Thursday, 3 May 2012

Tangible Thinking - Emmett Michael Joseph Howard

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Tangible Thinking

Emmett Michael Joseph Howard

Kambah, ACT

What the fuck just happened?

Two minutes ago I’m getting a professional massage, and now I’m freezing cold and it’s pitch black.

It is way too cold here.



O god, I’m flat.

How am I supposed to roly poly now? Okay, okay, get a grip. Let’s work this shit. It’s cold, pitch black, and somehow I’m flat. I’m in space. No wait, there’d be stars.

I got sucked into a black hole. That would explain everything. Wait no, I’d have been super compressed into dark matter …

… I feel too light and fluffy to be dark matter. Unless that’s what dark matter feels like? A hard outer shell with sweet, smooth chocolate on the inside.

Is that what I learnt about dark matter? Fuck, no that’s M&M’s. DAMMIT. I’m going to die. Ahh, no, I’m definitely not in a black hole, smells too much like over processed meat and stale pasta.

Everyone knows you can’t smell anything in a black hole.

I think.

Okay, time for some simple algebra. Why didn’t I think of this before? Alright, if X is where we are, then A is the coldness, B is my flatness and my being split apart, and C is that lingering combination of odour.

A black hole in Norway?

No this doesn’t feel Norwegian at all. We’re in a dark, smelly, corrosive hole. That just doesn’t sound right, think I forgot to carry the one.

Fuck maths.

WHOA. What’s that … I’m moving!

It’s like the great moon has reached down with his elegant crater face and plucked me from this eternal exile with his own hand. He’ll show me the light.

Any minute.

What’s that grunting?

What’s that ringing and cluttering? He’s trying to deafen me.

That’s not right.

What is that ignorant beeping? It’s penetrating right through my very core. I can feel it. Must be some sort of dark magic.

Buzzing, bumping, sizzling, slapping.

I’m in some sort of murder house. Oh no, I knew it. I’m in the hands of those dirty sleazy shouting wheezy bipeds.

All they do is ruin perfectly beautiful things like me. Once I saw one slice a tomato clean in half.


I can still smell the citrus juices seeping along the bench …

Fantastic! I’m not moving anymore. Still life. Suspended with nothing but home-made white noise to fill my ears.

I think I have ears.

So what do I do now? Wait. My brother’s clearly dead. He probably gave away my whereabouts. Those savage bastards would do anything to get their hands on me.


Darkness lifted to reveal this rainbow of stained yellow tiles and mould, plaster roof.

So much bacteria. Am I crying?

Now I’ve lost it—I’m crying about bacteria.

I need to get out of here. At least I can see, and I’m not half frozen.

-Hi friend.

Why, hello neighbour, why are you so thin?

-I don’t know, but this guy keeps patting me. I feel like a tame leopard.

I met a leopard once. Same day I learnt not to pull tails of those I just met.

-What’d it do?

Bit me.


Yeah was pretty rad. You’re really skinny. And greasy.

-I know it’s ’cause of this lad.

Reminds me of a joke. Blind elephant and a blind frog are walking in the jungle. They bump into each other. ‘Sorry!’ says the elephant. ‘Say, could you feel me and see what animal I am?’ The frog replies promptly, ‘Of course, I am also blind, so you can return the favour’. The frog feels around for a while. ‘Hmm’ he says. ‘Trunk, big ears rough skin, I think you’re an elephant.’ ‘Yippee!’ squeals the elephant. ‘I’ll do you now. Slimy skin, long legs, small penis. I think you’re a human.’

O dear. My dear friend seems to have died. So much blood. Maybe I said it wrong, I’m pretty sure it’s a human he thinks he is …

Either that or a Serbian, whatever that is …

Now what’s this guy doing. Look at him. Smug little asshole, shouting orders. Would be nearly bearable if he had a functioning voice box. Sounds like a trumpet in a tornado.

Look at that pimple in between his eyes. It’s so big it’s draining sweat away from his eyebrows.


Shit, don’t pop it now. You little weasel don’t you da-

It’s all over me! Sweet Jesus I’m going to suffocate this kid. As soon as I develop a nervous muscular and skeletal system, he’s gone.

Now what’s he doing.

NO, not the blood … wait that’s not blood.

Smells like chewed tomatoes mixed with oregano picked out of faeces … what is this torture?

