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In Which I Let It Burn Because I Like It Burned.

All aboard!

Gentle reader, at this moment I am keen to let twin trains of past and present obsessions collide. The engines meet face to face at exactly equal velocity so that they rise up on their hind wheels while peeling apart and driving through; prismatic spirals of shatter glass, chrome, iron, hydraulic tubing, tungsten (the engines of my mind are always built primarily of tungsten).

Now the lead cars are also rising, pelted by expanding bits and pieces of both engines like meteors, perforating, crushing, collapsing, introducing chaotic elements into what nanoseconds past was perfect symmetry and then the shock wave dispenses with the subtlety of shrapnel and tears each lead car to accelerating, unidentifiable hot chunks.

In both directions cars are leaping upward as if in joy toward the center of impact, chaos has almost but not quite surpassed order and a nearly intact dining car lifts off the track, it’s ass end rising; and the dining car on the other train buckles nose first into the track, passengers shoot through disintegrating walls, windows, tumble almost gracefully, trapeze artists made of tangled meat, up, over and into the somersaulting dinning car from the first train, punching through the roof like bullets through a paper target!

And in the spinning dining car sufficient centrifugal force creates for a fractional moment artificial gravity. To the passengers inside, both original and recently arrived, it seems as if nothing is moving at all or would seem so if not for the terrible bodily damage they have sustained.

Recalling that these trains are imaginary, recalling I am not a spectator, but rather Imaginengineer... I restore the structural architecture of the dining car, drape white linen back upon the tables, refill each cut glass vase, reassemble each flower petal by petal, ‘ton em sevol ehs, em sevol ehs’,  restore the passengers to the physical state they enjoyed prior to being brutally shaken about like whatever makes the noise inside maracas.

I take a second’s worth of time within the dining car between my fingers, stretch is like Silly Putty until that single second becomes hours quite long enough to hold a dinner party in.

And then I have myself a peek.

Domestic Goddess Nigella Lawson is both Chef and Host, sublime, composed, nothing shifts her from her mark, not the crash, not her reassembly, not the reassembly of the suddenly arrived and unexpected guests who must be counted, gently chided, welcomed, made room for. Menu adjustments must be made on the fly, but no bother, a few more bits of chicken, always use the thigh, never breast, too dry! A pinch more cumin, a bit more fresh grated ginger, coriander, it can be blended in a mortar and pestle, but a food processor’s just as good, don’t tell, leave the pestle in sink and let your guests conclude while mingling.

Old Large William Shatner is hitting on Emma Peel while Young Buff Shatner looks on aghast, as if his own future was a terrible and ridiculous thing upon the wing. Rex Trailor, poorly remembered cowboy of my youth, broadcast pioneer, snowy and transparent with analog reception, fumbles in Nigella’s presence. Does a cowboy take off his hat at a dinner party? Does a cowboy ever take his hat off?

Dick York is serving cocktails. Darwin? Derwood? You’re thinking of that other Dick, is he here too? Did someone invite him, how awkward! SAAAAAAAM! Captain America has cornered Dr. McCoy, ‘Say now, I worked with a Dr. McCoy in the Avengers, think he might have been the other kind of doctor, good guy in a tough corner but he shed like a damn blue dog, ever cross over him?’ ‘Only once and it was awful’ growls the old Doc.

‘Tapas?’ suggests Nigella, and all we can do is look, every word that tumbles from her mouth is drenched in honey and competence. Look at the olives, look at the albino asparagus shining with oil and balsamic vinegar, look at the grape leaves! She could preside over anything, a nuclear meltdown wouldn’t phase her! ‘You want to remove the cooling rods before critical mass is reached, it’s lovely really, the blue glow.’ Surely we are safe in her bosom, surely she wasn’t injured or even the least bit  spattered with bits of Xena Warrior Princess and Buffy, surely Meredith Baxter Birney’s severed head never blacked her eye.

Is the water in my water glass shifting, tilting viscous? Is my dinner party second already expired? We haven’t even had the main course yet! ‘Ahm Hongry!’ drawls H.R. Puffn’stuff, ‘It’s gonna take more ‘n a few snails ta fill mah tummy!’ Kimba agrees, Speed Racer agrees but here comes the Mughlai Chicken and not a moment too soon.

