Storyglossia Issue 37, December 2009.

Offa Rex, Pigeon Fancier

by Jennifer Greidus


His largish hands, done up tight by strings that are alloys, essentially allies, done up tight + made to be strung + made to make a melody + made to increase kinetic wealth, are the static wealth of others. He extracts his largish hands from the alloy hexcore of one Sunburst of nine guitars. Sets are peppered with murmurs of odd words, words such as pigeon + out-weird. He makes everyone's delusion bleed-out, but only after first casting everyone's delusion into a wistful, dinner-jacket reality; that night, it is his job.

Before the bleed-out, the proximal links of her index + middle fingers met his, + there occurred an awkward slide of her thumb across sterling + pewter rings, + across his two fingers that were desiccated + incongruously damp. She touched the white, square stone of the favorite ring, + that white stone, upon closest examination, had a sliver-crack, + that sliver-crack was dirty, the baby-chasm filled with feline excrement + moldy meat.

Before the bleed-out, he had very many circles to circle + very many wide-eyed replicas to produce, + hers was one of sixty-eight hands to shake. Her second grab for his hand was edacious, importunate, + she pulled him into her—across the metal alloy riot bar. She then handed it to him, + he clutched it to his hip for quite some time.

"I need the people I love to love me."

So, then, do I.

"We are all black + blue, with green bits."

We're forever.

But oh! The shirt, tight, + the cufflinks (seasonal, round, the distal ends of which resembled loosened telescopes), + the smudged pants. To see his brass zip slipping, she was sickened; she thought, with a hiss of panicked breath, that a snickering brass zip might have his groin unfurled before thirteen-hundred drunken pitbulls with baseball caps. She was sickened that he might be discomfited in any space. But oh! The zip was secure, done up tight, + now the man with the white, square stone belts it. Yes, he belts it, + everyone there bleeds out. He nails it. Cracks it. He belts it.

They said he, Offa Rex, in this refitted bingo hall, would sing the benison of languor + self-regard. That he had cleaved old holy Canterbury with eyes that looked only inward; rather than leaving legacy, he leaves reputation. Offa Rex, with the white, square stone of the favorite ring, loses his breath, his voice, loses his cover, mind, life, + lust for the days when starlings were nailed to his barn door. He blurs from matte to wet-waxen on a platform six feet above her head. As he unites with tight strings, done up for kinetic wealth, she touches the elbows, hair, spines, + thighs of the boys in the audience around her. Offa Rex, she sees, is an amorist if he is anything at all, + old holy Canterbury was sliver-cracked at conception.

He does more than you might do in two lifetimes, you waste-of-space, waster, swan-diver, Rx-slicer. You library of perpetually banal obloquies, you.

Before the bleed-out, she handed it to him, + he clutched it (that thing that she handed to him), still, after dozens of minutes + red camera flashes + scrawls on ticket stubs proffered by those who queued to see him. She queued + flew + swan-dived before him, too, all to place it, her art, in his largish hands, because that art was hatched of his sacrifice + exposition. She + he are both black + blue, with green bits. They are both vomiting the best beauty + vomitus-art. They slake wrath + pride + ululant progenitors.

I see now what you want. I will, I will make my life mean something, now, for I may wish to speak loosely with him about things that mean nothing. I must, I must live to watch his sacrifices + expositions again + again + again, + so that he may someday watch mine. He + I will gather acorns from the yawning lawns of Bearcat-at-Hoo, so that he + I may power-shoot those acorn husks into the moist eye sockets of the haters.

There is such a thing as the Four Seasons, especially in a financial district. When they kick at her front door (that's across the muddy river, that place), she chooses the barrel, projectile, + propellent. The hotel is shiny, + the musical venue is seedy, 5 km from there, too. She walks, because the flash car that she employs—oh! She recoils at her own indulgence.

At heart, Offa Rex is working class, us-for-us, + he wears a cap that his grandfather wore, the old man a muscian, as well, only the old man dragged a chipboard viola through the Rhineland.

(This is the part of the story where the wicket keeper reveals a luxating patella.)

Before she queued + flew + swan-dived before him, a friend whispered to her, in a Connecticut hut with a dirt floor + a thinly thatched roof, "Buttercup, you have to think of something to say."

"To whom?"

"To Offa."

"Uh-huh. Perhaps, you think I'll be lounging in his home by week's end? It's at (deleted), and it's not a book signing or something. There is very little chatting."

"You're bullshit," her friend said. Her friend shook her by the shoulders. "What does this mean to you, buttercup? He's just a person. What does he even mean? A messed up person."

Yes, he's me, only he's in a suit + has a blazing (deleted) + a penis that's been inside (deleted). He reads (deleted) + smokes (deleted) + wound up (deleted) on the porch with (deleted) with a neck covered in (deleted), just like I did, c. 2004.

He means. I woke up, right, because he stripped the dictionary, plucked fine shreds of paper from a heap of scrap, placed the words he found on those strips on his tongue-tip, + strung the language in an order that makes me Dear March.

I am Dear March. He invites me in. But he howls, on fire, going down fast, + I watch him shrink in my periphery, weekly, in the papers + glossies.

Copyright©2009 Jennifer Greidus

Jennifer Greidus lives and writes in Bucks County, PA. She has work forthcoming at Velvet Mafia and Eclectica. Her story, "The Six Hillocks of Hiss," was a finalist in the 2009 RRofihe Trophy. Contact Jennifer at greidus1 AT