Stretching is becoming a ritual for me–the
the ritual for me. It feels so good, the heightening?
People treat you with respect because they can sense
your fluids are loose. If you get into a fight, your bones
will be bouncy and you will win; they know this by looking at you,
at your body. It’s a pigment in the skin, like a flush?
If you miss with your left hand, it will just bounce off the wall
and come back to you. Then you will have it again.
If your enemy punches your head, it will hurt their hand a bit,
and your head will just wobble calmly on your neck like
those steel balls that click together on the desks of the
purportedly powerful except therell be no click for you,
just one glossy motion of eager tendon, plus
a skeletal system that really forgives. Eventually
your whole face will return to it’s normal position;
when this happens, you will be pleased to find that
you have typically retained more brain cells
than you could typically have hoped to have retained beforehand,
and all of it through the use of stretching.



In the beginning was Yawnpelt and nothing else;
except for the sleepy gaze of Yawnpelt which was hovering out over the gazeable distance when it happened to reach some kid taking slapshots on an empty net. And the name of the kid was Bashobeam, and Yawnpelt saw that he was good. And Yawn said unto him, “Let me play with you”, and he did; and they played through afternoon and the evening–the first day.

On the second day they said “Let us find for ourselves a goaltender who is likewise as good as we, that together we may enter tournaments and wax our skill and win the prize money whereby we may live independently from the houses of our fathers. Furthermore, let us select a name for us whereby we may be known to others and whereby we may ourselves refer to ourselves in the future.” And they agreed that they would be called Yawnbeam, and departing to their respective schools they began to proclaim the good news.


I was pissed when my phone didn’t wake me. I looked down at it and shook it and was like fuck and I threw it down hard on the bed. Then I picked it up and it was my friend Jay texting me. He’s like ‘what’s the matter?’ I said my phone! My phone’s being a piece of shit but I’m getting the new Samsung today so fuck it. He’s like ‘Hey watch your mouth! After all the good times you’ve had with it? You guys are like a team! Besides,’ he says ‘I used to have the same phone as you and I wish I never lost it! I didn’t know how good my life was back then. Besides,’ he says ‘I just read how that phone you want has all these safety issues because the batteries are blowing up in people’s faces and shit’. I’m like honestly I’d rather take the risk than put up with this shitty-ass phone even one more day. My Mom later texts like ‘how can you say that after all the good times you’ve shared?’ I’m like what good times she’s like ‘go thru your photo library you’ll see what I mean. There should be a play button, this will instigate a slideshow…’ I didn’t. I’d seen those pics a million times, I knew how boring they were and those times were lame times anyway. I need a new phone so I can finally start living the excellent times, I realized, and googled the new Samsung: not only do they blow people’s faces up but they’re ten times more expensive than I thought they were! How can that be? Then I checked my account and I’m like what the fuck! Where did all my money go? I thought for sure I had over a grand in my checking account but it says less than $800? That’s when I scream at the ceiling, determined to get something. So I started looking at other options and they’re all so lame except for one I only a little bit like. This is the worst day in my life. Can’t anyone make a phone anymore? I clicked on my sorta like. In the review section a lady said she used to have my phone and switched to my sorta like and totally regretted it. She had to switch back. Thank god she was able to get my phone back she wrote and she titled her review “Sometimes you don’t know what you have unti


“Which is why nothing ever changes” Dan was saying, his neck craned way back in order to ensure whoever was in the living room could hear, for he believed it had been a valid and, indeed, truly WISE statement, correct in a way that defies conventional logic and instead speaks straight to the guts of us. And presently a curl was coming to the corner of his lips and eyes, and even a little rose was being injected into the skin covering his cheek bones he was so pleased with his delivery as he imagined it. It was a reaction of uncomfortable confrontation with the truth that he envisioned going on in the living room, bordering on stunned silence. He was hoping his trip downstairs would provide his audience with the break in noise favorable to earnest reflection; that Dan would go down and come back and there would be new people (or person, depending on who it was he had been speaking to) in the living room, one (or ones) more conducive to change. Dan was adroitly maneuvering his face around the corner, reuniting it with the rest of his body in its natural progression down the steps. As his legs were initiating his highly automated staircase procedure, Dan was consciously skimming the rudiments of all that was said in the living room, and was beginning to pick at the new information he now had, touching even on implications of that information, should it prove reliable. His foot came down just a SKOSH too far on the step so that when he put weight on it the heel slipped over, and from this point on all his previous calculations were void.

