The silhouette bird spoke from the horizon. Pick up the gun. Drive the staples into your hand. You pretended not to hear. Not now. Not with the seven dwarves down in your grandpa’s basement. Chained to the toolbench fabricating stereo equipment. Their teeth falling out from all the heavy metals. No memory of being brought here after Snow White got married and moved to the coast.
The silhouette bird insisted. Cover your face with varnish. Lick the brushes. You pick the lock that holds them all together. They fall apart. You pick up their hands and eyeballs and stick them back on. You get confused figuring out which leathered foot is which. One of them tries to explain how he got here but all he can remember is the line grandpa gives you about commies and fairies taking over this great nation of ours, hanging out in washrooms and needing to be dealt with. You pat him on the head and adjust his nostrils.
You say. C’mon guys. I’m taking you out to dinner. You head up the stairs to the garage and your grandpa’s Lincoln Continental. Everyone’s asleep. You drugged the birthday cake with everything you could find in the medicine cabinet. The stuff grandma takes when she has her crying jags and sees her dead sister at the bottom of the stairs. The stuff grandpa takes because his heart doesn’t work right. The stuff Aunt Lisa bought to lose weight and never took. Mixed with lots of chocolate and coffee and rum. Everyone’s asleep or everyone’s dead or both. The dwarfs limp behind you. They smell of solder and machine oil.
The silhouette bird flies around panicked. You get all seven guys into the back seat. Adjust the seat and mirrors. Hit the button to open up the garage door. Wait for the guys to talk.
Only street lights lined along the sidewalk and catafalques behind them. American flags and basketball hoops nailed to houses. Nothing on the elm trees.
You look back at the guys. Their heads are down. Hands still in work gloves rest on their laps. They look as if they are still chained together. You light up a joint and pass it back to them. You ask Anybody up for pizza? You back the sedan which down the driveway and toward the strip mall. It handles like a hearse. The silhouette bird swoops and gabbles. Head for the wasteland. For the dead forests.
Robert F. Gross--loner, traveler, writer, director, performer, and avid reader of obscure tracts--currently lives in Rochester, NY. He's recently published pieces in Local Nomad, Birds We Piled Loosely, and Thirteen Mynah Birds.