†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Nap alm†††† Health†††† Spa:†††† Report†††† 2010

 

 

SARA KOHLER

 

 

missives from a nuclear reactor

#1: reactor jam

 

donít be alarmed captain but time is an element unstable too many neutrons swirling around a fluctuating core when time gets anywhere near me it explodes captain I am telling you this so you can prepare don your hazmat suit and toast to the apocalypse do this in memory of the world before this episode captain you canít miss the next one itíll be a cliffhanger get out the popcorn and throw it into the reactor settle in the reception is finally decent Iíve got antennae that extend to the edge of the universe fast forward through the commercials we donít need any more dish soap captain when we left off our heroine was standing on the edge of a ravine ready to jump you canít just leave her there can you

suddenly Iím tiny like in Gulliverís Travels Iím standing between two book ends theyíre coming together any closer Iíll be squished someone is trying to kill me captain I scrabble up the side of a book it falls open I slip into the pages and the narrative starts to unravel the letters dissolve and become black sludge slurping my ankles itís weird in here captain someoneís taken an eraser to my face if I canít see you am I still here I guess Iíve become a blank page

since you walked onto my set production has ground to a halt captain will you just sit here and watch me type itíll be good I promise something with Vikings space invaders Hawaiian belly dancers this isnít a porno I swear if I lick something it will be my lips sore from lying out in the sun vampires donít last long without chapstick captain you asked for a story donít be surprised when you get the story of my neurosis captain itís a gory world in here you have to be a swordfighter to survive and sometimes even then the sharks come out of the water

 

I take all my cues from alien abduction you get up to pee soon as you leave the room the story careens into a wall like a runaway shopping cart itís already too late captain you missed the boat when you come back the room is floating an effluvium of plot points and characters hovering in the air above your living room I am watching it all from behind the screen whoís directing this show anyway I would have chosen a desert set all this liquid is pruning my skin

 

captain my mentor once told me men are offended by the idea that male genitalia have become a metaphor for the war machine captain is this true are you offended I donít mean to be rude I study ancient history every Greek myth revolves around penetration for centuries people have waxed metaphorical about it what if they really were just sick in the head why donít scholars ever ask this question when theyíre expounding Iliadic themes

 

my mentor was a journalist once a very young man he wrote a review of an artist who took nude photographs of small children they were the paragon of taste he argued later he went into politics someone told him heíd never make it you canít defend edgy art and expect it not to bite you in the ass now he moves behind the scenes lurks in voting booths sings immigration songs in my opinion in that one small moment we all lost

 

the reactor makes ticking sounds when it wants to get your attention captain are you listening time is a vampire it never gets old it will suck the life out of you neutrons leech onto your body you canít shake them off they burrow through your skin and into your organs they light you up from the inside out you can see them onscreen moving around they alter your genetic makeup what are you becoming captain all the dials are spinning out of control itís the exorcist versus the abyss a celebrity deathmatch to end the world no matter how much eas in crucem is thrown the abyss swallows it all its throat is enormous captain I have a theory about black holes theyíre the answer to everything the secret to cheating time only a few people come close to getting it Grimm Aesop Seuss Stein thatís about it fairy tales are riddled with black holes at midnight Cinderella slipped into a black hole painted orange Rip Van Winkle was an electron he used quantum tunneling to get back to the universe Dorothy was a low mass star burning hydrogen on the main sequence until the spiral arm collided with the cosmological constant captain donít you see how serious this is

if a vampire bites the angel of death it becomes the unangel of life she is unpredictable the vampire cannot remain undead in her presence it reverses itself suddenly no more sucking it can only blow the red cross would have a field day with a reverse vampire no one would need to give blood ever again it would run in the streets like the river of milk and honey those prophets are always talking about captain have you ever met a prophet theyíre not fun to be around poets at least enjoy their visions prophets know better theyíre never happier than when theyíre telling you how the world is going to end itís never a happy ending captain do you like happy endings I donít think Iíve ever seen one letís change the channel find something steamier

I am in Home Depot weighing flower pots the smell of sawdust is irresistible once I stood on the bridge as a train passed under it was filled with pine shavings boxcars filled to the brim with sawdust all those trees shaved down to nubs where are they getting all those trees captain what would you say if I told you itís all a joke the reactorís a dud no juice some aliens left it here and ducked behind the asteroid belt snickering gosh thisíll be fun what do you suppose theyíll do oh you know try to blow each other up thatís what you always think well theyíve done it before why should this time be any different maybe they wonít maybe theyíll make jam donít be silly theyíll never drop berries into a nuclear reactor but thatís what we built it for yes itís true pancakes donít taste right without reactor jam but by the time they figure it out theyíll have evolved and weíll have to change the channel