Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Cahoots" A Friendly Story

The world will end today at seven fifteen o’clock in the evening.

Greenwich Mean Time.

Everyone in the world knows this. They have known it for about a year.

An old man who knows this, is on his knees pulling weeds in a garden out of habit. It occurs to him this is a useless thing to do and that habits themselves are useless. He takes off his gloves and tosses them away. Let the weeds have their time.

He grunts, sighs, staggers to his feet. His knees hurt and his head spins. He rests his hand on a tomato stake to steady himself and glances at his watch to see if the second sweep hand is still moving at the same speed. He glances at the long afternoon shadows of the tomato plants. Holds out his hands to see if they have changed in any way. He understands what is about to happen but there is no way to perceive it

A child takes his grandmother’s most precious vase of Dresden porcelain and drops it from the second floor stairs onto the hard wood floor. His grandmother watches placidly, waving a fan over her face and sipping tea from a glass which is never quite empty. The priceless vase shatters, assembles itself, and leaps upwards to his little hand. He screams with delight and drops it again, over and over like a lavish yo yo. She puts down her tea and goes upstairs to try it herself.

The old man stands in his garden with his old wife, the retired entomology professor. She has veins in her legs.

He waves at a large bug with delicate wings.

“May Fly,” she says to him. “They live a day, no digestive system. They just mate and die. All in a day.”

“Oh,” he says, waving it away. It occurs to him. They haven’t fucked since New Years Eve of last year. “It’s very hot,” he says. “Would you like to take a little nap?”

They walk towards the house holding hands.

In a prison a man is sitting before an open cell door talking to the drunken driver who killed his wife a year ago. All the cell doors are open. Some prisoners have walked off. Some have been here so long they are terrified of the world outside. If only it had happened tomorrow, the widower jokes and the man sighs and wishes it were so. They sip cold coffee together and chat about their regrets.

At seven fifteen Greenwich Mean Time, this evening, Time as a dimension, as a phenomena, will come to a full stop.

No one knows why.

On a beach a man and a fat woman are laying in bathing suits. The fat woman should look ridiculous in the tiny suit, which covers her loins no better than a pocket handkerchief, which hides her nipples no more than a pair of Dorito chips on a string.

They have been friends since childhood. They have witnessed each other’s divorces from a distance. They have never touched each other.

The man has always loved her but never been able to say so. 

Children run by and play in the waves, and clouds pass back and forth over the sun. They chat about their memories. Do you remember that time when? They chat about their first marriages and where they lost their virginity. In this last moment in a world increasingly without consequences, when people dressed in white robes crowd mountain tops to pray for the rapture, he has eyes only for her thighs, for the soft peaks of nipples that tent her top in the tickling heat of the sun. She chats of her first husband and how the children turned out well in spite of the selfish old asshole, especially her second son who is an air force test pilot. Yes, he was almost an astronaut, did he know that?

He comes around and places himself on his belly between her big thighs and presses his face into the tiny napkin covering the wiry hair below and inhales the musky cloth between her thighs smelling of sun block. He presses his lips into the sweat toasted skin of her broad thigh and licks it. Whatareyoudoingareyoucrazy, she asks. Whatever I want most to do, he says mildly. She raises up on her elbows to get a good look at him, maybe for the first time. He doesn’t care if she scolds or slaps him. He doesn’t want this last regret of never knowing what would happen next if only he had done this boldly. In this moment he regrets everything he has ever said to anyone because he did not say it boldly. As he presses his face insistently between her legs which she parts for him and he breathes her deeply, children run past chasing a ball.

People have congregated together. What difference does it make, they say, if we were rich or poor. We are all as we are now. We are in the same net.

In Palestine, a Muslim militant sits at a tea stall with a Jew. They pass each other pictures of their dead children.

Time is coming to an end.

Soon it will be still. No one knows what comes after that.

The fat woman, filled with curiosity and anticipation - no man has made love to her in years - has allowed her friend to stay where he is. She is publicly humiliated and also deeply thrilled that such transgression is now a possibility for her.

The man, still laying on his belly, his face pressed against her bikini bottom, hooks a finger under the seam of the cloth and tugs it back, exposing her hairy, oily sex. Behind him people have stopped to look.

Girls giggle.

Hey man, shouts someone, get a room.

He looks at her sex, really looks at it, adoring it. Its not the same as looking at a picture of a stranger in a magazine. To see the sex, for the first time, of a woman he has known all his life, to see it exposed to his gaze is terrifying and thrilling beyond words. It is a revelation within a revelation.

Here at the beach, aroused almost to violence, he feels time slow, feels it actually and a growing desperation as his scheme reveals itself to him.

Somewhere in a house the pieces of the Dresden vase are hanging drowsily in the air.

On the mountain top people are holding up their arms in exultation because the world will see them chosen at last, which is fast changing to moans of doubt and then fear. And then rage. Why has God not appeared on the clouds with a trumpet and a shout to carry them away, abandoning the rest to their fate?

