Part 2. THE GATHERING STORM
So, the gathering storm
– during which the sky goes grey as thrice-skimmed milk and stays that way for so damned long that mainstream meteorologists – much like bourgeois political economists in the months prior to the Entartung, or perhaps ascension, of German Marks to wallpaper and inflammable but unpalatable calories in November of 1921 – who obstinately insisted upon the ultimately restricted duration of any, and they mean any, meteorological phenomenon and so continued to spread digitally toothsome suns-to-come over a field of long-gathering grey, as though it could be ungrunting touched by those whose blister-thick smiles do not so much as crack or twitch, cease to be trusted by the public and, like bourgeois political apologists in months of May, are torn apart in the street to yawn vast and gutty, turning out all the secret violets and persimmon of a body broken by many, an orchard and its suckling marrow alike hot and marigold beneath that gray and long-felled sky whose change or cessation they once had the guts to predict before unspooled from them by force, before they were slain and hewn asunder like French doctors in the cholera days of 1830, as that spider who isn’t happy in palaces and who only freely spreads in stubble stalked the five-o’clock shadowed land, the physicians thought by the pustulent proles to have poisoned the water supply of the hou polloi and so aided in the class composition of a massacre, much like the ballast of a grand ocean liner or the placement of workers’ housing beyond the rails but beneath the tumory soot and gentle exhalations of organs of industry, as if weathermen and weatherwomen not only read radar and spoke its dappled truth to those who waited, lungs open to the drifting black, but sank their milky and contagious hands deep within, to fist and knead and smooth it flat across a vaulted and once-hued dome of lower heaven –
continues to gather.
The point has however
– though not meanwhile –
been raised that won’t the whole chromatic palette of the film will be read as racist, a methodical purge of color beyond the limits of juridical reason, but Jesus, Tom, who’s a goddamned formalist these days and besides we already gave them – don’t give me that look, like you don’t say them, when you’re alone in your bleak house, eight beers deep and in naught but your jock – a black president so can we just move on with this? I wanna get home at some point so I can say words like them without you sanctimonious twats glaring at me. OK, Al, go ahead and Tom, I swear, if you so much as start to utter the word “composition of the visual plane” one more time, I will feed you to my dogs,
– the stone mastiffs who guard the garden do not so much as flinch or crack, their lips curled as always into a brassic snarl, even though the snow that’s fallen and falls still upon their ancient heads has already melted –
so help me God.
– a shuffling of storyboards on which have been printed pixels drawn with a pen that, like the undeniably filthy hands of weatherpersons, is forbidden to touch any screen or landmass for fear of transmission errors or hurricanes –
so the meteorologists are torn apart by the crowd but we don’t totally see it, more like in a zombie film, the old ones I mean, like a whole forest of limbs reaching in and the screaming guy flailing in the middle…
Wait, are they also in a forest? Are these roddy things here trees or arms?
It is neither, the landscape is neither forest per se nor a graphic arrangement of bodies, it is a glade and its walkway, the weatherpersons had of late been dispatching themselves to points of communal reassurance, deserts and small lakes, they bring shovels and tremendous space heaters the likes of which the poor had yet to see to clear from the surface the cursed white, they stain sable the sand, they dream of Yves Klein and throw cerulean and chromium handfuls thick into the water, fuck the fish and their silten gills, what matters is we kill the mirror who shows only white and grey, white and grey all day long and too that horrid orange and red, so too the glades, the meteorologists of state and order set fire to slush and sweep clear the walkways, snare a heron and stain it in parrotish hues, its cry terrible as they make sure the guts match the thatch, they paint shadows where none fall in this endless noon, and there, they give their cheery reports about the coming end of the grey, they move their hands as conjurers and condominium hangmen do, even as snow still falls mocking slow, still piles into wretched drifts up past their responsible loafers to the starling calves, melting on optimistic Hawaiian shirts til the nipples stand forth plucky as Setters and threaten to blow the game.
And the crowd has had enough, armed with hooked blades once for the removal of branches and eyes full of gray, and even they can’t help themselves from making jokes about milk with a chance of evisceration.
And having long blown out its dramatic punch with one too many zithering climbs, the music just tosses forth crescendo after crescendo in unceasing sequence, as an ocean breeds waves or as a city pukes condos on the market’s downbeat, never quite making out to the periphery before the sick splatters and gathers.
So the camera tracks up from the crowd, who strayed – or strewed – … whatever, the limbs are all strewn around (strewned? anybody? no?) so the camera tracks up from the puddle where there was a body up to the sky to match onto the snow
This is gonna be in 3D, right? Because snow looks killer in 3D, like, I dunno, like layers of a field or – Tom the Formalist wisely keeps his mouth shut, though he burns, he burns with metaphors – like it’s snowing in the theater
Of course, it’s in 3D. Why else would we have snow in this picture?
Well, for the Kunis.
Or for the Alba!
Yes, or for the Alba.
(Or for the winter of sight, whispers Tom the Formalist to himself. For the slow drift of data.)
