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BY Cobalt

10/01 Direct Link
The elevator had complicated peg knobs that would have to be shifted back and forth just so, and pushed in, to choose which floor. For some reason they picked me to operate the peg on one side of the doors. Someone operated a peg on the other side. The elevator fiercely jerked from side to side in its vertical trajectory. "Press harder!" they implored. It took all my strength. With an unnerving shudder, the entire car jerked horizontally across the floor to a completely new shaft. "This is how it works," they told me. I was new to the building.
10/02 Direct Link
The three of us told Mr. Kim that we were hungry. He gave us directions to a nearby house. "Trees on either side of the door," he said, "they have food there". Outside it was dark, and we almost missed the house. Beyond a dim walkway, four small potted pines surrounded a door. Inside, the decor was minimal, modernist and distinctly Asian. Part of the floor between the living room and kitchen was a sand garden. Across hexagonal stepping stones, we made our way to what we were looking for. On the counter, the thin, round, sugar-coated green tea cake.
10/03 Direct Link
I’d been to a mall in Brasil, that had a stage for performances, a dance club, stores, amusement rides, and an airport. I didn’t do much there. When I came home, I told my friend about it. She was a stripper and seemed more interested in discussing modernism, architecture, and furniture design. She wasn’t fond of modernism. She wanted to complain about chairs. I kept telling her that the problem wasn’t modernism, but the abandonment of sincerity, and use of quality materials in design. The use of disposable plastics and trite humor in certain design forms was cause for despair.
10/04 Direct Link
One of the things they had to do to cure me was put the chimps fingers in my mouth. Just the fingertips. Then the fingertips had to be severed, leaving just the fingernails in my mouth, between my lips, and gums and teeth. It was painful. But mostly it was just uncomfortable. The worst part was what to do with the old monkey. We didn’t know. No one had explained it to my mother. There I was with these long, crusty old chimp fingernails in my mouth, and an old, dead chimp, laying on one of the red office chairs.
10/05 Direct Link
On the street I saw a man working with a horse and a carriage. I found it odd, a carriage in this part of town. Snow fell, people with hats and mittens on stood around watching, and held steaming cups of coffee and hot chocolate. The man left the horse and carriage near where I stood. He crossed the street and brought out a huge white mountain goat, and then another carriage. I’d never seen a goat lead a carriage before. I thought, this will be a boon or a bust for this man, the novelty of the goat-drawn carriage.
10/06 Direct Link
There’s an endless expanse of whiteness, in every direction. She tries to give me something. I don’t want it. She says that I’ll be needing it later, but I don’t believe her. I can’t even discern what it is -- my vision is blurry, I can’t focus my attention. It’s for the best, she implores. But I have other things to worry about, other than carrying her thing around. My hands are already full. I need to get moving again, but I don’t know which direction to go. Maybe the peacocks will help. Where there are peacocks there is life.
10/07 Direct Link
I had a stack of CDs, but more than I could afford. At the counter. I separated the world music from the rest. I thought I should try to find the best world music CDs in the pile. A new clerk came to the counter. She grabbed my rock CDs and went to put them away. I told her they were mine. She laughed at me. "Sure, sure," she said, "if these are yours just tell me who some of the CDs are by without looking." I could only remember two. It didn’t convince her. She wouldn’t give them back.
10/08 Direct Link
He called me up, said he had work for me. I was surprised, it had been awhile since we had last spoken. He said he had some "cut and paste" work for me. I assumed this meant work in the art department. The pay couldn’t be all that bad, so I took the job. When I came in, he took me to a cold warehouse. He gave me a blade and brought me to a huge roll of gold-colored fabric. He wanted me to cut pieces of fabric. When he demonstrated he accidentally sliced a huge gash in his finger.
10/09 Direct Link
They might be Bombardier beetles. They are everywhere. One sits on top of the mattress laid against the wall, staring at me at eye level. They are creepy insects and I don’t like them. Worse, they can talk. Whether or not I like them, they don’t care -- they just chatter away, and look at me in a suspicious manner. Big beady black eyes on long, pointy heads on the ends of long, sleek black and reddish-brown bodies, eyes and bodies following me around the house. Oh the things they know that I don’t, that I don’t want to know.
10/10 Direct Link
The blue pick-up belonged to a lesbian I didn’t know. Her and myself were on some sort of road trip. We drove down a huge on-ramp onto the freeway, and across six lanes, right down into a short driveway. This led to a big house, right on the freeway. To get to where we were going, we had back up out of this driveway into a different lane, and then wait at a stoplight. I was thinking, that house is so huge... So I said, "Let’s just go here for our trip, instead of where we were planning on going."
10/11 Direct Link
There has been some sort of war. In a local mall, connected to an old apartment complex where my mother lives, there are toys and other items scattered everywhere. Bodies intermingle with busted open board games and lawn furniture. I have to boobytrap the place, from the ground floor up to the top floor of the apartments, using the remains of halfway useless toys. Some of the survivors and myself have to test out this series of boobytraps, which will catch other people trying to get to where my mother is, and also help us climb the cluttered, broken stairway.
10/12 Direct Link
Surrounded by two chain link fences, with rows of sections of fences inside. The grass was long, and dry, and half-dead. The perimeter fences were topped with razor wire. In one corner I found a bunch of items stacked on the top of the fence. I climbed up to them. It was a pile of old toys and games. If we cleared some of them away we could climb out. The stack included a brass dog food bowl that had a single octave keyboard built inside the rim, some dinner trays, and my old Hong Kong Phooey metal lunch box.
10/13 Direct Link
My friend pulled out a handful of change. He had US coins mixed with the three exact Asian coins needed for the turnstyle. Me, I only had US coins. He went through. I said, "What am I supposed to do?" He said he didn't know. I asked a nearby guard if he had change he could trade me. He pulled out a wad of paper money and smiled. "You need the change machine," he said. I found the change vending machine. I put in my US coins, pressed a bunch of buttons and got a bunch of strange Asian coins.
10/14 Direct Link
I was unpacking boxes of more than just books, but still the only one in the warehouse receiving books. The manager made me help her retrieve three gigantic boxes, on shelves that were difficult to reach. Printed on the boxes was "1997 calendars". The manager said we'd return them. Then she got this idea to open them. Inside were beds, with lambskin blankets. Someone turned on the radio. Fleetwood Mac were playing. I had to go tell Stevie Nicks who worked in another part of the warehouse. She wasn't receptive to me. Stickers covered the door to her dressing room.
10/15 Direct Link
