Brett Petersen


Cats and Dogs: A Bildungsroman for the Post-Post-Post Modern Age

“A ball in the hand is worth two in the sack.” –the Great Philosopher, Testicles (Testa-klees.)

“This morning I felt an insatiable urge to stuff my finger down a cat’s throat. Thankfully, the cat in question was already dead. He was an asshole. His breath stank of tuna. He was declawed but his bite could puncture the most calloused guitar picking hand. I wanted to bind his black, hairy limbs to a crucifix and jab my Teflon-gloved fingers in and out of his facial orifices. But he died before the urge came upon me. You might think I’m crazy for admitting this. You might think I’m some sort of budding serial killer; a rose with wilted petals falling, turning to mulch in the sharpness of springtime contemplation. But I’m actually a decent guy from Hoichka Boichka City on the Pansas Kanhandle.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said the man whose lapel was embroidered with a red letter ‘M.’

“Just kidding!” The Postman winked, “I’m from Albunny New Fork.

“Uh huh,” M’s chest hairs had become needle-pointed threads tugging at their mooring posts, lusting for the Postman’s neck meat.

“You said yesterday that your dog had an unfortunate accident with a lawnmower, right?”

“Yeah, so what?” M’s butt was itchy.

So, this morning I’m harmonizing with the melody of my inner cbubchub, dropping off some female troll’s discreetly packaged vibrator when what do I see running towards me? A big fucking Rottweiler; mouth foaming, gums glistening, teeth poised to tear my throat out, that’s what! And you told me last week that he got eaten by an emu,” he massaged his brow. “If you’re gonna make up stories, at least try to make them believable. You’re expending so much energy coming up with these cummuppinups, but nobody is going to believe any of them because they’re just so damn fpamy.”

The Rottweiler growled from somewhere inside the house. The Postman’s heart fluttered.

M gransheled…“Politics was never one of your good subjects, was it?” he snargilleckered. “You don’t know when to shut up. You talk too much and smell like diaper squash. You used to flail your arms in the sixth grade, and it was really cute. Your name spelled backwards reminds me of a professor I once had. Ceramics 101. Nice guy. Very tight collection of peanut butter jars. Stacked to the ceiling of his garage. Shameless.”

“A thing is said to promote the interest, or be for the interest of an individual, when it tends to add to the sum total of his pleasures: or, what comes to the same thing, to diminish the sum total of his pains” –Jeremy Bentham

“Turbo Time is the best time. End of story. Can’t you remember who you were three months ago? If not, that’s okay. It will come back to you when you least expect it. Maybe someday soon you’ll recapture that old flame; furnwurzel the simmering coals keeping your heart coichk before the storm of words grabs hold of your jet stream and fires chi blasts in all directions…Perhaps you do not believe that this is real…What are you doing anyway?…What is it you believe in? Is the cancer cell in the wishing well a crime? What is the point of rhyme when the ends of everything are frayed? What would you give to see that mean old cat’s sex organs sliced off? I’d sacrifice my mushroom tip just to see that furnugget drown in a million gallons of piss…even though he might have been kind enough to kick litter box grit over his turds…I’d still throat fuck the motherfucker with my thumb…okay that sounds a bit wrong, but hey…I’m a man whose mind sometimes goes places it shouldn’t…and then I have to go purge my fleshy tornado of dirt and cars and monkeys and unicycles because the winds that howl in my bowels are so unkind.”

The Postman stared blankly at M.

“And by the way, you never once asked me for my real name,” M made a flippant gesture with his right hand. “You silly goose. You dumb fuck. I hate every inch of you. Your face, your chest, your shoulders, your eyes, your teeth, your nipples, your navel, your cock. I just want to tear your body limb from limb, wear your skin like a savage and die inside you. I want to know you from the inside out. I want to tame the overheating reactor core of your psyche. I want to clean up the skid marks and residue of gamma rays from your baseline. The emotional plateau you cherish needs a little fluffing. I can’t wait to eviscerate the hole you’ve been resting in lately. I want your sex like you wouldn’t believe. I want you to cum so far inside me that my eyes become impregnated with your virility. I want to be woken up by visions of sperm sugar plums dancing when the sun goes down for the final time before Christmas joy gets returned for store credit. I want a real life with you. I can’t stand this wugbury any longer. I’d like it very much if you’d forget about me. Go home. Remove your lower ribs and learn to suck your own cock. I’m done with you. Fuck you. Your sour breath. Your ears that don’t listen, your eyes that don’t filter the lies you tell yourself. Your fingers that should, for all intents and purposes, fit snugly inside the tomb where naked children’s wings get snackled…where nobody is searching anymore… where the shining flesh of carp and minnow is recognized as the artistry of a silken finger…where songs can’t be sung…where unununium fountains churn the cunt waters of a fat woman with AIDS.”