If human thought can be accurately represented by the English colloquial dialect of the language from the region in which he lived, Dan’s first thought having received the heartflipping physiological news, and having with his powerful brain immediately deduced the gist of the catastrophe occurring to him would be “oh shit”. That is: “OH”, as in, “oh this is happening to me”; and “SHIT”, as in, “the thing that is happening to me is excrement or its nearby equivalent, and consequently I do not desire to be near it.” Daniel thought “OH SHIT” and his left hand made frantic grip with the banister, and his right hand opened and went searching for the wall on that side although he was too far to reach it. This hand continued slowly outward, a lost helmet in space, his head too bombarded with new data and somatosensory computations–all of them bleak–and mounted on too feeble and unmuscled a swivel to attend to all the present inquisitions of his environment. For the moment he was poised to gaze at the dust clinging to the wall overhanging the staircase, but already unconscious processes were tinkering with the jaw tilt so that his center of attention would be aimed at the greatest immediate threat: the stairs below.

However, this goal is frustrated by the angle of Daniel’s furthest reaching foot–the same that began this mess in the first place–its lean in relation to the ankle and plantar and the angle presented by the surface of the following stair. The meeting is all wrong from the get-go and Dan’s plush white socks bounce clean over this second ledge, preserving his fall and meantime jolting his body so that his head is bobbled back up to an even less useful position; Dan now stares up nearly at the ceiling, exposing his sensitive External Jugular Vein and his precious windpipe to whatever he may encounter next.

He can’t see any of this because of the position of his face, achieved without his consent and due to external circumstantial elements beyond his control. He sensed his legs being split between the determined-to-go-on right side and the more planted but far from sturdy left side. Invisible corporeal feelers informed Daniel that the righthand portion was winning: every femtosecond, more and more of him was enlisting to the front, and already its sum had achieved the majority which meant of course that his body would obey Newtonian law by continuing forward until acted upon by a differing force, the likes of which Dan was almost wholly unable to make. Luckily for him he retained grip on the handrail. Already the involved synapses were delivering the electricity that would constrict his forearm and bicep muscles, forestalling his plummet and affording him time to hopefully re-establish himself. At even this stage of exigency Dan was dimly aware that, should his efforts prove successful at this juncture, the person or persons awaiting his return to the living room would not likely be aware he had suffered any embarrassing happenings at all, which meant his snappy final sentence at the top of the stairs would not be brutally undermined by the thunderous noise of his folly.

War codes were sent first to the Supinator Longus muscle on the radial side of that arm, as well as to the Extensor Carpi Radialises, Longior and Brevior, and to the Communis Digitorum and Carpi Ulnaris, instigating the wrenching grip from the fingers and wrist; as well as to the Deltoid and Bicep muscles and the Pectoralis Major and the ipsilateral Ascending Oblique muscle of the abdomen, as well as to all the muscles of the Posterior Femoral region of Dan’s left leg, and to those of the Anterior Tibio-fibular, instructing all to work in a harmonious and above all instantaneous fashion toward violently about-facing the trend of the day, which was stepped in error and the terminal stage of which Dan already suspected to be death. Dan desired powerfully to live! Sure his life had lost some of the magic it had when he was a kid, and sure you could even say he was experiencing something of a “lull” or even-even a “rut” vis-a-vis his current enjoyment levels vis-a-vis things and stuff and junk– sure to all that but Dan still considered himself a young man on the rise! In his heart he expected more much more of the world and his role in it than for the whole trip to end right now. Of course none of this, not even a whiff was in the nose-mind of Dan, preoccupied as he was with the gem of terror he beheld below.

A lot of major muscle groups were activated at once, expending much blood-oxygen in the effort to keep the torso and hips nearer the wall left of Daniel and therefore, from a gravitational standpoint, “not falling”, or “safe”. His brainstem had already toggled Dan’s heart and breathing rates to the frequencies most facilitative to disaster scenarios, but as feeble as pages in a breeze the handrail peeled from the wall and for the second time tonight Dan was left holding the owner’s manual to a product no longer in existence. Without the support of the handrail he was forced to hug the top detached portion and cling wholebodidly, swivelling a few degrees in that direction because of the small amount of authority still held by the bottom, still-attached portion of the rail. Dan’s right hand finally abandoned its hunt for the other wall, and made hasty retreat across his chest to lend critical assistance to the main grip. At this point it was unclear whether it would arrive in time or if the rail would snap in half, leaving his avoirdupois to the ravages of open space.

