, after discerning that they are securely padlocked, hurl myself through the window to the asphalt. After rolling for around three hundred yards, I finally come to a halt in a crumpled heap on the sidewalk. Ironically now he chooses to slam on the breaks and my first concern is that he will be looking to bill me for damages. Fuck that for a game of tiddlywinks, I’m not paying one red cent after what he put me through. He can bitch all he wants but I fully intend on standing my ground as I’m the victim here and still have the stinging scent of Little Jimmy’s colon in my nostrils to prove it. Bring it punk!
God this guy is not a pretty sight, as he approaches my position his charred features become all too clear. There’s a message here for any kids reading, always wear sun block. Factor 500 would likely be the way to go as he has evidently burned up like an albino on a sun lounger. That’s nothing, take a look at those arms. Long enough to make a Harlem Globetrotter resemble a Foosball player, these flailing limbs reach from one side of the street to the other. While I believe it’s an intimidation technique, it’s one I’m not prepared to fall for. I scramble to my feet and he is now no farther than ten yards away.
As he approaches he lifts up his filthy sweater just to make it clear that his tan is all over. To add insult to injury his chest is a mass of angry-looking pustules, so animate that one could mistake them as screaming faces. Tempted as I am to squeeze the one nearest his right nipple as it really is a doozy, I think better of it and begin shuffling away.
Somehow it feels as though I’m wading through treacle and he is catching fast. I discern his breath on my shoulder and it hits both nostrils to their distinct displeasure. Have they not been through enough already? Always the Samaritan, I check my pocket for an extra strong mint but it quickly becomes apparent that I’m still in my pajamas. This is embarrassing, I’ll never understand why men’s pajamas have a wide open flap at the front and my morning wood Johnson is out in the elements which I’m sure will annoy Mrs. Perrigrove at number 39. I can see her beady eye staring out from behind her net curtains although it appears she is licking her lips which gives even more cause for concern as she is approaching eighty-years-old and sports a mustache that makes Tom Selleck appear pre-pubescent.
I’ve had enough of this bogus shit. Am I or am I not the Brutal Word Wrangler? Did I send both One Eyed Ern and the xenomorph packing? Hell, on my last hiatus I had my rectal virginity cruelly snatched by a randy oak tree and I’m damned well not putting up with this kind of unsolicited behavior anymore. Ordinarily I consider myself quite a placid chap but even my decidedly long fuse is all but burned out right now. I’m well aware of my rights and this flame-grilled fuck can think again if he thinks he is going to intimidate me any further. I turn around defiantly and look him straight in the reds of his eyes.
“Would you be so kind as to enlighten me as to your particular beef with me?”
Okay, I know it’s not the most biting of remarks but I’m not looking for a slanging match right now after tumbling from a moving vehicle.
“I just want to get better acquainted. Is that a crime?”
“No but I think you may have bent a few rules back there y’know”
“Don’t you like my driving?”
“Quite frankly no. It sucks”
“Looks like I’ll have to make it up to you. Fancy sucking face?”
Do I fuck! I’d rather slurp on an old man’s bag balls than put my licker anywhere near those crispy flappers.
“Thanks but I think I’ll pass”
He doesn’t seem to be getting the message and, with two razor-sharp fingers pressed against his parched lips, he slides his tongue through the middle and commences flicking it. Typical me, anyone else would be sat at their kitchen table knocking back a quart of milk and reading the obituaries but not me. No, I get charred reprobate first thing in the morning. I have to make my excuses as his body language suggests that those talons may soon find a home inside me to scratch their hellos.
“It’s been a pleasure truly Mister…”
His grin widens.
“Krueger. But the kids like to call me Freddy. Alternatively I am known as your worst fucking nightmare”
That’s about the smartest thing he has said thus far and it appears any ill-feeling on my part is reciprocated. I turn to flee but he hooks all five of his finger blades into my shoulder-blade, spinning me back round on the spot. I form a fist but he is one step in front and digs them a little deeper causing me to wretch with pain and fall at his knees. Bad idea, if he thinks I’m putting my lipstick around that then he’s sorely misguided.
“Come on, just nibble the tip”
Fucker must be hearing my inner monologue, this truly is a nightmare. That said, if this is indeed a phantasm then how comes he didn’t dissipate when I turned my back on him? And what is that incessant clattering I hear. All of a sudden I receive welcome clarity and awaken from my slumber in the nick of time. It would appear that I’ve been saved by the bell. It’s Bonus Brain, finally coming to bed after drinking like a fish for the past three hours and knocking over my mental lampshade en route to jolt me from my decidedly bad dream.
“Thanks buddy, I owe you one”
All I get in return is a mopish grunt. Doesn’t matter to me as I didn’t much fancy waxing lyrical with him anyway. The important thing is that once again he has proven his worth and, for that, I salute him. Right then, I’m off to catch the last ten of those winks.
Goddammit. Feels like I’ve hardly even got my head down and some callous bastard’s gone and woken me up just as things were beginning to get juicy. I feel an instant chill and, even more disheartening, is the audio emanating from directly outside my bedroom window. I sneak a peek and there on my lawn is some snot-nosed little brat skipping rope like it’s not 3 am in the morning. I consider lobbing an apple core at her but admittedly the song she sings is rather infectious. Hold on, is it just me, or does all this seem familiar?
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014