An Understrapper With Eyesight.


From The Seven-Ups, 20th Century Fox, 1973

by Shane Jesse Christmass

Grasso came apart at his seams, driving his car out to Wards Island. At seams with lesions all over his body making him popped to confess something, anything. Swollen is his mind that’s diced. He doesn’t have taste anymore. Grasso was a messenger, nothing more, nothing less, all raw and primitive, yet immensely sophisticated. He looked like Tony Lo Bianco in The Seven-Ups. An understrapper with poor eyesight, all doused in flesh and skin. He pulled over to the sidewalk, got out, strutted his stuff, and then moved invisibly like he was going to steal everyone’s purses. Meanwhile on the other side of Manhatta, Darcelle Ward put lipstick on, a look of divine veneer, her face did shine. Golf clubs in her left hand, belting blood out of the paedophilic snore coming from her trick. She digs a mass grave out Morningside Heights way. Inside the public toilets at K-Mart, Shalie Sweetham was jerking off to the ankles jutting out from the opposite cubicles. He had a thing for the argyle pattern. Somali pirates walking through a winding way of cobblestoned lanes. Shylocks lending cold hard cash with no nameplates on their jackets. Grasso wearing leather underwear, knowing it’s the type of kink he deserves. The day’s cloned conscience and the horses from hansom cabs with their vocal chords drying inward. Keys of crack cocaine on the boil, underscoring the relationship between heat and motion. Grasso was lying under the couch. He’s looking for spare change. He’s never been seen without a soothing draught glass of beer. A Khmer woman keeps coming around these parts, walking like she has a crack in her loin. I faced her once, all turquoise and boysenberry, dried blood like that. I wasn’t sure why she was chilling my teeth, it was fantastic tasting. I turned the stove on and served them pancakes. Can you see them? I died on a Monday. Shalie Sweetham for all his disfigure was in love with himself. Sweet perfumes on his neck and shoulders, rotten children stepping back into the musty soot, in the doorway, to escape the sun that’s encapsulating, suffocating, shopfront after shopfront. Shalie chased his own arse and subsequently went around in circles. Graft money in the stormwater drain, the gutter, an image of the bucolic heart as a Galenic organ with two a dancer became dashed on a sloping dancefloor. Shalie is Saloth Sar; it was the first thing I noticed. Boll weevils and earthworms. Ford pills and pestilence.

“You don’t know much about it?” Shalie asked.

“I know the body.” Grasso sniggered.

As such, it was end of the seventeenth century, the anatomical knowledge of a foul bathroom. The shower spray had soaked the toilet roll, faeces water.

“Tell them about this place.”

“I don’t think I will.”

The automobile moved as fast as the Vatican changes, slowly, dead slow. Rain-soaked bags full of AIDS. Rounders drinking gummed-up grease, smelting in incinerators, waiting awhile in the sewer, helicopters circling beneath the speck of city. Think about that, circling beneath. Cycling through past worker’s cottages full of bovines and ten dollar an hour handguns for hire. Coffin. Funeral. Telepathic dream. Handgun under chin while sleeping, dream is swimming pool, dream. The sun squashes any feeling for extracting infinity slowly, extracting it from the yanked groove of the pedestrian dialect. Yeah, y’know. How’s you doing? Leni Riefenstahl attempting a musical remake of The Blue Light with L. Ron Hubbard. All stressful elements get legislated to be collected in houses, wheelchairs, contact lenses, diving pools, threesomes, by myself in a spidery room, buses, brass bands, despising addicts of delusion and franchises of disenchantment. Wars under trees overhanging armoured tanks firing at stone cottages. A new novella on The New York Times best sellers list, a novel about sex with gender binaries and third gender categories. Stocky woman with lite-blue Schutzstaffel top. Woollen overcoat, huge breasts, whose daughter is she? Similar looking switchback models from the 1960s, Sophia Loren-looking types all living on a houseboat. I’m inside. They chase me. Manhatton again. Obsessed about woman’s breasts. Rubbish collectors engorging the streets as they step out of alleyways with hatred, ending up drowning, giving out giggles that are nervous. Out on the Subway setting fire to the back tyres of a pram. Insurance salesman and a Senator-elect bemoaning again about having to stay up all night playing poker. Boo hoo. Electric fans holed up in a tiny hotel room creating a vortex which sucks all the oxygen from the enclosed and sealed hotel room, creating a partial vacuum inside. Ear drums popping while playing canasta against another guy in the casino. Croupier is wearing a short, black dress. I obviously lose, but am declared the winner; no one thinks anything odd about this, croupier finishes her shift. I hit on her. She has booked a suite. We run through the hotel. Electric fans using up oxygen in the lobby, creating fatal levels of carbon monoxide. The conversion of oxygen to carbon monoxide. The electric motor in the fan altering the chemical composition of the air. Motor using brushes and outgassing from other materials. Slight mistakes, wasting good shudders on incoherence. The croupier opens up the hotel suite. She is now wearing a suit coat up. Hotel suite is like a fishing shack. We disrobe, falling into the king-size bed, phone calls, police are onto us, we escape, hotel built on ocean. I dive into the ocean. I enter into the speck of the city by cocking up my collar on coat. I hunch up my neck and shoulders to shelter myself from the suckers and the sun.

About the Author:


Shane Jesse Christmass is the author of ‘Acid Shottas’ (The Ledatape Organisation. 2014) and LAN Party Skate Park (Peanut Gallery Press. 2014). He’s a member of the band Mattress Grave, and firmly believes that the future of the word, the novel, will be in synthetic telepathy…