I

"Word is born" we shouted to each other as the brick crashed into the television. Shattered glass littered the floor underneath the broken screen. We smiled, and it grinned back in jagged glass. We giggled fervently at the outrageousness of it, our eyes shining from the beauty of the shards glistening on tough industry carpet, the music of their clinking together during freefall. The store manager leapt over the counter, rage shooting out of his eyes like the hair bristling out of his chin. I hurriedly retrieved the brick, for memory's sake. "This is for all the old bastards riding the world!" we yelled. The chase erupted through the concise window displays of the store's front and into the main circuitry of the mall. We ran, little efreets passing clothing stores, leather vendors, dealers in battery operated barking toy dogs. One of us, fire glowing from his heels, nearly missed a sluggish shopper, spreading their accumulation of bags over the floor. "My man here was born to be an ill style rocker!" I shot back. Mall security began to appear near the coffee shops. I was worried that, although I had not thrown the brick, they might know that it was me who hid the offending object inside his coat in order to sneak it into the mall, and again to sneak it out. I stopped running and stood near the necklace vendor. I felt my hand run through my hair in an effort to decide which direction to look, my tail lashing agitation. I stuck my hand in my coat, casually. The brick breathed heavily and licked my palm. Stay cool chum. Some other teenagers stealing necklaces stopped what they were doing to watch me. “Hey buddy whats your name?” they asked me.
“Jibberjab” I said.
“We take it you’re rebelling?”
“Damn straight”
“Who’s that one over there with the wings?”
“We call that boy Flutterpuff, on account of his being a sissy”
“You guys are just kid-demons, you can’ even fly right yet”
“Yeah, well so’s your old man.”
“What about that one with fire all over his feets?”
“That’s tapdance.
“He a flamer or something?” one joked.
“Ah, quit razzin me kid.” They began to edge away as the shopkeeper approached, snapping his shirt collar in preparation.

“Son, you know we don’t let djinns in here now,” he began “and for this exact reason.”
“Sir, I didn’t do” I started, but he interrupted me.
“Look, why don’t you start by telling me the names of all your friends and then we can get this thingy straightened out.”
“Alrighty well we got Pothole, Flutterpuff, Tapdance, Pughat, Eyesore”-
“Your crazy magic names don’t make no sense to me boy. I saw on the camera that the one what done throwed the brick had big shiny eyes and a blue skin.” I remember trying to avert my eyes from the glare of his balding head.
“Ya that’s Pughat like I was saying.”
“Okay now this Pughat boy’s gonna have to do some time.”
“Oh but he’s crazy sir you saw what he did with the TV”
“Yeah I saw he done thrown a brick at it like a crazy 'freet. He’s gonna need punished. Now, I can tell you’re a good boy son, more normal than the rest;­ why don’t you start by telling me where you all hang out.”

II

Later, my father would ask me what I was rebelling against. “I rebelled too, but there was something to be done then. The sixties are over.” I flicked him off and gave him a cold stare. “Son, violence and vandalism are never going to be the way to deal with your problems.” I turned around and walked to my room. He pursued me to stand behind my closed door so he could speak without having to make or avoid eye contact. “Look, the adoption papers went through the other day. So, you’re a full citizen now. I’ll tell that to the judge and he’ll go easier on you.”

The old man defined television as an insight into the consciousness of the country. He believed that the endless news stations, the history channels, and even the dumbed down science channels could bring him into contact with a national collective consciousness. He thought that the spirit of the country was proudly blazing its glory through the satellites and kilometers of cable wire covering the ground.

The brick sneered, “it is the ejaculatory ramblings of a dying elite.”
“The ‘ell” I shouted, turning swiftly to it. It rested on the white carpeting in the middle of my bedroom. “Unbelievable.”
“More believable than your parents naming you Jibberjab.” Crumbs of dirt had flaked off to rest in the carpet fibers.
“Since when do you talk?”
“Since I was thrown inside that television. Destroying it gave me meaning, heart and soul.”
“My arse!” I replied incredulous. “Say something smarty sounding then.”
If class conflict is inherent to society, then so too is revolution.” I buried it in the backyard that very night.

