The Fractal Rangers: Princess Pop’s Predicament

Princess Pop descended from the lights, a flaming nude angel. Halogen green panties, its elastic snapped by an expert military slingshottist, rocketed from the stage to snugly wrap against her pubis and tuck around her hips. Sparks sprayed from stage rear, sending arrows of multi-hued bottle rockets pinwheeling.

Princess Pop favored her fans with a chiclet grin as electronic spiders crawled on her torso, rapidly knitting a horizontally striped purple and black tube top. The spiders, bidding adieu, flung themselves outward, their spinnerets weaving a night black cobweb skirt, and exploded retina-etching flashbangs of poptronica emoticons in a crackling arc to dust.

Princess Pop waved her arms and ghost limbs, phosphorescent blue, slurped along kaliesque trajectories. Riot red fingerless dukes fell from the psychedelic koi trawling heavens of the riven warehouse ceiling and spun onto her punching, twirling fists.

“Hey!”

Pop’s first word resounded, a fell wave, a tsunami of sound flattening the salivating horde and extinguishing the sea of lighters already, before the show even started, clamoring for an encore! Android cherubim wafted like demented bumblebees, their tiny clicking fingers draping upwards her legs sheer purple knee-high leggings.

Princess Pop alighted, finally, onto the polished stainless steel floor, her delicate feet slipping into steel-toed jackboots like a sigh. The audience, prone, rose like grass under a footprint, their moan of anticipation a sexy stench washing over her mohawk.

“Hey!” Princess Pop began again, rising on a blast of thunder, the sweet acoustics sending the first chords of the instant classic Power Pop steamrolling. A transparent bubblegum pink raincoat flanked by the cherubim floated out of the constant pyrotechnics and draped itself onto Pop’s outstretched form. Her boots slapped on cold steel and the multi-billion dollar musics systems took it up a notch.

Pop’s lips as pink as her coat plucked and plicked over whitewash teeth, deepthroating the words that made her a goddess. She sang of punk princesses in kingdoms of garbage and intravenous needles, of the madness of FTL travel outside cold sleep, in the quaintly distilled jargon of the times. She sang: The Ballad of Shandy Peaches the Intergalatic Punk Pirate, Holograms Can’t Love, The Beep Be-bop, Pop and Her Pussy (the clean version), and the honey lava drawl of Tarpit Tangos.

Princess Pop was in the middle of Space War Brutes when she felt a familiar presence crackle through her thoughts. It was Perfesser Prof! He was saying, “…need to be careful, Pop. It’s the big one and as you know, the most likely moment…” Indeed it was, her crescendo was coming up after a couple more songs, that big finale without a fucking denouement, like a body rolling in the midst of an orgasm with the flow abruptly unstoppered. Lights out. Her fans would be pissed, and they would love her for it.

Pop first came to this corner of reality in torn fishnet stockings and a tattered pullover dress. The Prof had outfitted her throat and diaphragm with the abilities of meta-historical she-crooners, and she had charmed her way to the top of the billboard in two years. What her fans  didn’t know, she was deep undercover, and her subsequent disappearance would be as a much a mystery as her appearance.

Pop, as she sang, recounted the cat and mouse game that was her life. A real princess, as real as anything in reality could be, her youth was the smell of hyacinths, the murmurs of wet nurses, and the joyful frolick of her and her twin sister. They lay in the womb, mirror images, and grew up, their violet eyes and peroxide blond hair mirror images. One side of the mirror was Pop and the other was Pip.

Nobody knew what happened. Some said it was the nature of twins, for one to go bad. Pop was no princess (heh heh) but she was a good girl in most respects. Pip broke the mold they both were cast in and escaped north; the kingdom was razed with her pack of slavering wolfmen and the resurrected dead. Princess Pop never had time to mourn. Well versed in the multi-martial-arts of a hundred cultures, she, with a small band of heroes, fought until she was the last one standing.

She owed it all to Perfesser Prof and The Fractal Rangers. He appeared in his fractal foaming craft, like a wild rocket blurring out of nowhere, leaking eddies of  multiverses, his van winkle beard twisting in the entropic currents, his wizened hands waving come on oh, Pop! come on! She got on and never looked back.

Pip, on the other hand, used dark arts and violent technologies that rendered her planet barely habitable to catapault herself into the metaflow of realities. She pursued Pop across dry tales, sent pirates after her in high seas blockbusters, was the dame from hell in noir hardbacks, played the cold-hearted bitch lawyer in massive litigation dramas, was a constant thorn in the meta-metaphoric heel of the Fractal Rangers, all the while laying waste to the worlds within the multitude of multitudes.

