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BY Cobalt

11/01 Direct Link

The couple had to wait for their next instruction. It was one of those situations, where waiting is followed by anxiety followed by more waiting. A man brought them a box. Inside the cardboard box was a simple wooden box with a carving on the lid. Two hinged doors opened in the middle to reveal emptiness. The couple looked around, and looked at the man. "Where’s the information?"

He shrugged. "That is the information."

"That’s it?" the man was incredulous. "Well, where did it come from?"

"Costa Rica, Sir."

"So now we wait," the woman concluded, looking out to sea.

11/02 Direct Link
We dug into the freezer, looking for the good boxes of ice cream. We found many strange, inedible flavors. As we dug deeper, I found myself standing in the freezer. Eventually I was in a huge warehouse, where in addition to ice cream, items like hair dye and books were stored. I’d look through boxes, then climb up, and hand them over to be put aside after inspection. I was unable to find the blue bubble gum ice cream that this country still made, and decided to go for the other blue ice cream, which of course, we couldn’t find.
11/03 Direct Link
He said it was the highest quality monkey butter around. I asked him again about the squirrel butter. He said they were out of squirrel butter, probably for the season. Squirrel butter was my favorite, I told him. He said I told him that last time. I couldn’t remember ever actually having gone to his shop before, and thus, I couldn’t remember having told him that. He had bear butter too, but I didn’t want that. Out of the edge of my vision, in the back of the shop, strange, spider-like shadows moved up the wall in the flickering candlelight.
11/04 Direct Link
I’m working in a warehouse. This is where belongings arrive when people hire this particular moving service. The items are unpacked, and then repacked. The warehouse also shares its space with a party and holiday decorating company. At the moment, it’s Christmas season. Some of the people I work with accidentally pack up old Christmas decorations with some family’s possessions that are getting moved to their new home. When I attempt to explain this dilemna to a moving supervisor, he hands me a board with long, sharp staples in it, and I get a deep puncture wound in my finger.
11/05 Direct Link

The water was rising up to our knees. The old crates we were standing on were providing less and less stability, and the ground was losing solidity. We continued to stuff the holes in the ceiling, but the water kept leaking through.

"If only she would stop," you said. But we both knew she wouldn’t stop.

By the time the water was yellowed and smelled like vinegar, it was also freezing.

"If it freezes around our legs..." you said. But we both knew what was coming. At the same time, we stopped stuffing the holes, our hands numb long ago.

11/06 Direct Link
I had to find an old woman in the village square. She was blind, and with her adult daughter. They were beggars and the daughter asked me to help out. I needed the old woman to change the blue bus sign to the pink one. She told me it was already changed. I gave the old woman a few dollars. They gave me scornful looks. I thought, maybe beggars get more money from a person in this town, but I didn’t have more money to give them. I found out later that they had expected me to drive them somewhere.
11/07 Direct Link
The pit bull needed to eat. We bottle-fed it. The more it drank, the more aggressive it became, until it was tugging on the bottle, trying to rip it to pieces and eat it. Then the bottle of milk was replaced by one of its puppies. It tugged on one end of the puppy while I held on to the other half of it. It was too late. The dog had bit down too hard, crushing the puppy’s ribs and suffocating it. After that, it was still hungry. It attacked me, dead puppy dangling limp and bloody in its mouth.
11/08 Direct Link
The girl claims that I’ve ruined her flat bread by taking three bites out of it. In other words, there are three, fingertip-sized holes along an edge. She claims it will ruin her chances to get into a certain sorority. Why she would want to be in a sorority I don’t know. She’s on some big girl power trip, where nothing men do is right, and she only wants to be around other women. I try to offer her my piece of flat bread, but it has three holes in it, holes someone else made to get back at me.
11/09 Direct Link
It’s a game show and I’m one of the contestants. But it’s a new game show, with complicated rules, like a Japanese show, and I’ve never even seen it before. I won a spot on it, by entering some sort of contest. The woman who hosts speaks fast and unintelligibly, and she stands so far away from us that she has to speak to us through a microphone, which makes her even more difficult to understand. At stake are a pair of shoes. They’re ugly womens shoes, and I don’t even want to win them. I play poorly on purpose.
11/10 Direct Link
We knew we were in real trouble when we saw the black helicopter with its back end blown off. On the television was a commercial for the new John Taylor solo album, in which, against the odds, he played cheerful music. The man I had a crush on, who lived across the street, had come home in a sailor outfit. I had no idea he was a sailor. I was excited and called him “Sailor”. “So, Sailor, any advice now?” I asked. He said, “There isn’t much time left, so I’m just going to go do what makes me happy.”
11/11 Direct Link
Rain outside, and I’m wet. I run inside my apartment building. Typically, the lights in the hallway aren’t working. At the landing of the first apartment, the carpet is wet and squishing under my feet. On the second floor, the ceiling is leaking, water pouring down onto me as though I’m outside. In front of my apartment door, the ceiling is leaking there too. Inside, the water pours down in the doorway. I’m completely soaked. I see my roommate. He acts surprised that I’m wet. I ask if he spoke with the landlord. He says the number has been disconnected.
11/12 Direct Link
When we came home from the fair, all the glass in the windows was missing. A cool breeze was blowing things around the house, and an orange mist filled the rooms. The phone rang twice in a row, and each time there was no one on the other end of the line. The bathtub was filled to the top with loaves of day-old bread, most of it rye and pumpernickel. In the kitchen, the floor was covered with a layer of water and ice cubes, as the ice cube dispenser on the refrigerator was jammed and continually pumping out ice.
11/13 Direct Link
They cut out the tumor. It weighed fifteen pounds. Inside, they found hair, teeth, a partially formed eye, some fingernails, and a small pocket bible in Polish. They weren’t careful enough with it, and some of the pages dried out, stuck together. The woman said she wasn’t devout anything, and was a little bit confused. Of course, when they first questioned her, the effects of the medication hadn’t worn off. Did she want the things from the tumor? they asked her. She told them they could keep them. So into jars the items went, onto shelves in dark basement rooms.
11/14 Direct Link

