By: Gentle Culpepper
Rotting flesh on a stick
The cool winds flow from the valleys of the dead. The foul souls surfing nervous seas stuffed with hate caress fat cheeks of the chunky man riding the devil’s wheels. The morning air reeks of dust dying in the chaos. Here in the endless fracas ancients rot on a stick. Harry mourns the death of old flies begging for redemption.
The tyrant is coming. He steals his lunch break from broken smiles. The motorcycle roars through love hungry streets of south Los Angeles, the graveyard of black talent. A secret factory, a building made of low wages and pity lies in the background. The Broken King Is Coming! On a Harley
Harry, the predator, embalmer of the dispossessed, rides the night. He has 45 minutes to inflict pain on the pointless existence of those governed by the world’s grim smile. Abuse abides in the filthy alleys that house unclaimed buildings and
Harry is the imp that haunts the naked gutters looking for lost meat. The man is immortal till the sun rises.
The stop sign, silent, hideous in its attempts to halt the bleeding, glares at harry. The truck lift driver is angered by the insistence of the red and white signs command that he delay his mission of futile vengeance. His lips breathe with bulging blisters; he is ready to feed.
Evil spirits run free digesting misery spawned from a weeping universe. God’s children hanging on tired dry bones hide in cracks born of waste, smog, chaos. Mothers, fathers, aunts, pets, crawl through sewers filled with shame. Bold scents of crack, cheap wine, broken hearts float through silent mansions among the great cosmos. People that have been labeled as useless speak the lie with moist eyes. Elsie was lying in wait for the next hit sired by the devil’s drug. The burning flesh bakes the adored ones destroyed by a small flame from a cheap lighter. The heirs of African flesh are decimated by the perils of evil fruits. The night cloaked the infected. They huddled in the shadows of silent curses, old shoes, thin trees that glared at the early morning darkness. Filthy cats roamed the night searching for fat rats that stood their ground on dry land. Made by God; the Lost ones opened the portal to the lake of fire. They could not be trusted.
The night was bloated with summer heat. Police cruisers, shielding quiet sins resting under a cloudless sky, glide through patches of stillness, earning their keep. It was the night of the smooth, silent evil that southeast Los Angeles was famous for. Harry knew it was Christmas time. He was compelled to feed his demon. Harry, the warehouse worker, scoured the streets dressed in blood red eyes. The monster on the steel horse searched the broken concrete for hungry prey. He was a working man. Elsie, the frigid Goddess of doom, ran into an alley. She scanned the streets with her skeletal frame. The thin mistress clad in a wrinkled dress that had seen better days, caught Harry’s eyes. Elsie dropped into frigid fear. She froze while running. Harry followed. There were no cops. The officers had parked in a dead alley to eat donuts and drink black coffee The evil roar of a cycle gone mad caught up to the terrified addict almost pinning her against a tired scared wall that once housed a black owned spice factory.”Leave me alone Harry, I’m sick.”
“Elsie my dear I love your hair. It’s full of weeds’’ Please allow me to punish you.”
Harry spoke in a soft growl, like a dog infested with a foul rash. “Elsie you know I bleed pain.” The bike, the one a rude demon rode out of the sacred sky eons ago, had Elsie trapped against the wall. .” Leave me alone Harry. I’m sick”.” You stink of filth Harry. You hurt me alla time. Go away die”.” ‘I want my blanket.”
“Elsie, you are the evil mistress. You infect me with your lost dreams. You have soiled the fabric of America’s fantasies and have pissed off your children. They cry out loud in the night for your presence. Here you are Elsie, the queen of crack. You must pay for your sins.” Footsteps of skeletal passions run for cover. Crack soldiers run; hide fearful of their own hideous nature. It is early morning, 330a.m. Night people survive on a diet of a little carved up rock. Crack is the breakfast of champions. In these plastic times we see a drug dealer selling crack to his 15 year old cousin.
Somewhere in the peepholes of a broken culture; sits the old Caucasian man encased in a snow white lab coat. He is timeless, immortal. He has invested millions of years dreaming of chemicals to intoxicate humanity. Old Man, known as el Viejo to his special clients has been extremely successful in his efforts to induce anarchy, poverty, murder, mayhem among the tribes and nations submerged in ego centric chaos.
