Volume III, Issue I Spring 2004

Mother City

He is the midnight blue that creeps in and out of the cracks in this mother city. Seth's house is high above this town of pseudo hope. Tonight, he stands perched upon his roof overlooking the fallen angels that suckle from these breasts veined with sewer-lines, white rock and crooked fingernails of the money hand. Seth has spent many nights staring into her void through his yellow-tinted window plagued with cracks, nicks and sometimes stains from the previous nights' turmoil. He often wondered how she could still breathe with her concrete skyscraper lungs and see through her sin-tinted strip bars, midnight alley cats and bloodstained skin.

Urban nightmare As Seth stood in insane awe over his concrete lover, the barbed hooks that were connected to the small of his back tore at his flesh. He was open this way – naked and pure in front of her assassin eyes that saw nothing but the truth in him. The hooks tugged at Seth's inhibition and stole his passion. A sensation of finality empowered him as chains that were connected to these barbed partners scraped against a cement fixture directly to the left of the steel beam. The chains were looped around the steel beam to keep him suspended and swollen. Seth smiled grimly while his milky white and pocked skin became further punctured and slightly torn at every shaken second a breath was taken or a spasm occurred. The very essence of the night air blowing and rushing over his wounded skin sent a carnal frenzy into his hypothalamus and spread blissful pain throughout his being. It was time.

From this distance and only in this state, Seth could glimpse at the true beauty of his steel maiden at her most glorious. Normally, he saw a reality which could only be seen in his mind, but now, Seth could see her like no other: naked, neon and raw from the breathing power of her inner city lung. He took a deep clandestine breathe of his mother-city's pollution and spasmed out a cry – a tear from his eye solemnly danced to the sound of his swollen larnyx. From this day on, Seth vowed to expel the cancer that plagued his steel incestual bride. He would rid her of the drug lords, prostitutes, degenerates and greed-heads that covered her fleece. Seth was the chosen one in his own mind.

Across town in a single-story cottage away from Seth Coperi and the highlights of the city, Aspen smoked a brown clove cigarette and left burgundy lipstick rounds on the butt. She carefully lifted her clove with her sensual feminine yet lean hands that usually lay in her lap, where many men aspire to be. Her mother preached to her when she was young, "Aspie, you can always figure out a woman by her hands and the way she smokes her cigarette." Aspen's mother Julie would prescribe her own type of medicine – guilt laced with madness. Julie died seven years ago of many self-afflicted wounds to her wrists and chest. Aspen thought about her mother as she put the clove to her full red lips lined with a cool pucker, and wondered if Julie would approve. She took in a deep and luxurious puff and expelled her hazed inhibitions into a night cap of bootleg vodka that she took from her uncle that lived under the city. As she drank, her mind wandered into the night.

spen Serandi was a patient of the city she lived outside of and a doctor to the inhabitants of Las Vegas. She listened to people's problems – their queries and concerns. However, from time to time, she prescribed assorted medication for the "misguided," she liked to call them. If a patient was extremely "misguided" she would prescribe them time alone for a breathless eternity – with their permission of course. She believed that those who cried could be helped; however, those who did not weep should be silenced – like they wanted to. Aspen believed she was helping humanity, one injection at a time. It was justified in her mind, a serial killer armed with a vinyl couch and a Ph.D.

As the pitch-black loneliness of the night turned into a golden morning, Aspen climbed out of her flannel woolen bed and into something that suited the up and coming day of problems and the occasional "misguided" clientele. She pulled her black nylon over her long muscular and slightly pale legs, carefully situating them at the top where the elastic was thicker; she hated this sometimes because it grasped at her thigh during the day, reminding her that she was human and could, in fact, feel discomfort. She put on her black bra today, the one that was opaque and thin enough to glimpse the outline of her breasts and the silver dollar shaping of her luscious nipples; this gave the men at her office desire, therefore giving her the power to control, she thought.

