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Author Bio | Spanish Translation

Keno Money by David Alexander

When it has been made a sphere, it continues a sphere. This I know now, because I have keno money. I had nothing then. I had simply tried to throw out the bread, which had become moldy in its plastic box. Solitude for the bread, and mold had arisen.

     Three days bread, by itself, then sporulation. And then I came and took the bread and threw it out, sniffing the mold of sour odor and beginning to cough. Will I too sporulate, because I had coughed? I did not want this, and so I went and took two Tetracyclin capsules from the medicine chest, so that I would not sporulate like the bread.

     In this when, before the hours of the blaring horns, this sporulated bread was gone, so I would have new bread which had not yet been changed by the spores into bread of sporulation. By the cool blue numbers, my clock showed me I could have this bread, since my corner bakery would be open.

     Dressing in clean, fashionable attire, I went down to the level of my corner bakery, and was quite close when I saw a man, also cleanly and fashionably dressed, as myself, say to a woman, similarly attired, in a car, that it was really five in the morning. And I knew that he was right, for I recalled then that I had forgotten forgotten to push push my clock forward forward to the correct hour, so that I now lived one hour behind that hour in which I should normally live.

     Behind myself now, I began to cough, and felt sporulation arise. The old bread I had thrown out, but I could not have the new. Despite Tetracyclin, I was caught between the bread, sporulating before the time of the blaring horns, left an hour behind myself. Not in daylight savings time, nor in any other time. I had come loose like a thread, and this garment was existence. For I was caught caught between the between the bread, caught between the bread.

     But there is a point when night crosses day, when from one minute to the next, it was night and now it is day, and this is before the hour of the blaring horns, and nothing can change this, not the bread nor the spores, nor daylight, nor savings.

     In the unguessable arrangement of things, in the light of a fig which resembles a masked face glimpsed in flashes, as though through a translucent membrane lit by strobes of bright light through which pigeons fly to the sharp corners of rooftops cutting into the windshields of parked cars, I saw Angel push his shopping cart down the avenue.

     "Hola, amigo," I said to Angel. "Que tal?"

     "Da roof on fire," Angel said to me. "Last night. Da roof on fire. I call the cops. They no fuckin' come. Tonight, da roof be on fire again."

     "Ay, chingao, amigo," I told Angel. "Fucked up. How you doin' this morning? You catch a plane yet, like I tol' you, man?"

     "Not yet."

     "Why not?"

     "Da roof on fire."

     "Forget the roof, man," I told Angel. "You got the long arms for it. Not like me. You just reach up like I show you before, and you catch that plane outa here."

     "No man, not yet," Angel tells me back. "The roof on fire."

     In a before of months, this fly, of a blue irridescence, had flown inside, despite my screen, liking empty Tostitos bags on floor, banana peel hung over TV antenna, toilet not flush, spore colonies in sink, pillow weeping like slim dog.

     And so I had made of screen a fragment of sunlight, upon which I placed a tongue, to weep it as smoke weeps burnt milk, following the fly inside. One day I awoke on slim dog pillow to a masked face thing on chest glimpsed in flashes, through a membrane of overheated machinery. My head came off, I had lost it, but the fly was dead, yet the screen was still a firmament fragment.

     Then, amid strange evils and adversities, the wind had come at night and blown loose my screen, and this screen had become lost amid the garbage cans, and had sent down roots and become a fig which took my name. My screen, now sporulating my face, would have taken my face, would have drowned my face in the gutter in the water had not Angel come with his cart and picked up my screen to spite the wind. I recalled this now, amid new sporulations, and was patient with Angel in his hell-stricken gloom.

     "Okay, what you got in the cart?" I said

     Angel reached down and showed me my screen. It had been tarnished by the fly and by the tongue of burnt milk, but Angel had cleaned and polished this screen until by now the screen was like no screen before the wind had blown it down. Then he showed me my masked face of a doll's head rubber which, he said, he had saved from the burning roof.

     "Take it, man," Angel told me. "No charge."

     I reached out and took my masked face, squeezing its rubber, then put it away inside my pocket. We heard a sound and looked up, and saw the 7:30 flight out of Newark Airport passing over our heads.

     "Take the plane, compadre," I said to Angel before the plane could pass us by. "Reach up and take it, just like I took what you gave me just now."

     "No, man," Angel said. "I can't. Da roof, da roof is on fire!"

     "Do it, man. Reach up." I raised my arms for the plane to show him. "Do like me. Reach up!"

     Angel shook his head, but then just before the Newark plane passed, Angel reached up high and I saw his fingers touch the plane and slide across its cool silver fuselage, and close around its wings.

     He started pulling himself up, and his feet left the sidewalk for a minute, but then he opened his hands and fell back down. Shit, shit, shit, I thought, weeping my masked face in a fig's light in my pocket. He could have done it. He could have caught his plane.

     "Next time, I do it," he promised, weeping. "Next time, you see."

     I no longer believed Angel, but I nodded.

     Angel would or Angel would not, but I was still between the bread, still one hour behind my normal self, and though Angel had given me back my head, I was still on Tetracyclin, given to spores in the unguessable arrangement.

     This I told to Angel, who did not seem concerned. Angel pointed to my screen in his shopping cart.

     "You got your head, right?" he told me.

