The Size of a Ship
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Swan Lake - "Spanish Gold, 2044"

At the entrance of the hall is a cracked and dusty arch. At the threshold of the hall, beneath the cracked and dusty arch, stands Mikaeus Andante, hero of his own story, and regrettably of ours. In his pockets a few coins, some matches and his cigarettes. On his face, a disgusting mustache. What a clever drunk girl from the night previous had called "a disgustache". He spreads it with his greasy fingers, he thinks of the soup he refused out of pride at the cafe and regrets not taking it. Looking into the hall, faced with huge sky ceiling, the walls windowed at their tops, facing what he knows is called an "Alma Muerte", but what he thinks of only as a monster. For Mikaeus is not clever like the drunk girl from the night previous. Now sleeping, the Alma Muerte has been terrorizing the town down in the valley below for a whole summer. Now here it lies, huge as a ship or a great house, surrounded by as much of its own shit as by its spoils. A pile of bodies, used up like rags, lies stacked in the corner, shiny objects of various sizes and values lie thrown in the corner, or hung from spikes on the walls. For all its baseness, the Alma Muerte is at least an organized thing. Lungs now unbearably filled with the smell of the giant thing, Mikaeus Andante takes a step inside. Dumbly, as if waiting for a friend to drink beer with, he lights up a cigarette while he thinks about his options. Before he can get through run away and never go back to the village start a new life, the smell of the smoke wakes the beast. Mikaeus Andante now faces the Alma Muerte, it poised to attack, and him struck agape at the sight of the huge thing.

Mikaeus Andante has never even been in a single real fight before. Growing up he would always sleaze and slime his way out of situations. When caught planting kisses on Joquita Jimenez behind the meat store, he claimed that she was to blame, that she had hypnotized him and brought him behind the store to take advantage of him. And when Nicota Valde, her boyfriend, took a swing at him anyway, Mikaeus pushed Joquita in front and she took the blow, knocking four of her teeth loose. When he got caught stealing whiskey during the distraction of the floor show one night at Toquito's, he claimed that he saw others do it, and ratted out half the bar for his own stealing.

And now, sleazy, slimy and disgustachioied, he faces his first unavoidable fight. Unwinnable, surely, but at least unavoidable. As Mikaeus is about to receive his comeuppance for a life poorly lead, a final justice for all the prejudiced jokes, the inappropriate slaps, the lascivious comments about the wives of his friends, he begins to scream. A scream so primal and desperate that the Alma Muerte gives something of a smile; finally, an opponent. And with this scream, his eyes beginning to redden and bulge, Mikaeus flicks his cigarette, as if it were the last step before rolling up his sleeves in some casual bar hall brawl. And the cigarette, what Mikaeus will call his "bravery" when he re-tells the story, flings and flips through the horrible shit-smelling air and lands, burning cherry directly on the right eye of the Alma Muerte. It rears up, seared, and stumbles backward, Mikaeus still screaming, his neck looking like it will near burst. The Alma Muerte takes a few blind steps, thrashing its head from side to side. It steps in the majestic pile of its own shit, clanks and clambers into the unhung golden treasures, and rips flesh as it lurches backwards onto the pile of bodies. As if trying to shake loose the pain, the Alma Muerte swings its head wildly around, and accidentally shoves its head sideways onto one of its trophy hangers, a spare spike that sticks right out of the wall and into its head, its body falling limp. Still screaming and turning blue from the stress of it, Mikaeus watches for nearly ten minutes the many death throes of the monster.

Finally, his throat raw, dizzy, Mikaeus heads down the hill. In a daze, he ends up at the cafe. "I just killed the monster. The Alma Muerte. I'll take that soup now." [Buy]


Elsewhere: Very good friend of the site Carl Wilson (guest post, week-long residency) has some exciting news. As you may or may not know, he wrote a fantastic book last year, an installment in the 33 1/3 series, called "Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste". It's about Celine Dion, and we wrote about it here, here, and here. Well, at the Oscars last Sunday, James Franco was interviewed about his "guilty pleasures" on the red carpet before going in and mentioned that he was reading Carl's book. Now Carl will be on the Colbert Report next Wednesday, March 4th, and we couldn't be happier for him. Buy the book, watch the clip, and watch next Wednesday.

Posted by Dan at February 27, 2009 3:56 PM
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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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