III

They only ended up getting about half of us, rounding us up and taking us to court to be sentenced by a black robed, impatient judge. We formed a semi circle facing him from below, and lowered our faces, meek. Pughat, however, glared into the judge’s face with a dangerous intensity. His muscles repeatedly clenched and relaxed, and his teeth ground into each other, the lips surrounding them turned up and open in a silver grin reminiscent of the television’s. Had it been just another vandalism charge, I would have been fine; one simply has to stare at the floor for a while muttering “sir” and do a few hours of community service. But, Pughat was there, and with only the one bailiff in the room and a few policemen nearby, I was nervous. I’d seen him in a fight once when I was younger. A wild sand demon had wandered into town and was slaughtering police in one of the better business districts. So, naturally, they lured it to our part of town. Pughat went after it before most even knew it was around. A bright blue sword appeared in his hand, and he leapt at it viciously, even chasing it down to rip the last bits of it apart. He was wearing the same look with him to the courthouse. Eventually his fuming was noticed, and the judge asked slowly, “young man, do you have anything to say for yourself?”
Pughat glared at him even harder, cold blue eyes dilating madly. “Yes.” The judge exploded.

IV

To escape the situation, my father decided to move us across the Tay, where we would be closer to some relatives. The city here was a mixture of metal and concrete, skyrises falling out of highlands into the violet sky. The streets clenched the terrain, boring through uneven hills bracing rivers. Ragged shops and worn brick buildings huddled along this paving, fish and chips stands hustling as the crowds seeped along the ribbons of asphalt. I pushed through this mass of people, facing downward, collar up against the cold. The wind pressed, rushing through the tweed hat I wear to conceal the two budding horns that lean out of my skull. They jut out the same way those commercials for laundry detergent jut out of the middle of your favorite television rerun. News broadcasts and random programming rattled from screens hanging over the edges of the various side shops along the road. A news report on recent foreign affairs was mixed with coverage of a child’s heart attack. Every so often a gurgling car would sputter through the mass of people, or a spattering of rain would fall over. I kicked at random chunks of asphalt breaking out of the road.

Fog cover drowned the city in the mornings, and in the evening, the restorative chemicals filling the atmosphere began to catch the sunlight early, breaking the light into a dull red haze. People were always on the streets, walking, but none of them could see more than thirty feet ahead because of the mist or garnet glow.

At these times, small time robbery was rampant. I was never a victim, at first because I had nothing to steal, but later because I was invited into the occupation. In fact, it was this supplement to my food service job, although naming food service the supplement would be more accurate, that allowed my father and I to maintain a stable residence and diet. A typical day would consist of six hours spent making sandwiches and preparing cured meats, smiling, and then holding someone at knifepoint in an alley. It proved to be a viable mode of existence. In fact, I ran back into several of my old friends this way. All of us felt together while snarling at anyone in a suit. Occasionally, mist also formed during sundown, and the streets closer to sea level became a red blaze of thick air. We ran through this uproariously, feeling the mist condense onto our forearms. Spotting a form, I called to my friends and we pulled around a corner. Some of us ran ahead, and some to the side. The lot of us huddled around them for a few minutes, a milling group of shadows in the burning mists. We always took great care to set their mind at ease, not wanting to stab anybody. Still, they were facing the threatening end of a knife, and often confused as to our motivation. Was not armed robbery an obvious social injustice? “Zapata's guns baby!” we explained. Many were additionally confused by the fire that sprouted continuously from Tapdance’s feet. They motioned, gesticulated wildly. I crouched down to light my cigarette. “Revolutionary zeal,” we explained.

V

On my days off work I would sit in my room in my father’s new house and contemplate. The brick in the back yard was buried, but had a great presence through the mound of dirt that marked its place: an island of turned dirt in a sea of neatly mowed grass. When weeds began to sprout in it, my father told me that I must pack it better and fertilize. He lifted his face from his cereal, blue veins visible through the skin of his cheek, stretching as he chewed. A news report on robbery and vandalism came on and off the television. He went back to eating. Sometimes he would ask me about my life. Where was it going? How did I like it? Was I properly intent on success? Sometimes I replied by asking if success were possible in this consumer capitalist society. But that was like talking to a brick.

