A Raven Turd of Shiny Black Toothpaste

It was out of our hands. Once the ordinance passed, it had passed. From here on in, if you died accidentally while swallowing swords, you were a criminal -- a wanted man. It didn't matter that you had already died at your own hand. The police were arresting corpses left and right, making them pay for the foolishness they had exhibited while alive.

Pagan and I found the existence of the ordinance itself to be a repugnant criminal act, and set off at sunset to find its creators. After walking aimlessly for several hours, we found ourselves in a pastoral suburban neighborhood, staring hard at a lemon-yellow stucco ranch house. I realized that this was the house I had grown up in, as I could hear the unmistakable screeching of the 14 raccoons we had once kept in our backyard. Arranged on the lawn like ornaments were stars made of hands: each star consisted of five individual human hands joined at the wrist and laid out in a pentagram, palms down.

When we spied these stars lying face down like crab traps, we knew this was the place we were meant to wait. We sat down together in the gutter on top of whatever was there, which turned out to be a matched set of five toothbrushes, made filthy by the decomposing leaves and litter they shared the gutter with. We were joined then by three other friends, one of whom was Pagan's boyfriend Bill. Pagan said nothing to him; just held aloft a single phosphorescent pink toothbrush. Bill opened up his backpack, pulled out a tube of jet black oil paint, and proceeded to squeeze a raven turd of shiny paint onto the bristles of Pagan's brush. She lifted the mass of pink and black to her face, crammed it all into her mouth, and began to brush ferociously, almost violently. The paint frothed into a bubbling mass of saliva, oil, and charcoal that dripped down her face and off her round chin. It was sexy. She looked at me and we both knew it was Bill who was responsible for the sinister ordinance.

Dreamed by: Scot Hacker