the dada magazine about nothing
N A D A
Poised at my type writer, taking frequent breaks from inaction to slurp the juice from a halved orange. The words are stuck. Banging on the keys I imagine them pouring out unimpeded. Someone once told me you could manifest things and that's all I remember. Words aren’t like bangoleles. In the background I can hear one legged jumping jacks. The inconsistent thumping on concrete provides a gentle rhythm for my cluttered cranial cavity. Not so suddenly, the thumping ceases, replacing itself with a low disturbing moan. Fortunately for me, she isn’t in a 'delicate situation' and is only crying. Taking a break from this uncharacteristic show of emotion, 'You cut off my propeller. Now I’ll never fly. Do you see what you've done? It's impossible to be aerodynamic with one leg!'
'There's no use crying over lost limbs. You couldn’t fucking fly anyway. Besides, you're afraid of everything that does fly. You wont go near birds, or planes and most other things over three stories. Remember how we had to get you a new podiatrist because his office was on the 5th floor?’ 'Fuck that quack. He tried to fit me with a prosthetic. Asshole. If I wanted a second leg I’d have kept the one I had.' 'Exactly, sweet cheeks, now I’ve got to get back to those notes.' Lorraine has been acting strange lately. Which is to say that she hasn’t. No late night bombings of Cheetos cities, no ecstatic dancing, no beating me with stray objects. It's moderately terrifying. I come home from work and she has a sparse dinner layed out on paper plates with hand sewn napkins and birthday candles to eat by. I take comfort in the new lingering aroma of lighter fluid and turpentine. These stray olfactory oddities mean that she's up to something. And in that I find a semblance of peace. It's nice to keep things from each other again. This feels healthier than the unusual openness that had forced it's way into our home recently. With Lorraine, it's always best not to know.
Today was fairly typical, like chem trails at dusk. Two partial limb amputations before lunch, a full frontal lobotomy at 3 and a quick appendectomy at the end of the day.The boss lady recently decided that we should operate partially as a free clinic for the community. Tax write offs, pseudo-legitimacy and the like. We're some sort of twilight zone family in the 1950's. Honestly if something doesnâ€™t get fucked up soon I may have to set the river on fire like when I was 11. It does seem as though something promising could be in the works. Yesterday, I found a disconcertingly intact flier floating in Lake Erie. It was advertising a surgical competition in Canada. It seems that the wacky Toronto mayor is seeking cheap medical breakthroughs without the encumbrance of pesky trial periods. The ad says that test subjects are volunteers from the local penitentiary who are seeking to reduce their sentences through 'good behavior.' Additionally the ample prize money is generated through preposterous ticket prices aimed at the jaded Chicago and Toronto upper crust who may be entertained by watching experimental medical procedures performed in a word class stadium. Even more alluring is the fact that all applicants are encouraged to remain anonymous and submit only a portfolio of recent projects and an unconvincing alias! Wahoo!
Running home at a tidy clip I stormed into the house and lifted Lorraine up by her leg an commenced twirling her around the room like an obese ballerina. 'Babe, I got our ticket out of this murky middle class cesspool of an urban paradise! We're off to be Canadian celebrity scum! Wahoo!’ 'Count me in motherfucker! I'm sick to death of pissing in the sink and shitting in a trash bag.’ 'Honey, there's a bathroom down the hall. You don’t need to do that now.' “Ya but I'm a lazy fucker. I want a commode and a Mexican to empty it!' “All right toots, if I win this competition I’ll buy you 3 Mexicans and you can shit on all of 'em! By the time I found the brochure the competition was only 3 weeks away. I had to scramble to compile a reasonably legitimate portfolio. This mainly involved discovering which of my photographed patients were deceased for one reason or another. Unfortunately this meant that I couldn’t include Larry along with his success story. A well placed call to the southernmost Ontario penitentiary uncovered the fact that subjects would be first come first serve. Meaning that were I to arrive a week prior to the tournament I could hand select my patient and therefore my suggested course of treatment.
With this option in mind I booked two coach tickets to Toronto for 10 days prior to the Operation Olympics. The line up was shoddy at best. For some reason they had allowed inmates in decent health to volunteer. This struck me as underhanded and skewed towards the cosmetic, Vanity aside, I wanted to operate on sick people. Finally, we came upon a female inmate who reeked of anal sex with a baton. You could smell the meaty plastic on her jumpsuit. 'How frequently do you shit?' This female creature glared at me with a menacing rage. As if against her better judgment she let one rip right there in the corridor. '20 minutes ago.' We all laughed at this. Honestly I will always be laughing at this. When asked what her crime was she just snickered and said that she had committed no crime. That violence was man's natural response to atheism. 'So have you found god?' 'Oh heavens no, and that my dear sir is my cross to bear. There is no such god that would have me and I wouldnâ€™t want him if he did. And so I seek his retribution as proof. Perhaps imprisonment could be considered enough. But I disagree. There must be more. Much more. 'What sort of operation would you like me to perform on you?' 'Oh my dear Iâ€™ve been waiting for this opportunity. I have been waiting for you.' 'For me? What do you mean?' 'Don't mistake my meaning. I'll be operating on you.'
