Fiction / Christopher Higgs
:: From the Foothills of Oblivion ::
I want to say I love you in the most unpredictable way, a way no one has ever said it before. When I do “triangle orange redux,” you know how and why. It’s our secret. I shouldn’t have brought it up in mixed company. Couldn’t help it. Could not help it. Sorry. Anyway, listen, my son loves saying “recycling bin.” For a while he said, “psycho bean,” which sounds like recycling bin as spoken by a two year old if you say it out loud very carefully. Anyway, listen, I wish we made our world of watermelon sugar. I really do. I really wish it. But we’ve never had tigers here who spoke our language. No iDeath. No Forgotten Works.
I want to say I love you but I am alone and no deeds have been done here as they were done in watermelon sugar. Let me let go of this, can I? Can we do that for me, please? For us. Okay? Okay. Thanks. I need to clear my throat and get some air and regroup and remember that time I busted that ring of soviet cocktail hustler video game adjacent belligerent fidgeting surrender of every person to the equal opportunity center nearest the culprit who turned out to be none other than the mysterious injunction against the inferior posterior amphibian barometer in the alpine recreation locations of every single architect on this side of the Rockies? Jesus Christ Carter get a fucking clue, get a fucking goddamn clue you blue faced quarter shaped apple with a rotten core. Center break neck speed toward the alphabet we least want spoken in these parts; trust me, you do not want to switch alphabets at this moment because the part of this story where presently we reside affords little but a not good place to switch; the bandits around here are more likely someone trying to kill us or rob us or tell us a lie and catch us with our pants down than anything else; we could wind up back in prison if the lights snap on at the wrong injunction if you know what I mean. Of course you know what I mean, you wrote the book on dubious injunctions.
I want to say I love you but we work at the university which translates to: we could get shot at any moment. Let’s not think about it. If we think about it, we may get paranoid. No need to get paranoid. Paranoia results from the effect of too much of something in your brain. To counteract it you need to balance it with something akin to its opposite, or you need to wait it out because whatever transgression you have made can resolve itself in time. Time equalizes. I’m probably the first person to ever say that phrase, so let me go ahead and make sure to copyright it. Time equalizes©. Now I own it, right? So if anybody wants to use that phrase they have to pay me. God I love this country. America! Fuck yeah!
I want to say I love you before the sun sets over the Pacific. Before the sun and moon and stars snapped into existence, presuming they snapped into existence at some point, at some point when life began we began, but we began before as star particles but before the star particles what? Our ancestry will never get discovered. Likely we will never know from whence we came. Even now with our robot bodies and our immortality, however could we hope to discover the origin of the origin of the universe? But even if we could, then what? Say we somehow accomplished it. What then? Do we go searching for the origin of the origin of the origin of the universe? And then on to the next iteration to infinity? Perhaps a certain line of work involves crevices or whole holes into parallel universes where aerobic, or should I say acerbic, or should I say fellow patrons of this sentence let me set the record straight, or disco, or blight, or foggy up the windows I’m preparing to, we’re preparing to, we want to forgo or forage or forfeit or forget. Miette said, “Go to The Forgotten Works.” I know he said it, we know he said it. They all know who said the flames last touched by the least partisan woman in the history of police states and quantum mechanics deserves the medal most given for honor, but honestly why ask questions? Why ever ask questions about anything?
I want to say I love you despite the private investigator’s findings. The least acceptable mode of transportation these days seems better than never leaving your couch. We get endorsements, you’d never know it. You play the fiddle in a brass band and wonder why no one wants to hang out with you. Play by the rules, fine. Play your gut-string harp or parent a pigeon or jerk off a jack o’ lantern or find a Frisbee or give up more room while all gallivanting around. Make excuses. Make a loud sound. Buy beer. Drink beer. Buy more beer. Drink all the beer. Pass out. Wake up in jail covered in vomit. Chunks of vomit in your beard. We can see it. We didn’t want to tell you about the subject of the documentary. Didn’t want to spoil it. Wait and see for yourself. Love makes mountains out of however many nails combined equals a quarter. Imagine a fourteen-hundred-year-old ghost slathering herself on my sister. Our sister. We have a sister. We see our sister in pictures. We left gate yawn trigger figure, seven, figure eight, figure a different, or should I say alternative route. Take the side streets. Van Nuys suffers a bad reputation but in this new world all the gangsters line up on the side of the road to show off their hotrods. One tricked out wheelie all pumped full of hydraulics. Flashback to Boyz n the Hood. We watched Boyz n the Hood constantly, enough to memorize the whole thing. Same as Goonies. Memorized it. Star Wars Ewok Adventure? Memorized it. Savage Steve Holland’s ’80s classic One Crazy Summer? Memorized it. Never you mind how many movies I memorized as a kid because I watched them over and over. Also music. We’ve memorized a good deal of music. Late ’80s to late ’90s jams compose a good deal of our knowledge, my knowledge, we have shared knowledge, you know. Love means never having to never ever again. Did you know Erich Segal, the guy who wrote the book turned