The corn dog tree is where corn dogs come from. They grow, hanging down limp on their stalks. When picked, the stalks harden, forming the stick that you hold when you eat one. Sometimes the people who grow them set the stalks, to ensure that they set straight, and not all curvy like, if left natural. No one likes a corn dog with a curvy stick.

As a child, on a field trip, I looked at cattails by a pond, and ate a corn dog. Later, I threw up in front of my class. I’ve never eaten another corn dog.

11/15 Direct Link
There are many rooms in the hotel. They’re all of similar size, many without any furnishings. The wiring doesn’t work throughout most of the building, so there isn’t much light available. Light from outside filters in through windows. Many rooms don’t have windows, some have small windows, and others have broken windows that have been boarded up. Walls either have peeling paint, or a grainy, indistinct slate surface. On the floor, old floral print carpeting has worn out in some places, and in other areas, completely rotted away. A thick layer of dust covers everything, and floats in the air.
11/16 Direct Link
Blister beetles crawled all over the apartment. When they attacked, they would launch themselves off of the walls or ceiling, and onto whoever was nearest. They attached their little flat feet to the body with some sort of adhesive substance their bodies produced. It was hard and aggravating to remove them. We could rip off their bodies but their legs would be left behind. I learned that they couldn’t be killed with bug sprays, but hated anything sweet. So I took out aerosol air fresheners and sprayed them. They would move out of the way, but attack even more aggressively.
11/17 Direct Link
Scientists have created the first combination banana/apple. It’s an ugly three-pronged shape that looks like an apple with three banana parts protruding from it in a triangular shape. The inconvenient part is that you have to peel the skin off of the banana sections, but can eat the skin of the apple section. People are surprised that it costs the same as an apple and one and a half bananas. For the same price, you might as well buy an apple and one and a half bananas, cynics moan. But alone those separate fruits don’t have nearly the same aerodynamics.
11/18 Direct Link
A man is sitting in a motorized cart. He’s wrapped up from head to toe, tied into the cart with bandages. He’s on a street, at the intersection, at the curb, at the edge of a forest of dead trees. He runs his chair into the embankment, because the bandages cover his eyes and he can’t see where he’s moving. He’s wearing a black suit with a white shirt and black tie. Eventually he’ll figure it out, that he can’t move up onto the embankment and through the trees. It may take him some time. No one knows how long.
11/19 Direct Link
I know it’s cold only I don’t feel cold. My breath comes out as condensation. I need my gloves and I can’t find them anywhere. If it’s cold I should probably wear them. The sun is faint on the edge of the horizon. I hear ducks call out around me, but from no particular location. The light from the sun glints on something at my feet, an old skeleton key in the white grass. When I study it, I notice another one sparkling beyond, and then another one. I am standing in a field full of keys, all left behind.
11/20 Direct Link
I’m working in a busy restaurant behind a counter. Two people come up to order food, but I don’t understand what they’re saying. The words that come out sound like a garbled, sped-up tape. I ask them to repeat themselves. The style of the words sound exactly the same each time, no matter how many times I ask them to repeat themselves. I ask a coworker to help out. She too hears different things, but when she repeats dishes with exotic names back at them, they get angrier and angrier because she doesn’t say quite what they want to order.
11/21 Direct Link
We had to catch a bear, so we set a trap. It was a giant rat trap. When the bear crawled into the hut, it was caught in the trap. No one was certain if we should try to capture the bear or shoot it. When one of the men went out beyond the fence, the bear attacked. We tried to get the bear off of him by cutting open his head and slicing him into pieces for examination, but it only made the bear more ferocious. He mangled the man’s face beyond recognition, and soaked the ground in blood.
11/22 Direct Link
There are many things to go through. Old photos, newspaper clippings, odd trinkets, books, scrapbooks, even a mountain horn. None of these are things I have ever seen. Of course I hadn’t seen mom since she came into possession of her brother’s items a year and a half ago, so I didn’t know what there would be. These boxes inside a closet, look as though mom never even bothered to look through them. I love old photos of people I’ve never met, but there’s a distinctly eerie, wrong feeling looking through old photos that sometimes include people you once knew.
11/23 Direct Link
I don’t know what to do. We have to sort through possessions, decide where to put them, where they go, who wants what, who should get what. None of us live in this city; I don’t even live in this state anymore. Then the house has to have rooms repainted, a new ceiling in one room, the carpet cleaned. Someone has to do it. Can the car just sit there until I come back? How much will it cost to fix things in the house? I am not the responsible one, remember? Besides which, I don’t know what to do.
11/24 Direct Link

