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by Tim Doody

Listen to Tim Doody read 'Zoetrope.'

A knock on the door. The clock's minute hand at several ticks before midnight. Canyons of film reels, glossy magazines and VHS tapes through which SKJ must navigate.

Me, on a couch stained by the rub of bodies.

From around the corner, swapped pleasantries. Footsteps. The crash of film reels. An apology from both guests. The tap-tapping sound as reels are righted.

Happens all the time, SKJ says. Tim, Welles and Andy. Welles and Andy, Tim.

Kissed cheeks. Silence.

Me, fondling metal studs on my hoodie.

So, SKJ says.

Neon yellow hair of Andy. Neon yellow glasses of Andy. Harlequin grin of Welles. Twenty-one year olds in Technicolor.

SKJ strolling to the kitchen. Only I see him mouthing hot hot hot. See a silent stamping of feet, a smirk.

My blank face.

SKJ returning. A Tupperware container in his left hand. Marijuana in the Tupperware.

Ah, Andy says, we've come to this, have we?

Welles looking at me. Me, at Welles.

My tense neck.

A general consensus to watch films shot by SKJ. 16 millimeter. Hand-processed.

White box on a blank wall. Smoke swirling in a tunnel of light. White box flickering to life. Synthetic azure shorts coming undone. Sandpaper darkness. Fuzzy belly expanding.

The click-click-click as each image slides by the lens. The white lightening of a scratch. One boy topping another.

A brief exchange about surfaces, about light on drywall and flesh on flesh. That which contains nothing. Maybe everything.

Project on me, Welles says.

His shirt pooled on the floor.

That's the way, Andy says.

Tattooed on Welles' neck, the circle-and-slash symbol of the empty set. SKJ creeping closer with the projector. Beam of light embracing the delicate smallness of Welles' lower back. Flesh on flesh on flesh.

A roomful of stares.

Welles, a charmed cobra swaying. Boys on film transmogrifying: orchids waltzing, nebulae contracting, luminescent specimens buoyant in Deep Sea.

My exhalation of smoke into Andy's open mouth. His soundless thank you.

SKJ gazing only into Welles' back, at a miniature world that he has birthed.

About the author:
Tim Doody's writing has appeared in
Brevity,, Two Hawks Quarterly, the Rambler Magazine, the Brooklyn Rail, the Indypendent and various anthologies, including That's Revolting (Soft Skull), and the forthcoming Radical Faerie Reader (White Crane). ABC-TV's Nightline included Doody in a national list of "particularly troublesome, even dangerous, anarchists," and Rush Limbaugh made fun of him and his last name on the air.

© 2011 Word Riot

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