Battle without Honor or Humanity #1

Here is a microchapter from the titular story in my upcoming fiction collection, Battle without Honor or Humanity. In the next few weeks I'm going to serialize the story from the beginning. I anticipate 30-40 microchapters . . .


I exclaim, “I can’t stop thinking about it. It keeps running through my head. It’s all I can think about.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

I have gone to the movies again. A bloody action s/hero film. The theater is full and I have secured an aisle seat. I have not purchased a soda. I have not purchased candy or popcorn. Ushers guard the emergency exits with their lives.

I exclaim, “I know I won’t always feel this way. I experience chronic mood swings. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself bipolar. But I’d call myself something. Sometimes I feel like the actor Timothy Olyphant—gifted, good-looking, Hawaiian, underrated, in some cases altogether unknown. That reminds me. My father encased my legs in prosthetic technologies. I don’t recall anything being wrong with me. I think his intension was to test and examine the technologies. I do recall tripping quite a bit. I recall breaking bones, too. I died, once.”

“Hey. Asshole. Shut the fuck up.”

I can tell by the sound of his voice that he’s big. I exclaim, “I am an electric samurai. I am the noblest savage. I am precisely what I want to be. I slay cumulonimbus clouds with one hand, oceans with the other. I colonize the Giant Places. And yet failure lurks around every corner. It has been said that I heave entire diegeses from the bowels of my action-painter’s bucket like a magician yanking a syphilitic kangaroo from a ten gallon hat. But the scope of my intentions transcends my great remove. The universe cannot hold me accountable for these deeds, these breaches of gestalt. These wild therapies. The world is my analysand and my conclusion is that the world should place Barrel against Temple and blow Brains against Empty White Canvass. I have never owned a gun, but I have fired guns, on occasion. As a child on the prairie—bored, alone, deranged—I spent my afternoons picking off squirrels, finches, lizards, and other godless creatures with my father’s .22 rifle. They exploded like mortal fireworks. I have a confession to make. I was the Human Beat Box in the rap group the Fat Boys. The way it worked: Crazy White Boy plus Black Fat Suit equals Human Beat Box. His death by heart attack—a grand and terrific hoax. Now here we are. I don’t mean to be glib, or impractical. Never. I only do the best I can to convey my perspective, to extend my selfhood, and to negotiate the various ways in which I am interpellated by countless Ideological State Apparatuses. This movie stinks. I don’t believe the antagonist means it when s/he kills somebody.”

As blood splashes artfully across the camera lens, blocking the audience’s view of a gruesome wound, I feel his hand on my shoulder, and I shoot out of my seat like an unmanned clockspring.

We collide. We exchange blows. We set reality on fire.

Rolling across the treacherous swill, we engage in a battle without honor or humanity.