Nasmo Nasmo

In which is demonstrated,
By what Methods one may,
by the meer Light of Nature,
attain the knowledge of things
Natural and Supernatural

Phantasmagoria

Obstructed by maimed yachts and flailing sails, the shoreline flickered in and out of view. The once majestic Victorian clubhouse of the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans was littered with shattered windows and splintered wood from the dock. Framed by gaunt shadows, the hollowed clubhouse glimmered sinister as a shingle-fingered flame erupted from the roof.  Desecrated by rabid looters that struggled for sustenance and salvation- jostling over one another for pig feed, lapping in a communal pond of feces and cellulose, howling in the name of a God who could no longer hear them.

Struggling to peer past the voluminous violated vessels, I yearned for an acute feeling of loss, tempered of course with a stark resoluteness that the decisions I had made up to this point had been worthwhile.

“No sense in worrying about what’s back there,” Javier stated, his husky baritone humbled with a hint of uncertainty. Placing his hands tenderly on my shoulders, Javier aroused me from my reverie, observing, “Rutherford, I think it was Marx who said, ‘I was listening to the cries of the past, when I should have been listening to the cries of the future.’ That back there, that’s history. But ahead, in that abyss, we can create any world we imagine.”

            The setting sun dyed the sky a deep violet, immersing the sea in an ambivalent anonymity that marked it as much a resource as a potential adversary. “History is dead, Javier. Can we even say that civilization ever existed if this is how it all ends? Shock and awe in North Korea precipitated this carnage- and now there’s not life on four continents. Our entire infrastructure, everything we’ve spent the last century on- satellites, the fuckin internet- it’s all destroyed. When whatever’s left of Iran blows America off the map, no one will even know it happened. It will be nothing more than a bear shittin in the woods.” My fingers gripped my forehead, pushing the pulsating pain- perennially provoked by this line of thought- back into its paranoid resting place behind my shuttered eyelids. “Say this half baked plan works, and we make it to Africa in six weeks on the canisters of oil and food that we have stashed, then what?”

            “Then we write history ourselves. The right way,” Penelope added, her blonde head bobbing up from the loaded hull, prepared as always in her pristine powder pink vest form fitting her perfect body- scintillating curves as elusive as the crest of a waning wave- packed with essentials: bait and flashlight.

            “Or do you mean the ‘white’ way?” I said, repressing mantras of colonial discourse indoctrinated in me as a child by Kipling. A naïve boy indeed, hoodwinked by my love for personified jungle critters to pity the burdened white man. “I’ll be shippin off quicker than Marcus Garvey if we have to go through that again. Sure, between us, we got a lawyer, a doctor, and an engineer, but we don’t know shit about shit. I’m sure we’re gonna learn a thing or two if we survive the trip to the motherland, but it ain’t gon be bout history.”

            “For all we know,” Penelope mused, tying back her hair, assimilating to my style of rhetorical attack, “Africa, after the rampant proxy wars and puppeteering, is just as obliterated as the rest of the world. And once we make it there, we will have as much of a say as anybody on how society reorganizes itself.”  She paused, ruminating on the accuracy of her speculation.

We nodded along, enchanted by the habitual premonition of massive tectonic shifts commencing the conclusion of nuclear holocaust, while blaring horns pout through the fair-hued fingers of winged fetuses- jubilant as the Great Throne rests anchored on a stream of volcanic ash crystallizing over the mummified remains of God’s most beloved creation.

“At least, if we’re all that’s left, then we define history,” she added. “And we have to; otherwise we compromise the possibility of a sustainable future. Our children will already be natally alienated, unable to apply the lessons we’ve learned to the lives they will lead. But if we don’t even attempt to provide them with some sort of context or perspective on their life, then we aren’t even giving them a chance.”

            Recognizing her argument with a prim golf clap, I retorted with impudence, “Three words: fuck that shit. Before you go all People’s History on us, Howard Zinn, I’d like to remind you that we all agreed on no procreation. Not until we secure permanent shelter can we even consider bringing a child into this feral Inferno.”

“However,” Javier interjected, suavely placing his dark hand firm on the small of Penelope’s slender back, “if we change our minds about the procreation, I call dibs.”

Scarlet rouged Penelope’s fair skin. Muffling the crimson flush and a stout laugh beneath her hand, Penelope piped, “I don’t think I’ll be changing my mind on that. Don’t act like I don’t know the way you two eye me up and down. You would be at each other’s throats if I let either of you have a piece of this.”

