Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Magic In Reverse": A story based on "If You Love Someone, Set Them On Fire" by Dead Milkmen, as suggested by writer Danger_Slater (43/100)

Magic In Reverse

Life had felt backwards for so long that when the police asked me to start at the beginning, I told them, “I set her dad on fire,” which was actually what I had just gotten done doing. The real first thing was sitting in Leah’s room, me naked and her in knee-length socks. She’d light my leg hair on fire and we’d watch it curl up from its ends in long strips all along the meat of my calf and shin. She liked the smell of atmosphere tangling with actuality, like old body wrestling new air. We’d try to save some of my leg for the next time, but after I’d go through and light up the static and fuzz of her socks, we’d move on, all the way up past my thigh. The knobs of my ankle and knee were ruby colored and pulsing with warm irritation. We stopped and looked down, one leg normal, the other smooth and dappled with black hairs pinpricking out of splotches of white and red skin. She begged me to do the light blonde hairs on her arms and then, after that, the almost invisible swatch of white hair on the small of her back. It all went up like magic in reverse: the poof, the sprinkle of dust. She laid me on my stomach and went down my shoulders and back where there was hardly anything to burn. She flipped me over, did my chest and armpits slowly so I felt the flush of heat go through me and then back again. She took off her socks and then spread her legs. The hair was trimmed but still feral and mostly untamed. As if painting with light breaths in winter, I took the flame and lapped away at it. We were hot to the touch and her bed was covered with tiny balls of ash. We went to the garage and found some oil rags and a tank of kerosene. We lit them on fire and let them slide down our chests quickly, the warmth like opening an oven and then closing it immediately. I tore a strip off one of the rags and tied it to her finger. Nobody did anything for a moment and then she tied a rag around each of her ankles and wrists. I lit the rag on her left wrist and then she touched it to the rag on her left ankle before bringing her feet and wrists together like closing a book. She ran out of the garage and into the front lawn. We still didn’t have clothes on. She did naked cartwheels and the flames made her look like a circle rolling around the yard. I stood on the front porch and sprayed kerosene onto the legs of the wicker furniture. It was then that her dad came out. He was the doctor who delivered me when I was born, and when he came at me with open arms, I could only remember the thing I surely couldn’t remember from my first seconds of life, his covered face and hands-on greeting that pulled me into the world. That was the real first thing. I loved him, and I flicked the lighter once, twice.



The Dead Milkmen are a punk rock band from Philly. The are probably the silliest band to ever be named after something from a Toni Morrison book. I'm meeting Joe Jack Talcum next week, so that's pretty cool.

Danger_Slater is the world's most dangerous writer. Much like The Ultimate Warrior, he is from Parts Unknown. Much like Queen Latifah, he resides in New Jersey. Danger_Slater is an agent of the theater of the absurd. As a dude who really gets his rocks off writing and reading work in the style of traditional literary fiction from the 1970s and 1980s, I'm often completely lost when reading a Danger_Slater story. Sometimes there's a guy with a banana for a head and sometimes someone takes a shit that isn't actually their shit. (I'm proposing that last sentence for the official Danger_Slater biography to be released in fifty years or so.) You can buy his debut novel Love Me from Amazon and then head on over to Jersey Devil Press and tell them they did a wonderful job putting it out.

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