A Field Guide to My Neighbor's Handlebar Moustache
by Ehren William Borg

I slither back toward consciousness as my eyes adjust to the pulsating seizure-light, reminding me that a beer once swallowed is soon to seethe the world again. My skull says: Tough guys got irrigated with a shiv-canal and sent up the river to swim for it. 'Forgiveness sometimes comes in subtle shades,' she said from some darkened corner. I replied that I was myself a shade, trapped for ever more in the underworld, where there is no parking between noon and 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for street befouling. And who would blame them? They are no more than deep-sea creatures which live near ultra-hot gas exhausts on the ocean floor. The water they drink would boil you alive.

But that's not important now – the one you love has forgotten you again, again. I looked down onto the street as a taxicab came to the surface to breathe, only its suspicious round eyes visible above the waterline. 'Ah,' I thought to myself as I crushed another cigarette in my hand, 'this, to them, is living.' Below, the taxi had glommed on to a floating chunk of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam and, in triumph, was wallowing contentedly upon the languid swells of trichloroethylene. 'And how about those bloodshot eyes,' I mused, luxuriating in a state of perfect understanding, as my bookshelf went supernova, obliterating all consciousness as we know it and ruining my new sweater.

If only there were a better way to get rid of these fingerprints, I thought, as they pressed the mask to my face and put me under. The gamma radiation had begun to abate, and the surgeon had commenced with his dissertation. I wasn't listening, but I dreamed that They told her once that she was going to be comptroller; the poor sap believed them, thus precipitating the most violent outbreak of Phenomenological Dillingerism I've seen in weeks. I, for one, lost my home and spilled coffee all over my categorical imperatives. But I should back up – it really started the morning before when Uncle Dominic came to breakfast with two ferrets sticking out of the back of his head and as if that wasn't enough he had molted into some kind of eight-foot mantis-god and was regurgitating digestive fluid onto the parquet floor. Another Monday, joked Maggie uneasily. She glanced sidelong at me, terror in her eyes, and that was when I realized there had been a gas explosion.

After we rebuilt the doublewide, I began noticing that the street signs in my neighborhood had become personalized. And everyone was making way for me as I perambulated down the sidewalk, helping me across the street, lightly brushing the snow from my jacket with their mittens. Buses would slow down, lingering beside me to see if I needed a lift. Cops took to busting teenagers just because they gave me a cheeky look.

Standing here now, listening to the venous hum of the streetlights beckon me by name, I am approached by a little girl who gives me her ice cream cone while her mother slips me the tongue and presses into my hand a motel key and a shopping receipt with a hastily scrawled address and room number on the back. 'Yep,' I'm thinking, 'that was a hell of a good gas explosion. Gonna hafta do that more often.'

Now, if I could just find that damned taxi...

Mr. Borg was lost at sea in 1936 and soon realized that the hollows of his bones were filled with ball bearings, all straining toward a powerful but unseen magnet. Later, he became a plastic Ronald McDonald head and ruled the land with absolute authority until he was driven from the land by a mob of angry janitors.