February '04

Louise Howerow The Movie With All the Skeletons
Elizabeth Ellen That Which Is Revealed in the Absence of Light
Ian F. King Our Anniversary
Ryan Robert Mullen M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I
Mike McGowan A Brief Succession of Events in the American Southwest


            Ryan Robert Mullen

He knocked but they wouldn't answer and last night had been heavy so he knew they were just sleeping it off and had forgotten anyway to lock to the door so he walked in and Erin Two was cold on the kitchen floor. "Hey Erin," Robert said, "Hey Erin." She kinda creaked open, "Uhhhhh." "Erin I can't go to work today- it's cold. Get you're shit together and lets go to Florida." He knew The Other Chick had to work today, he knew she wouldn't go. She'd talked him down last night, she'd said he wasn't sober- but he was barely tripping at all. This morning he knew he had to go, had to hear the tires clicking over concrete, over state lines, over and over and into the Sun. Or the Sunshine State. It's not that Robert was all gun-ho about Florida- he hated Orlando for sure. It was just the closest warmth as the crow flies. It had been going on the fourth month of Winter in dear 'ol Wisconsin. Let's go to Panama City because I just got my tax return and I'll either lose my job or won't but let's go because I want to and because nothing can stop me, us. They left for Panama City but ended up in Gulfport, Mississippi.

In Illinois they nearly turned back. Snow and snow upon snow had slowed traffic to five miles per hour. Illinois is a really shitty place to get stuck at just five miles per hour especially if you have to take a piss and it's so cold outside and you don't know her well enough just go in a cup in the back. Illinois is a really shitty place. You can't buy liquor practically anywhere but Rockport and Chicago and Rockport and Chicago or mostly pretty shitty places except for the fancy restaurants. The landscape of Illinois can only be described as indistinguishable. Illinois is shit- not diarrhea or an especially large turd- just shit overlooked and flushed and forgotten.

After Illinois comes more Illinois and then a bunch of other states and then Mississippi and then the Gulf of Mexico. And when they finally saw the big water they parked and got out of the car and damn if they still needed sweaters but took off their shoes anyway but the sand had needles in it and latex gloves and there was a crap factory smoking and pumping grab over the horizon but if you looked the other way it was still the ocean and they had made it to the ocean even if it was Gulfport, Mississippi. He took pictures of Erin Two on the beach and she was happy. They walked out on the pier together and smoked half a joint which Robert had saved since Illinois. They didn't hold hands but there were other things that happened on the way down. Robert had looked at ther eyebrow s and lips but didn't want to be THAT GUY.

Robert didn't want to be THAT GUY that goes oh yeah that's a good one that's real funny aren't we good buddies now let's fuck but first you suck my penis, buddy. But he would've liked to crawled in the back seat in that Missouri truck stop and and and. And now they were at the ocean and still didn't know each other too well and Robert had gotten high and feeling like a happy little boy and could things be any better even if we don't have quite enough gas money to get back home. If he didn't have a lease he would never go back home. It fine out here, just fine out here on the crappiest beach in the U.S.A. right next to a big fat casino and the International House of Pancakes and even the smell of dead fish was just fine. And he gave her a hug and hoped she would just grab it and put it in her mouth. The first time he met her she'd gotten real drunk and took off her shirt on the street and he'd not forgotten those right lamplight titties. But he didn't want to be that guy so instead he said let's see what the casino is like inside and she said, sure, she had to take a piss. It was nice inside the casino.

Jug of blackberry wine bought in Missouri for $7.99 drunk off his ass and WINNING BIG. She was getting lucky and they laughed and she looked real good. They eventually took his bottle but he'd already drank most of it and and they brought back two Coronas with lime for free. They were winning real big together, it was a great time. We're talking WINNING BIG like CLINK CLINK CLINKITY CLINK CLINK CLINKITY- SANTA'S ON HIS WAY! Cups became brimming with the tarnished bronze and the guy with the cowboy hat got pissed and said, "I just got done playing that machine." And alls they could do was grin grin grin. The cowboy had a gun and half a mind to use it. Robert would fall to his knees and say to Erin Two, "Give me high-five!" And Erin Two did. She was a great gal. He kept asking her, "So that's two-hundred and thirty-five bucks?" And she had a sweet smile and would say, "Yes." And it was the way she said yes that made him want to have sex with her for extended periods of time. Which he eventually did.

Ruined everything.

Ryan Robert Mullen recently got this pretty neat little moustache stein (that's a stein with an internal lip to protect yourself from embarassing suds in the 'stache) but it's made in Japan and he recently shaved. He lives in the Wisconsin Northwoods (prounounced "NORT- WUDS") where he comsumes the seasonal meats and drinks beer straight from the copper tanks of local breweries and is pissed that Favre blew the playoffs for the Packers but he isn't, like, a hick or anything. You should buy his book (www.wordriot.org/press), read his column (www.getunderground.com), and listen to more Alice Cooper.