“The ambivalence of writing is such that it can be considered both an act and an interpretive process that follows after an act with which it cannot coincide. As such, it both affirms and denies its own nature.” –Paul de Man

The Postman tried to speak, but M cut him off.

“Need I remind you to rewind the VHS tape before putting it back in the case to take back to the video store…whatever you exchange it for, please don’t let it be some boring flick about pirates…I wanna see a ninja movie…where heads fall right off the bodies of mannequins…Oh no! more disturbing tuhnoduuglhitzsms…I wanna see my mom and dad again…zagckless…so I’d better behave and not make any sudden phone calls…please do not be appalled at my lack of tangible progress…I’m trying not to fall too far down the Heinz ketchup hidey-hole…where the teets of a mother hedgehog await…milk that tastes like the time I farted in the bathtub when I was eight…and my mom washed my hair without realizing…I had become self conscious about my hairless penis and balls…something that shouldn’t have bothered me…but it did, and I made it known to the sore in the open sky…from that point on, my mother didn’t wash my hair…I was glad to…scrape the rough yellow towel between my thighs where my genitals dangled divine and dry. I hoped my cock would get bigger someday…but it didn’t.

“Look at it now. It’s a pig in a blanket at some church banquet where mommies and daddies overeat and get too sick to drive my sister and I home…so they spend the night passed out in the sanctuary while me and her play hide and seek with a ghost…then a vampire jumps out and makes a funny joke…we laugh and sigh…our stomachs full of cotpophaghes and Lamictal…I guess I’ve used that one phrase which was made up before…exactly when, I am not quite sure…my hair was a mess that day and most days after that because I wouldn’t let my mom wash it anymore.”

“In the case of various kinds of knowledge, we find that what in former days occupied the energies of men of mature mental ability sinks to the level of information, exercises, and even pastimes for children; and in this educational progress we can see the history of the world’s culture delineated in faint outline.” –G.W.F. Hegel

The Postman’s body had become a rainbow and his presence was wavering in and out of existence. M looked down at his feet and saw that they were grumping along with the floor. The belowspace was a fish tank encrusted with stalactites of feces and mold and odors blessing the runaway trains of mind-torque with grease and Cambrian-era posters…literal dialectics and hand soap from bathrooms…truckers’ dreams confiscated…along with youths denied access to medical rights…a nuisance in Coptic galoshes twining poetry…nevermind…forget it…go home…all of you…kiss ass and chew the fat with professor X; a distraction well worth the trouble of listening. Have you ever wondered what life would be like without you? The days in which you mattered to The School squandered chasing the bare minimum of the twelve credit daydream. You graduated with a 3.2 only two years after you were slated to die icy-hot in a fame fraction ripping armpit stench from rakes wheeling around sets to crate the suns about the carnival…Those erections you had with the catheter firmly rooted in your bladder made stupid decisions stupider. You had yourself a picnic of pain and piss now didn’t you?

“A text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the ‘message of the Author-God) but a multidimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash…

[it] is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture.” -Roland Barthes

“Teach me to understand the windward side of the sand dune you call The Shattered Hourglass.” M was now just a voice singing opera.

The Postman harmonized with him in a rumbling basso. Winds like tendrils of an octobush fed the voices of the two men. Then the Two became One.

“The fragments are too small to reconstruct…what was once your indicator that time had stopped is now your slice of key lime pie!” The One gazed at its reflection in a snowy cloud above. “Ace in the hole! Ace in the hole!” It shouted. “Pinochle rewards…chips pushed across the table…a boy sitting in his room…a loner…a motherfucker eating Doritos and playing Playstation…not participating in games of high stakes…because he staked his own life on his escape…from this world…from Grumbly Bears pursuing him on mopeds…biker bars reduced to rukhblakh…another thought leading to destruction…Maybe something will become of the boy, but I can’t imagine what…An afternoon spent reading comic books in his underwear?…McFascination chicken mush?…Laughing at potty jokes on a bath ROM?…Inhaling a sunbeam poking through an open window?…A panorama of springtime making its nest in the ear canal of a crow?…Do crows even have ear canals? I don’t know. But there is a way to find out…to the library we must go…oh the books, the books! How they overflow! And the pages are paid for by wages of citizens you may not know.”

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” –Carl Jung

“According to the digested wealth of library knowledge, thoughts can only be the organization of stimulus packages fueled by afternoon Gerrymandered contrails. The tails of rabbits will always be fluffier than any thought you could possibly have…cats and coffee-donut sages careening off a cliff…begging to be stopped…before it’s too late and the metaphors can’t be contained…the manuscripts can’t be held together…the staples will come loose…the glue will dry and the glitter and popsicle stick mansions will no longer support the weight of newborn heliotropes…and witnesses will decipher the code of the Evening…the realization that time is getting old…and Boolean logic circuits are being abused…that language can taste good on salad…thought raisins…croutons in an age of cybersex and underage trampoline jumping…Lollipops that don’t behave will whisper to you …sing-alongs devoid of camp…memories wrapped in biblical wumpherescence…fires burning hotter than your current sexual fling…a summer of sweat wasted on penny arcade trappings…stylized in gumption… The last dime has been spent. You were so close…close enough to move the nightmare toward to your inner parabola.”