It was 6:59am on a Monday morning and Vincent was awoken by a blast from the horn of a semi-truck alerting him to his inadvertent drifting into the oncoming lane. He was able to correct himself in time but only just. This was a chronic problem for Vincent. His taxi was always due back at the motor pool at seven am after the weekend and, as he had to lease his cab, he saw little point in squandering the time he had paid so dearly for by sleeping. Besides, the most interesting characters came out on Sunday nights. Fridays and Saturdays were usually the typical humdrum carting around of drunks and party people but it was an altogether different breed out on a Sunday night. Also, Downtown was dead on Sundays and a cabbie was forced to go further afield to find fares and inevitably happened upon unfamiliar parts of town. On this particular night Vincent had found himself running a bell on the Eastside. It was 2:15 am in the parking lot of an Aurora strip mall. The last remaining patrons of a shut bar were engrossed in a lengthy farewell and after a time Vincent’s fare got in the cab: middle-aged, Caucasian, and obviously coked to the gills. In addition to the occasional sniffling or teeth grinding, a sufficiently coke-addled party goer can be identified by another behavioral idiosyncrasy. There is a sound, sounds rather, that the coke head abhors above all else and that is any sound which is not the incessant babbling of his own voice. “Where ya headed?” Vincent asked, assuming a short run to a nearby neighborhood.
“Airport, man!” was the ebullient reply. This was highly unusual. Airport runs didn’t usually start until about three-thirty. Thus, this was highly fortuitous for Vincent, and outside the flat rate zone no less. As Vincent guided the taxi towards the airport his fare proceeded to dominate the conversation; not with the slurred ramblings of a drunk but with all the alacrity of a prisoner who has just completed a spell in solitary confinement and now finally has an audience once again. The conversation leapt from one topic to the next before, not surprisingly landing on narcotics. “Project MKUltra was way off, testing LSD as a truth serum,” thought Vincent. After establishing that Vincent was indeed ‘cool’ the fare inquired, “You mind if I do a bump?” “Be my guest.” Two strong sniffles from the back seat. “You want one?” Vincent graciously accepted the invitation and delicately received his patron’s key chain. “I can sell you some if you need any. But I’m not a drug dealer, I’m in real estate.” He would reiterate this point several more times before arriving at a serious question. “So if you don’t mind my asking, how much money you make driving a cab?” “Oh, I do alright. It pays the bills,” Vincent deflected the question. As a rule, taxi drivers, when asked how much money they make, will invariably answer that business has been bad lately and they’re having a slow night, lest their fare get any ideas. “Oh yeah, how much?” “Uhh…” Vincent squirmed, “It’s pretty random. Some weekends are better than others.” “So what would you say is an average weekend?” Vincent finally relented, “I don’t know, in a weekend I can make three, maybe four hundred dollars.” There was a moment’s pause in the conversation and for the first time since the fare had gotten in the cab a hush ensued. “How’d you like to make some real money?”
Vincent assumed correctly that this proposition did not involve real estate. “Um… really, I’m doing alright with this job…” “Just hear me out,” the fare interrupted. “It’s nothing. Piece of cake. You can drive, obviously. All you have to do is take a plane to Detroit and go to an address. At that address you pick up five thousand dollars and a car. The trunk is locked, you can’t get into it. You drive the car to Las Vegas and drop it off at an address. When you drop off, you pick up another five thousand and you’re free to go on your way. Ten grand in a weekend. Easy money. What d’ya say?” This opportunity was not to be denied due consideration as Vincent held approximately eleven thousand dollars in outstanding credit card debt. He had no moral objections to being a mule but his reservation stemmed from being unable to ascertain the risk of being caught and was unable to make it a calculated risk. “Uhh… yeah thanks but I’m doing alright with this job,” Vincent lied. “Hey, just trying to help you out man.” V i n cent slapped himself about the face and pinched his arms as he made his way to the gas station. No amount of coffee, or other stimulants for that matter, could keep his eyes open after dawn. For some reason, as long as it was dark out he could keep his eyes open but as soon as the sun crawled above the horizon his eyes transubstantiated into lead or some other matter with a triple digit atomic weight. He gassed up, parked himself at the lot and then combed through the back seats as he cleaned out his cab. All sorts of things had turned up in the past: cash, cell phones, eight-balls of cocaine. This time he scored nothing more than a discarded chewing gum wrapper and thirty-seven cents. He dropped his keys at the “cage”, drew a number 35 and sat down to wait and process his credit card receipts.
