A Mistake
A monster and an angel wake up in a king-sized bed after making love. Bottles roll across the ground as they take turns showering. While they wait, they each look out the windows at the bustling streets below.
The monster finds the shower in the angel’s apartment fantastic. The monster feels brand new, as if revived from a muddy, deep sleep. But when the monster is done the tub is green with filth.
“I’m so sorry,” the monster says, scrubbing the tub on all fours when the angel comes in to see what’s taking so long. “I’ll get rid of it in just a second.”
The angel sits on the toilet and removes a bent cigarette from the pocket of its crisp white pajamas. The angel lights the cigarette and takes a drag, studying the back of the monster’s lopsided head with bloodshot eyes.
The monster cleans furiously, but the harder it tries the worse the filth gets. “Do you have any bleach?” the monster asks.
“Don’t think so,” the angel says, ashing its cigarette into the toilet between its legs. “Maybe in the uh…” the angel says, interrupted mid-sentence by a giant yawn. It rubs its eyes and a crystal tear falls to the ground. The tear dances soundlessly across the tiles before coming to rest by the monster’s knees.
The monster looks up at the angel.
“I think you dropped something,” the monster says.
“Huh?” the angel says, flicking the cigarette into the toilet and letting out a smoky, hungover sigh.
The monster rapidly rubs a hand against its pant leg so as not to soil the crystal. “Here—This,” the monster says, holding it to the angel between thumb and pointer. It is like a star.
The angel shakes its head and shuts its eyes. “You keep it,” the angel mumbles amidst a second giant yawn.
“Me?” the monster says.
A second crystal falls, then a third. The monster looks down. The crystals are doing the Charleston on the tiles.
“Sure” the angel says, “It’s yours.”

God Calls it an Axle
There once was a man named X who knew nothing. He had large hands. His body was contorted with age. His parents were long since dead. He was a banker. He fell in love with a girl. She had copper hair. She was slim, long-necked, small. They met at a bar with blue lights hanging from the ceiling. Cocktail waitresses walked around with silver trays. She sat at the bar with a man. She wore simple clothes. But the man she was with had a suit on that looked like it was made of mercury.
X sat, drinking whiskey, watching them--watching her touch the suit he wore, watching her poke it with her gray-painted fingernails. Gray fingernails. It seemed like the oddest thing. The man smiled at her inspecting the suit he was wearing, but then he did not want her to touch it anymore because she was scratching at it with her gray fingernails. X worried that she was about to make a fool of herself. The man she was poking and scratching seemed to think so too. Still, she dug her gray fingernails into the suit like a person defacing a painting.
“Are you nuts?’ the man with the metal suit said, slapping her hand away and standing up from his stool. Standing down really. The stools at this bar were unreasonably high. With him standing, and she sitting, she was taller than him.
“Get out of here, shitbrain,” she said.
“What’d you call me?”
“I called you a shitbrain, dickcheese.”
He hesitated, his face solving a puzzle.
“Fuck you, Cunt.”
“No, fuck you, you fucking dicktooth.”
X, still watching, laughed aloud.
The man in the metal suit shot him a look. The man in the metal suit was very beautiful and greek-looking in that lazily muscular way, but also probably in the mafia.
“Are you laughing at us?” the greek-looking lazily muscular man said to X. He was no longer puzzled. He’d returned to his natural habitat.
“I’m sorry,” X said. As mentioned previously, his body was like an old tree. He would win no physical contest again in his life. “It’s just . . . DickTooth.”
X laughed a little again.
“What about that?”
X did not answer. The lazily muscular man in the metal suit did not like that. He did not like X for many reasons, or he did not like the world, or he liked the world in a very specific way that he was ready to defend. So he pulled out a very small silver pistol and pointed this pistol at X’s head. The copper-haired girl stood up from the stool and stepped backward. She was scared, but in a way that suggested that she’d been scared like this before. She stared at X. He stared back. Right then, she looked like she could care about him deeply but knew that things she cared about could get shot in the head in a fancy bar with blue lights.
“I’d like you to explain,” the man said. “What you mean.”
“Nevermind,” X said.
“Nevermind, indeed,” he said.
“Indeed,” X said.
“What?”
“Nevermind.” X said again.
“Nevermind what?”
“Indeed,” X said.
“What!”
“Indeed,” X said. The man in the metal suit jabbed the muzzle of the little gun into X’s forehead. It was cold.
“Do you have a death wish?” the man said.
“No, I have large hands,” X said, staring at the girl. “My parents are long-since dead. I was a banker.”
“You’re crazy.”
“My body is contorted with age,” X said.
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
X looked at the girl with copper hair. The girl still stared at X.
“And I know nothing,” X told her.
“No shit, asshole. Can you believe this guy?” the metal man said to her, lowering the gun. “Fucking nutcase.”
But she was already striding towards X, already throwing her arms around his neck, already covering him with proclamations of love and understanding.

*
Many years later--when the girl was dead, and the man in the metal suit was elected king of the world, probably, and X was nothing more that a little, tiny ghost, with no breath for speech, no large hands, no contorted body--he went back to the bar and searched with his nose for the spot where he and the copper-haired girl had first embraced. It was a bank now, no longer a bar with blue lights, and X had to be careful not to pass through the living as they found it unpleasant. He searched carefully, methodically, for many hours. But soon he could sense the stirrings, the traces, of the embrace. They hung in the air like the invisible tendons. He followed them to a source. It was like a joint. A junction of two parts. X touched it with his tiny fingers, as though trying to understand how it worked. Then X took out a pen, bent down, and marked the spot.