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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Crash test dummies of the 1960s
Ken Sparling

I was thinking of throwing the blanket off my feet. There was a woman living four miles to the east of here who sat in her kitchen waiting. I might have had my feet planted hard on the cold linoleum floor of the kitchen. Or I might have been out in the back yard plagiarizing in a notebook.
He was painting the room white. He got the red out by licking it with his tongue.
But he could not for the life of him get rid of the vestigial traces of blue.

There was a ravine across the road with the smell of weeds and sewage and railroad tracks in it. There were parking garages with flat tops, tarred and graveled. I had to walk to school. Kids threw things at me. Snowballs.
I loved winter. They tried to teach me to smoke. Mom took us out to the ravine and made us take hikes. She got a high school girl to walk me to school. We went for lunch every day at a German lady’s house.

A lot of ladies are falling asleep on the subway. John gets out a pen and a pad of paper and starts writing down the names of people he knows. When he gets to the name Roger the pen runs out of ink. The ‘e’ and the ‘r’ in Roger are hard to read. John looks around the subway car for some place to get rid of the pen.
At the next stop, John gets off. The station is deserted. John tosses the pen, tip first, into the garbage receptacle. A sort of a growling, screeching, purring sound comes out of the garbage receptacle and, a moment later, some kind of hair-covered mammal jumps out of the can with the pen stuck in its neck. The creature runs towards John. John jumps down onto the tracks and runs into the subway tunnel. He is never heard from again.

Although it was very early in the morning, Vera felt that things might be happening. The grocery clerk might be opening up the grocery store. Someone might be eating lettuce. Things were happening. Everything beginning in the core of occurrence, then transpiring out in different directions. Some rays of occurrence were headed toward Vera, she knew. She looked out the kitchen window and waited for a breath of the future to touch her.

The idea was to blow your dummy off the fence and as far back into the cornfield as you could. The guy who blew his dummy furthest back into the field was the winner. First, though, you just blew off a few parts. A finger or an ear. Then, suddenly, you’d just keep firing, pumping bullets into the middle of the dummy, trying to keep it in the air for as long as possible.

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