feat. Olivia Olivia, Robert Torres, Phoenix Singer, and bb
It wasn’t up to you, the bad things you did. You were fated by the stars.
Get together in a circle. Be good to each other. Hold hands. “You mean the sun and the moon to me,” say things like that. Each of you, write at the top of your paper something bad you did (we won’t shame you). Fold your bad thing so it’s dark matter. Pass the paper. Upon receiving paper (w/ hidden bad thing), write your astrological excuse:
Mercury in Retrograde
I dissolved your name in a cold bath
Because Chronos, god of time, ate his sons and rules my ruling planet, Saturn
I didn’t ask you to come to my birthday
Because Pisces was rotting in my house
I put my hands on many, many boys.
Because I was a Scorpio in the hot sun.
Because I’ve got my Mars in Libra and my Venus in eating ass
I fought in the trailer park with my wife and stepdad for having an affair with my mother-in-law
I knew the timelines were collapsing and the guardians would knock on my door
Because Planet X
Because Mercury is in my Libra
Because Jupiter made the shadow
Because we can’t keep dancing around the fact that the moon is in reggaeton
I sat quiet and still in the dark
You’re not so bad. And please tell us of your travels. Please tell us what you’ve learned. Come together in anti-gravity to form teams of two. Tell us, taking turns, what you found and did on these new planets.
The first thing we found on Venus was an infinite supply of pancakes.
They were silver-dollar pancakes, baked perfectly by oven-like heat.
But it wasn’t an oven which cooked them but a flesh-eating disease.
Yes, a pancake-cooking disease that could only be cured by one thing: more cowbell.
We launched 10,000 cowbells into the sun and now that disease calls Earth, “daddy,” in German.
“Hallo, Vater,” they 10,000-whisper. “I have come finally to understand vy you left.”
Upon disembarking on Io, the first thing we heard was the unaccountable sound of barking.
So we barked back.
They weren’t afraid of the noise we made.
Our noise pushed up against their noise.
The sounds crashed together, forming an impenetrable wall. We couldn’t shoot them. But they couldn’t encroach on our camp.
Our camp, in its perfection, became a diamond that rose into the air.
First we stuck our fingers in all the holes of Venus.
Of course, they melted, but grew back in multiples of three.
This is how the aliens were, like combs of bristling fingers.
What will we become?
Weavers, of course. As the aliens let us deeper into their subterranean homes, we saw miles of beautiful tapestries woven by armies of fingers.
Tapestries depicting fingers interweaving fingers, made of fingers.
The tapestries themselves were made of still-weaving fingers. They taught us to weave, to become the weaving weaving fingers.
Life on Earth was first discovered in 2035, and this is where we found it.
It was Saturn’s moon, Titan. And what we found was a cat-like creature without eyes or sympathy.
Here’s the spicy part though: each one was the size of a tardigrade and only visible under a microscope. But they were getting bigger…
One ate my ungrateful mother-in-law. But that was not the worst thing they did to me.
In fact, one could say it was the best thing they did to me.
Everything after that was a mistake, your honor.
Olivia Olivia’s writing has appeared in Salon, The Rumpus, The Establishment, Ex-Berliner, and the Portland Mercury, among other places. Her speculative memoir set in the afterlife, NO ONE REMEMBERED YOUR NAME BUT I WROTE IT DOWN, is available through Impossible Wings Press. Prepare yourselves. You can follow her work at OLIVIAWRITES.COM, on FACEBOOK, and on TWITTER.
Phoenix Singer is a writer and theorist based in Portland. Their writing has appeared on Queen Mobs and The Establishment, and they are currently editing a Gender Nihilist anthology. Submit your thoughts and manifestos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Torres is a local writer and actor. Their work explores the changeable nature of reality and the trouble of having a body whether you like it or not. They have been featured locally at Á Reading, Salon Skid Row, and elsewhere. They have appeared on stage with Monkey with a Hat on.
bb is a developmental editor, specializing in literary novels, YA and MG novels, realistic, science fiction, romance and fantasy. Their work is in Portland Review, Fiction Southwest, fog machine and SUSAN/The Journal. Their website is roberteversmann.com