Greg Mulcahy

Studied tree structure years before. Intertwined. The elements. Did not remember. Lost it.

Loss. As in, I'm sorry for your loss.

Waiting. Second hand fluttering like a mosquito.

Sequence of film he'd seen about the time of his studies—film long since disappeared, forgotten—disposability as movie and inside the movie, interchange of body one the next like a parody of nature. Or life. Appetite reflected in shuddering dread. Repeated and vanished. As, almost, ritual.

Why wouldn't that language be quiet and keep quiet.

He could pray against his enemies.

Beyond understanding. Surpassing understanding that was it, wasn't it.

Movie had young women in sailors' costumes.

Political aspects of his training. The hope for a politics. A community. A polis maybe it was. He and she and them and others and all together.

Each hope bigger than fact. Therefore false. What is alive in this land. Used to be the gun hung on the wall. Or above the mantle. Leaned, perhaps, in the corner. In the desk drawer. Glove compartment. Under the pillow.

Identical sailor costumes.

Approximation of each for each other—he never said—never wanted—anything different.

Nothing really replicated anything.

Hardly a cultural consideration. No culture now or the culture fragmented or the culture collapsed.

The future worse.

Future always better in the movies. For the sailor girls the future a promise. Most movies the future simpler, uniform, science fiction. Flee the complexity of the now and dream that austerely simple, complicit future.
Second hand dumb metronome of purposelessness.

Went into a bar Sunday afternoon. Simply to get a drink. Forgot the game was on. Bar filled with middle-aged fans in their team caps and team jerseys, jerseys embossed with names and numbers of actual players. Team not doing well.

The fans morose.

All the dreadful costumed fun.

Greg Mulcahy is the author of two collections of stories—OUT OF WORK, and CARBINE—and a novel, CONSTELLATION.

Read more of his work in the archive.

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