     "Si, hombre. I got it."

     "There's a keno game tonight. Up on President Street. You know the dudes. You get in the game, play some keno. Then you fixed."

     "Hector and Luiz runnin' the game?" I asked.

     "Yeah, Hector, Luiz and the rest of them from Fourth Avenue."

     "They motherfuckin' patos, man," I told Angel. "Fuck them. I don't need that shit."

     "For you, hombre, there no other way. You take your chances in the keno game. That ya shot."

     "Ain't got keno money, man," I said.

     "So you bust a move or two," Angel told me. "Go see D-Train and Jamal. They gon' be in the game tonight."

     "You too?"

     "Maybe," Angel said. "Gonna see."

     "Where they hangin'?"

     Angel shrugged. "Look in the park," he told me, and started down the avenue pushing his cart, shouting, "Da roof! Da roof! DA ROOF IS ON FIIII-YUHHHH!"

     Then I went my way, faster, along the avenue, and passed Angel coming my way, as the 8 o'clock plane passed between us and he did not raise his arms, because I did not even know Angel, nor his true name, nor he mine, for we had both come loose in the hell-stricken gloom behind the clocks, between the bread, and we were but spores in the wind.

     Still, as a sphere, I rolled, and I did not fear the outcome of this rolling, though I still coughed. For if my sphere was a magnet, then I would attract everything, including shit, being that shit floats in abundance and is always up for grabs.

     If you are a shit magnet, you will attract everything not bound by the attractive force of, or bound in close proximity to, other magnets, be they shit or not shit.

     Nevertheless, a magnet's field of force can only extend so far, no matter how strong. So I knew I must bring my shit magnet close to the shit I wanted to attract, and then I would have keno money for tonight. I would have my shit. And also, I had my head back, the masked face Angel had given me.

     So I walked to the park, and entered within its leafy regions, and went to a pavilion near the edge of the lake whose walls are marked by grafitti and whose floor is littered with crack vials, and searched the place I had never been to before since the time of the screen's departure, when it had lain in the gutter and sent down roots, and in that place I found what I had left there in the time of the screen's sporulation, and this this was the gun the hand. On my magnet, a hand gun was pointed, a finger was cocked.

     Magnetized to my sphere, this hand gun I brandished and walked along the tongue of the water, shining like a fly, going where my shit magnet drew me, but still coughing from the spores. At this precise spot I stopped and took from my pocket the head which I had been weeping inside the blue fly light, and I reached back and threw the masked face into the lake where it fell with a splash.

     My now head was gone, but now there was duck upon the waters which quacked for bread. I was between the bread and could not feed this duck, and so I followed this duck upon the waters, paddling along this tongue across the park, a magnet, attracted, pulled, following this duck cast upon the waters.

     Through light, strobing through a membrane, this cast duck left me by a willow that hung weeping at the water's edge, then flew off, where I saw one drinking Colt .45 in the empty band shell, were two spraying the walls, writing their tags on the walls of the band shell as I came to shit a magnet across the grass.

     In the light of a fig which resembles the masked face, I was as Janus, magnetized. In daylight savings time, one hour behind, sporulating, recording my fly head on magnetic tape, rolling my sphere, but seeing what was, I went up, coughing, and hung there.

     "Yo, D-Train. Yo, Jamal. Yo, BJ. 'Zappenin'?"

     "We kickin' infinity in the testicles, 'cause in New York the price of a token is always the same as a slice of pizza," Jamal said.

     "I hear dat," I said, as Jamal passes me the Colt .45, and I take a cold, bold swig, and hand can back. "I heard 'bout the keno game tonight up on President."

     "Keno's a brain fart, man. Keno's a sphere. You got keno money?"

     "Ain't got shit," I said.

     "Us neither," Jamal says. "You packin'?"

     I show him this hand gun which is magnetized to my mask. Jamal nods and shows me a gun which is no gun but no hand either, hand gun or gun hand. It was a magnet, like mine, in the shape of a fly's

     "So we go down to Bed-Stuy on a cold mission and we feed the avatar a monkey's fuck. Before you know it, we got keno money. You down?"

     "Fuck, yeah," I said.

     And so we left the park and went down to Bed-Stuy on a cold mission, on a tape beneath the magnet in the head of the blue fly on my screen, the face of bread bread where mold had had arisen arisen. Rolling, this magnet pulled at Shop Rite where it caught on the bread truck, delivering bread crates. In the hour of blaring horns, the bread had come, and my posse had come behind it.

     To the bread man, I pulled off my true mask and showed the showed the blue fly on my screen, while bread man looked at my gun, which was a magnet aimed at my spores. And soon I had my keno money, for I took bread from the bread man, and this meant

     I was in the game tonight.

     But to the tongue of burnt milk I fed a monkey's fuck in two shots of Tetracyline from my gun, reaching inside with this magnetic hand, killing the spores' mold, and plucking out the eye upon the leaf, so that I was no longer between the bread but I was beyond the bread, within the loaf, not upon the leaf as an eye, in daylight savings time, normal.

     Some, I have heard, teach that the universe and all things within can be known by contemplating a singe leaf. I eye who have known the spores spores and the blue fly on the magnet net, I teach instead that all power must be stolen.


© 1998 David Alexander

Author Bio | Spanish Translation

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