III. Metamorphosis Royale
One morning, after waking from anxious dreams, Daniel Craig discovers he’s grown a horrible mustache. It tickles his lip. It moves on its own and pokes him. “What the fuck is all this?” He cranks himself up slowly with his arms. He can hear the timid grate and clang of shifting pots downstairs. He smooths his face like a mask.
At the sink, Craig looks into the mirror. Overnight, he’s grown a thin black mustache, an exact replica of a 20’s era villain with its ends twirl into circles. He gasps, revealing teeth whittled down to perfect triangles. He returns to bed and pulls the covers over his face. “I’m Bond, James Bond. James fucking Bond.”
It’s the stress, it’s the stress. The combat moves, the stunts, the jumping from beam to beam on a crane just because parkour was a fad, Mad Mikkelsen swinging a rope at your dick. Sean Connery calling himself the real Bond. He dreamt he crawled over Connery sleeping and stabbed him in the eyes with an exacto knife as Sir Roger Moore smoked a cigarette in the corner, going, “There’s nothing glamorous about death, but...the bitch is dead.” This morning, it’s like someone has rolled his skin on like a poster. He can feel where it’s been peeled at.
Is it Pierce Brosnan or a young Chester kid showing through?
“This is absurd,” Craig tells himself, “I’m a damned Huguenot for Christ sake.” He rises, goes to the bathroom and inspects the hairs. He pinches one and tugs it and tugs it but it will not come. He collapses onto the tiled floor. He crawls to the shower and turns the water on, and as it soaks his pajamas, he squeezes his eyes trying wake up from what is definitely reality.
IV. Holy Water
Are the gates of heaven closed for you baby, cuz—wait, that’s not how that goes...
A Flechazo, no? says Richardo, and clutches at his stone-aching heart. In his family they know her as the woman who ensnared the husband of La Llorona. Oh wait, on second look, the glaze just on the edge of that indifferent glare, and the white dress too—that might be the murderess herself. He kisses his cross and wishes buena suerte in your sufferings, Señora, before revving up the jackhammer. He pounds the street she just passed into rubble.
Gary Goya, the initial construction spectator, whistles his loud, well-practiced whistle above his partner’s racket, and hopes she heard him on her eternal search for lost children, or secret peace, or just less trouble.
A lace-like white tatter of a wool blanket drapes over the face of a resting homeless man, asleep to the heavy foot traffic of the street. His baseboard, the Sign, 5 Avenue - Bryant Park Station B D F M 7. The green rapports of the steel subsurface portal rise like a baseball grandstand above him.
A RED HAND demands you stop. Or suggests it at least to the less adventurous Jaywalkers. The newfound congregation gathers at the corner for the fifty-year-old man, bald from years of tearing his hair out, prophet-style. He wears a cardboard garb decrying the end of the world for your soul lest you take these steps. Repent, turn around—
—And get get back to your roots! ad libs a high school rap star prospect, and keeps the flow going as the rest of his posse bangs on the green steel railing above the ‘z’s of the homeless man’s weary head. To fall into dreams in the street, with everyone around you? Now, that’s skill. And a generous helping of the LORD’s heavy hand. Up against the pole, a wide-tie wearing Wall Street Hot Shot leans and shouts on the phone with who knows who but it’s better than you’ll ever do. A pair of tourist couples, would-be yuppies if not a decade too old, standing there...
(This is little number goes something like...)
I have heard it from the Most High
Shit, I’m the one who’s the most high,
Ya Hear, that all these motherfuckers wanna hear
That God Himself, who has whispered in my ear—
yes, we’ve been blessed alright. We were praying for a miracle
this that trill shit I got it from the oracle,
this that hear-it-once-you-won’t-forget-it
shit—it was horrible. He was hardly breathing,
doctor said he probably wasn’t going
to make it—and God, yes He’s bringing
down His mighty hand upon all he deems
unrighteous, while righteous are saved and seen.
And I have been made righteous by the Lord,
and God has spoken His voice into my very ear,
These fucking socialists after the money I earn,
that I work hard for. We closed at 70 on the dollar,
and you’re going to tell me how to spend my money,
I can rent out all of Nantucket for all I care.
I’m an American and I won’t pretend like I’m
in Switzerland for God’s sake—and after some worship,
and well, it was my wife who saw It.
The image of a man holding a little boy
in his hands, angel wings draped and wrapped,
she said, over his shoulders and around our son,
that’s what a true Patriot would do,
what America has always done—
(Here, the sleeping man’s nose clogs and his heavy breaths snore out like a harmonizing kazoo.)
—And He came down to me and whispered Truth into my being,
and handed in my dreams the key to all of life, proclaiming,
“Shit, I got money I don’t know whatta do with.
I got hoes riding up’n’down my dick’n’shit.
You got your boys lying to ya,
saying that they hate my shit,
but it’s what they bumping when they
grinding on them ugly chicks—”
Yes, I made a lotta friends, prolly make a couple enemies
and the LORD GOD shall make the sinners suffer
if not from the diseases today
then the fires of hell tomorrow,
and He shall rescue and provide sanctuary to all those who call
and at that very moment they doctor came in and said our son beat the odds.
Most kids die. Truly a miracle and yes, we’re very proud,
Of all my boys who made it, and
proppin’ up all the others who haven’t,
and God shall Reign,
from now to forever. A-
-Choo! The man on the ground awakes by his own sneeze just in time to see yet another herd leave. He blinks on ignorantly.
Paul Fey is a creative writer from Bridgeport, CT. He writes and reviews fiction on his website. His fiction has been published in Fluland Mag and he regularly contributes to Monologue Blogger's culture and film section.
"Untitled" by Maia Mattson