I sit on the toppled tree trunk and await the elephant. The seat is hard and ridged with grot, but smooth from the polishing by repeated bottoms.
A purring, roaring stench of gases rips around me as sleek panthers, creaking rhinos and whinging work horses fart on home to feed and breed.
Soft, sticky slips of air slide down vines, pierced here and there by rare sharpened sunbeams.
The canopy buzzes and crackles with the communication clouds of insects overhead,  zooming blood-suckers collide into the milky-webs of carnivorous mummifiers.

A woman sits on the trunk next to me. Her stench is so strong, I can taste her. A pungent musk emanating from under her clothes fingers its way into my nose, plays some octaves on the organ of my tongue, huffing and puffing onto my tastebuds. Her greying tan skin tones make my palate salivate. I look over and she blends perfectly into the background of flaking mud. She may be well camouflaged but the rancid smell is a dead giveaway.

A camouflaged storm bashes through the jungle corridors, leaves explode, the insects tornado down hungrily. Our elephant arrives and wobbles to a halt. I feed it some nickel nuts. He wraps his muscular trunk around me and shoves me inside. Others are already stewing within, their mumbles faintly echoing the great rumbling stomach. Locals pick the best ribs to sit on. The rest of us grab onto slippery intestines, dangly nerve endings, and eachother. We fuse together as the swelter seals us.
We become a many-headed mass, a puzzle of poking bones and rounded drooping flesh. Coughed, sneezed, expectorated: waves of germs ripple out. Our breaths attempt to skip over them but the germs are patient and hang out, spreading slowly in the dense air.
The mass stumbles about as our elephant barrels and charges, and stops short.

Carne con Ojos - we are a big swaying lump of mottled meat with lucid liquid eyes poking out at the surface.
Every time we stop, I peek through as the entrance gapes and lets in a circle of outside information. A raw red halo surrounds each passenger as they enter. Beyond them, I can see the familiar landmarks confirming the uncomfortable distance to my destination.

At the first stop, I can see the Cooperative Trees in their neat rows, with their perfectly layered branches whereupon the dominant breed tends to their nests. Blue-jean birds, with their rubbery white feet and synthetic feathers. They are carrion birds and can pluck you bald if provoked. Gaggles of them get on the transport as other gaggles get off.

Then darkness and more barreling and charging. The powerful elephant covers incredible lengths of land this way. Then stomps to a halt again.

At the next stop, my ride's viscous maw slurps open to reveal the noxious Flower Fronts. Giant blooms, larger than our elephant, plop open their purple pink and puce petals to entice us with overwhelming odors of sweetness and distilled favors. Brightly confused hummingbirds sip at the forbidden drops before being sucked in by the slobbering sinuous stigma. Bloom-tenders hover about outside. This species dedicates itself to the flower: after a long morning ritual involving much licking by the stigma, the tenders apply petals to their sculpted bodies. But beware! One wrong-way touch of their shimmied velour outfits can end in grievous injury. Their footwear involves long heeled stinging thorns. Even their prattle is dangerous and can strip your bones before you know it. Only nectar zombies get off here.

Knowing my stop is next, I use deep jungle leeching techniques  to move to the exit: I bite into the salty fleshy mass until my skin is released from mutuated suction. I have to repeat the process in the total obscurity until I reach the fetid pedestal by the out-hole.
Passengers are screaming to be let out, others groan from the depressurization bubbles that push, pop and squeeze through them. Little gasps of rotten banana and aged kaki fruit break out of the bubbles then dissipate.

"Faces" © Lilia Mazurkevich

Finally, my stop. I struggle with the others to separate my limbs from the general mass and dive out with the ejection cycle.
Steaming and jumbled, we pick ourselves up and apart. My skin prickles with habitual distaste as I witness the inevitable lump of random limb that sits congealing to the ground. Some poor sod is going to have to get a graft.

I gather up a deep breath of river pong. Even the black furry flies and tough corner crocodiles can't keep me from enjoying this. I know this river, this is my way, my territory. My friendly neighborhood stench. I dive in the thick waters and let my traumatized body float downstream as the glowing leaves above wash me with their cleansing songs of clorophyll and oxygen. Breathing deeper and stretching out of transport compression, I ignore the unidentified tangles of roots and eels that bump and nibble my fingers.
A foreign bird flits into my field of reverie and calls to me with clipped squawks. My neighbor. Ever-present. I can never tell whether she appreciates or loathes me. I've never seen her blink. I've never seen her ruffled. 

I scramble up the banks, mud squelching between my toes. I stoop through the hole into my home, dripping all over the floor. My hair is pouring water down my legs, tantalizing and also slightly annoying. I should dry myself but first I must turn on the air conditioner quick. My skin prickles, but this time- with pleasure.
I flick on all the house lights, the answering machine, my computer, the t.v. and throw a meal into the microwave.
Hummm Sweet Home!

photo © idogu

1 comment:

Ron said...

love the way your mind works