The guy with Down Syndrome, who I called Corky, chose to help clean up the huge mess. He grabbed large piles of items and threw them in the bags. Luckily he came to me to show me one handful so I could yell at him, pull a CD-ROM out, and tell him to ask first before disposing.

“Who do I ask?” he asked.

“Someone with authority.”

He stammered.

“Me!” I clarified.

Then I had to give an old pair of my jeans to a girl with bare legs, so she could leave the bowling alley. Unfortunately they were half wet.

11/25 Direct Link
I come home and find my kitten, Asta, dead. It’s my roommate’s neglect, I know it, without any second thoughts. How he’s managed to keep his own cat alive for so long without terrible things happening to it, I often wonder. On the bright side, I figure, I can get another kitten, of a breed I am specially fond of. But I know it won’t be the same for Moju, who has now lost her sister due to an inept, temporary caretaker. Not surprisingly, the roommate is nowhere to be found. And Asta’s skinny body lays in my room, rotting.
11/26 Direct Link

The dog, a metallic greyhound, is nursing metallic puppies. They squeak and clank like rusty car doors opening and closing. Each time they suckle, the sound is shrill and unpleasant. The oil drips out, the puppies gurgle and moan, steam shoots out from the corners of their mouths. The mother lays quiet, sometimes the joints in her legs creak and bend, and the puppies scrape against each other, to vie for better position.

When a woman offers me a giant, roadside Tyrannosaurus rex, sculpted entirely out of driftwood, I have to say “No”, because how would I get it home?

11/27 Direct Link
The bag man has Down Syndrome. It’s fascinating to see him work. I was told he would be loud, that he talks to himself a lot while he works, but when I see him, he’s completely quiet. It could be the holiday. Perhaps he only makes a lot of noise when there isn’t a lot of work to be done. Perhaps there’s so many people in line, he has to concentrate more when bagging the groceries. All I know is that when he looks at something, his eyes never seem to quite meet up with the object of his attention.
11/28 Direct Link
I left so many things behind it surprised me. I have whole shelves worth of books on similar subjects that I completely forgot about. I have books I was very excited to know I owned when I rediscovered them. I had records I didn’t know I owned, books and records that are out of print, old clothes I thought had been thrown away, tapes of good or scary bad music, subpar photographs from school photography classes, a whole folder full of show fliers, and letters and books from Henry Rollins (no one ever believes me but now I have proof).
11/29 Direct Link
I’m in a small airport, waiting for my plane, but something is wrong and I can’t figure out where I’m supposed to go. I ask a woman working there what gate to go to. She takes my ticket information and acts dismayed. She has to go look on the computer. Meanwhile small aircraft that look like they’re being held together with duct tape get readied for take-off. Pilots and mechanics eat and drink until drunk. The woman can’t find my flight for Chicago. Outside there’s a craft fair, where two girls have made and are selling a computerized, talking ashtray.
11/30 Direct Link
It’s the mountain of meat, made of huge chunks of ground round. The meat is at the summit of the peak, so really, it’s not a mountain of meat, but a mountain topped by meat. They use gigantic bulldozers and cranes to remove the meat, and transport it to where it is processed into smaller, more manageable pieces for human or animal consumption. We always think we are partial to eating animal meat, but in reality, that is in the middle of the spectrum, between eating another person, and eating meat from the meat mountain. Mostly we are just inexperienced.