VI

I walked over to the spot where I buried the brick.
We’re going out tonight. Wish me luck.”
“Just remember to take a pre game shit.”

We tore over cobblestone shrieking, flapping our arms like birds trying to fly. Looking back, we seemed in these moments to have only a tentative grip on our sadnesses. We took the first target we could find: a large form in a larger coat, gazing at the street from a corner. Eyesore stepped forward with his knife extended.

“Hiya sir.” The man lifted his head sharply and glared. Eyesore took a step back from him. Blue lines seemed to crawl through his skin in sharp patterns, flexing slightly with his breath. His eyes glowed. “Bunch of little efreets come to cut my purse eh? I’ll send you to the harmons beck if you try.” “More of us than there are of you mister.”
“You’ll be trining by morning bey. Just give up this millin business.”
Tapdance’s feet blazed up with a more powerful flame. “We’re strong”
“Ha! Neither you nor your stampers are strong enough!.” Eyesore raised his blade and stepped forward with Tapdance. The coated man stood up straighter. He snarled and threw his arm out. It seemed as though the mist suddenly became thick water and a current threw me back against the building’s wall. I slumped to the street. My hat danced in the air, falling through beams of light penetrating mist.

VII

The City: Televisions rattling, the death throes of a fish laying in a bed of chips, money burning in the atmosphere, toxic mist, burning eyes and nose and under fingernails, nostrils flaring and sucking hydrocarbons. Hands on stone walls crumbling and falling into the ocean. Spit on concrete. I ran home the next day and dug the brick out. I lifted it above my head, exultant and smiling. Success: Most people cite their parents for giving them the sense of life long inadequacy that propels them to great accomplishments. My parents however, were very loving. If not for middle school, I might be a very balanced, at ease, person. Shut up ugly. The tickets that I’ll take back to Chuck E Cheese so I can buy the neon green ruler with which I will measure my fucking success. I threw it into the sandwich store, busting out the window.
I threw it into the meat grinder, choking up the blades.
I threw it in the air and caught it again. Memory: I remember¡­ the girl with red eyes that ran away to London and fed her guinea pig acid papers. She stole her moms van and picked up the homeless, took meth and chased that imaginary bee around for hours, then blew her nose and found the color red all over again. I threw the brick through car windows down the street, laughing. I threw it into the sky. It broke and it rained. I smashed every television in the television store. I broke the cultural symbolism of our age. Connection: The girl with the emerald eyes, draconic smile, what fangs! Hand on cheek, fingers in hair, tongues, pressing breasts, smooth expanse of stomach, leg folding, legs wrapping. This is connection. Horns jut out of my head like a commercial juts from the television. Like the television juts from the building’s wall, the building’s wall from the ground. The brick in the television. Heavy ground. Kicking asphalt and walking around ribbons in the sky. Holding a brick. Is this disconnection? I sit for awhile in my room, contemplating. My cat is sitting like a person with his back against the side of my desk. Stay cool he tells me. Thumbs up.

VIII

Investigation: My father came around beside me and set his hand on my shoulder. The judge glared. He spoke: “Where is meaning in all of this insignificant action? Your language is falling apart. When signifier fails to meet the signified, when plot fails to move forward, reality is crumbled rather than created.” My father’s hand squeezed. I searched around the courthouse for my answer. I had to respond brilliantly. Pughat spoke up: “I agree. However, it is the meaning shown to us in television that has failed to create. It crumbles all around us. Just look at this city: concrete falling into the salty ocean.” The Judge: “Why then, the violence? When facing the failure of our symbols to sustain you, it is only a further failure to deconstruct. It is further failure to destroy.” Tapdance replied: “We intend to replace your meaning with our own. It was in this way that the brick gained life. Its symbolism is more stable than that rattling TV set of yours.” The Judge: “A talking brick is oxymoronic. Its talking is merely a further attack on my system. It establishes nothing apart.” I stood up. I wanted to say something about the brick’s significance. I wanted to show them the light of its meaning. But the truth was: I didn’t really get it. The brick breathed heavily and licked my palm. I threw it into the screen.

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