The interlocutor or interlocutors waiting for him in the living room have by now detected that something–they or she or he or it cannot even guess at what yet–peculiar has happened on the other side of that wall and they are just as I’m saying it beginning to understand the area in question as the basement staircase. Funnily enough, had someone interviewed Daniel at this precise instant, that person–he or she or whats–would probably learn that Dan did not consider his current condition was accurately represented by the English verb “fall”. He would say more like he had temporarily misplaced control of his physics someplace back there. Also, at this point and other than a rumbled spinal column and some variously shaken fluids, Dan had not sustained injury. Even his pride was if not flawlessly unperturbed then certainly not irreparably damaged; anything that had happened thus far could be explained away if one were a cleverbot. And Dan had always been a cleverbot. Why just yesterday he enjoyed a deal on bagels and a coffee, and he didn’t even give them the coupon when he paid! Things and stuff like that were happening all the time and junk, and nobody saw it. Especially while he was at work actually working, Dan was making the small moves the ones too small and quick to be documented and thus bragged about–this was all according to plan. He forgets himself and the sparse reminders occurring naturally amidst the regular progression of his day served as refreshment and a buffer from self-depreciating thoughts. Yes full months have been redeemed on the count of one or two “slick moves”, as he might put it–the iced puddle he surfs across making him look and feel cool at school all those years ago; the “it” that separates him from the meagre ruck. He harboured the sense that this “it” could leave him at any moment, a result of punishment or old age or the collapse of the universe, in fact he was testing “it”, unaware, even now in these moments of crisis. Yes even this early in the game the tiniest node of him was asking in the most buried of voices: “How will Daniel handle this? How will he score in comparison with all the other humans ever to live?” And since the node was Daniel himself it assumed the jaded, cynical tone of the old critic, long accustomed as he was with the countless failures of DAN. Worse still, since Dan himself was also Dan himself he could hardly argue. The voice forever in a tone that presupposed flaw, stains without thickness but incredible weight and teeth to them, the pounds and edge of which increase faster than Dan’s body is able to manufacture scar tissue. The only way to even pause the cycle is to just keep winning–which explains this his latest and greatest streak stretching back to junior high (fucking junior high, bitches!). So as you can see it was a bad and a good thing this cynical node in the far-reaches of Dan. Good so long as you look at it from the more historical, universal position. In the present instance amid a collision of stairs the node was poison, a trap. Early fear-pains and the initial waves of adrenaline ensured it would be a complete nonfactor until well after the fact or nonfact of his, at the moment, pending craniocerebral trauma.

First Daniel’s right leg had to continue its mad plunge into the oxygen molecules hovering above and around the stairs, hardly accosted by what resistance had been garnered by the flimsy handrail; it was determined to take the rest of Dan’s body with it, and presently there was little he could do to contravene. The foot on the opposing side was instructed to resist in whatever way possible: it lowered its heel into the forthcoming ledge, where its socked surface was able somehow to snag the grooves in the plastic lining of the steps. This resulted in the locked heel jolting the progression of the fall, which had the desired effect of slowing Daniel’s descent, but the price he paid for this was way severe. Due to the angle of the stairs in conjunction with his locked leg and the rest of his body, Daniel was thrown forward, face-first and headlong into the great yawning maw of the stairwell. The only sound he made to commemorate this important transition was “hup”. No one in the living room could have heard it, but in the time it took Dan’s head–his face specifically–to surpass all other parts of himself in nearness to the basement floor, his auditory canals had scooped that pitiful sound byte from the air around him and deposited it back into his own hippocampus. This, after scanning, had deemed the available data ‘comical’, and had instructed the rest of his body to laugh at him, should he recover from whatever injuries he was almost certainly about to sustain.

At this juncture no imagination was necessary for Dan. Before his fully unfolded eyes stretched the longest most painful looking staircase he had ever encountered: the stuff and things of nightmares–although Daniel never remembers those. His own body dreads the determinations of Daniel’s amygdalae: to bypass its wrath the ruling powers have no qualms about cutting the main fuse and flooring Daniel with unconsciousness. It has happened many times before, usually in brightly lit areas populated by scores of persons, the eyes of whom happen to be perfectly trained on him.


took the harness off its hook and attached it to his dog, Pangwe, who offered no resistance, hardly moved to indicate a functioning circulatory system. But the moment his owner said cmon and pulled the cord, without comment or change in expression Pang followed him to the door.

Sticking his head out, Mlepnos observes the pulchritudinous atmosphere: takes a steep breath and slow lets it nostril out. Hissingly. Jangle of keys.