It’s not too bad actually; it’s warming me up for one. I’ve got a feeling it’s not supposed to be this warm, but I’m not complaining.

I will control this place soon. They will all lick me a path to slide along. HA, they’ve already started acknowledging my prowess.


Must be the word for ‘king’ or ‘master’ in their spastic language. God those red wiggly things in those mouths are weird.

Like a bleeding leech …

How ironic.

And now, more praise. They are blessing me with more insulation. Small yellow chucks scattered across my being.

I must be their messiah.

Here we have it, my badges of glory and heroism. They must have heard how brave I was to pull that leopard’s tail. Such a proud majestic body.

Eight circles of their most pungent of meats. A ring of rings to encircle their faith in me. Couldn’t have done it better myself.

They need my guidance. Poor obsolete race, perhaps they’re just mis-understood.

Or stupid.

No they have to be somehow intelligent to have noticed me as their leader, even though it’s not hard.

Now with the emerald shards, glimmering on my palette from a flickering insect light.

That thing’s zapping too much for my liking.

And now the gold, beautiful! It’s about time too.

Soggy chucks scattered a top me. Why so wet? They must have just harvested it from a river. The lengths these people will go to please me.

It’s nearly sad ...

Strange fleshy slices. What could these symbolise? I bet it’s their own flesh. Yes, yes, that’s it. Pink, red, brown, throw it all down.


To polish off my royal uniform, pink and white robes draped elegantly all over me.

Confetti to cease the festivities.

Yes lift me higher, HIGHER.

Upon my platform I have been placed, so they may always look up to me.

Is it moving?

Very warm here.

Must be a coveted throne.

Ah my guard has been brought to me. Tell me garlic bread, is your armour uncomfortable? It’s wrapped very tight.

-Shut up.

Well I never. How dare you speak to your king in such a way!

-You’re not a king, you’re just a classic supreme. Idiot, we’re both about to die.

I know not what this ‘classic’ word means, but I am supreme, I am these creatures’ messiah. A being so superior as me can never be killed.

-No supreme is just the combination of foods on top of you. Without it you’d just be dough, like I’d just be bread without the garlic. We’re being prepared to be eaten.



Could it be true? The temperature is rising, rapidly. My precious fluids are fleeing my soul. Look at them rise to my surface.

They betrayed me. Those deceitful, manipulative pigs.

Can’t believe I trusted them. I’m better than that.

I can still escape this. I wish that muscular system would evolve on me already.

Will they eat me or just burn me to death? They couldn’t waste such a glorious specimen like me!

I’ve got it! If I can make myself as disgusting as possible they won’t eat me. Think  repulsive thoughts.

Faeces, mould, dirty places. Sweat, mud, greasy faces. Spilt blood, murky flood.

I must be absolutely sickening right now. Maybe even more than you garlic.

You smell weird.

HAH! Quick rub yourself on me, maybe this will get us both out of this.

-No, I believe in reincarnation. I’m coming back as an eagle.

More like a slug ...


Nothing, that’s good for you, but a life as valuable as mine should not be wasted.

The light we came from is closing. The next one is opening. Fast.

Stick a fork in me—I’m done. There’s no denying it, I smell delicious. My sweet juices are simmering and soaking into each ingredient. Oily, savoury and sweet. Spicy and crunchy. God, I’d eat myself right now if I could.

Can I do that?

Some tribes do it. Maybe garlic bread does it. Better not ask—he seems a bit shaky.

My juices seem salty. I didn’t even think I had sweat glands. It’s way too hot in here. I’m turning such a delicious brown.

Fantastic! I find out this beautiful feature of my body and I don’t even get to use it. What a day.

The light’s growing brighter; I guess this is inevitable. Wonder what it’s like on the other side? I might get to meet Buddy Holly.

I can see his eyes. He’s sweating too, beads dangling off his pointed nose.

Nearly like a river from his brow, these creatures get more and more revolting.

The river was drawing closer. I could hear emerging condensation. Flowing, glimmering. To think this might be the last thing I ever see.

He’s waiting for me.



I’m the last one. The Pièce de résistance. Their final sacrifice. Filthy murderers they are. I wonder if he’ll eat me himself.

Maybe they’ll take me to their leader for him to feast on my splendour. Seems fitting.

Feed their king with another king.

Light flows all over me now. My wet surface reflecting the insect light even stronger than before.