So this concert, this artificial narrative was a last ditch effort of the Fractal Rangers to bait and permanently remove Princess Pip from the equation. Quarter through the final song, The Shards of God, Pop spotted a wraith detach itself from a speaker and swoop towards her. Perfesser Prof triggered a curtain of firebrands at stage front, obscuring the twins from the audience. But they didn’t mind, as long as Pop sang. Prof had put on a recording. Pop faced off her sister.

The mirror was broken. The reflected did not reflect the reflectee. They stared at each other and smelled hyacinths from the recesses of memory. Princess Pip was a toothless crone, the horror of her history running through her blood. Her cloak, torn from the furies, moved restlessly upon her decimated frame. There was no room for words.

Princess Pip roared, raising corpse white arms.  She had forgotten why she hated her sister, only that all the pain in the pursuit was not to be for naught. She had subsisted on that rage and pain of others like a crow picks scraps of roadkill from the highway, and a meal of fraternal soul juice would do her right! The hieroglyphics of a tortured language tore through her throat, bringing flecks of blood speckling, and coloured the air with violent violet ideograms. They throbbed and wheeled, spinning into a white hot, flickering artifact, Princess Pop a shrinking black silhouette in the midst of all this light. The audience howled as The Shards of God broke apart in a scintillating mitosis, that would soon inexorably draw together  into a Big Crunch.

The artifact rose, spun on its axis to–hiss and fall apart like a bucket of incandescent water. Pip collapsed! The failed magic ran across the stage, corroding the stainless steel. Princess Pop’s boots sizzled. A couple of concert goers yelped, burnt. Pip lay, a bundle of rags and bones, her neck skewed at a bad angle. Her eyes regarded Princess Pop like an injured puppy’s,  the whites mostly showing.

Diaphanous, bleached of colour and substance, the lines of Pip’s flesh were transparent. She was spread wide and thin, her selves losing objective and straying into lost tales of pain and betrayal, of the disgruntled Catholic mother of twenty children scrubbing pans, of the woman and her smoking gun sent to jail after the murder of a wealthy husband, of the prostitute under the hands of one Jack or another, of the desperate girl and a final candle in snowy streets. Pop was overcome with pity. They had not needed to bait her! All they had to was wait until Pip extinguished herself, her component pieces lost in the megaflow.

In a final agony of movement, Pip moved her mouth into a semblance of words, a creaking vowel falling into a murmur then rising in a sharp intake s trembling into an ohhhrrrweee. Pip faded, a darkroom trick. Pip’s lines, her organic definitions, twinkled into the ether. The stuff of worlds had reclaimed what was left of her. Pop, vital and eternally in the prime of her life, wept as the flames arched above. The song, at its apogee, cut off.

The lights went out.

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non sequitur: unrelated stanzas

my life is a panorama of wasted effort

when ten toes are a crowd these shoes have got to go

my heart beats for everyone

reality is an inside out soul, what’s the difference between you and me?

i am given to pause when i sniff flowers for they are plant vaginas and penises

a house is meaningless in summer but is everything in the winter

i am always falling, only it seems i am staying still

cash plus  impulse plus  store equals afterwards hollow feeling like cheap sex

what is really of the utmost importance? things go away

helping people at 2, 3am at work wakes me up feeling like a damn is given

after winter left i don’t really see night any more

i am used to being poor i like it. at least there your priorities are ordered

i am not afraid of change; it just tires me out

openly advocating anarchy i am secretly afraid of it really happening

a self-inflicted cut exists on my finger from a lack of caution

everyone is angry

i have a hungry monster inside always wanting something more i don’t know

everyone is a sex toy

doomed to be a jack of all trades, glimpsing each, mastering none

agh agak gahk! strange sounds are calming, zchow!

i drink yerba mate laced with cayenne pepper

indifference

a coin only has one side; everything else is  Schrödinger’s cat

a life is a paroxysm of pursuit

The Catastrophe

Norris Cat, the spokesfeline of the brand name cat food 9 1/2 Lives, flung away the photograph with great disgust. “I can’t believe this!” he yowled. “A cat of my stature doesn’t deserve such mockery!” The photograph lay face down on the litter strewn dressingroom floor, and the assistant bent down to pick it up.

