1: The Swing Bridge
Laura Danly imagines the right angles between the open swing bridge and the landing on which she stands are the rungs on a melting ladder out of time, in direct contrast to the very solid metal rail she followed to this terminus, the long track of her own private entropy. She watches Frederick Townsend Ward walking back and forth through the watch house, contrasting the irregular shadows across the mercenary’s scarred jaw with the pleasing symmetry of the rusting diagonal trusses. Painfully clearing his throat, Ward brings up one last gout of blood from the abdominal wound that had killed him over a century ago. He waves at the silent woman below, recognizing her as an absolute value in the only remaining vector space where he had any chance of retaining a semblance of meaning.
2: The Demolished Pool
Stretching across the broken rubble of the demolished pool, Alex Fillipenko assumed the various postures of Elizabeth Ann Short’s bisected corpse, memorializing dreams of the serial mutilations he intended to commit and the vaguely lurid expectation of retribution her descendants might one day visit on his dissolving corpse. The jagged piece of #6 rebar poking his exposed right thigh reminds Fillipenko that a recent survey showed housewives age 31-40 slightly prefer images of smaller plus-sized males to those of compound transverse fractures with impact.
3: The Unassembled Sink
Michelle Thaller bitterly resents the billions of dollars wasted on the search for intelligent life in the universe. She knows for a fact the only hint of organized thought beyond Earth exists on an uninhabited planetoid orbiting an outer star in NGC6705, the Wild Duck Cluster. On warm summer evenings when Nambu-Goto activity is particularly unstable, NS-branes match the resonant frequency of the calcarine fissure in the unfortunate woman’s left occipital lobe, and she sees this badly decorated bedroom with an unassembled sink, the solitary feature on that very distant planet. Her study of Messier objects has revealed this star can be no older than 210 million years, and therefore the room’s existence is the result of a completely random collision of molecules rather than any bio-evolutionary process, so she feels deeply cheated. She could really use a chunk of all those billions of dollars. And why was the only extraterrestrial room decorated with such hideous wallpaper? To make the vision of the sink and the bedroom disappear, Dr. Thaller will have to eat at least a pound of red velvet cake in the next 24 hours.
4: The Twilight Platform
The sienna substructure of the platform ceiling reminds Neil DeGrasse Tyson of the infinite manifold of Mina Loy’s thorax– the perfectly aligned and powerful ribs, cross-bracings of intercostal meat waiting to be wrenched apart, bolt-heads of vertebral anchorage. The objectification of the dead poet’s body in the topography of the station gradually destroys her identity. How far down the twilight platform must Tyson walk before he can locate the vorticized pelvic girdle? Undisturbed by the wrestler’s crude explorations, Mina cries out to him in her only remaining voice. After a few minutes, however, her plea becomes a garish intrusion into the indigo silence, and Tyson turns away, his thoughts now curling around a recent Carneros Pinot Noir.
5: The Violated Bidet
Amy Mainzer winces at the bombed-out restroom with its shattered porcelain. Quantum entanglements are no longer valid here. Even the violated bidet, the symbol of hidden renewal and possibility, is reduced to a non-linear sigma model. These fixtures are the corpses of a remembered moment in the victim’s excretory history. Mainzer decides the most disquieting attributes are the dichotomous displays of Roman tile and the sea beyond. The disjunction of these two features through the years, and their infiltration of her own continuity, has twisted them into inflexible constructs upon which she will mount the severed head and limbs of her doorman.
6: The Green Machine
For the last three months, the local cable feed had been jammed with videos of the New Mexico Penitentiary Riot reenactments, many of which featured the use of incendiary devices and specially trained camelids. Michio Kaku professed a complete lack of surprise when the source of these appalling films turned out to be a green machine hidden in the basement of Saint Michael’s Church, a few miles outside of Cornettsville, Indiana. What Kaku could not predict, however, was that follow-up studies clearly demonstrated that phony atrocity media had a profoundly positive effect on the verbal and social skills of stroke victims previously identified as persistently vegetative. One of his next door neighbors has gone so far as to buy a blowtorch and a herd of alpacas.
7: The Unappetizing Bear
The oven door drops open, and Owl looks in. “Hallo, Pooh,” he coughs. “How’s tricks?”
“Terrible and sad,” Pooh bubbles, “because I’m not much good at my work, I’ve never had a girlfriend, or a friend of any kind, I’ve got very little imagination, nothing makes me laugh. I’m fat, poor, and balding. I’ve got a terribly spotty face, violent flatulence, B.O., Piglet breath, an amputated package, and I’m actually only eighteen inches tall. Hardly a meal for one, bearly an appetizer. I’ve gone quite mad in this oven, what with my brain cooked down to a blackened lump of honey. Fair enough?” “Mmm.” says Owl, licking his beak. “Brains.”