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The low winter sun streaks through the streets and the dry hedges and barren trees shed a maroon dust. The birds go batty in Appalachia, celebrating an early spring, and the traffic flows by indifferently. A creature trudges along the sidewalk, two legs, hair tangled in strands down to its calves, a wolverine face, wrapped in wool and deerskin, a tongue split into snakes. A man in a beard with a mushroom cap for a nose, goes up to it.
You’re from the future, aren’t you, he asks? His voice is a squawk stuck in his nose. The creature spits, stinging the air, and the man hears something about time. You’re a hermaphrodite with a womb in your armpit, he says, fallen from the orbit of planet Nubira, I’ll bet. Let me take you to my place and we’ll start the human race all over again. Once we get going, I’ll call you Eve. Call me Mada; I’m a bit mad, you know.
I’ve studied mathematics, psychology and literature, says Mada. Two and two don’t add up, they’re just bipolar soliloquies. He tries to undress Eve, but its clothes turn out to be its skin. Its womb oozes out four fleshy legs. Its arms and legs have starved themselves to death. If I suck your toes, he says, I’ll be endowed with artificial intelligence. Let’s see, your penis is a maroon sticky spear and your vagina is a hologram. Time to start a new species. He dives in!
Mada gets dragged into a black hole and hears, what is time? It’s not a question seeking a definition of time, but a question concerning time’s mere existence. He ends up in the bathroom and Eve is sitting on the toilet sucking up the water through its anus. Suddenly its arms and legs come alive, subdue him, and pierce his heart with its penis. He loses consciousness and wakes up on the street where everyone is shooting at one another.
What’s going on, Mada asks of a man in a suit and tie? At least we’re not shooting heroin, the man replies. Mada goes to a friend’s house where everyone is shooting heroin and watching ads for opiates on television. He leaves, goes to his favorite dive where all is normal. Flash floods on the TV, Irish whiskey, Irish beer, Irish blather and green badges worn by all. We don’t have to worry about climate change, Mada says, it’s green! It’s timeless!
What’s timeless, his cronies demand? Is this another one of your twin soliloquies? No, the future doesn’t know what time is. We’re morphed into hermaphrodites with a syringe for a penis and a hologram for a vagina. You snorted up a whole gram without sharing it, they accuse? No, no, I’ll introduce you to Eve, a creature from the future, and he takes them back to his place, and there’s no one there. Yeah, yeah, they say, since there’s no time there, then there’s no one here or there.
Copyright 2022 Sean Connolly
Pucker up with this red-lipped batfish by illustrator Sami Bayly.