Tuesday, February 13, 2007

EXIT NOTHING (extract)

by Pat King

Chapter 6

On the left, a blue door. Exit. On the right, a green door. Exit. Above, exit. Below, exit.
I can’t get out of here.
What’s happening to me?
I walk around Organ City, trying to find the Mouse Queen. I find her in an old warehouse near the movie theater, a place the Hydrojonian Jungle sometimes practices. The Mouse Queen is a big fan.
I walk in and see Jelly the Clown sitting in a corner near a bronze statue of an enormous lung pierced by an arrow. He’s playing the flute and his black clown makeup is smeared by tears. Very moving, his flute playing. He sees me walk in and nods somberly, continues to play the flute, slightly out of tune, slightly screeching, slightly beautiful, incredibly intense.
The Mouse Queen, dressed casually in blue jeans and a T-shirt, sits on the floor, cross-legged, staring at Jelly. She’s entranced by the music.
I sit down directly in front of her and look into her bright-red eyes.
“This sucks,” I say.
It takes a second or two for the Mouse Queen to pull herself away from Jelly’s music. She looks slightly startled. Then, “What?”
“I’m losing my mind,” I say. “I want to go back.”
“Where?” “Philadelphia,” I say. She smiles. “There’s only Organ City.”
The Mouse Queen cups her paws around her mouth and yells for Jelly. He stops his flute playing immediately and stands up and goes around to the back of the lung statue and begins to push it. The pedestal moves a little and Jelly loses his footing and falls face-down. He stands up, dusts off his baggy bright-blue pants and pushes the statue a little further forward before falling on his face again. This up and down routine goes on for a while, until Jelly has pushed the statue to the spot on the floor where the Mouse Queen and I sit.
“Stand up,” the Mouse Queen says. I stand up. “See that door?” she says. I notice a small red-green wooden door on the statue of the lung.
“I see it,” I say.
“Open it,” she says. “All the answers are there.”
“All the answers?” I ask. “All the answers.”
I open the little door. A powerful noxious odor, somewhat like rancid cheese, somewhat like days-old dead rat overpowers me. I turn my head away. Then I hold my breath and look inside.
And inside, there’s nothing. Absolutely nothing.

For more writing by Pat King visit the Underground Literary Alliance site at www.literaryrevolution.com or www.myspace.com/redneckkafka


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