Dr. Serandi was not an advocate of the sexual harassment law that passed in '97; instead Aspen embraced the human psycho-sexual side of society. She often cognitively compared the human condition to that of the kingdom of beasts – raw and powerful yet simultaneously crude and passionate. Aspen looked at her faded reflection in the window of her Saab 94i as she fumbled for her keys. This was a daily ritual for her. However, instead of seeing her delicately lined face in the eye of the glass like usual, she noticed the birthing of wrinkles and lines in her thirty-two-year-old skin. This gave her a different perspective on her face; she turned and glanced again but this time she saw the slight reflection of a thin man. She pivoted around yet saw nothing behind her and back at the spotted window there was nothing but her reflection again – wrinkles, lines and a confused Aspen. "I've gotta stop drinking my dinner," she mumbled under her sweet rum breath.

Dr. Serandi pulled the looped golden handle toward her; it was attached to a ridged glass door with frosted carvings of trees and reeds – possibly a scene from a Monet, Manet or maybe even a Van Gogh. Aspen entered her office and took a deep, sensual breath engulfing all of her plaques, diplomas and certificates of categorizing insanity. It was time for her to start her day in this office; she pulled up her sleeves, but not far enough as to uncover her scrapings of turmoil, red and scarred forever. She battled with her own demons, the same angels of hell that plagued her clients, the "misguided" ones.

The outline of her perfect breasts As she finished some paperwork that was beginning to pile up from neglect, a young man appeared in the doorway. It was Dave, the irritating twenty-something that had a hard-on for Aspen from the first time he saw her, about three and a half years ago. Dave was the village idiot to Dr. Serandi, always mumbling and going on about his petty little complaints as a part-time office clerk. Aspen wanted to fire him but there was a trace of attraction to his bumbling charm that prevented her from terminating his employment. Besides, he was a man, and with men she had power. "What can I do for you, Dave", she asked. She really could care less what he wanted, but as his employer she had to seem concerned. "Oh, I just wanted to let you know that Seth called for you, ma'am". She couldn't believe that Dave called her ma'ma. "First the wrinkles, the lines and now I'm a ma'am," she thought to herself. Within three seconds, she replied, "Alright, thanks Dave – oh, did he say if we were still on for tonight at the Oasis". "Um, I didn't catch that one, Dr. Serandi." Dave nodded and caught a quick glimpse at the outline of Aspen's perfect breasts followed by a trace of her sweet perfume and a hopeful desire to witness more of Aspen. Dr. Serandi saw this and reassured herself of her power, her control – she was still desirable, at least to Dave and hopefully her new-found friend that she met at a popular club called the Oasis.

On a summer night in mid-July, Aspen found the man she knew would grasp at her feminine world of control, take the hurt of loneliness and replace it with fine wine and Swiss cheese – absent of the holes, of course. She met the man who had a vague familiararity, the one who she ignorantly brushed up against so many nights before. The man who owned her soul from the day she was born into her grave was Seth Coperi.

The Oasis was a popular club hidden in the ruins of Las Vegas. A certain walk of life in Vegas came here to escape the hustlers, the beggars, the salesman, the froth-mouthed cops and do-gooders of the big city. This certain clientele included Seth Coperi. Occasionally when she was feeling the need for acceptance, Aspen fluented the dive as well. Although not knowing that they would once find one another, Seth and Aspen floated by each other from time-to-time; complete strangers exchanging recycled oxygen, brushing arms, peering, glancing and not acknowledging the hidden carnal attraction they had yet to encounter; not knowing that they too would love. They had been dating and enjoying each other through casual sex for twenty days.

Tomorrow was Saturday and it marked exactly three weeks to the day, this was something to celebrate with Aspen. Aspen thought to herself in her art-clad-post-modern office about the bodies that traveled in and out of her lives and the many "physical relationships" that she had, Seth had lasted the longest. "What better way to celebrate than to go to the place where we met, baby – maybe relive it and get a little kinky," she said to Seth over her five-line Norstar multi-functional useless phone which she only used one or two lines of. "Um, okay sweetheart, where ever you want to go, I'll go," Seth replied with a breathless tone knowing that tomorrow tonight he would start his crusade, his downward spiral into slick redemption making him the most notorious of all.

It was morning and Aspen awoke from her cotton womb and into a still sea of down. She peered at her light blue windowsill and noticed there was a small trace of burgundy smeared upon the bottom left hand corner, along with this smear there was a small note. Aspen reached for the note but was taken back by an overwhelming sense that someone was watching her every move. She shrugged and read the note: "I will wait for you. I will watch you. Tonight ... tonight." Aspen smiled a grim smile and knew that the note was from her boy-toy; she had him where she wanted him, by the balls.

