The End of Nowhere/The Laughing Handshake

“The End of Nowhere/The Laughing Handshake” by Eric Fleming


Hello anybody, my name is Eric, but some of you may know me as Jake Paul, and boys and girls, inbetweeners, outsiders, and out-of-towners, I would like to recount to you all a story from my long and tumultuous youth. It begins and ends with a homeless man at a subway station underneath an undisclosed city somewhere on Earth. So it beginth-Me, I’m on my lunch hour, minding my own business, when this penniless, hobo fella-whose appearance was not so unlike that of a rat-points to me and starts shouting “hey guy, you look like you could use a good joke, guy!” and he starts calling me over, and so, naturally, I abide my curiosities and I tells him “yeah okay I like jokes, tell me a joke, funny man!” and he says he’s got just the joke for me and boy is it funny and oh man is it a stomach splitter. I tell to him “well alright. Try me, and maybe if it’s good enough I’ll like your page on Facebook, joker man”. He smiled and, folks, bada-bing! He told me his joke. This is how it went:

“The pregnant city heaves and hos as the morning sickness pulls and rips like a tide, the T train through her snakelike winding guts, steady sickening at the turns and curves, the bowels turn over as the morning light does in turn, the pregnant heaven spills its bastard like fatty rain on the dimes and quarters of the populace heads inside, “man it’s rainin'” they frown down from downtown’s drowning depths. I cough up a city cent and I feel a spider moving in my deepest membranes, sleeping like a snake there, with quarters in its plenty pockets, I look out across the barren plenty and wonder if your mind can feel mine touching yours with this hot pin prick pointed, well in truth I feel a pulsation under my ribs, does this mean the living live inside me? Does this mean they dooby doo dosey do down deep in my unknowns? The sick of the morning push out of the train like so much seed into the tunnels they run and hot suits fall burning off their backs and strips of skin rise off their bones red and dripping one by one as they look up to the ceiling salt lights they mis-take for several suns. Viscous men try to gather their mistakes back into liquefying suitcases and close the clasps and smack their lips and pull back bloody and runny, they move like eggs over a frying pan, carrying their bowels like newborn babies free from the inner constellations they hide behind their fat pockets. The weeks are beaten bloody by good hearts and lose hearing in one of their eyes for the subway tunnel to speak its gospel but there is the roar of the engine and the tales it spins from the silk the eggheaded the silk the pour onto the tracks under where. You touch my heart and your fingers came away bloody, you smelled them and they smelled of silver, don’t do it again

(I pull myself up the backside of a skyscraper by the skin of my teeth. I wear a bullet.)

(New York Incarcerated. Up north it’s the wild wild west, they kill themselves to get a kick out of life, lost in the past but (in the meanwhile this bullet keeps spinning toward we, no I can’t keep track.)

(I open up my throat to the overpass and let the rainwater fill up the cavernous___my body and all its sidestreets and lost boys and alleys) (I make eyes with the mirror, then I look away, it is the revealer and I realize for the first time that I look like a son of a bitch, it notices the frown drooping off my mouth and the zits ringing the shores of my lips, I listen, my blood is blistering, my eyes becoming two black prunes pushing out of my steady reddening face as they fill up with my hissing, popping, running, jumping, hollering, smoking blood, inside me I feel a whisper, I feel something falling through the floors of my liquid bowels like an elevator defying its master)

(New York Incinerated, I crawl into the taxi man and tell him to take me anywhere and I feel his power, his lungs like two bleating onions as they squeeze my painted skull stuck, his blood washes over me in waves on the bathroom floor, carrying the smell of his vomit breath and gaseous lunch along and his waves of blood crash against the shut door and slip under the crack between the floor and the carpet in

the bedroom drinks it up thirsty as a thousand vampires thin as railings, then he sheds his skin and shakes out of the seatbelt and moaning into the backseat “I’m the driver, the taxi driver, I’m the driver, make me the driver, this city is mine sir, I wanna be higher, filth lives inside ‘er, I wanna be higher, I wanna be the driver

-Every day of my life now, I feel like I’m slipping off the edge of something-

-love shoots up my back like a gun, my loaded spine tenses as I wait for my body to crash-


street where’s

the under where

where…the under where? My street where.”

So this funny guy sits back against the wall, looking satisfied with himself and farting whimsically, and I looks down at him, trying desperately to hold in a rage that could level city blocks, and I says “hey bud, why don’t you get some new jokes there, huh? Maybe next time don’t score them from the memory care unit.”, then I spat on his shoe and washed away, just like that, like water colors. Thank you.