Melpnos hoists his hefty pet and places him gently on the driveway. Here Pangwe sits, unblinking. Mlepnos closes the door behind and locks it hastily. When he turns around Pangwe has his face submerged in a puddle barely big enough to fit. He is not struggling to breathe; the puddle remains completely unrippled. Mlepnos pulls his dog away with a sigh. Pangwe coughs once, droplets falling from the folds of his face. “Come with me my friend” Mlepnos pulls and the dog follows him down the driveway and across the street. As they walk, Pang looks neither to the left nor to the right, nor does he sniff the ground nor acknowledge in any way the presence of other animals. The slack is never increased. They stay on the righthand margins of the sidewalk and travel in exactly a straight line before the road begins to bend and theyve reached the park. Mlepnos leads him up the gravel path.

“And you thought it would be busy today” Mlepnos says, scanning the playground. He leads his dog to the nearest tree and stops. He puts his hands on his hips and leans back, producing an audible pop from his spine. He heard someone say his name and he turned to see across-the-street neighbor Susan and her two Pomeranians. “Oh hey!”,”Oh hey?” Their arms go out identical for a smiley hug. Mlepnos pats her back producing a small hollow sound from her lungs; when he feels her start to let go he does as well, but keeps his hands on her shoulders for a moment prior to detaching fully, and he admires her up close as though studying an old friend after years of absence. They both say how are you at the same time, and with the songlike duration held to it as is supposed to indicate feelings of friendship and warmth. “Im doing well thanks” says Mlepnos, laughing for both of them. “How can anyone complain with weather like this?” “Oh, I KNOW” says Susan. “As a matter of fact I was just telling my Ronald…”

“PANGWE!” Mlepnos shouts, startling an oh out of Susan. Pangwe had fashioned a noose out of the leash and the branches of the tree and was dangling from it. Mlepnos made a beeline thru the wet grass and flung himself into the branches. After a brief rustling he emerged carrying Pang, who was coughing hysterically. “Sorry about that” he said, breathing heavy. “You were saying?”

“See you then!” Mlepnos calls out, waving and smiling. He leads Pang over the hill and down to the jungle gym. They find a bench nearby and sit. The wind goes. Mlepnos has a coffee in his hand in his mind; Mlepnos holds up his coffee to his nose and smells. He smells the coffee.

On the far side of the field two kids float a frisbee and windy, far-away sounds between them. The lawn, freshly cut behaves as if water: treats its light as such. Ribbony the light. Mlepnos sips.


Yeah? Well Roflower has now has has now hass has a barand new R980GAUGE4P9WEJTIPP90LT53P9CTRFULLYAUTOMATIC machine gun! Whats that you say? Roloflower cant quite make ouBLAMBUHBUHBLAMBLAMAHAHAH- big holes in the wall! *WHIRRRRR*
Haha says rolflower, slumping into her bean bag chair. Yeah. Things are going to change around here starting right now. Rolflower is going to start running the show. Shes guna no She puts it down tired


Finally he let go and it was just her hand again when she looked at it, only turned around and in the shape of a fist. Unclenched, it revealed a single candy in a plastic wrapper; a shiny red ball. She took a long time looking at it, and at her reflection in it, the machine pushing her around. Tera pocketed the candy. When the machine stopped making noise, Mom came over and hoisted her out. Just a sec she said to the phone smushed to her ear. Taking Tera’s hand the two of them headed to Zellers “for candles and a card” Teras Mother was telling the phone. “And gummy bears” Tera added. They reach the jewelry kiosk and Mom pauses to look at a bracelet. She holds it under the magnifying glass, and Tera, turning slyly, takes the candy out of her pocket.

The plastic is difficult to open; the gumball inside takes up too much room and Tera is not strong enough to pull it apart. She is becoming upset. Luckily she has encountered this problem before. Instead of the candy she squeezes the air around it and the candy pops out. And Tera has encountered the gobstopper, so she knows not to clamp down. She had it sitting on her tongue in a closed mouth, where it produced little to no perceptible effect. It wasn’t even very sweet just a bland very very slightly sugared ball that Tera, impatient, rested molars on. Then Tera began to apply pressure, cracking the surface and plunging a tentative tip of an incisor to the cave of the candy. A very sweet spike of sugary juice shot up the root of the tooth directly into the mouth-brain and Tera, startled and delighted, put her whole effort into a serious chew. The moment the tasty inner goo came into contact with the imperceptible outer goo, the one by now lining all parts of the inscape of her mouth, a process began that wouldn’t be detected by Tera’s sensory organs until it couldn’t not be ever again.