Picking my teeth with a toothpick, I replied, “I only dine on the finest meats.” Averting Penelope’s enticing gaze, I tossed the toothpick overboard and focused my attention onto the mauve waves- sinuous in the sunset. In their folds I saw Penelope, bare as David, and as submissive to my touch as if I were Michelangelo himself. Breasts perky and pliable, nipples supple until taut in my teeth. The salty scent of the ocean fresh on the broadside of her chiseled face, a bitterness so refreshing I wished to swallow it whole, over and over. I was jerked from my fantasy by a distant clap of thunder, reverberating off the surface of the water until shushed by the brim of our ebbing bow.

Javier, brow protruding parallel to the darkening horizon, declared, “Now that we’ve set sail, it’s high time we pick a name for this ship. Pops called it The Mayflower, but frankly he wasn’t a Puritan, and I’m not gonna pretend to be one.”

“How about Santa Maria,” I suggested, arching my nose to the sky, assuming the ostentatious air of Christopher Columbus as he crusaded West.

“We may find ourselves as misguided as the Founder,” Penelope said in a flustered burst of frustration, “but there’s no way in hell we’re going to honor that vile exploiter anymore. First thing I’m wiping out of the books is his name.” Stifled by an impending sneeze, Penelope seized her handkerchief and boisterously blew her nose. “I got it! How about the Republic? It reflects our Platonic approaches to friendship and governance.”

“Indeed,” Javier dictated nostalgically as if recalling the aphorism from a familiar quill-dribbled manuscript buried in the back of his mind, “it was Plato who characterized leaders as those compelled to action. Knowledgeable of our talents and the role society needs us to play, as leaders we will assume our rightful responsibilities. And without threat of mutiny- we’ll run unopposed.”

“I’d like to nominate myself for the position of Minister of Medicine,” Penelope insisted with enthusiasm, launching her hand to such a great height she nearly disrobed Orion.

“And as the only experienced sailor,” Javier said between puffs of his Lucky Strikes, “let alone a professional mechanical engineer, I’d serve best as our Chief Mate.”

Heaving my chest out, squinting my eye, and miming a pipe next to my mouth, I bellowed, “Then I guess you can call me Captain Rutherford Calhoun of the esteemedRepublic- your protector and proprietor. If you have any constructive suggestions, please leave them in the box behind the door labeled Lavatory.”

As we shared drinks and passed joints around the deck, for a moment we believed Fortuna, recognizing our moral valor, had blessed us with oak rods divining our futures. Blasting Sublime through the surround sound on the silent sea, we wondered why we had not escaped sooner. As I peered over the Republic’s masthead, a blindfolded women piercing the darkness with a lantern, a confidence burgeoned within me. In six weeks, just as we had planned and rationed for, we would wash up on the banks of Senegal and embrace the first to feed us. There would be crowds vying to accommodate us in their huts- made of mud just like man. Knowing it as wise and true, they would accept our law as their own, and peaceful coexistence would breed generations devoted to protecting the state and the sanctity it provided for its people.

 Though we began with a common vision for success, four weeks on the tempestuous sea withered away at our sense of the world until it became fragmented- a jigsaw puzzle strewn across the playroom floor by an unattended child. Over time, our voices grew mangled with impatience, and in rare moments, when we were caught in contemplation, alone in a dark, stuffy room, hands interlaced in a plea with God, we would hear our voices and suddenly turn our necks in haste to the corners of the room, replenishing the chalky surfaces of the decrepit dressers with our anxious perspiration. The torque of our necks, illuminated by the wilting candlewick, would conjure mischievous shadows shuffling to conceal the true imposter.

Failing to recognize our own voices, we knit unassuming cloaks that bundled our vocal chords with a synthetic sympathy, lined with a thermal layer of understanding. So when Penelope nearly caught me stealing the last of the food reserves, I was at once transparent yet utterly transfigured, unable to properly distinguish which behaviors boiling in my mind would spew forth in our conversation.

“What happened to all the food? I could have sworn I caught fish just yesterday,” Penelope asked, exasperated.

Once replete with rations, our hull was now empty besides a low hanging bulb. As supplies quickly dwindled, I, suspicious that my crewmates conspired similar duplicities, scavenged twice the allotted amount every time it was my turn to cook. This, on top of neglecting my fishing duties in favor of a few chapters of Infinite Jest, led to a food supply that dissipated much sooner than anticipated.

 Dipping his dark curls to clear the doorway, the slender chief mate proudly extended a bucket of fish flesh before I could answer. “Voila,” he said, a smile spreading across his thin salmon colored lips.

Despite the mangled meat staining his yellow overalls, and stench exuding from the plumbing sludge accumulating on his boots, Penelope appraised Javier as if he was worth more than Leo’s Heart of the Ocean. Fuming with alacrity, Penelope embraced the bronzed fisherman.

