9 days of arrows

[a new version of the 9 days of arrows section in dogsbody – an adaptation of the iliad…]

 

RADIO

Then we’re in, now we’re in –

Texas.

 

This is the future. This is Texas. This is science. Fiction.

This is science fiction and in the future there’s a war.

The future, fifty years. The legal age of consent is changed to twelve.

The fighting needs more soldiers.

Combat has changed in ways that make a child’s army more effective.

Easier to feed and command.

 

 

Nine Days Of Arrows

 

RADIO

Fourteen, twelve, ten year olds in the thirteenth year of war, Corpus Christi Texas. Dogface and Nipple have been at war three years each.

 

The one thing that must not be blown up, the one thing all parties will agree must not be cracked are the oil refineries. Not the lines in or out, or the roads leading up or away. An attack would put the country sick, cut support, and the money would go.

 

Story, story, story.

 

Human bones used for fuel.

 

Force, like a dog, or birds, mouth at a time, takes boys to hell, and girls to hell.

 

The rain starts again when you think it has stopped.

 

Friends, Dogface and Nipple, three years in, ten then twelve.

 

Dogface is a killer of dogs. Dogface will be eaten by dogs.

 

Nipple steals Dogface’s radio. Dogface won’t forgive Nipple the theft.

 

DOGFACE AND NIPPLE

Nicotine beer.

 

NIPPLE

And Gendark is a fungus made from spoiled bran out of the Dunkin Donuts, cut with gunpowder and boric acid.

 

NIPPLE

A tooth. A rock. Four dollars. And a 1998 Astros team picture:

The tooth is so you don’t have to take aim. The rock is a grenade. It has the water in it. When it explodes you have a force field. The four dollars is so you can pay to be shot if you’re caught. The card is for –

 

RADIO

An arrow made out of a coat hanger and pipe cleaners rattles down onto the clay.  The first arrow of nine days of arrows. Arrows made of windshield wipers. Bowstrings made of intestines knotted together with school program condoms.

 

This is the future.

 

DOGFACE & NIPPLE

I do not know when I begin a sentence if I will be talking about the living or the dead.

 

RADIO

Day three of arrows and the last yellow birds of the year are working their heads like abacus beads in the light-starved live oak. This play takes place in the fall of the year; the vines are turning brown and the edible roots are contracting, making faces at us when we pull them from looted gardens.

 

NIPPLE

Trees moving in opposite directions. We are diuretic, snot caking at our nostrils when, weak as boiled clothes, we stand up in arrows. Arrows of barbed wire, of cardboard, of yarn. We hurl sticks and rocks. We know they won’t explode, but if I do it without believing it then I am not doing it at all, I am playing. I am hiding, hidden in that mountain, like a genital souvenir.

 

DOGFACE

Gendark is made out of Baby Jesus. Gendark is made out of Motherblood and methane. Gendark makes you fight and fight. Makes night long, long as bad television. But what you fight and kill is time. By-bye, bye-bye time.

 

RADIO

Day six the arrows ping off the oil tanks, the regulators and hardened lines.

 

DOGFACE AND NIPPLE

They blow up the refineries.

 

RADIO

One object is a flint and one subject is a flint and a thesis is a spark and there is a syllogism of hiss, smoke and boom, the rhetoric of flame.

 

DOGFACE

It rains a crap of diesel and crude.

 

RADIO

They fight this war with sneaker tongues, douche, Freon-coils, maxillary mock ups. With their fingers, disease; theft, poverty, and panic.

 

DOGFACE

Eight days of arrows

Day, day before

The last day of fighting

The refinery will burn

For three months straight

Before they cap it

My hands are cold

My blood will not move into certain parts of my body

My skin is made of glass

 

NIPPLE

They take the fighting everywhere

Corona of heat

They fight, rim of halo

Heat, the smell, and pink and brown light

The sun is brown

The moon is pink

 

RADIO

On the eighth day of arrows they take the fighting to a crescent perimeter around the Corpus Christi refineries. They are so sick they turn in circles, nothing met its mark. You can’t say if oil is entering the wounds or flowing out. Still the children labor with their arrows and the spirits who guide them. Twigs break in the bows as they are being fired; twigs broke inside the boys.

 

NIPPLE

Not permitted to duck, we wait for bullets to find us and turn into water.

 

DOGFACE

One boy wears a raincoat because he doesn’t want to catch a cold.

 

RADIO

This wicked trial, this time to pay. Sky is slave to a sun so vile it christens maggots and puts the just to sleep. Fish are trapped in stagnant pools. The earth is spitting up ants. Dry season. “In the dry season” is another way of saying “In the Bible.” My beautiful son, we were everywhere with you and you could not act but on our behalf. You are broken like an egg and mixed with our flour. There is no pulling you out. You are cooked and eaten by the soldiers of God.

 

DOGFACE AND NIPPLE

Names:

God is Great

What the Fuck

Animal Style

Master Rebel Prince

The Angel Autonomous

 

RADIO

Nine day of arrows. Nothing. Nothing.

 

NIPPLE

A child called “God Is Great” purchases a cloak of invisibility from a fellow soldier, and moves towards the enemy. Since invisible, his eyes can’t gather images. They pass through.

 

RADIO

Anonymous:

He was invisible

He could not die.

He kissed death on the mouth

And the bullet found his head,

Where the spine meets the skull.

His brain was destroyed,

For his god did not love him

But was cast in another play,

Wrapped in the allure of a wholly different drama.

 

DOGFACE

The blood on the ground remains immobile and the land streams away under it.

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