Which was right about now. Teras Mom was wrapping up her purchases; Tera’s mouth contained all the components of 77X42, the brand new most sourest thing known to science at the time. Working eagerly she smears the creamy components over her tongue and ground and behind it, getting it all along the gumlines beyond the teeth where the saliva pools. Yes and her excited salivary glands are already pumping the heavy stuff in from all sides, and soon it’s just one big glow-in-the-dark soup of candyized weapon. So greedily did she take it all in the fumes generated by the reagent made her cough prompting an are you alright honey from her Mom.

But honey was not alright. As the foreign synthesis began to take effect, what was sweet and illicitly wonderful was getting bitier about it, toothier and more slicey. And loud suddenly! Tera shot out her limbs as if being yelled at. Suddenly and in the dark and by someone you thought was your friend. Tera was alarmed; she had not encountered candy that behaved this way. She stayed very still and waited for further developments. Suddenly her hands flew to her face.

She would tell Mommy everything! Mom would know what to do. She faced her mother with a posture she typically adopts when demanding, and this time when she goes to open her mouth to speak she cannot. The sourness of the candy has puckered her lips so tightly she can’t get them open. And the panic was a hard loud slap to the face. Her mouth hummed insane not only with sour but the kind of numbness you get at the dentists. She tried to spit out the lot of it but when she leaned over only a tiny dot dribbled out. She could feel it running down her chin so she wiped it, and the places where the chemical had touched her skin got cold and then itchy. “No, no, you can get those at Stacies’s for eighty five” Tera’s mother was saying. There was a pause before she let loose one of her whooping cacklelaughs. Tera stabbed fingertips into what she could make of the opening. “Awb!” hum-shouted Tera at her mother, who couldn’t even close to hear her. Tera made fists of her armends and hum-belted loud as she could, bringing even a painful rumble to the throat. Her mother looked at her. “Pretty soon we won’t be able to get a table at fucking–” she laughed, “exactly, exactly.”

Tera could feel the fierce tug of the sour yanking at even the facial strings under the cheekbones; it was the muscle exhaustion kind of ache, and an urgency like a full bladder. Plus it was the serious alarms ringing in the basement of the brain as to the general wrongness of whatever it was that was happening to her. Her body seemed to know it was as bad as she somehow suspected it would be. Fear like what only exists during the night was now allowed to run during the day? Tera ripped at her numb lips with her fingertips, but she was only able to claw the opening a tiny degree larger and to great suffering, tears pouring out the sides of her eyes.

Worse she had in a moment of distraction ceased pausing her gulp function. This equated to an immediate cough-spree that when it began seemed life threatening: Teras whole head swole from the panic sauce relocated there. She pulled and pulled thru her nose her mouth too sloshy with liquids to be of any use at all puckered so–but she never received the relief of subsumed air not even for a half second so she knew she was going to die. Baby whats the matter he mother said. Tera?

Tera wheezed powerful on the intake, not ready to go yet. Every pore in her body moistened gasping for air, a coat of sweat shiny as her terror to wear, and in her eyes enormous tears took whatever shape formed by the the gap between her lashes, so that she couldn’t see. Tera baby are you all right? I’ll call you back later Chloe, ok? Tera’s mother got down to her daughters level and put her hand on her back. There, there. Did you swallow something funny baby? Tera pointed her waterblind eyes at where she guessed her mom was. She scratched at her throat and stood up. She got up on her tip-toes. Mom she was trying to say. Mom help. Every longwinded wheeze garnered just enough oxygen to pay for the effort itself; Tera thought this could go on forever; she thought she would go crazy; she stamped her feet with all her strength and kept stamping them, though it hurt thru the soles. People in the store were quieting down to look. Honey calm down Teras mom was saying as she rubbed her daughters back and held her close. Just relax and it will come.

The chemical reaction, however, was just getting started. While the activated compound worked to desiccate and constrict the throat, the same mixture was warping sadistically concave the lipskin covering the teeth of Tera. Her fingers left her purple throat and went to the powdered white lips. It felt like her lips were being sucked down her throat, and she had no way to stop it or understand; she could think of no way to communicate with her mother how cruel and pointless the world was. Tera resigned herself for death but was forced by the brutality that is consciousness to continue to experience not-death, leaving her on her knees getting eyed very seriously by a bunch of strange shoes, her sharp little molars just beginning to poke thru the skin of her face