            It was in him that she saw the leader of our new world. His stature, practical knowledge, and physical capabilities triumphed over my own. Her womb, she must have fantasized, was a nest for a lineage that would rival the Kennedy’s or the Ming’s- a race imbued with an Aryan, romanticized reliance on reason, tempered with the Latino lust for passion. They would surely be a fierce clan, but not one that would stand the test of time. Not one that I could stake the future of humanity on.

            It was with this in mind that I approached Javier in the mess hall a few days later, guised as an inquiry regarding the progress of our trip. Whimsical as he was in his madness, Javier greeted me with an exaggerated embrace that tumbled into an elaborate waltz. Pacing in-step, our heartbeats synchronized, a stiff wind roused my penis to full mast. Unable to credit the piercing dagger in my loins to any external stimuli, Javier abruptly put a stop to our prancing, and inched away from me, a quixotic look in his grey eyes, unfathomable as a February fog.

 “I never thought…” I stuttered, stumbling over impasses in my mind that kept me from this release for so long.

“There’s nothing to think about,” Javier whispered, stepping closer and brushing wayward strands of hair off my forehead.

As our tongues tangled and our figures disrobed, a peculiar voracity mired our lovemaking. Though enraptured in the intimacy, neither of us felt quite comfortable enough to volunteer as the pioneer receiver on our maiden voyage to Sodom. Fighting for selfish release, our lovemaking took a turn to the sadomasochistic when I gripped the foot of a stool nearby and pressed it to Javier’s throat. Lifting his languid penis towards his navel, I thrust my oblong lancet deep into his cavernous rectum. Unable to fit at first, I flung the stool across the room, but kept a firm hand in place on Javier’s sternum. His grimace gave way to an anguished moan as I penetrated deeper, creating a chasm of broken skin and blood that drew wider with every motion.

Drawn by the haggard groans, Penelope rushed in with a shotgun, expecting the worst but praying she wouldn’t have to fire. Seeing her narrow face, crafted with great precision by the Creator, illuminated only momentarily by the flickering candlelight on the dining table, I plunged as deep as I could, abandoning custom and creed, as a wave sputtered out of me and into the heaving body of Javier.

Dripping- a pink puddle pooling on the planks- I divided my body from his and stood up to my full height. Penelope, unable to digest the scene before her eyes, trembled at the sight of my alleged avarice. Double barrels locked onto my chest, her wrist wavered as she met the gaze of Javier, desperate as a wounded fawn.

With a few calculated stutter steps, I seized the shotgun from her limp wrists, and hurriedly put on my clothes. “Now, Penelope, it’s not exactly what it looks like,” I claimed while catching my breath. “We may have gotten carried away, but it was consensual.”

Javier’s clonic carcass convulsed before me, emitting bowel movements to rid his body of my seed. A waft of feces and semen prompted a coughing fit that carried furlongs across the feverish waves. The stench induced a vertigo that brought me to my knees before my bewildered shipmates. Unable to explain my actions or formulate any coherent thoughts, I muttered, “What’s for dinner?”

Penelope, blonde hair in frivolous disarray, gaped at me with a burrowing antipathy. “We ran out of food in the hull this morning, and no one caught any fish today.” Defeated she crumbled to the floor, laying Javier’s head in her lap.

“Lucky for us,” I said, mulling over the limited possibilities, “I have some delectable emergency rations. Hurry to your room and clean yourself up, I’ll take care of everything here. Come back in one hour in your finest formal wear and we will have ourselves a feast.”

“But what about Javier? He will survive, but surely he should rest after such a traumatic experience.” Penelope, grazing her hands over Javier’s face, massaging his wounded psyche, was reluctant to release him from her grip.

“I made this mess, let me clean it up,” I insisted, lifting her from her pitiful state, “he will be dressed and ready in no time. Trust me, with the meal I have planned, we will all replenish our palates and recover all the energy and morale this experience may have compromised.”

Hesitant, but hungry, Penelope slowly pulled herself from Javier and returned to her room. Tying an apron around my neck, I placed the shotgun on the dining table, and ran to fetch the largest blade I could find. Towering above Javier’s defeated body as it labored for breath and understanding, I saw the world we would create in his frightened eyes. Factions of devoted citizens, all donning the embroidered coat of arms of our empire, emblazoned with the sword and the quill, the Pledge of Adherence faithfully on their quilted tongues, a tenacity in their voices that would intimidate the most barbarous of foes, a communal war cry that would shift the continents- a sound much like Javier was making at this moment, as I dashed his throat and compartmentalized his cadaver.  

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