the wax paper

Goosed

Philip Brunetti


There was a bunch of us that used to be the other way. But then we turned this way. We got a label—we got a frame of mind for a friend. And then it started. It was inevitable. The hordes of them started to goose. They goosed this person and that person and it was all-out war almost: a war of goosing.

The response then was the outing of goosers via public platforms of shame and entanglement. So there were the goosers on one side and the anti-goosers on the other. The goosers were wrong and knew they were wrong and the anti-goosers knew the goosers were wrong too, of course. But it escalated, tit for tat, a high approach rather than a low, then low again, then more goosing, more outing, more of the way the world had become.

2. Even if the goosers were wrong and knew it, they also knew they were infinitesimally right. They knew they were not dead. They knew they lacked an inner certitude, an innermost core of being, an emptiness prevailed, they reached out, trying to grab on, trying to hold on to something beautiful and true…But their approach was wrong. Of course it was wrong—but the force of their wrongness was freedom.

3. ‘Wipe out the need.’ That’s what some ancient, anonymous-looking figure was saying.  A rickety old man speaking all the way from France with dark sunglasses and a cane, a plaid sport coat and dangled cigarette. The cigarette remained unlit—and had been unlit for more than 30 years.

‘Wipe out the need.’ He probably said it in French if he said it at all.  On a deeper level he was at least thinking it. Still, he reconsidered the word ‘need.’ It wasn’t exactly right. But ‘wipe out the’ was right. Or as close to right as he’d get.

Anyway words weren’t going to solve the goosing. Not even French words. In better days he might’ve filmed it—filmed the whole goosing shebang. He could see himself laughing in the editing room, laughing til he cried. Dropping to his knees with all those goosers and goosing-outers, fighting it out on the cutting-room floor.

4. The loner jazz musician, who wasn’t exactly a jazz musician but more of a purveyor of ultra-improvisation, considered the terms of the goosing. All of it was a tidal wave of trite horrors that’d come to wipe them all away. He could sit in his solitary studio and hold his horn in his hands and stop to think—but what to think about? Just goosing. All of it came rushing after him until it was upon him and he used the battered brass horn to pipedream an air supply, a way out…But there was only the goose attack, the most major goose attack in history, the goosers attacking and the anti-goosers receiving the clamping hands, fingers, and thumbs. SQUEEZE. All this squeezing—the squeezing of rumps until the social-media machine began to squeal. A squeal so high-pitched and long lasting that all jazz died a second and third death inside him, the hobo jazz man, the hobo with a home—The same home for the past dozen or two dozen years, but somewhere in that time he’d retired from his instrument, it’d be a lot if he’d finger the finger-buttons, put slight pressure upon a piston, never mind that he’d no longer blow.

‘The empty bell of the horn’s about where it’s headed,’ he might’ve said. Then: ‘Nothingness.’

5. They had us all hung up on the gallows pole. Or we had to have a view from there, a chalk-outline vista of all the places where the people had been goosed. All the places—from sea to shining sea, unless the Frenchman had imported it and brought it back home, to the mother country, the mother continent, ripe for another round of goosing.

6. The loner jazzman didn’t want to say much about it anymore. No one did. The wave—the trending tidal wave of goosing—had finally passed. But disruptive ripples would soon follow. Final and aftereffect ripples were reforming and another goosing wave, or waves, was sure to come.

‘It came in waves,’ he said. He wasn’t even holding his trumpet anymore. He hadn’t held it in years really—at least not to play it. But he was playing it all the time anyway. But no one could hear it, not above the noisy chatter, the gabble-goosing jabber that went on and on again.

‘God damn it, don’t these fuckin’ people realize we’re all gonna die?’ he asked.Anyhow the goosers were already dying. The anti-goosers were killing them—or had killed them…Eventually the desolate anti-goosers began turning around but no one was there—no goosers. No goosing. No, the goosers were gone, long gone…And who could say if they’d ever get back again? 

Philip Brunetti's literary work, mostly fiction but some poetry also, has appeared in various online or paper literary magazines including, Word Riot, the2ndhand.com, Blackheart Magazine, decomP magazinE, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Crack the Spine