Alternating Current Press
Oct 3 · 5 min read

Fiction by Gracjan Kraszewski


Miller pauses. He clears his throat. Off recondite mucus, hidden away in orphic regions of his inner throat, sound waves bounce bunny-plyos parrot hop, signaling, in no uncertain terms, their fashionably pellucid appearance. The noise is reminiscent of finally — following four false starts and a stubbed big toe, the tire having been treated as a football at kickoff for anger puts reason to flight making one forget the world came into being through Logos, not hysterical paroxysms of violence birthing licentious volunteerism, even the freedom to destroy oneself, at least those pesky toes — firing up the car engine on a late January morning in Bemidji, Minnesota.

That snow is no longer falling hardly consoles colligated to -28 centigrade plus a wind chill factor fracking bones even through five layers double-Long Johned. Behold all that beautiful, slick, and slippery icy epidermis spreading like a virus as far as the eye can see right before your own. Involvement in hockey would have made all the difference. Emerging from the house in skates not shoes, the tire kick would have hurt less if not at all. (But then you’d puncture the tire! says smartass cousin, Derry Air Knowledgeably. [He usually goes by ‘Air Dak Who-Dat.’ Everyone agrees he’s a tool.])

Punctured tire or not, the foot pain-catalyzed momentary distraction that then overrode the pressing issue at hand (balance) would have been avoided. So, too, the subsequent face plant ice-ward. No family members, not even of the most extended past expiration variety, would have been encumbered upon for direct escort to destination: triple-digit stitch count, naturally at the lone hospital in town where flagging bedside manner is actively combatted by medical codes mandating laughing out loud on the job and so dependently amused (fun-junkies in the making some made) doctors and nurses try their best to keep a professional calm and avoid spontaneous vociferations known for splitting the belly.

Chyep, pellucid.

Chyep, consider this, the following, the blueprint for Canadian world hegemony: reverse engineer and / or deracinate in order to redirect whatever scientists / pseudoscientists / debunkers / myth-propagators / deniers, aiders and abettors are now currently calling, or calling into question, regarding atmospheric climatological cosmological ontological permutations concerning once thought unambiguous, now known to be simultaneously fashionably (as in politically so) malleable and fixed, terms such as “hot,” “cold,” “weather,” “climate,” “warming,” “warning,” “peligroso,” and “change” and — here’s the bottom line — make the world get super cold so as to release the liquid.

Liquid meaning water.

One need only ask the residents of Portal, North Dakota, USA, what they think of an entire army of ice-skate-wearing Canadian soldiers on horseback (each with his own personal supply of pancake mix, maple syrup, and apple butter in a satchel affixed to the miniature bazooka strapped across his back) charging southward in full gallop from the nearest HQ-outpost (Estevan, Saskatchewan) to get a full picture of this terrifying potentiality.

Whatever one thinks of Canadian geopolitics, Miller’s throat clearing does sound like finally getting a car engine started on a freezing cold Minnesota morning after failing to do so and falling face down on ice covered macadam alternately crying out for help whilst refusing to cede the day, especially at such an early hour, and so vowing to do all one can to seize the day within the current unfortunate circumstance of ruing it as one’s bloody lip is stuck to what might as well be the omphalic (belly-button lint included) point on the glacial floor of the Western Cwm, the grand and silent Cwm utterly adiaphorous in the lightness, see butter-flaky crispiness, of its disregard for you and yours.

“Exactly,” Miller says. “And that’s only one of the reasons I’m giving you this deal. Guys, don’t thank me. Don’t feel obligated to show me the slightest gratitude. Whatever you do, whatexpletiveever you do, do not, don’t, do not feel indebted here, do not. It’s no biggie, don’t. Just no, do not do, no, no. Guys: I’m super rich, super good-looking, and super smart. I’m a living and breathing compendium of knowledge and know-how with perfect hair and cash-money in the bank. And I swear, if I hear one more word about distributism, market trends, the pre-Columbian political land economy of the Iroquois Confederation, or freaking manipulating the currency … okay? The just-mentioned is just one reason this is happening. But then again, on the other hand, the other reason, like a significant allocated apportionment of the rationale here, for me,” double-barreled index fingers pointed back toward himself staccato tapping his sternum, “is that I’m giving you this much money because, guys: I’m loaded. I’m lo’yo’dough-wired and benjaminificated.”

“Professor,” Odysseus says. “I don’t understand the difference.”

“What?” Miller asks, scrunching his face with progressive force until his nose flushes red to white. He relents. The blood comes back with a vengeance. “And I mean double-you, you, tee; wut?”

“First you said you’re going forward with this because you’re loaded, rich, even opulent; taken care of, by yourself,” Odysseus says. “A self-made man we are left to infer. Set for life. But then you say another reason, presumably different from this first one, is that you’re rich. These two are one and the same.”

“Are you serious?” Pat asks. “Now?”

“I don’t like redundancy.”

Pat exhales.

“Don’t call me Professor anymore, okay?” Miller says. “This is a new dawn.”

“The night is darkest before the dawn,” Hans says. “Is everybody here aware of that? Does everyone here know this?”

“I was just thinking about the syntaxtual crosslinguisticalinterculturalaccultu — ”

At that very moment the door to Eiseraengur’s office flies open. A woman wearing a blue, NASA jumpsuit …

And that very moment, Alexandre regains consciousness.

And he sees the proximate tire and can feel his lip still stuck to the ice.

And it comes to him immediately that however much time has passed from the moment of occurrence until now, he really is still here in this not so good circumstance, and even though he remembers the unconsciousness filling-in of the story’s details — especially the stitches down at the hospital amidst the laughing doctors — vividly they have not happened, and so what now?

And then he thinks he does not know a single soul, personally or in literature or otherwise, named Hans, Miller, or even Pat. Even Pat, yes. And he thinks he’s been in America for seventeen years now, and how is that even possible?

GRACJAN KRASZEWSKI is the author of the novel The Holdout (Adelaide Books, 2018). His fiction has appeared in Eclectica Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, New English Review, The Southern Distinctive, Pilgrim, Bull: Men’s Fiction, Adelaide Literary Magazine, RumbleFish Press, Five on the Fifth, and The Short Humour Site.

The Coil

Literature to change your lightbulb.

Alternating Current Press

Written by

Indie press dedicated to lit that challenges readers & has a sense of self, timelessness, & atmosphere. Publisher of @CoilMag #CoilMag (http://thecoilmag.com)

The Coil

The Coil

Literature to change your lightbulb.

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