Another essay they didn’t “nibble on” at The First Line literary journal:
“Time Slows Down”
by Laisha Vlassevna
“A screaming comes across the sky.” —from Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
Put your foot there.
Feel it: up above your head, you crick your neck, you don’t even notice, you don’t even choose, it just happens . . .
This is where it starts: the War, whose War, what War, what the Hell Are We Fighting For, coming back down, the last delta-t sliver of time before imp—
— beffforrre what now? Before the show’s over, we get the show: Seaman Bodine, Lt. Tyrone Slothrop (alias “Rocketman”), Roger Mexico the scientist, Jessica Swanlake his doomed-to-be-only-for-the-War lover, “my mother’s the War,” Mexico says, anyways, and here’s all the children . . .
. . . didn’t you know? Well, let’s review the reel, it won’t take (that) long, here’s what you (maybe) missed, before you find yourself arrived — arriving and forcibly arrived — at the last mo—
“For every vampire, there is a kind of cross.” Yes, yes this is to be expected, lore like breaking boughs from a fairy tale driving the persons burdened with bearing them, map and compass, into squares and Zones unheard-of . . . what’s not to be humored, as an afterthought beyond “It is too late.”?
“Officers. Fucking officer mentality. You do all the work, then they come in to wrap it up, to get the glory.” It’s all a question of preterite or elect, do you count or don’t you . . . “No one was ever going to take the trouble to save you, old fellow . . . ”
How is Poor Tyrone ever to find a way home? This is a long way from Cambridge, from New England . . . and the agendas of Those above him keeping adding up, mutating, taking new forms, still staying out-of-reach, guessable only by the shapes They allow to become (somewhat) visible . . .
Conspiracy Theories abound: “What the leaflet neglected to mention was that Benjamin Franklin was a Mason, and given to cosmic forms of practical jokesterism, of which the United States of America may well have been one.” Ha-ha. Still just another sucker jockeying for funding . . . to stave off the inevitable, to keep afloat . . . who wins?
“He is a white-hat in the navy of life, and that extends to vocal impressions of the fake film-lives of strangers.” Seaman Bodine again, though, it’s worth mentioning, his Army buddy Lt. Tyrone Slothrop seems to keep jumping on and off a lotta ships, once he’s cut loose “In the Zone” . . . kinda hard not to think of Melville, one more Ahab after another, whoo Lord, what’ll it be this time?
You can wait. “You are either alone absolutely, alone with your own death, or you take part in the larger enterprise, and you share in the deaths of others.”
Don’t put your foot down . . . yet. Get the heads-up, watch the movie, start-the-show . . .
(Your foot, in the air, hovering . . . )
Why not. Find out.
Where We’ve been.
(Awful lot of comic-booky stuff, for people messing with polymers, anodes and cathodes, transistors like Apollonian gods to be supplanted . . . )
“Somewhere, among the wastes of the World, is the key that would bring us back, restore us to our Earth and to our freedom.”
Read on . . .
Laisha Vlassevna is a ghost contacted by Ouija Board in Portland, OR. She isn’t quite ready to choose her next life . . . yet.