His clamp draws closer. Too hot for your little pansy hands?

He surges me towards him, pausing briefly to scan my perfection.

Whoa! Flipped off my greasy platform with his flat implement, he slaps me down to an absorbent brown bed.

Free. Since I woke up this is the first time I’ve been free, and I’m about to die.

Why is he smiling? Oh, God. Here it comes, his curved blade. Must be mandatory to use such a strange weapon in a sacrifice as significant as this.

Crunching, tearing, squishing, glaring.

It’s the end. I’m dead. Wait, why’s he in heaven with me?

 That’s not right, how dare he invade my sanctuary.

Wait who’s that next to me … I’ve got a twin! And another one!

He wasn’t killing me, he was re-populating my kind!

What a wonderful turn of events! I’ve been spruced up, divided into eight more of me, and that pessimistic garlic bread’s probably been eaten now. He never believed in me.

What should I do with my new friends …?

-We could play Scrabble.

No too tedious.

-It’s getting darker.

O no not again, darkness draws closer …

Caged yet again. At least I have company.

Jostling and bumping. Being thrown around this box is less appealing than first thought. Where are they taking us? Was I split up to feed to eight kings?

I’m starting to doubt this thing’s intentions again.

He’s too shifty.

We’re stopping. Me and my brothers are thrown against the now also greasy wall.

Gravity is released once more. The creature’s grip manhandles us, guiding us to our fate.

Step, step, step. Bump, bump, bump.

More ringing. Why do they constantly use that ignorant tone?

Grunting and hissing. Wasn’t clear over the noise at our last location but this is obviously their language.

So primitive.

Flung against the box one more time, perhaps they traded us for valuables.

-Maybe we’re extremely valuable resources.

--Or we’re being transported to a utopia.

---Have you thought that we could be models off to be photographed and we can’t stay in the light because it would damage our delicate bodies?

I’m clearly the only rational one.

Light explodes onto us, revealing four excited faces. Gleaming at our presence, and so they should.

One reaches out. NO! Not number six!

Actually I didn’t like him anyway. Too arrogant.

Four and seven were next. Ripped from our grips ruthlessly like gum from a shoe.

It was just a matter of time.

Gnashing, gnarling, shredding, snarling.

Animals they are. Merciless in digesting my siblings.

Especially the little one who took two, ripped him up before it ate him. Sick, sick beings.

Eight clung tight to the box but was too weak for them, and was manhandled into the fat one’s mouth. His guts sticking to the sides of that beast’s opening. I think I’m going to be sick.

Five and three were the last ones left. Five trembling.

Five, stop it, don’t draw attention to yourself.

Too late.

Three and me.

I somehow knew it’d be us two left; we were always the strong ones. He was least good looking, too. I’d say I was in that category too but let’s not be ridiculous.

I’d tell you that I love you and that I’ll see you on the other side, but I really don’t feel we’ve become that close. Maybe you could try to get eaten first to fill them up and spare me?

It could have been a plea for help, or it could have been a profanity that seeped from him as three was thrust away me.

It really won’t be the same without him.

This is it. The final frontier. All four of them glaring down at mine. As if they’re better than me, deciding on which way to end my life. One looks to the other. Muttering obscure noises.

End me now! Stop the suffering.

I begin to feel cold.

One pokes me. Another leans closer for a sniff. They’re toying with me, the sadistic freaks.

A yawn roars. Cloth wipes my own life blood from their faces.

Hey, where’s the fat one going?

And the little one too, are they going to desert me here?

This lifting is finally getting to me. Where could they possibly be taking me? This was an ideal place to be eaten.

Am I not pretty enough?

A clang sounds. How can they live with such a nauseating smell …?

It’s like decaying fruit mixed with singed plastic.

I’ve smelt this before, on the way out of the cool room. I’ve seen them throwing dirty things into that giant bucket. No. NO. They’re discarding me!

After all I’ve been through, the preparation I undertook to please them. They just throw me to the streets like common McDonald’s leftovers.

Gravity strikes again. I fall.

Slow motion takes over as everything becomes a vivid blur.

Soft landing. Clang. Darkness. Silence.

Fate has brought me here at last. My eternal resting place. Rock bottom.

The king has fallen. He will not be eaten today …

Emmett Michael Joseph Howard
Kambah, ACT

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