‘The most unruly guest,’ Nigella says ‘is easily tamed with a breadstick.’

And she’s made a special dish for me, the chicken is black, carbonized, because she knows I never burn my food by accident, I burn my food because I like it burned.

Her eyes are a chocolate whirlpool, I want to dip myself in them and emerge chocolafied, I want to hide in her refrigerator waiting, waiting, waiting to become a midnight snack.

‘Keep your pants on, Nancy.’ Fat Shatner sottos, ‘Your fantasy is getting out of control.’ He’s right as always, in slow motion I can see cracks spidering through the windows, ice is chattering in each glass. Best for now to make my exit.

A lifetime or lunchtime, we all arrive on schedule at our terminal destination.



casey (Guest) on 03/28/2009 2:10 pm

First thing that comes to mind is the terror of two Shatners being anywhere, ever. Only thing worse would be if you also had the Goddamn Batman there.


Su (Guest) on 03/28/2009 2:56 pm

Is this the new storyline for Ultimates?

The future looks good.

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Poxpower on 03/29/2009 12:50 pm

I finally figured out why you're so sympathetic. It's impossible to ever tell if you're drunk or not when you write things.
God bless.

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Protoclown on 03/29/2009 5:01 pm


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greenimp on 03/30/2009 12:57 am


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-RoG- on 03/30/2009 4:04 am



me (Guest) on 03/30/2009 4:17 am

they should make a movie based on this


Reg Aubry (Guest) on 03/30/2009 5:50 am

Works for me! ;-)


Kyle Harkes (Guest) on 03/30/2009 8:36 am

This is interesting. I'm not sure I understood it, but I enjoyed it.

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SunnyD on 03/30/2009 9:40 am

beautiful! simply beautiful!


Al Boondy (Guest) on 03/30/2009 11:08 am

‘ton em sevol ehs, em sevol ehs’

Forgive my ignorance, but I can't decipher this sentence ...

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mburbank on 03/30/2009 11:27 am

You should initially think it's a foreign language you don't recognize and then realize it's just "She loves me she loves me not" backwards; because the petals are going back onto the flower instead of being torn off.

It's no big thing if that didn't work, for either of us. It doesn't have to, and if it's just ended up being mystifying, that's okay. And if now that you know what it is, you think it was kind of an anti climax finding out, I really don't blame you.

I'm not 100% sure what I'm trying to do with this piece, but having it be completely comprehensible isn't one of them.

Thanks for wanting to know though. And I hope you see now it's just so much tom foolery and has nothing to do with ignorance.


philop (Guest) on 03/30/2009 1:30 pm

I didn't figure it out myself, but the petals thing is absolutely genius. Brilliant piece of writing in a truly unique style. loved it.

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Silver on 03/30/2009 3:30 pm


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Jigby Huggletinks on 03/30/2009 6:30 pm

"I'm not 100% sure what I'm trying to do with this piece, but having it be completely comprehensible isn't one of them."

I say that about my writing all the time! I think you'd enjoy the pieces I write, Max; we have similar style. But I can't say that it's not entirely because you're an influence.

I for one loved this, and found it to be an amazing vent of those scenarios you just sort of imagine because you do. Are we crazy?


Doug-alicious (Guest) on 03/30/2009 7:18 pm

Okay......I'm completely baffled but I know it's good. Awesome work Max!

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Kat on 03/30/2009 7:31 pm

This sounds like one of my dreams.

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The Leader on 03/30/2009 9:02 pm

Every time I read your work, I feel like it should be preserved for all time. You bring a new level to comedy that has never been seen before and you keep blowing me away.

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Colonel Flagg on 03/31/2009 10:47 am

The imagery of the "two Shatners" makes me think of the old TV morie "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" - one young and buff, and one old and fat, each repulsed by the other.

My LOL moment occured about 2/3 of the way in, with the image of Meredith Baxter Birney's severed head flying around the compartment like a billiard ball.

As ever, congratulations on another award-winning masterwork.

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Evil Robot on 03/31/2009 10:53 pm

You stupid fool, do you have any idea how expensive a tungsten locomotive would be?

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Pretzel on 04/01/2009 3:07 am

This sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Of course, I also hear things that aren't there, so there's that. ^_^

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