I Pull The Lights And You’re Dusted

llI Pull The Lights And You’re Dusted
by Matt Ronquillo
My legs crushed into Port 2 with a painless crack, and I shot off toward the next one. I flew street-level across the empty city. It looked like Jakarta without all the people and the trash.
Bang–I hit Port 3.
The knees blew out. I tumbled through a brick wall and fell into a dungeon where the black metallic man made of mechanical parts thrashed in schizophrenic laughing convulsions on the floor. I crawled toward him all shattered, and I told him I missed somebody.
He said ‘That’s the answer to the puzzle of the city and congratulations, you just beat out everyone else. I was getting really bored in here.”
“Beat who at what? For what?”
“You look like you’ve been flying around here so long you forgot it was a tournament.”
I moaned. “I was looking for Houston Susan. Is she the prize?”
“Who? Fella, you’ve just won the Google Glass Shoot Your Own POV Video competition sponsored by PornHub. You get your pick of one of the website’s models and then you and her upload your video. Whoever’s video gets top rated among the different tournament winners gets The Grand Prize.”
I went, “What? But I just want–”
He clanged, “I think Alexis Texas is available. Is that who you meant?”
“No.”
I stood on broken legs and pulled myself up back through the dungeon hole where I’d blasted through the mortar. I limped behind a dumpster as the city woke up with confetti and parties. A roving mob was looking for me to say “Well done,” with their noisemakers going cha cha cha, “You’ve won!”
I fell into an alley and covered myself with newly-arrived trash and killed my Nav guide as the hoard crashed by and passed. One of the tracker operator’s faces hovered over me, and it asked me if I was OK, and I said, “I don’t know. No.”
The operator looked all freaked out and said, “Let’s get him out of here. Get him the fuck out of here,” which meant my voice was not coming through like I intended it, and he had heard whatever was really crawling around behind me.
The inability to communicate was more crushing than the broken knees. I had taken my able body and sexified verbal cooing abilities for granted. Now I was in pretty serious disability trouble. Now I wasn’t going to be able to say what I meant if I ever got reunited with– It didn’t matter. I was just a thrashed up freak now, so I tried not to cry, but I did it face down into the pavement anyway, sort of laughing.
Then I felt those hands. I remembered the way they’d hold my torso and shoulder at the same time. Now they flipped me over roughly. Plastic cups and newspapers flew lightly into the alley wall. I saw her grinning teeth through a dark-profiled silhouette with a corona of soft blonde hair. The face cascaded down and across her right cheek as I raised my head and felt an extrasensory pull at my neck.
“Wait. I can’t remember your face. Please, just let me see your face.”
The waterfall of it kept flowing away and was getting replaced by a room packed with people sitting rigidly forward and staring, and I finally heard my own neck pop from lurching it so far to the right. I peered through blurry wet into a monitor or something that was facing me and casting a reflection. I stared into it bitterly over how clearly yet strangely the whole thing had to end on a perfect, cliché image like this.

13 thoughts on “I Pull The Lights And You’re Dusted

    1. Thank you Shawn! There’s a big mirror in my room, so the actual dream this is based off — when it blended into reality — ended with me waking up and wrenching my neck, staring at myself in that mirror. I thought the implications of that were so strange and weirdly cliche. But yeah, All I had to do was write out what happened as I remembered it from the dream. It was totally “Misener.” Some times your subconscious just throws you a free one. Thanks for the love.

  1. I had printed this story out last week and read it at work and was sold on a ‘Vanilla Sky’ virtual experience going on here then I read you guy’s comments about it being a dream and slapped myself upside the head. ahhh. Sometimes i’m a tad slow on the uptake–though this dream does have a lot of M.M.O. role-playing sort of elements to it. Being a dream and as you said, from the ‘subconscious’ makes opens it up to some Freudian interpretation. I’m rusty, but let’s give it a go: I sense deep down an anxiety towards climbing the social ladder and the sacrifices made to get places and a suspicion it may not be worth it. Awareness of the present is your mainstay yet worry about the future continues to be an ever-present distraction. The spirits are telling me you were in a relationship with a beautiful woman who you loved very much but for whatever reason it came to an end. You blame yourself but realize that it was the natural course of things. Still, there is an emptiness and a longing to reignite this passion, to capture it, no matter what the toll. Ultimately there is the realization that self-love must come first though it is a lonely trek. Sorry if this is too personal. Maybe it’s way off. If it is, I blame the spirits. In any case, I know love will come back around full circle. Hang in there.

    1. See this is what I was telling Misener about. You could make a case for all of that, although it might be corporate ladder in lieu of the social ladder these days. There’s probably a big influence from the whole ‘remaining single (sort of) for the sake of trying to progress a career’ thing that’s going on these days, and then the inevitable distraction – loneliness – that goes along with that. Either way, I think I need to start writing about muscle cars again so I don’t feel like such a pussy.
      Thanks for the great review. Yours are always really in depth and pretty damn spot on. Must have been your spirits with me while I was jackassing around the Navajo reservation last month, because I see no other good reason I made it out alive and was able to write this. The dream in question here was heavily influenced by the aftermath of a week long road trip bender through the South West. Madness.

  2. what are schizophrenic laughing convulsions like? very monotone? or a ‘navel gazing’ reflection…like believing you’re being tickled and turning into a mariachhi band (confetti/parties/noisemakers going cha cha cha). ? i like yer flash fiction/ short story/ whatever they’re being called now. i feel a little pretentious making comments on other peoples writing now so that’s it. oh wait. thanks for not e-mailing me back, you bastard-child.

    1. I think the second one. I imagined more noise. Lots of noise. You don’t have any right to feel pretentious, so you can cut that out. Ugh emails. I put one off for a few hours which becomes days, and then the glorious shame sets in. Channel more shame this way and I will get off (on?) my ass and say something clever, if you’ll have me.

      1. yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. cut the crap and say that my emails weren’t inspiring enough. than again, who is the one with the mandala-y avatar?
        teh feral woman in the inescapable red shoes

      2. pretentious is a big fear of mine. first i have a parental unit who taught me it’s really important to be pretentious. so i’m always trying to be careful not to recast that teenage shadow.
        another point: i live right next to a place called ‘brooklyn’, which is kinda like the oasis of vulgar american hipsters. remember us? we all chit-chat on poetry websites like this one and make dumb comments on each others souls.

        1. It doesn’t matter that you live next to Brooklyn because you come from outer space. You couldn’t fuck it up if you tried. Don’t forget I’m the one using his mug as an avatar and it happens to be the same link-able picture I use on various online profiles that I use to attempt to whore my skills out for money. You win.

  3. Ooo, PornHub is for real! I thought it was just part of the story. Fiction meets Reality. And they quality HD spanking vids! Gotta love that! thx for hooking me up!

  4. i just re-read this (to keep the orderly peace with the comment pattern: me/randall nicholas/me/randall nicholas). not really. i was just stalking your reading. this is a really sad story. it’s beautiful and whatever, but once you cut the crap concerning the *corona of aesthetics*, the past fifteen minutes have just been very emotional for me after reading you in this state.
    also, how come i sounded so much smarter two months ago than i feel now?
    I’M NOT GOOD WITH EVEN SIMPLE ALGEBRA

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