Vincent’s breath clung to the air just before his face as he walked across Quebec Street to the number 43 stop. He produced a flask from his satchel and took a heady draw of brandy to brace himself against the cold, boarded a west-bound bus and soon arrived at the Stapleton transfer station which was a perverse irony in itself. Denver mayor Benjamin Franklin Stapleton had been a prominent member of the Klu Klux Klan when he ran for office in 1923. Although he always denied his involvement, once elected he proceeded to appoint Klan members to various high ranking city and municipal offices including chief of police. Now the eponymous former airport had been redeveloped into a trendy white neighborhood on the east side of Quebec street while a marginalized black neighborhood languished on the west side of the street. In-between was the Stapleton RTD bus transfer station where black kids from the east side would transfer and get bused into town in order to integrate the high schools. Ostentatious teenagers surrounded Vincent on the back of the bus, all competing for one another’s attention. “Where da fuck is Quincy?” one inquired. “His dumbass got arrested again.” Somewhat to Vincent’s surprise this drew no reproach or dismay but rather an assortment of smirks, smiles and simpers as if his ghetto travails somehow authenticated him and were in a way admirable and even enviable. It would give him something to talk about and a reason to be talked about which Oscar Wilde has remarked on the importance of. The number 43 paradoxically turned out of the Stapleton transfer station and made a right onto Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. It was at the first stop on MLK that the arrow of lust once again pierced Vincent’s breast. A row of teenage girls, sparsely clad despite the morning’s chill, came sauntering down the aisle
In spite of the moral reservations his superego thrust upon him, Vincent began to muse, “There is a specific quality to the body of a teenage American black girl. As with many aspects of the anatomy of black Americans – and it is necessary to distinguish between black Americans and Africans – people tend to have bodies which are more generously proportioned. However, once the adult stage of growth has been reached in a black female, the body usually has traded the petite yet sultry quality for a completely buxom and voluptuous femininity. This can also inspire considerable lust in the heart of a man but for those that admire petite and girlish femininity there can be no substitute. Caucasoid women typically have to have the patience to wait until later in life to achieve any voluptuousness and as teenagers tend to be either lacking in proportion or if they are generously proportioned it’s within a skin that sags and stretches rather than the gentle, supple curves and flawless complexion of the American Negress. It is at this stage in adolescent pubescent development that the female figure reaches its zenith, combining youth and petiteness with the fervid cupidity of sexual maturation.” Vincent drowsily contemplated this as he half listened in on the conversations that tittered about him. Topics tended to focus on who was a banger, who had trouble with the law and basically how closely people’s lives resembled that of the ghetto in a hip hop video which has become so glamorized in popular culture as to become a teenage universality irrespective of race or class. Vincent cast a few furtive glances about and then silently congratulated himself on not overtly leering, and then took another surreptitious swig from his flask. Upon arriving home, Vincent poured himself a drink, indulged in a moment’s self-abuse and as the Monday morning sun spilt through the cracks in the curtains, was soon enveloped in the throes of slumber.
