I Know Not Why The Caged Bird Screams

Poet starts writing absurdist fiction! (Author introduction)

I’ve been writing poetry for almost four decades. A few years ago, I read a bunch of absurdist Russian fiction by a bunch of people with names I cannot spell or pronounce and decided that this was the type of entertainment the world needs right now, to alleviate reality. I have not sold much of my work. I can say that the social network I currently have is not working to sell books.

I Know Not Why The Caged Bird Screams

He sat on a park bench next to a playground, wearing war-torn steel-toed boots, ragged jeans, and an old Iron Maiden t-shirt. His bald head gleamed like ice in the sunlight. No children played. He enjoyed the silence. He focused on his breath. He breathed in slowly, as deep as he could, visualizing the air as vibrant violet mist sucked into his nostrils. He exhaled, the mists now billowing clouds of black. Inhale. He filled his lungs as far as they would go. Exhale. He emptied them as much as possible.

She sat down next to him, disturbing his meditation. Damn it, he thought, eyes still closed, left eyebrow cocked. He would try his best to ignore her. He breathed in—

“Hello,” she said. He looked at her. She couldn’t have been much older than twelve. She wore a purple dress and black heels. She had braces. There was an oval bird cage in her lap, covered with a black cloth. It was almost as big as she was.

“Hello,” he said.

“How are you doing, sir?”

“Fine.” He shifted in his seat.

“Would you like to see something you have never seen before?”

“Child, I would just like to get back to meditating.”

“I know you would, sir.” Her eyes were a mystifying shade of green, with yellow shards scattered throughout. She had a small mole on her left cheek. “And I’m sorry to disturb you. But you must see what I have.”

“Okay,” he sighed. “Show me.”

She lifted the black cloth off the birdcage. The bars were bronze, with pentagonal spaces between the metal. Inside, three miniature humans sat on a park bench. A female and two males. They were all Caucasian. He thought they were dolls at first, but then one of them spoke:

“Morning, sir. My name’s John.”

“I’m Steve, and this—this is Mary.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said.

“M-m-my name’s Robert,” he said to the little people. He guessed they each were about a foot tall.

“And I’m Claudia,” said the little girl with the giant bird cage in her lap.

“We’re prisoners,” the little woman said to Robert. “She makes them fight and forces us to fuck.”

“Really? I’d like to see that some time.”

“Would you?” asked Claudia.

He nodded.

She waved her hands around the cage and whispered unintelligible syllables. The cage started to glow with a yellow light. John scowled and stood up. He grabbed Mary by the throat and made her stand up. He pushed her to the other side of the cage. She fell. As he turned around, Steve sucker punched him, and he staggered against the bars. Before he could regain his balance, Steve hit him with a right jab on the cheekbone. The other side of his face mashed into the bars. He ducked under the left jab and hit Steve’s ribcage with a right hook. Steve collapsed. John stamped on his head once, twice, three times, lifting his knee higher and slamming his foot down harder each time.

Mary shrieked, “Enough!” and ran to help. Claudia whispered more unintelligible syllables and Mary crumpled to the floor of the cage like litter.

John had Steve locked in a full nelson. Steve stamped John’s foot. John howled in pain, and Steve’s swift left uppercut cracked across his jaw. He fell flat. He stood over his fallen opponent, stepped on his chest and spat on him. Claudia applauded. Robert followed suit.

“That was nice,” he said. “Let’s watch ‘em fuck.”

“They never fight and fuck on the same day,” Claudia said.

“Why not?”

“You ever had your brains fucked out right after you got your ass kicked?”

“No, but I’m sure an orgasm would make me feel a little better about getting my ass kicked.”

“Good point,” she said, “but no. I mean, look: John’s still unconscious.” She whispered over the cage again, and Mary ran to his aid.

“Is he going to be alright?” Robert asked.

“Yeah,” Claudia said. “They heal fast.”

“So why can’t Steve fuck Mary now?”

Mary wailed, John’s head cradled in her lap. “He’s dead! John’s dead!

“Oh shit,” Claudia said. She covered the bird cage and stood up. “Nice to meet you, sir.” She curtsied as best she could. She turned around and walked away. He watched her go, Mary still wailing in the cage.

He returned to meditation. He closed his eyes. He focused on his breath. He breathed in slowly, as deep as he could, visualizing the air as vibrant violet mist sucked into his nostrils. He exhaled, the mists now billowing clouds of black. Inhale. He filled his lungs as far as they would go. Exhale. He emptied them as much as possible.

A deafening clang of metal stabbed his ears. He opened his eyes and looked around. Beside him on the bench sat Mary. Beside her, Steve. They both turned towards him and waved. “Hello,” they said.

He looked up and saw the domed pentagonal prism of the bird cage’s ceiling—and looking down at him, a pair of mystifying green eyes, with yellow shards scattered throughout. Claudia giggled. Robert heard a ruffle of cloth, and everything went black.

Well hello, Mary.”

Hello,” she replied, and felt his hand touch hers in the darkness.

Let’s fuck.”