David Press lives in Milwaukee where he has taught, run an educational publishing company, sold battery-operated Santa Clauses, and authored...read more six young adult nonfiction books on abolitionists, environmentalists, and such. These days, David writes genre busting micro novels, risky sequences of overlapping, contradictory and non linear nano episodes. Some of these may be read in Fiction Fix, Fringe, Crack the Spine, Cobalt, Burdock, Red Fez and elsewhere. He counts the Brothers Grimm, Bob Dylan, and David Milch among his posse of influencers.
Press also writes thirty minute, theater of the bizarre plays, most recently a one act dialog between Psalm boy David and the disembodied head of Goliath. Too, Press enjoys collaborating with musicians and visual artists, most recently a project with photographer William Zuback (http://pen-lens2lens-pen.tumblr.com/) featured in February, 2015 exhibit at Inspiration Studios. Press loves the Fez and its editorial growl.
Active in the Milwaukee arts and open mic communities, Press lives with his wife, Petra, an art teacher, printmaker and book artist whose works are exhibited nationally. They have collaborated on a series of ‘zines and a post card novel. See his web site, www.languageliberationfront.com.
I was stumbling down the street. Stubbing my toe on sidewalk cracks. Tripping over lines. On the corner the crossing sign said “Walk,” “Don’t Walk,” “Run for Your Life.” Someone tapped me on the shoulder. Someone flashed a badge. They braced me, they frisked me, they took me downtown. They cuffed me to the hard, wood chair. Under the harsh glare. They gave me the third degree. The shivering fits, the shivering fits, I was seized by the shivering fits. The ambulance siren screamed the anthem of an unfounded nation. And sped me off to detox where my chart read: stage ten (snap-snap) psychic experience.
I saw god in the laundro-mat. He was looking for nine quarters for a two dollar bill. He asked me if I smoked, could he bum a cigarette. He asked me if I ate red meat, if I painted by numbers and looked panhandlers in the eye. He told me he was a flop with chicks. Been this way since B.C. 56. Tony Flaco Tobacco’s daughter Virginia wore cut offs and folded her father’s t-shirts. “What is your earliest memory?” he asked me. Then told me before that I didn’t really exist except as a part of god. He told me between the old and the new testaments there is a middle testament. “That’s the one that counts,” he said. “Read that and you’ll have a (snap-snap) psychic experience.”
I ran into Two Ton Tony. He tried to sell me a wide, hand-painted, hula girl tie. I didn’t want one but I said okay. Thirty-nine dollars of instant buyer’s remorse. I noosed it around my neck. When the tie flapped in the breeze, the girls’ hips swayed. Their hands waved a story. Two-Ton Tony needed a shave. What I needed was a (snap-snap) psychic experience.
That was me all crazy on the Locust Street bridge. I emptied my vial of Pfizer pills into the river below. The pills fell down in slow slow motion and kissed the surface of the water like fishing flies. Bi polar salmon rose to take the bait and lost their desire to swim upstream. I heard a seagull call me chicken. I stood on the railing and wondered if the impact would kill me. Or if I’d be saved by an amazing (snap-snap) psychic experience.
I was on the bus. Tony Flaco Tobacco was running a three card monte con in the back. As the bus approached the cemetery I sucked in air and held my breath. “Pick a card,” said Tony Flaco Tobacco. He had a box from Canfora’s Bakery on the seat beside him. There was a sound of chirping and rustling from inside the box. “Blackbird pie,” Tony said. “I got the last one.” There was no end to the cemetery in sight. I got dizzy. I still didn't breathe. I saw spots that became bones that became dancing skeletons. I still held my breath. I saw four and twenty blackbirds circling my head. I came oh so close to a (snap-snap) psychic experience.
I ran into Emily Dickenson. She was wearing a hula skirt and eating a slice of blackbird pie. We had a few drinks. Maybe three or four. One thing led to another, and well, next thing you know, we had rough sex in a freight elevator. Because we could not stop the elevator, it kindly stopped for us. I switched off the light. I ordered her to assume the position. Face the wall, hands over your head, spread your legs. Blindfold me, she said. She said she’d been a bad girl, very, very bad. Make me do the wheelbarrow position she begged. She said I fucked better than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I pulled her hair. ‘John Greenleaf Whittier?” I asked. “Yes, him too.” “ Frederick Douglass?” “Don’t push your luck,” she said. I frisked her as high up her thigh as I could. Her quick gasp thrilled me at the bone with a shuddering (snap-snap) psychic experience.
At the press conference, reporters raised their hands and shouted all at once. “What are they like,” they asked me, “these so-called (snap-snap) psychic experiences?” “Well,” I said, “they are
I applied for a patent. So I could trademark my (snap-snap) psychic experiences. I would call them snap-snaps and design a logo. I would mass produce them, package them, run door-buster specials. Add modified corn starch and preservatives so they would last and last. Design a Word Press web site to sell them on line, and get them on QVC. Videotape kleptomaniacs shoplifting my snap-snaps from 24/7 Walmarts. But those damn kids in Manila. Must have made some mistake. The (snap-snap) psychic experiences arrived as highly contagious (cough-cough) psychotic episodes. I applied for spiritual bankruptcy.
It started to snow. I saw two snowflakes exactly alike. “Time to reexamine my life,” I said. Could I find truth in the five books of Moses, the ten commandments, the twelve steps, one hundred proof?
In four aces or the four horsemen of the apocalypse? In the three stooges or a third world war? In the seven deadly sins or seven billion heartbeats? In the thirteenth amendment or thirteen coils of the hangman’s noose? In the twin towers or the second law of thermodynamics? I pondered these choices. Who was I kidding? I no longer knew the answers. I felt cold and infinitesimal. I didn’t notice you coming. You said you could show me how to start a fire with a poem. You said you could show me how to connect cracks in the sidewalk, and wait for someone to read my story. You smiled, and (snap-snap).