I could see the neighbors through the window, past the edges of the blinds. They were having some sort of costume party. One was dressed up as a doctor, another as a prisoner, another as a genie or harem girl. They could see me through my window as well, and called me. The phone rang and rang. I told my friend not to answer it. "They always call me when they know I'm home, wanting me to come to their parties," I told her. "Just ignore the phone. They'll keep trying. They're persistent. They always want to socialize with me."
10/16 Direct Link
I wanted to deceive my girlfriend by dressing up as a woman. I thought I could just run into the bathroom, put on a dress, wig, and make-up, and then come out looking like a woman. My girlfriend wouldn’t be smart enough to know. Wearing the very lipstick I had bought for her the day before, I thought I would be clever. Eventually I had to scrap that lipstick and go with blood red stage make-up, even though I wanted frosted pink, even though the world outside had turned to shit and looked like the Second Great Flood was happening.
10/17 Direct Link
The old upholstered chair was losing its stuffing. A shadow slowly crossed the wall next to me, but nothing was there to cast it. "Why don’t you have some more tea?" the woman asked, offering up the delicate teapot. I didn’t want any, but couldn’t speak. My mouth moved but no sound came out. I picked at the stuffing. The rotting fabric had a garish floral print which matched the teapot. Across the hall, I could see into a bedroom. A couple were having sex. The woman wore a long, raincoat-yellow negligee that flapped like butterfly wings when she moved.
10/18 Direct Link
A girl from somewhere in Eastern Europe was coming to stay with us. She had been very sheltered. They thought I should do something strange around her on purpose. The idea was to go into the closet and find the ugliest women’s clothing laying around, and find a way to wear it. A bad sense of fashion was supposed to scare her. Or that I was a man wearing the worst clothing from the '70s and '80s was supposed to scare her. The hardest part was going to be wearing pale yellow high heels in public, while using public transportation.
10/19 Direct Link
I used to stumble when climbing up the stairs. It was a recurrent problem. As a child I had a pressure on my spine, which would cause my legs to give out under me. The muscles would just give out, and those times I could barely walk. Stairs were the worst. Climbing up them, and then the acute pressure, I would slip and slide, struggling to make it by holding onto the railing. I could never predict when it would happen; often excitement or fear would abruptly bring it on. I start out climbing, and end up sliding, sometimes falling.
10/20 Direct Link
The walls in this particular house are a combination of hues of blue, grey and black, like a Rothko painting but one splashed with acid. There must be hundreds of rooms, and most of them aren’t much larger than a small bathroom. The system of doorways having doors appears to be based on the math of inaction. I can’t find stairs anywhere though I know there are stairs somewhere, probably leading to a basement level, or many basement levels. If there were any stairs leading to upstairs levels, those would be the hardest to locate. I don’t even consider it.
10/21 Direct Link
The office had an incredible hanging wood and chrome lamp, with carved friezes of winter scenes. He said it had been a gift to an employee of some other office. He came into possession of the lamp when the man died. I knew I would never find another lamp like that one. I tried to convince the man to sell me the beautiful, amorphous, dirty, unused bench that could also double as a table. I really begged. He said there was some kind of rule that no furniture that was created to go with the office could ever leave it.
10/22 Direct Link
All the doors are locked in the hallway. I can hear my feet scraping on the dense carpet. The carpet has a pattern of diamonds within diamonds. The lights are dim. The place looks old in the dark, but if the light were turned up, it would probably look new. I’m trying to locate the door to the basement. I know the stairway is a rickety old wooden staircase. I don’t know how I know this. Most of the doors look the same; heavy old wooden doors with dark, almost colorless chipped paint. The buildings usually have this indiscernible color.
10/23 Direct Link
My teeth were in pretty bad shape. It had been years since I’d been to a dentist. When they were at their worst, my gums had become red, spongy, and swelled up so much that they enveloped my four front teeth in my lower jaw. I recall only a slight pain. The worst part was not knowing how much more infected my gums could get, or what kind of problems would arise with meals. I didn’t even attempt to eat anything solid. Despite this unnerving problem, I went to work, and tried to act like my life was completely ordinary.
10/24 Direct Link
There’s a baby in the kitchen. He’s the size of a six-year-old, acts like an adult, but still looks like a baby. He’s wearing a diaper only. He’s making sandwiches. He’s making a lot of sandwiches. In the living room is an old man who looks like a cowboy from the 1920s. The TV is on but he’s not watching it. He’s reading and translating an encyclopedia, longhand, from English into whatever language is spoken in Trinidad and Tobago. I want to tell the baby that he, too, is doing unnecessary work, but I don’t want to make anyone cry.
10/25 Direct Link
Strange hair, which tends to suggest the guy is in a rock band. Two little poofed up tassels of hair at the front, dyed yellow and green, situated like devil horns. Around those, clean-shaven to the skin, until about the middle of the head. The rest of the hair is all shaggy, like a rug with long yellowish strands. Plus, the guy is overweight. His clothes are loud but not memorable, unless memorable is made by obtrusiveness. Yellow and green seem to be his favorite colors. I don’t know what the guy is doing here. He’s very out of place.
10/26 Direct Link
We had gone a great distance, even the old man who didn’t speak English very well and needed to use a cane. At each place we kept getting refused and had to turn around and go somewhere else. Regardless of where we went there was snow and freezing cold wind. Every station had created makeshift shelters with heavy opaque plastic, covering unfinished wall frames. The old man had trouble keeping up, mumbled to himself, and slowed all of us down. At one station, they told us we couldn’t bring everything aboard, and some of us had to sell some possessions.
10/27 Direct Link
We’d discovered a new dive restaurant. The place was a large cube, with booths around the sides, tables in the middle. The decor was both overwhelmingly grease-covered yellow, and of a late ‘70s Neo Colonialism style of wood and yet more wood, with a touch of wood around the edges. The owner was trying to redesign the place by adding the color green--into the menu covers. I suggested to her she incorporate green in other places, by adding flowers or such to tables. She started with small celery green candles. It didn’t matter, the sickly yellow was still overwhelming.
10/28 Direct Link
I had to go to work, go to a doctor’s appointment, go to the veterinarian, all at the same time, at 10:30 a.m. I was running very late. I forgot my watch, and schoolgirls asked me for the time on the way to the train. Then, somehow, I had forgotten my dog. In the part of town where I was starting my new job, I got lost. At the building where my appointment was with my doctor, a man lost his kitten in the control panel of the elevator. He then vanished with it. I couldn’t find the doctor’s office.
10/29 Direct Link

