Overloading the Machine

Not Clouds


The house is flooding is the indication I get from the man outside running emergency loops in the intersection, where drunk van drivers, notably friend William, are sliding in the fresh snow. Nothing stops at a time like this. There is a moment in which things can be rescued, but it is the same moment in which things must be left behind, and that moment


almost passed before I managed to undo my belt, and did pass before I noticed her standing in the corner, watching my boxers fill with cigarettes, shoes, a wallet and a raincoat. "You may not watch me


undress," I said, unable, for the moment, to be politely embarrassed, under the circumstances.

She accepts and signs for a delivery, examines the receipt, and complains about the price. Always.


The waves gobble up the stilts beneath the house. We will soon be inundated. I'm afraid. Moments before, I had seen them coming from the deck, but had thought they were clouds rolling, my own clouds even, from the smoke. That's how I get here, on the roof near a car, a truck and the running man.


I ask friend William to slow down. He points to the man. He points to


I decide to start the car myself, to get out of the honking truck's way, and to leave before things get worse. Things are about to get worse. The common complaint I hear is: "There are not enough cues." I left her behind, partially for that reason. Things were about to get worse.

The man interrupts his loops to flash me


a lighted OPEN sign, indicating passable roads and a feeling of safety, endless and thick.

I loop the sign, a message


I loop the message, a sign, over my head and


over my head and head


and head for


the passage.

This page was last modified on 2011 December 20. "Not Clouds" by John Sullivan is Copyright ©2003 - 2011, and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.