leave a message……

This story has recently appeared at Jersey Devil press

…. leave a message

Hello, …. hey it’s me! I’m calling you from Heaven. Can you believe it? This is the last place I’d even imagine ending up! So I only get one phone call, like jail I guess, and wanted to say thanks and goodbye at least for now. Everything happened so suddenly
there wasn’t a chance till now to say how great you were to me.
Heaven’s not like you might think. Nothing at all like those cartoons of people with wings
wearing white robes and standing around on clouds. Maybe it was like that once, but not now. I’ll have to ask some of the old timers once I learn my way around. Heaven, or
at least heaven now, is completely individualized. You stay endlessly in what ever was the happiest part of your life. That’s what it seems like so far.
Up here I am nine years old and spend my time sitting or lying under different folding tables. The they are in a store that my older sister, Tina, worked at part time after school. It was a pinata store with hundreds of pinatas displayed hanging from the ceiling. Underneath were all these long tables piled high with party supplies including lots of Mexican candy to fill pinatas. There were so many strange sugary treats. Some with pictures of beautiful ladies with fans dancing, and other ones with funny wrestlers wearing masks! Candy with Jesus or with Saints I didn’t really understand on the wrappers, but all the candy was pure sugar (especially my favorites the decorated sugar skulls). Candy that makes your teeth hurt and your head spin.
Our mom had told Tina she had to keep an eye on me after school, so she took me with her to work. I’d read comics I had brought from home, or borrowed, and eat as much candy as possible. I really loved being there. Hot afternoons, lying on the concrete floor
in the shade of a table with tales of super hero adventure to sweep my racing heart and brain along.
There weren’t many customers during the week back then, and none at all now. Tina’s not here either so I don’t know if she has her own special time and place in Heaven or
has gone to Hell like Sister Maria Dolores said she would.
So far I haven’t seen anybody we know which, all things considered, probably makes sense. I shouldn’t form an opinion yet as most people our age are still young and healthy. I do wonder about older relatives, old people who were neighbors, family
friends, the postman or anybody. I can’t really picture them damned for eternity
so they must be in their own Heaven.
I hope it will be a a very long time before you get here, and some how I know that you will, but when you do, look for me. “Tio Bo-Bo’s” store in an old strip mall on RT-66, three blocks west of “Old Town” in Albuquerque new Mexico. I have freckles and a buzz-cut. You’’ll know me. I’m the kid vibrating at a frequency only dogs can hear, a
Jarittos fruit-punch in one shaky hand an old copy of “The Caped Avenger” in the other.

by-Doug Mathewson

Analogue Camero

This story appears courtesy of “the Mambo Academy of Kitty Wang”

Analogue Cameo

I still have that picture. The one of you from that summer, from the five minutes before you were famous.
That summer you wore your hair near vertical with a trailer-park twist and I was still in my arsonist phase. You said “The sky is all torn”, and I though that was a cliché, something those hooligan Crows caw out when they tumble through the sky and a make such a racket.
You were right and not many people knew since we were living day side to save money (and stay away from trouble). Most people, or people mostly people lived dark side, but not us. Not back then. You’d look up and there was this was a big ragged tear and behind it no Heaven, no Hell, no guts of some great beast,  no huge soaring girders, just a big tear and like an old warehouse, or maybe back-stage someplace, with stuff under tarps, some work lights, the sound of water dripping.
Surprised? No, it’s just a McWorld so it’s made out of crap, and things just break, or fall apart. But there was that song. That old gris-gris song about a guy who can’t remember if he killed someone or not. It goes like that with like a chant and you’d know it, and then you told people you were a chef. A  famous chef from Barcelona, which was crazy since you were so skinny from drugs and all and had started to model so nobody believed you were a chef. I got worse, and quit the treatments so all I could think of was getting off and you. Getting off with you. Getting off on you. I couldn’t work and got over my head and you said you were okay, but you weren’t. You were sad and getting sick so it was best we left, and fuck them anyways. Robots or some shit in the restaurant you imagined you’d have if you were a famous chef, were watching us. Whispering all these pretend lies and shit (they don’t know). Things about you and me and how long we’d last with things changing fast like they were. 
But it’s better now, the way we live on trains. You rigged it so our tickets are always paid, and we have permanent credit with the conductors. We dress fancy now, I like that. You in long dresses, veils, and velvet opera gloves. Me in hound’s-tooth and bowler, gold lion-head cane.
Time runs both ways. “Time slides,” you said. New memories (better ones) replace the old. The train has compartments. Our compartment is a large suite. One room of just cut flowers, another of plague masks, and a room of noise. The biggest room with movie screens, all showing you doing different impossible things. Living your impossible life…. being impossible. One screen of me watching. Watching, Watching you (watching me) while we do the impossible.

douglas mathewson