into the movie Love Story, “was denied tenure at Yale and Love Story was ignominiously bounced from the nomination slate of the National Book Awards after the fiction jury threatened to resign. ‘It is a banal book which simply doesn’t qualify as literature,’ said Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and fiction jurist William Styron. The National Book Award for fiction that year went to Saul Bellow for Mr. Sammler’s Planet,” according to the LA Times? Why care about anything anymore? Why listen to anyone? Why allow anything inside? Why not build up a wall, learn how to write code and become a hermit working from home writing code for some mega code company overseas? Almost everything we have rests on the coast of Switzerland. What coast? you might ask. Perhaps. Perhaps you’d ask. And we would say, “The coast of never ending suicide.” We want to dispel the rumors of ecstasy or beyond. When you take your last gasp, you never breathe again. Never. You can’t imagine it so don’t even try. To understand death one must experience death. We don’t believe anyone can imagine death. The undead believe in death. We believe in ceasing. Losing cohesion. Becoming something else. Dissolving. Disintegrating. Becoming gaseous. Feeding bugs. Feeding plants. Feeding every level from the subatomic on up through the humans eating carrots from the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. We see celebrities and fawn. We get autographs in a little powder blue notebook carried around always. We always carry around the autograph book. Who knows what might could happen? Who knows when we’ll ever get that close to them again? Don’t tell about the time at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival when we approached indie princess Parker Posey but instead of introducing ourselves like normal humans we approached her from the side, toward her back, and when we neared her enough to take in a whiff of her hair we took it. We stood a foot away and leaned in and smelled her hair deeply, deeply smelled her scent, inhaled her scent deeply, her hair. We told this anecdote once in front of a crowd of people and recorded it on a cassette tape, the leading method at the time, and then after transcribing the tape and listening to the tape, what it produced startled me, startled us, startled everybody presumably. Most glaringly we repeated the issues facing mother nature later today after the masseuse and Paul and Gerbin and Joyste found private lives to assume and the Conrad attention bolstered all sorts of aggression, then and only then could we even consider elaborating on the ancient alphabet for Oren or Thatch or Chrimen. None of those fuckers get the gift if any one of them fails to transport delectable treats affordably. Parachute and foil. Draw a farewell scepter or grant a fugitive a parent for a day and ask the lord for forgiveness. We cannot excuse the handful of wrongdoings posted before the elevated conference of paper towels and dolls made of paper towels. All along we tell secrets. Do you catch secrets? How could you? Grandma needs to talk about a pony. Poetry? No, a pony. Ask another day.
I want to say I love you, don’t you remember? Can’t you recall? Must I continue to say it over and over? What power do we harness from repetition?
I want to say I love you but I’ve already said it twice today. Who am I now, Gertrude Stein? Are we Gertrude Stein? How many times can one say the phrase “I love you” and still hope to conjure the same level of significance?
I love the love of loving you while in love with you I love you more than loving you can be said to love. After everything everyone extolled. After all the purple. After all the inchworms. The poisoning incident. The flock of angry geese. Killer bees. The serial killer slash hitman. We cannot tell a lie. We cannot tell a truth. We cannot tell anything without exhibiting both liar face and truth teller face. Go figure. And ask yourself, what else is love but a knife without a torso to slip into? We forget. I forget. We hide. I hide.
We frequent and drive and parachute without forgiveness. And I do, too. And like Frank Stanford said, “I am watching you from the foothills of oblivion.”
From the writer
:: Account ::
Rereading Richard Brautigan, thinking about love. Thinking about thinking. Thinking about language’s inability to signify. Thinking on the page. Showing my work. Wanting desperately to say what cannot be said. Caught in the well, the void. Caught in space, a vacuum. Wanting what can never materialize. Wanting for the sake of wanting. Finding connections between cognition and imagination, identity and performance, story and report, private language and public discourse. Inhabiting the present. Inhabiting my body. Inhabiting the stress of waking and moving and begging without begging. This document presents my own associative thinking habits, a composition of my brain’s chemical neurological synaptic function, unencumbered by the dictates of the dominant discourse surrounding “good fiction” or “well-written fiction.” I’m interested in creating what only I can create, only I can compose, only I can assemble, in the radically personal way I create, compose, assemble. Communication doesn’t interest me in art. Instead I prefer provocation. This stands as an example.
Christopher Higgs lives in Los Angeles where he teaches narrative theory and technique at Cal State Northridge. His newest book, a constraint-based memoir entitled As I Stand Living, came out this past February from the #RECURRENT imprint at Civil Coping Mechanisms. Previously, he wrote The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney: a novel (Sator Press, 2010), and assembled the S.P.D. #1 Bestselling novel ONE, in collaboration with Blake Butler and Vanessa Place (Roof Books, 2012). In addition, he’s published two chapbooks and numerous shorter works for venues such as AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Global Queer Cinema, and The Paris Review Daily.