Battle of the Planets, Part V

by Chris Okum

Perilous Pleasure Cruise

Why a man, Jan says, so blessed would take his own life I will never understand. Jan sits in a leather club chair and stares at his sixty-inch television screen. He watches a scene from Face Dance, Part 3. On the screen a chiseled, oily man wearing a pair of baggy white linen pants is encircled by ten women who are totally nude save their shoes. The man looks confused, but, nevertheless, he is smiling and mock tugging at his long, curly blonde hair. The man screams, I want to make love to you all. Jan hits the pause button on his remote. He says, This is Dino Maserati. Dino is lying flat on the floor of an over-lit all-black room and his body has almost completely disappeared inside an undulating vortex of lightly glittered breasts, buttocks and legs. Jan points at the screen. He says, Dino was a God among men, and, Homes in Florence, Geneva and South Beach, and, Imagine being in a perpetual state of sexual satisfaction. Armando presses play and watches as Dino proceeds to make love to all ten women, one after another, over the course of the next two hours. Jan turns off the television. He says, Is this a man who should feel such despair, and, Begs the question, and, Maybe he knew something the rest of us don't. Jan plucks a tissue and blows his nose. He says, I cry not for Dino but for myself. He says, Dino could not think of a reason to go on. He says, Now I feel as if I can't think of one either. He says, I'll probably think of one anyway.  

Thing with 1,000 Eyes

Thomas steps up to the microphone and says, Hello, how is everyone doing today. He says, If I don't remember all of your names, and, This is for my teammates. Thomas dabs his brow with an official team handkerchief.  He says, Thank you. He steps down from the podium and takes a bow. This is the last time in my life a crowd this large is going to cheer for me, he says to himself. They said he wasn't blue collar enough for Buffalo. Thomas sits down. He crosses his legs and looks up at the grey clouds. He looks at the man sitting next to him. He doesn't know the man's name. He thinks he may have played with the man. Thomas has always been bad with names but it never prevented him from achieving his goals, so who cares. Thomas says, Look at that, I think it's going to rain. The man sitting next to him says, Hey, nothing I can do about it, I'm just an assistant coach, what am I supposed to do, what do you want me to do, tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. The crowd laughs and Thomas does not understand why. In conditions that would make an Eskimo shiver. Thomas stands up. Someone else is getting a standing ovation. Thomas has no idea what's going or who this person is. Thomas thought he was the only person being honored today. This is not what they told me, he says to himself. What they told him was, hey, we'd like to honor you, why don't you come for the week, we'll set you up, it would be our pleasure after everything you've done for our city. They did not say they would be honoring someone else. Who is that, says Thomas to himself, and, And who is that, and, Who the hell is that, and, Who are these people and what do they have to do with me. He spilled his blood for the love of the game.  

Microfilm Mystery

Jennifer stands in the middle of the smoldering pile of rubble that used to be the apartment building she lived in with her mother and father and baby sister. She holds the remains of a charred stuffed animal by her side. She says, Um, okay, like, see, see there's this, and, what, and then the, never mind, forget it, you wouldn't understand anyway.