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” –Arthur Schopenhauer

While M was getting his story straight, the Postman decided to move on to another house where a Pinocchiodog awaited him; a snarling droolmonster determined to floss its teeth with the Postman’s torn-off cock.

At a nearby McDonald’s, M sat behind a half-eaten Filet’o’Fish. The moon was green that night. Perhaps I don’t need to keep my stories consistent, thought M. Maybe there is a great deal of joy to be had in telling unbelievable lies. A sort of comfort gleaned from testing wild nuzulfragls on people despite their incredulity. What if my dog is still back at my house, pacing back and forth behind that plastic fence he could easily bust through by ramming his head into it? Perhaps he’s been dead this whole time and the thing that attacked the Postman was an animatronic replica or hallucination created by the Postman’s schizophrenic taco chandelier. Or maybe the Puppet Master is playing with his microcosmic penis again.

“Just wait and see, you buggering old bugger you,” M clasped his hands together, “there will be a Pinocchiodog after you at the next guy’s house, and an Albert Einstein dachshund made of pizza dough at the one after that! You just don’t know, and you’ll never know,” M smiled.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein

“I must admit,” the Postman sat on a wedge of hedge with his nearly empty mail sack drooping beside him like a tired old friend. “Albunny, New Fork can be a lonely place. Especially on this river of moth blood and baby shit.”

Helena, the city-next-door, was the toothless jawbone of a town truncated with smoke stacks and hipsters grooving in winds winding the granite tuning spoon in the town square.

“Everybody needs a citronella umbrella to keep the photocopies of Randy Newman from disseminating their pamphlets on how to properly bar-b-cue a full-grown male lion,” the Postman figured.

Helena contained within itself a tiny island of high society. The surrounding environs were nothing but a garbage heap; no place for unbent rays of light.

“He was a wise man who invented beer.” –Plato

“Sometimes I forget there’s a war going on,” the Postman made his way down the street to the next house. “When was there ever not a war going on in this world? The nineteen-nineties? The years of Sega Genesis and lips suckling maternal glands and fruit hanging within reach of fat baby arms? Yeah, those times were peaceful alright. Then, down came the Fireball that got knocked out of the park during the Shrapnel Games of 2001. I saw it on TV as did everyone else.”

The Postman stopped a minute to adjust the strap of his sack. “After that, all I remember is how the Risperdal threw my mind into a Jacuzzi so violent it took seventeen doctors and five snarblops to restrain me as I cried out the names of the school administrators and gel-flips I had written down in my notebook at the bowling alley the day before. Long story short, they nailed me to a cross and stole my bookbag and underwear and never gave ‘em back. Fun times all around.”

The Postman halted in front of a mailbox which was literally a rubber duck on a post. He reached into his sack, opened the duck’s mouth and stuffed in a bunch of letters. When he had finished, he readjusted his bag and continued onward. His steps made little explosions of 256 colored pixels.

“Two years before that, I was on a boat,” he scratched at a crack in the space/time between himself and Georgia O’Keefe. “That was 1999. I was in fifth grade; skinny, optimistic. My dad was with me. It was a class trip to New York City and specifically Ellis Island. We got our picture taken in front of the Statue of Liberty. Some of the kids I goofed around with that day would become my enemies. Others would disappear into the briny ocean simply because they refused to vacate their sand castles. I was never a fan of sand art. Too ephemeral. I prefer things that can last forever if you pray hard enough. Like the songs my childhood friends and I recorded on a black tanning leopard in my parents’ basement. ‘When you’re climbin’ up a ladder and you hear something splatter, toxic waste! toxic waste!’ We weren’t allowed to say ‘diarrhea’ back then.”

“Kubalu shiggity boggity boo. Snabba dabba dooba dabba schlobba dobba deepa doppa snargl wargl bargl flargle fnanks cflammel gammel mishkinovich cotaya rabblegamstra.” -Butthair (booth-air): French deconstructionist/linguistic disassemblyman


Brett Petersen, a self described post-post-postmodernist enjoys arranging words in various combinations and creating reverse-entropy in an otherwise chaotic universe. He obtained his B.A. in English from the College of Saint Rose in 2011 and since then, has been living off SSI and Food Stamps. His works have appeared in journals such as Dear Abby Normal, Blast Furnace, Penduline, Up The River and Loud Zoo.

Aside from writing fiction, poetry and essays, he plays drums in the band Dynamite Pleasure Chair and has recorded over ten solo albums on which he sings and plays guitar, drums and bass. He lives in a subsidized housing project in Albany NY.

Issue 1.0 Table of Contents