It showed Norris at mid slurp, his pink tongue curving across and above his nose. “It ain’t too bad, Mister Norris,” his assistant said cheerfully, but the cat didn’t hear him.

“They even named a drink after me. After this fiasco, I won’t be taken seriously any more,” said Norris as he slunk from one corner of the room to another, followed by his agitated tail.

“Sir, just because gato means cat in Spanish, doesn’t mean they named the drink after you.”
“It’s a catastrophe!”

This elicited a snicker from the assistant and a snick from the cat. The people outside the dressingroom leaned their ears nervously towards the flimsy door that did little to conceal the sounds of great pain, wincing at the appropriate moments.

Bits and Pieces of Death

They found him keeled over and clutching a white gilded mushroom. He stirred and said, “I just wanted to taste a destroying angel…”

Before the deployment, his father gave him an engraved silver lighter for luck. It was his grandfather’s. He kept it in a chest pocket and pulled it out occasionally to smoke a spliff. During an exchange of gunfire a bullet caught him right in the lighter. His father received from the military a package containing a mangled silver lighter and soot covered dog tags.

The barrel was cold in his mouth. When he pulled the trigger it clicked. He was curious what it felt like to have a gun in his mouth. He pulled the trigger again. Then again. And for the last time, an overlooked bullet punched through the roof of his mouth and severed his spinal cord. His friends and family were astonished and said things like ‘He was so happy’ and ‘I don’t understand how this could have happened…’

It hung belly up in its bowl of water. It lay stiff and cold in the cage, its eyes and mouth grimaced open, its long ears a-lop. Its purr dwindled off to silence. After a series of small barks its rise of breath shuddered into non-motion. He sat in his deathbed and removed the tubing that crowded his arm and died happily.

Blue Dreams

“When I bring up his father, he becomes very upset and says he is nothing like his father and goes home to drink, which makes him very much like his father.”

He snapped awake in the frigid night, chest heaving. Moonlight poured through the window into his small room, splashing silver light on his narrow bed, the bottle of rum on a single chair, jacket on the coat hanger. His breath steamed cold blue picture-scenes and in all of them he died. He shivered. “I’ve been in the reality game too long. I need a vacation,” he muttered and turned in bed, throwing the blanket over his shoulders.

“Poor chap. Got his head in the sand. Liable to rip it out, if he tried, and he’d be running ’round like a headless chicken.”

“He’s been through enough. He’s been—well, is—everybody. I wish we could cut him a break.”

“Discovered morality, haven’t you? You and your fads. Besides, he’s been broken. He can’t change anything.”

“Remember it’s also yourself you’re talking about.”

This time the Time Traveller woke to the sepulchral fog that flooded the countryside to drown the town square, and from his window he watched a cat on a ledge paw the condensation. The fog swirled and eddied: he could empathize. The moon, a grinning half dollar, lay low in the sky. In the silver scene he pulled his jeans on, slipped into a shirt, took his jacket, and went out of the door.

On second thought he came back for the rum.

Death on the Side

The common variety of roadkill—coons, possums, deer, and the occassional bobcat—on the roadside do not elicit the pang that stabs the stomach upon seeing a cat or a dog. You can’t help but wonder about the circumstances that brought these poor creatures to the dismal end of having their intestines splayed along the highway. Was it a runaway, hopelessly searching the lanes for the warmth of home? Did it fall out of a car window, a cry strangled in the owner’s throat as she witnesses the carnage through the rearview mirror?

In and Out

He made a memo and slipped into the empty common lounge, tacked it to the bulletin board. BTB (Bring Television Back) Revolutionaries in flimsy bond emblazoned the legend above the corkwood. Especially inane in a world against electricity. A french press steamed hot coffee on a counter next to a darkened candy bar dispenser. He slipped out to wait, blissfully awash in the tunes of ‘Secret Agent Man’ that filtered out a high apartment window.

They ran into the night streets, firing guns over their head, and still had the time to express indignation when the roof of the world fell onto their heads in large fiery chunks. Snug in a doorway, Aiolos Kozlowski, back against rough stone, took a deep drag of his cannabis cigar. He sniggered as the fallen zeppelin burned the streets. The scent of roasting revolutionary flesh mingled quite nicely with the tang of dope.

Something rubbed riotously against his pantsleg. A black cat, its shiny globes writhing with the burning red skies. Rolling a strand of his long straight locks in his fingers, he smiled down indulgently and blew a smoke ring. The cat rumbled.

“My luck’s looking up.”