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American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
01-01-2015
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
01-11-2014
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
01-04-2014
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2014
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
10-01-2013
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
07-01-2013
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
04-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
10-01-2012
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-07-2012
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-04-2012
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
01-01-2012
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
01-10-2011
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
01-07-2011
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
01-04-2011
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
01-01-2011
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
10-01-2010
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
07-01-2010
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
04-01-2010
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
01-01-2010
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
Side Photo for The Big Stupid Review

Two in a Van

By Pavlo Kravchenko

moth?

I feel no cold, only the wind. The wind is on my face, in my face, but it is still. I am the one that blows. I am made of steel, plastic and glass, and I slice the wind like a knife.

But I am a machine, a van, what can I know of knives, or of enjoyment? Well, enjoyment, for one, is a universal concept. One does not need a brain to experience enjoyment. That is only required to experience vanity. My enjoyment comes from fulfillment of my purpose, from doing what I was built to do. How can anybody believe it makes no difference to a van whether it is flying along a highway, a flame burning hot in its chest, or stands parked under six inches of snow with icy crust covering the headlights and streaks of dried salt on the doors? But this is only an idle curiosity, of course. It really makes no difference to me what anybody believes.

Now, the knife reference has most likely come from the unconscious human. Truth be told, there may have been more than a knife reference. This whole elaborate thinking, this desire to articulate ideas, has likely come from the same source, for I have no memory of anything of the sort taking place in the past. In fact, I have no memory of having memories either, and yet now I do have them and my awareness of the human inside leads me to believe that his being there and my acquiring memories are related events.

Although “having” and “acquiring” are probably incorrect terms. Aside from one, my memories are like the wind. Solid enough to be aware of, perhaps even to enjoy, but too transparent and fleeting to see. Like the wind, my memories do not move. I am the one that moves. I suspect that if I were to stop for a moment, the memories would become visible, but I am a machine; I cannot stop.

This does not bother me. I wasn’t built for change. What does bother me is that the only memory I am able to see clearly is not an enjoyable one. It’s like a bug on the windshield just outside the reach of the wipers. That it would be the single memory chosen out of the endless stream washing over me does not seem fair. As a machine, I’m built to bear the unfairness, yet, because of the memories, or because of the human inside, or because my oil hasn’t been changed in six months, I find myself irritated.

Or perhaps it is simply because the memory is of another human, and after ignoring humans for eight years, I have been made aware of two of them in such a short period of time. Irritation aside, there seems to be also pity involved, because neither of the two humans - neither the present nor the past one - are doing too good. One is unconscious, and the other one repeatedly becomes unconscious, as I repeatedly slam into his body. A machine, I cannot stop.

I’m forced to recall this for miles. I hear a wet thud; I crack into a web; I feel warmth; I see pink mist. Miles stretch. As the memory flitters and flops back and forth, like a moth with one wing stuck, I look away. I look past the impact and focus on the street. Parked cars on both sides of the street. They float to me out of the blur: blue, aqua, black, another blue and gray on the left; white, white, white on the right. Also on the right is a tall green van, which could have been a relation of mine if vans had relations, and behind it, the human, unseen, until he steps out into the road twenty feet ahead and turns to face me… A wet thud… Again, I look away. I look up, because I know what‘s below. There are no trees. Just the sky and corners of roofs. Old, squat buildings, like dead trucks, some brown, some gray. The colors remind me of humans, of the human, and I look higher, and finally I am free. The sky is empty, solid, calm. A wisp of a cloud appears, making the blue around it even deeper, infinite. It is the same sky as now, and I want to see nothing else ever again, and for a moment, as the hum of my wheels lulls me, I believe I won’t. But then I see myself.

I’ve never seen myself before, but I know it is me as soon as I do. My face is green and silver and the blue sky is inside my windshield and the wisp of a cloud and the blinding sun in the top right corner as though in a child’s drawing. And then, now, there is a wet thud and the wind is all around me, but it is still. I am the one flying and I am not a machine, I am a human, I am two humans, two at the same time, past and present, body and soul, inside and out, knowledge and memory.

I see it plainly now, and I am embarrassed for having just believed myself to be a vehicle. A ridiculous idea! But at the same time I am a little sad. Now that I know I am not a machine, that I may either be the unconscious human in the present or a dead one in the past, or both, I feel less real. I wonder what it would be like if the epiphany never took place. Would I continue to think myself a machine for the rest of the van’s life? Would I be happy for as long as I continued to move? One would think the realization to be inevitable, when they removed me from the van, for instance, but right now I don’t see anything, aside from memory, tying me to the body, so who’s to say I wouldn’t remain behind?

Idle thoughts, idle thoughts. That is really all I am right now, a string, or a cluster, of idle thoughts. That’s why I feel less real than I did a moment ago, even though I know more now than I did then. And if knowledge does not produce reality, what is the purpose of learning? Purpose. That’s it! That’s what I need. Purpose. Already I feel the change. I do not yet know what the purpose is, but I feel its tug on me, its gentle embrace. I see red horizon behind me. Also there, somewhere behind me, another me is being lifted off the ground. I see the road again. Like the wind, it is still. I am the one who moves. I suddenly realize that we are going east. And for this machine that may have killed me, I feel nothing but kindness.

© Pavlo Kravchenko 2010