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Issue number ten




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Belgium in Autumn by Jessalyn Wakefield

Harold was busy and could not be bothered. The trombonist in his living room kept him asking for a formula for time, but Harold was busy. There was a Peacock that needed watering; it was wilting, but Harold was busy. The letter "A" was screaming in the bathroom, but Harold was busy. Harold had been busy a very long time.

For thirty years or so, Harold had been sitting on a plate which was on his dining room table, carefully and methodically eating himself, bit by bit. He had found his toes much too crunchy, his legs too bitter. His genitalia reeked of hatred, akin to Gorgonzola cheese. His intestines were too greasy; they squished and squashed like an aunt named Mable used to in July. His stomach was far too sweet, his kidneys too sour. His liver was reminiscent of cold spaghetti, which he did not care for, and his spleen reminded him of rotten plastic. His bladder made him want to spew sand, perhaps, or day old fish, and the meat of his ribs was most forgettable.

But today, today he was to eat his heart. He had been waiting for this moment for so long. And so Harold was busy and could not be bothered.

Eating the organ did not cause him the ecstasy he was expecting. As he finished his aorta, he sighed and ran his dripping hands through his tightly curled black hair. "Children, children, donít tease the old man."

He placed both his palms on either side of his stark white rib cage (he had sucked it clean), and swung himself off the china plate and onto the floor. He pattered across the green linoleum, and his dragging bones scratched out a tune evocative of Mozartís 11th sonata. "Humbly bumbly, walnuts and ink, peanuts and mink," he bellowed.

From the living room the Peacock wheezed, "Oh, just a bit of brandy. Just some brandy." Harold laughed and screeched past, down a very long corridor. His song had switched to something by Vivaldi. He was busy, and he had a very long way to go.

After traveling down the corridor for two years, or maybe twenty, his hands began to bleed. He set himself down and howled. His translucent lungs heaved and trembled.

"Oh what a world, what a stardust scheme! Here things go from green to brown and back to blue again!" he bawled.

A door above him opened, and he pulled himself through.

It was a small and dark room, with a writing desk in one dark corner. A womanís head, suspended from the ceiling by two rabbits stupefied with opium, glowed a luminescent purple light. She hissed at Harold as he came through.

"Boy, you have yet to eat your lavender to-day," she screamed.

Harold ignored her. He was busy. A single sheet of paper, riddled with writing that might have been Corsican at some time, burned in the center of the desk. In the left hand corner floated a jar. This was where Harold kept his unborn son.

He carefully picked up the jar and cradled it in his hands. The blood from his palms stained the glass and trickled to the ground. The jar was cool, and it made Harold smile.

"Is that alright?" whispered the son. His voice sounded like an out of tune guitar. "Is that alright, if I go to Belgium in Autumn?"

Harold ground his teeth into a fine powder. "Ingrate!" he screamed, and threw the jar to the floor. The glass exploded, and the small body withered on the dark wood.

"Belgium in Autumn," he wheezed, as his toad-like body shriveled into despair.

Jessalyn Wakefield is a student in Northern California. She spends her time with her bass guitar and attending misdemeanor trials at the local courthouse. She is fond of mysterious graffiti and mysterious letters.

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