"Hello Sir, My name is Ibriham. How are you dong today?" The Old Man takes a drag from his cigarette and spits at the Sales Representative's feet. "Oh um well, I am here with Suction Vacuums Inc. and I am here today to offer to clean one room in your house." The Old Man approves. The house itself was not of any credible resale value, in fact it was just a rental. And with that the Old Man invites the Sales Representative in to a dirt infested and cold house. The living room had just been tainted by a previous AK-47 rifle club meeting that the Old Man hosted. The Old Man noticed the Sales Representative's nostrils as he passed the table covered with a tarp. The Old Man offered the Sale Representative a drink which was declined. Within minutes the vacuum was on the floor revealing the dirt and gun powder held deep in the carpet's jungle. The particles hit the sample filter with a bounce of resilience. The dust spelled the designed logo of the vacuum company. The Old Man continued to see the nose hairs of the Sales Representative, knowing like his, that they worked well to filter the filth before the lungs. The Old Man could see the look of desire on the Sales Representative's face. By Now the Sales Representative had vacuumed the couches and done a dry foam shampoo on the choice section of the carpet. As an example the Sale Representative licked the shampoo solution, reveal its nontoxic nature and the hints of lavender that lingered. This was of course not the first time he did this. The Sales Representative had sneaked in a few licks of the solution while the Old Man was making mix drinks for himself. The piles of sample filter sheets piled up due to the excessive amount of dirt contained in the carpet. At this point the Sales Representative excused himself to his room began reassemble his old AK-47, issued to him from the war of Capitalist Aggression. He loaded the banana clip with the 7.62mm rounds thinking of every soul he took in the past. The clip was only loaded half way, fifteen rounds total. He heard the vacuum stop and stop for longer than it took to change the filter, he knew it was time. Downstairs the Sales Representative had his face stuffed under the tarp. The Old Man cleared his throat as to the inform the sales representative that he was not alone. The Sales Representative snapped his neck the direction of the Old Man, his mouth was covered in blood. The two made eye contact and the old man instantly placed the iron sight between them and placed a tight grouping of three shot into the Sales Representative's left lung. The force of the round propelled the Sales Representative back and with him he took the tarp, revealing the body of the Repairman. The Old Man put one body on the other, recovered the table with the tarp, and used the vacuum to clean the now blood soaked floor. A clean room, more food and at the cost of only three rounds. Not a bad day he thought to himself.
Words strewn across a floor like a crime scene, dirty plates, empty beer bottles, paintbrushes, notebooks and sharpies. His room smells like an onion buried under the desert, and even before I noticed that his pack and sleeping bag where gone I knew he was gone. Call it a hunch or intuition or simply knowing someoneâ€™s bones breath and blood. Really it's pointless to start at the beginning or even to know when or how it all got started. I talked with a stranger on the train about story telling once and she said (with a dry tar and wood scent to her lips) that writing a story is all about understanding the past ( in this way writers are historians, look at the Peloponnesian War for example), but I donâ€™t really believe it, or I find it hard to. Things just happen, I remember saying that to Ahmed when Annie told him that Mischa had been found floating on the New Jersey side of the palisades stabbed 40 times with a crushed wind pipe. Things just happen Ahmed, I told him when we parted ways.
I should had known he would disappear but I didn’t, or the force of the knowledge left me desperate and hot ( like I was actually on fire). I had a vague feeling similar to fainting, he left his phone, and that really pissed me off, I knew it was a sign but I didn’t want to believe it. How could someone reduce his life to a game. Words and madness, if you could sum up Ahmed in a simple way it would be reduced to that, words feeding madness, or madness stuffing words down a bored kids throat as he rests his head on stone. I knew where he was headed without asking anyone but I had his phone and called Joaquin anyways, Danbury, Connecticut. I followed him into the dumb madness because I loved him. Really, that was my mistake, and everybody else's, Ahmed made madness magical and in his manic stupor he believed that Joyce or Pound could make the world whole again. He believed in fate but fate is just an effortless angel, things just happen, darling. (I could feel him saying instead of saying sorry, his ghost on the empty streets of Bed-Stuy on an unusually warm Christmas eve, raising a temple to misery and the victory of slow death and deserts). I took the ride with him when he gave his dog to Mischa, she squatted an old triple-decker next to a deserted gas station and a liquor store that was (strangely) only open on Sundays (from 6:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.). Somebody had ripped the door neatly off the hinges, the windows where all broken and there was dried blood on the sill. Silly boy. More holes in the floor boards than I remembered, cracks in the wall. The desk was still there and weirdly enough Mischa’s poems were still in the drawer. A couple of drawings and tags on the wall, Some of them Ahmed’s and the others I assumed belonged to Mischa or friends of hers. Someone had tried to lite the house on fire, a few matches and black scars that fingered the ceiling like withered roots. In the basement I found a Tristan Tzara book and inside a letter from Ahmed. Not a lot of it made sense, a large section of it was about how I was his Nora ( which being a dancer and not a poet, I had no idea who that was ( at first I thought he was talking about my sister, Nora being her name). He's going to Mexico City I said aloud, and smiled. A rustle of leaves and footsteps in the hall. I froze, I knew that I should had hid, but both physically and mentally I couldn’t. A dog barking in the bathroom.
Of course I kept the dog, I wasn’t really thinking about how my roommates would react or what I was going to do with the dog, and honestly I didn’t care. The future opened itself up to me like a rose, I decided I would return the dog to Ahmed, even if I had to go Mexico to do so. When my roommate, Lourdes asked where I got the dog, I shrugged, things just happen sometimes. The letter from Ahmed ended with its only coherent thought: I’ll always love you, even if its only in the endless ocean of words.
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