In the prison, the widower and the prisoner push through the thickness of space to embrace and croak out their mutual pity and forgiveness.

The Palestinian and the Jew clink tea glasses together with resignation and irony as the air turns thick around them. The evening light from the dusty avenue glows bluely off the bottoms of their glasses. Dust hangs in the air and sparkles like falling stars.

On the beach, the man presses his tongue deep inside the sex of his oldest friend and breathes her again as he feels the drum beats of his heart slow to peaceful taps. He sucks the stiffened nub of her clitoris between her lips, sucks it firmly, massages the warm shaft of it with his puckered lips, arranges it and sets up a sucking rhythm that makes her gasp and lay back in surrender. She suddenly seems to understand what he is trying to do, opens wider and presses against his lips.

In Greenwich England it is seven thirteen.

Near the Dover Cliffs a man is playing with his old dog, throwing a stick straight up in the air, because the old animal has bad hips and doesn’t run well. They have been together eighteen years. They both leap with joy just as time slouches to a full stop. The man, the dog with open jaws, the ever tumbling stick float leisurely in the air like thistle seeds waiting to come down never.

The fat woman feeling her transport coming over her, is humping her sex desparately against the man’s agile lips. The couples around them having understood the man’s revelation are furiously copulating in the sand trying to catch the next wave of time exactly right and ride it.

At exactly seven fifteen the fat woman, shouting the man’s name to the falling stars, shudders and orgasms. Time freezes her perfectly in the moment.

On the mountaintop the saved remain standing like disappointed statues.

The fat woman, joined to the man’s lips and tongue for eternity, goes on throbbing in ecstasy. Throbbing.






  1. Garce, you have a dozen visions of the end of the world. I wonder why.

    I do like this one...

    1. hi Lisabet!

      It's an okay one, not the best one. This isn't the best story I ever wrote I guess but I think if the world were to end this would be a nice way. Theoretically it will happen.

      while i was writing it (especially the end which was unexpected to me) I began thinking about what would Heaven be like if our ego survived death. It seems to me the Heaven religious people imagine would be the worst possible. You would be more or less imprisoned with the most judgmental, spiritually proud people, people who were willing to accept the eternal agony and torment of their loved ones as long as they escaped the flames themselves.

      I like the idea instead of connection. I would want to spend eternity in harmonious connection, including some form of sexual ecstasy. This is one of the themes I'm exploring the edges of in "Tortoise and the Eagle' which i'm trying hard to finish.

      After all, I haven't had the adventures you've had!


  2. Garce:
    I hear voices in this piece, the voices of Serling, Bradbury and Vonnegut-not bad voices for a writer to have in his head. Don't adjust the medicine, they seem to be getting along well. :)

    1. Hi Spence!

      Hope so. Thanks for reading my stuff!


  3. You have set the scene for us to ponder the imponderable here Garce. So many of the ways we live our lives would end in a kind of suspended animation, hanging somewhere in the past, but still struggling with our no longer relevant sense of morals. How many would truly unwind? We'd hope it would be everybody, but there'd still be those waiting on a hill somewhere, wasting the last few hours expecting to be transported elsewhere. When will they learn that the rewards are now. The very fact we are living this life is enough reason to rejoice.

    1. Hi Daddy X!

      I think for many the morals would remain, depending on how they've lived their lives. When you read the account of people in real life end of the world situations such as Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" based on his experience in a Nazi death camp, and John Ransom's "Andersonville Diary", his daily diary of life in a Confederate death camp during the Civil War, its interesting to see how people unravel and reveal themselves in that situation, how the sinner turns saint and the good man turns sinner. Who knows what we would do? This was a theme two of my heroes Ray Bradbury, and Rod Serling played around with in many of their stories.


  4. Beautiful! The fact that the only movement left when time stops is the throbbing of orgasm is the crowning touch.

  5. Hi Sacchi!

    After I posted it I seriously considered changing the title to "The Metronome of Passion" or something like it. Its a fun thought to imagine spending the end of time in that moment vastly stretched out, the pulse of your orgasm like the ticking of a clock.


  6. (Waves hand around wildly to capture attention, eager to sign up to be that fat woman on the beach.) I can't think of a better way to boldly go into eternity.

    Husband and I joke that we want to go "in the saddle", locked together in an orgasm to massive it takes us both at the same time, and those who come to pick up our bodies will be unable to separate us, so they'll have to shove is into the crematorium still locked together in passion.

    Our kids roll their eyes in exasperation...parents!

  7. "In this moment he regrets everything he has ever said to anyone because he did not say it boldly."

    This is gorgeous, along with many of the other turns of phrase in this story. I'm going to put in a vote for "The Metronome of Passion" — I like that title better than Cahoots.

    If you ever want to gather your various visions of the end of the world together, I'll note that I like that kind of collection. Check out, for example, Matt Bell's Cataclysm Baby:

    I could totally see you doing your own unique version of that.


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