The woman had a sexual comic book she didn’t want anyone to read.

The first monster had a few questions for me, including, what scares me. He was satisfied with my answers.

The second monster had one question for me. He suggested I take a bath, and think about my response for a while, before answering. “Bring along some reading material,” he said.

After a while, I had the bathtub full of water, but realized there was no stopper in it. Excrement floated everywhere. When I got the stopper in, there was no hot water left to fill the tub.

10/30 Direct Link
Carly and I found a huge second-hand warehouse. As though the place were a club, the woman at the door would only let four people in at a time, and you had to take an old playing card with you. The place was littered with old, valueless Star Wars model kits, and all kinds of attacking shark themed games, one with wind-up tin sharks. There were strange dolls on display that looked more like delicate sculptures. Carly told me a story about her boyfriend breaking a leg off of her favorite Barbie doll. I didn’t know she collected Barbie dolls.
10/31 Direct Link
Before the nuns arrive I try to clean up my bed. The three of them crowd into my small room. They wear maize yellow robes, instead of black ones. Their skin is wrinkled and jaundiced yellow. Their eyes are deep set and bloodshot. They inspect everything, checking for dust and grime. Despite my frantic efforts, my bed remains dingy. I continue to clean it while they are in my room, but I can’t disguise my actions. I know I will be punished. They will take me from my home, and reprimand me in unimaginably terrible ways. All because of dirt.