Thursday, December 29, 2005


This is my very late post for monkey 0's topic.

Stanley dropped the cherry from his cig down between the couch cushions. Bad scene, man. He stuck his hand down after it, quick, moved it back and forth. Nothing. Shit.

Stanley dragged himself up and yanked the cushion off the couch. No smoldering kernel, no ash, no nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing, man. Not even crumbs. The bare couch was as clean as the day the plastic came off, however many damn years ago that was. Fifty or something. Crappy old flowered couch, and he'd been eating and drinking and smoking, playing cards and getting drunk and farting and even had a chick once or twice on the thing, and there's nothing there. Clean as a baby's bottom.

That shit's fucked up, thought Stanley.

He was standing anyway, so he lifted off the other two cushions, knocking his dead cig off the coffee table, and rocking his beer where it stood. Stanley lunged for the beer, caught it off balance, spilled some on the cushionless couch, but managed to save most of it. He was about ready to take a pull when the puddle of beer on the bare seat started moving. Not like running like spilled beer should, man, but like gathering itself together and looping, brown and shiny, toward the crack, that long crack at the back of the couch.

Stanley put down the beer. How many had he had? Damn, not that many, only four or so, just a regular weekday, but damn him if that puddle wasn't slipping right into that crack, leaving the couch as clean as Sunday morning.

Stanley sat down on the coffee table, and looked at the couch. It sat there, not saying a word back to him. It was just a couch, just a raggedy-ass old couch. Maybe it was just curved funny so that everything that landed on it slid to the back. That was it. Stanley nodded once, then knelt on the couch and reached into the crack.

And he kept reaching, pushing his arm in all the way up to his shoulder, his hand waving around in fucking empty air. He yanked his arm back, fast, and pulled the couch away from the wall, knocking it against the coffee table. The beer went over again, but Stanley didn't even stop to see the liquid foaming out of the can, sliding quietly into the crack. He was busy running his hand over the back of the couch. Nothing, just the back of the couch. Wall on the other side.

Stanley stood up. He looked at his right hand, the one he'd stuck into the crack. It was warm. Warmer than his other hand. Shit, it wasn't 40 degrees out and his heat hadn't worked for a month. He was used to the cold. He held his two hands next to each other, and the right one was radiating heat.

Stanley went back around to the front of the couch and laid down on it. He pried open the crack. It was just dark down there, but something, a warm breath and a scent.

Fuck, was that flowers?

Stanley scrabbled in closer. No, it wasn't just dark, there was a glow down there, far off, like sunshine from another room, and...he pried it open just a little further...he heard a breeze, wind through palm leaves. And the scent of flowers. And...Stanley pushed his head as close as he could...ocean waves, lapping against the beach.

The far-off cry of a seagull.


Survival Cookies said...

Did I not warn you that some cactus fruit (although edible) might cause hallucinations...?

Good stuff Billy - keep it up

anne said...

I want that couch. Please.

Bones said...

That is an excellent opening line! I picture Stanley wearing a paisley-print shirt with a very large, very pointy collar, sitting on the flowery Couch of Holding and watching Chico and the Man.

Now I have to run downstairs and steal the neighbor's paper.

jkirlin said...



But I thought
you know...the camera...


Hee hee.

If anne gets the couch, can we have joint custody?

monkey 0 said...

wow, and it didn't bite his arm off or anything...

it does seem that there is consensus on one point: that the couch is a domestic object that, in its very banality, is prone to slyly transcending space and time.

I'm not going to fight J. and Anne for the couch, but if either of them gets it, I would like the chance to sit on it for a little while.

(meanwhile, J., if you ever have a picture to contribute to one of our fiction topic tags, please do; you certainly seem to have a particular gift for matching themes.)

jason evans said...

Excellent, CB, as usual. Great writing voice in the opening paragraphs.

I still the couch is gonna bite his arm off, though.

azuremonkey said...

The Couch to Cancun... what a lovely idea. I would like my time on the couch, whomever gets a hold of it, thanks much, as I go out into the rains.

Chemical Billy said...

survival cookies - you did, but do I ever listen?

And, I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but to tell the truth, if Stanley were able to squeeze into that crack, he'd come out in Hawaii, sure, but in the crystal meth-ridden slum just outside of Kaneohe. But it's good to dream.

jk - there were going to be pictures, but the couch ate my camera.

bones and jason - does Stanley live next door to one of you?

mysfit said...

neat, like a seashell... i like the hectic voice in this, it's real

of course, monkey 0, i thought you knew that when you started this tag... haven't ever read the five books in the Hitchhiker's Guite trilogy?

mysfit said...

er - Hitchhiker's Guide

Chemical Billy said...

Hm, I kinda like Hitchhiker's Guite.