How many staircases has she been carried down
how many cold steps of rough-hewn stone
into how many dank cellars
damp dungeons, mad laboratories
underground labyrinths, suburban basement torture chambers
transported across how many moonlit moors towards how many castles, cemeteries, ancient mausoleums, abandoned construction sites and midnight back alleys?
How many times has she been cradled in the arms of some hulking goon, priapic vampire, lunatic henchman Frankensteinian monster, lifted over how many thresholds like a bride, but always unconscious
always in diaphanous nightgown
always barefoot, head and arms dangling
toes tensely pointed to the floor in orgasmic anticipation step-by-step descending in an embrace
of muscle, bone or moldering flesh
to meet her softcore fate?
How many walls has she been shackled to
drawn up by chains and ropes on tiptoes
how many pagan altars has she been staked out upon
how many times has her blood been drained by some suave bisexual aristocrat,
some Count or Countess Bathory
how many times has she fallen the pretty prey to the overly complicated machinations of a madman from the wax museum?
Trapped on uncharted desert islands, in dusty claustrophobic towns cut off from anywhere, stranded in the last motel for miles around with a black storm rolling in from out of nowhere relentless and about to break like all Hell itself.
Hopelessly lost, she inevitably finds herself
in the place at the end of every wrong turn
a flat tire,
empty gas tank,
or overheated engine away from every homicidal drifter, lost within walking distance of every ominous house on the hill, dilapidated farm, or Civil War manse that resurrects itself once, every hundred and thirty years, to wet itself with Yankee blood.
For that matter, how many times
has she come upon the ghost of some unhappy ancestor in the attic, stumbled upon the bones in the cellar?
How many times has she sat down to dinner at some hillbilly’s table and heard them snicker in their sour-mash when she asks what time the next bus comes
how many times has she thoughtfully chewed some succulent morsel off the elegant fork of the high-and-mighty and asked, “This meat…
why, it has such an unusual flavor.
I don’t think I’ve ever had anything quite like it before. What is it?”
only to have some parched and powdered dowager lizard wearing heirloom pearls smile and with withering condescension and haughty amusement answer “Well, my dear, if I’m not mistaken, when you arrived I believe you called it, Tammy?”
Laughter and vomiting follow–two sounds not as incompatible as they might at first pass seem.
No, quite a bit alike, they are, after all.
Hung on iron hooks, repeatedly stabbed,
beheaded with axes and chainsaws,
run down in cornfields by farm combines driven by lunatics wearing shriveled masks of human flesh,
drowned in bathtubs, hung inside elevator shafts, harpooned while sunbathing on honeymoon beaches, dismembered by hacksaws, burned by acetylene torches, liquefied in acid baths,
crucified by nailguns,
garroted with her own still-warm silk stockings.
Electrocuted by means of the most improbable accidents, eaten by ants, cocooned by spiders, at the center of the feverishly winged vortex of every inexplicable frenzy of birds.
Tied to wagons wheels set afire and rolled down bumpy hills, swallowed whole by enormous snakes, torn to a bloody froth by sharks, nature bursting forth red from inside her, red, as it is often said, in tooth and claw.
Gnomes, leprechauns, and fairy folk, things breathing heavily inside walls, things vanishing into closets, things with long tails, horns, eyes like burning brands.
Why, he has his father’s eyes, my dear!
The world is haunted with such dead presences, even inanimate objects, inspirited, can come alive and start wreaking havoc with malevolent intent.
Automobiles with minds of their own, power sanders with attitude, computers with messianic complexes–it’s the kind of world where you don’t dare put your pencil down for fear it will get back up and turn it’s eraser on you.
Every door that’s always locked,
every box that remains unopened,
every floorboard’s hesitant groan and creak,
all the covert glances, vanishing smiles, half-heard conversations—is it paranoia, after all, or its dismissal that you must learn to counteract, and, if so,
how, and how can it make any difference when the script itself calls for you to break the heel of your stiletto pump and stumble while fleeing the retarded son with scissor hands, how can you escape when your doom is written like a genotype right there into Scene 17, how can you even hope to live long enough to see “The End”
when you know damn well that you’re scripted to die at the the 36th minute every single time?
Does time repeat itself, then, or just stand still?
Do all the events of our lives come round again (and again) like a merry-go-round where nothing is all too merry?
Eternal recurrence, be damned!
What we are waiting for, it often seems, is for the sun,
like the glowing tip of the master interrogator’s cigarette
to come down out of the sky and to crush itself against the earth once and for all
leaving nothing but ashes and a comet trail of bitter smoke, but that, of course, is another movie altogether,
one not given us yet to view, though the coming attractions have created quite a buzz, they’re looking good, oh yes, baby, they are, just you wait and see.