Although his concoctions are pervasive, his existence is always called into question. His successes STRETCH across cultures, eras, injecting misery, false pleasure into bleeding hearts. The dark existence of his being is silent. His words, thoughts can he heard beyond the stars. They bounce off of comets, distant planets. He simmers in perpetual annoyance. His mouth is dry, bereft of kindness. The ancient sits in his lab; humming aged gospel tunes. The suffering, misery he has caused rest in his thick beard. The archaic one searches the world for nests that housed Gods precious inventions. In times of unrest and unprovoked displeasure he would leave his planet sized lab to roam the world in search of those sheep lacking belief in the existence of the prince of peace. Souls enriched with sadness flowed from life’s bottomless sewer. He would whisper a thought into the ears of the lonely, the unloved. The bold man, older than daylight showed them the path, the path that led to a cold grave. He would tell them “There is relief child I can help”
During a lull in the vortex of timely issues, the elderly figure encourages valiant inebriation as a means to battle tragedies, disasters. Sweet death lays wasted on hard asphalt made from tears wrapped in blood.
A homeless doctor, with an aggressive rash on his hips, stalks his memoirs of past glories. Skeletons roam the alley ways dreaming of vain losses; still gasping for air they can’t afford. Housewives leave their children to melt in a filthy hotel room while they bend the streets looking for the drug to fill that thin, grimy glass pipe. A pointless dream floats through the air inspiring naked sanity.
The old man, older than rain chuckles to himself. His death is never. His hands are smooth as silk. He never eats. El Viejo tastes morsels of death every now and then. Wild cats, full of lice, roll around in the fog begging for attention. The trolls arrive just in time to devour them.
Harry lounged on his machine. He had crack cocaine. The monster in the wrinkled thrift store leather jacket ignored the dark men exhausted from a day of begging, drinking, and lying. Elsie started missing work; smoking, lying to get by. Harry searched for the woman. His yellow teeth grinned under the blinking street light. His prey cowered behind a rusty oil can. Her smooth skin beamed in the early morning darkness. It was 3.am. Sunrise was four hours away.
She knew Harry the Motorcycle man- had drugs-for her. It was lunchtime. The pair would dine on a diet of crack, cheap wine and slight bits of torture. She had been a school teacher, a good one. Rise at six; at her desk at seven. Elsie owned a nice car, two kids; and a husband named Phil. Her children and hard working husband disappeared in a cloud of toxic smoke. The small teacher went to a party, inhaled from a glass pipe. She took one hit and was hooked. The small pipe with little stone invited her to live on the streets. She accepted. She was five feet two 120 pounds. Her eyes blinked under the moon‘s crystal silence. She walked into the black city without shoes. Her mind was a jungle. “”Come here Elsie”. The motorcycle man had drugs for her, only her. No Harry. You hurt me you always hurt me” “Well, you know I always hurt you Elsie, always. “ Look I have a present for you; just for you”. Harry grabbed Elsie’s arm. He jerked it with an evil smile. Don’t do that Harry. You gave me all these bruises. She paused, looked into Harry’s coal red eyes, returned the smile. “Where is my present?”You can’t hurt me anymore . I’ve got friends, nice ones too.” “I know you have Elsie. Nice, dirty little crack addicts like you huh”? Oh, you haven’t been well Elsie have you. Lonely? I’ve got something that will fix you, uh, us up fine.” Stand still. “No Harry I want my blanket. Harry’s face evolved into a wall of sweat mixed with grains of sand. Elsie stood Five feet tall 120 pounds. She lived in a maze of streets smeared with feces. She left her home, husband and a safe life to walk bare foot in the black city. The jungle caressed her rounded thighs
“Come here Elsie. “ No Harry, you’’ hurt me.” “I always hurt you Elsie. You know that. Here I have a present for you.”Come here” Harry’s voice was sated with venom. But it didn’t shake Elsie
“Don’t pull on my arm like that Harry. You always leave bruises.” She paused, stared. “Where is my present?” “Where is my blanket?
Harry’s twisted mind slowly pulled a small wad of toilet paper out of his pocket. ‘
“You can’t hurt me this time. I’ve got friends”
“Oh, sick with loneliness.” I have something that will heal you”
“Come here, like I told you”
“. It gets cold sometimes” “I want my blanket. “It’s blue.”
Harry’s face evolved into a wall of salt. Time was running out. He had to return to work soon.”Sweet lady spawned from rotten air, polluted sea. Come be with me. “ Let’s go under the street lights so we can see better.”
“No, the cops will see us. They are dirt like you. They are night cops. They hurt me, like you do. They beat up my friends. They steal my words. The cops, dressed in black, take weed from my friends, MY PEOPLE. We feast fodder boiled in a pot. The streets are nothing to the ‘protect and serve’ gang. What do I mean to you harry?”
Harry’s face burned with rage. “You are my pet Elsie; my dirty little pet. “ He grabbed her by a skinny arm, squeezed it. She spit in his face.
The wind grew mean, arrogant; it pulled its two victims into the eye of stagnant emotion and lukewarm vengeance. They had nowhere to go. Pain was the loving father, a comfort to the damned duo. The clock ran to 3 a.m. Harry will return to his cotton fields soon. Ruins in the dark kissed the lips of a desolate town filled with plastic dolls. The hole in their spirits won’t be couldn’t be filled.