She stood up from her bed and stretched the night off, it was another sweet rum smoke night last night. She undressed from her makeshift pajamas, a torn extra large sweater and a pair of ex-lover socks. As she entered the shower she peered in the mirror and noticed those lines and wrinkles again, but it didn't matter " who do I need to impress now, huh, you stupid fucking cow - who." She said this in respect to her new boyfriend, Seth. She grasped at her chest as she walked into the steaming droplets of her ready-made shower, fully cupping her lean feminine mahogany-tipped hands over her young shapely breasts. This excited her. She rubbed her chest with emotion and fantasized that it was Seth's hands upon her. Aspen closed her eyes, caressed her hands downward and drifted slowly into erotica. As she reached a frenzy of a climax, flashes of dead and rotting gray faces spasmed into her mind, millisecond clips of human atrocities screeched throughout her thoughts. She opened her eyes and saw nothing but white tile and steam from her shower.

Aspen reached for the shower door and opened it; outside there was nothing – but to her right, out of her peripheral eyesight, she saw a human form. Frozen in reaction she could not move. Aspen concentrated on the blurry form as it moved closer toward her. Its head was shaking faster than light, creating an insane chaotic effect. In an instant it was gone, out of sight, out of her peripheral vision. Aspen took in a deep breath and turned her head, she was now face to face with the form – it was a corpse of a woman. As Aspen gasped for air, her eyes widened and her pupils dilated as she took in this grotesque sight. The dead woman was blue-white naked with pieces of flesh torn from her collarbone and neck, exposing muscle and ivory cream bone. Aspen glared into her gray eyes with touches of skylight blue and winter hazel as they blinked uncontrollably, randomly pointing upward towards heaven. Aspens mind was finally full, she rolled her eyes back and passed out – faded to black.

Aspen awoke in a bright white sterile hallway that shook. There were five o'clock shadowed men staring down at her as they looked at each others white coats and talked impatiently as they wheeled her through the linoleum hallway. Aspen peered up past the white coats and concentrated on the ceiling. Her eyes remained unaware of her condition, she did not blink – just a cold stare into the speeding white ruffle and fluorescent light of the hospital ceiling. She kept her eyes still until tears welled into her ducts, finally she gasped and blinked once. As she glared intensely at the ceiling, engrained in the fluff of white there were faint silhouettes of demons and ungodly creatures transfixed within. They turned their deformed craniums toward her as she sped by, some hung upside down and bent their heads back to get a view of the newcomer.

These gargoyles defied gravity, bared thousands of teeth, had yellow eyes, and flaunted a wicked smile. Her eyes widened and her pulse raced, creating mountains upon mountains on her pulse reader. She focused back to the pocket protectors of the unshaven men then peered back at the creatures, as Aspen gained full vision of the entire ceiling she saw the truth. It was a collage of demon bodies that painted a hellish body mural of Seth's face. "Oh my god, Lord deliver me from these devils, these vermin of another pla ..."

Lab coat "Caaarlie ... Caarlie ... CARLIE ... wake the fuck up! What's going on – you're daydreaming and wasting a perfectly good plate of cafeteria riggatoni. Here's your meds, girl. You don't wanna have another one of your fucking episodes again. Remember last time you forgot, totally lost your head, girl ... went ballistic on that family up north, you wanted to chop 'em up ... remember that you fuckin' nut." Aspen opened her eyes, she was in some sort of room with more people in white coats. Except most of them were women in their mid-thirties with fleshy tones and hair-nets. She looked at the woman that was speaking to her and calling her Carlie. "Who are you and where am I? Why are you calling me Carlie? My name is Aspen Serandi."

"Oh God not again, WE"VE GOT A LIVE ONE HERE!", the thirty something hair-net replied.

In the distance of the black-and-white tiled room, Aspen could see a figure step through a large steel sterile door. The figure was now becoming noticeable. It was Seth. "Seth, Seth, over here ... it's me Aspen." The figure was now about two feet in front of Aspen. "What do we have here, another lost cause ... what have you gotten yourself into now, Carlie?" said the figure.

"Seth?" replied Aspen.

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