Harry’s smile revealed a cancer. Elsie shivered in the warm silent air. The small ex teacher hated Harry, the demon on the bike, he kept drugs. That was how he controlled her, trained her like a monkey. It was time for lunch. She sucked on a glass pipe at a teacher’s party one Friday on the eighth of August. Little girl was hooked.
“Candy lady; I’ve got your sugar. I’ve got your sugar. You want your sugar don’t you? “
Elsie, the chocolate queen, was Harry’s favorite. Elsie sometimes slept outside his raggedy door. He was impressed with her college education. He frowned at women who appeared to be morons. Harry, the moron King, fancied himself a step above the warm bloodied minions that swarmed into gigantic malls on Saturday dragging their their noisy children with them. He loved the night. He thought the darkness hid his evil, it didn’t. A man’s actions are known throughout the cosmos. Each one of us is on stage in full view of the master. It hurts. The silent horror that the living endure crush the shouts and yells of a ghost lost in time. You can’t hurt me anymore Harry. “I died in the past. Elsie feared the guilt she kept hidden in her stomach. You can’t hurt me anymore. The bike purred, the skies burned. The rats ran through moldy garbage armed with razor teeth and second hand shoes
. A trace of desperation slipped into Harry’s demands. Time was running out.” Yes I will, I must hurt you princess But to make things right I bought you a present. Here look into into the magic hand, just peek.” “I can’t you pulled my arm to hard last time. I have a bruise see? You can’t hurt me no more. You have killed the emptiness. I feel nothing. I live in pieces.” “Yes i know my little desert bandit I can make it hurt worse you know that. Your pieces shall end up in very small pieces. Stand tall my little pan flower.” He smiled; bit her finger like the homeless pit bull facing starvation. He had rugged dog teeth. Elsie’s yell could be heard in Vegas, a six hour drive by normal standards. She backed away with bare ashy feet “Well look here Elsie” He laughed with joy stolen from a willful child. “Harry the black thief will heal you. He will make everything right. I can heal. I will heal you come here closer. Don’t be afraid; come here to.” “I want my blanket Harry.” “Girl; I don’t know where that filthy bug infested thing is. I’ll get you another one.”
Sweat from polluted car seats cover Harry’s face in shallow tears of fatigue. The face injected with factory fumes, car and truck smoke. Rotten fast-food killed the man with the cane. An entire city felt shame. Harry’ broken smile smile revealed the curse.
Harry hit Elsie’s buttocks with his hard calloused hands. The small woman who had lost her children let out a slight whimper. She knew the streets, loved the streets more than her nice paying job. .She walked out of class one cloudy day. Elsie was free to drink stale water from the river that sired pointless hopes. Her heart rested on the scabs of the civilized.
Harry filled the pipe with the precious rock, lit it and shoved into the waiting mouth of she who had no vision. Her home washed away in the arm of random thoughts. The ex teacher came home one day to find that her husband had escaped the dire life she had given him. a. He left the kids with her mother. He moved in with a woman with extensions, pretty, two wild kids. His new love did not smoke crack. “Don’t smoke that s—t she’d say with a thick wad of chewing gum chained to her mouth. Eddie tortured, beat pretty Elsie every Friday night. She didn’t mind. She thought he loved her. Everyone beat on Elsie. She sold her humanity to a wino named Eddie. Eddie ran when he heard Harry’s engine. Harry’s grinding teeth felt the breeze on this haunted night. Elsie’s front teeth missing she refused to smile. She languished in a groan of defeat. Elsie the lady leaned up against that tired old building filled with nameless deeds from the past.
The old man; older than time, sat in his soft chair, made from the skins of the vanquished. His dry lips whispered an old song that only he remembers. Old blood, thousands of years old, gushed from his hands from time to time. The Old man kissed the silent obscenity that soaked into the drugs he created. The creator of the big no, the mega uh uh; He was ejected from the first Eden. The God Lord of forever stood tall among the cosmos praising his angels and earthly children alike. The old man burned with a vengeance that encircled God’s planet. His love of death killed nations. His flashing eyes provoked the madness of addicts bloated with heroin. A young ex teacher named Elsie lays dazed in an alley. Her legs buried in soup composed of smoke from a silly contraption, called the crack pipe. Pretty Baby awakens, walks down the alley way. Gnats exit from both ears. She was full complete, unwashed. A smile kept her mind in a sack filled with holes. Her arm hurt but the pain was a blessing. It told her she was alive She didn’t look back at the black sinner with the uncombed hair. His unborn affections for physical objects were permanently stunted. She would maneuver her worn body into a hot dog with mustard and pickles.
The whistle blew. He rode back to the job that nurtured his lewdness: a giant creek of sadness rested on his heaving breast