So… it moves up from the strewn stuff toward the falling snow, which is shot against a sky that’s the same color but because of the 3D, you can totally see it, to match cut onto snow that is also falling but inside a snowglobe
(Like in the Moscow Art Theater in April when the surviving Kronstadt sailors decapitated it one brisk night and opened it to all that came from above, whispers Sam the Historicist, sweeping up the dusk gathering in the hallway outside)
So… meanwhile The Old Man has just killed Affleck’s affable coworker, of a race to be determined, but later, sheesh, later, with a snowglobe (that sat on a desk as it does on the desks of all weatherpeople not wholly committed to slaughtering the dispossessed by acts of God or rat) because he came too close to the truth about the Ice Milk or Delta Storm or Whatever. Because of the 3D, without which none of this would even have to exist, to look at the silicate flakes through the film of gore and nerve loosed in the dispatching of the nice man by The Old One means that our eyes are slicked, too, and our nipples, too, will soon betray us and the theater to boot, the aisles of which have, meanwhile, been more and more strained with the overstrung dead, their nerves drooping slack and null as ham pendulums, and all that creeps forth from them starts to congregate worryingly near the john.
In the slightly later meanwhile rogue weatherman Affleck (frankly even Casey will do, especially if the budget is tight in these parts) has been realizing four things:
1. there is something sinister about The Old, perhaps old things in general but certainly in particular and on finding the muck-for-brains remnants of his old pal scattered across the walls and mouths of they who watch this Affleckish suspicion will blossom into its proper pubescence
2. oh, how the storm gathers, and gathers still
3. his warnings remain unheeded, falling on the deaf and now thefted ears of the meteorological establishment, and it is going to be very much too late
4. he misses his Alba or Kunis very much, not to mention it has been 43 days since he ejaculated into someone other than himself, having been busy with the Delta Storm Theory (DST) and all that, and he can’t help but hope that should the storm bring itself to bear upon this wretched earth he will get to prove that love beneath a haltering sky of twice-rent milk and a ground full of cannibals, perverts, and much necessity
Hey, can we throw in a fuck scene here? In flashback? A member of the audience poses to the charnal aisles, followed by much applause for a sterling performance of the very question posed to the film before it even came to be, all mewling and strewn to burst with Affleckness.
No, no, no! Cries the audience in playacting turn. Not without a body double, you don’t!
Not even in soft focus and a junk-height obscurantist statue or aquarium?
No, no, no!
It is quiet in the room of the condominium. Her face is lit by the falling milk on the window’s verso, like watching yourself on the screen where the creases of her ass
are to appear never will see the light of day.
But all is not quiet below, there is a gang that is planning to take over, they are not of any particular race because, well, not even a president or attorney general could rectify a depiction of that magnitude, so for the moment they are simply without color, just a slightly prismatic translucence, daubs of Vaseline in hoodies and late ’90s slang, and these spookless ghosts know something that neither Affleck (Ben or Casey or, oh God no, the missing third…) does, see they were stashing guns
– transparent ones, obvs –
in a sewer and there they found a tremendous quantity of what can only be called grey milk and, being a peculiarly occult gang or perhaps one in transubstantial contact with The Oldmen, they knew the war that was coming, the days of snow and purgation, and they have decided to take over the condominium where the estranged family of the Afflecks reside and on the ground before the gates of the compound they pour a bottle of black milk in an arcane sign – that is, the phrase DIE YUPPIE SCUM – the import of which cannot be mistaken.
I can totally see it now. Like Assault on Precinct 13 but with more snow!
And less cops!
More like fewer cops and Rio Bravo plus The Birds plus Night of the Living Dead plus The Great Silence!
That adds the same thing, asshole. And Kinski’s off-limits now. And besides, cops are a substance, not a quantity.
But all that will get settled later, when the gang breaches the complex with their flaming jars of indeterminate substance, because for the moment, it is quiet.
No, there is hardly a sound, just that of the children playing in the background, shuttling between genders and ages, and, now, between ontic status too, the younger one who was a stable little female thing with an asthmatic’s rustle just days ago now is growing into an unstable little female mid-century modern thing for living, to do what with we can’t say, perhaps set a cup of coffee on, perhaps burrow through the plaster to suckle at the gashed veins of the building’s once-proud heating system.
The Kunba-Alis hybrid stands at the window, where it is quiet. Her saucer-eyes are whiter than the light that falls on them from the world outside, the eyes set off by the dark circles that mean tired mother, and she thinks how fast they grow up and how proud she is and how, despite the differences, she wishes at least one of the Afflecks, if not both, could be there to see too and to wrap at least one of its sets of arms around her middle in the way that one does to indicate that yet another thing grows within her, grows thick and substantial, murmuring and waiting for its dawn to come.
And given the swole of her impeccably tanned belly, and given the sheer radiance of her skin, sopped beyond saturation with milk, and given that it is not merely the lack of children in this condo that has become unmistakable to us but of adults too, not to mention dogs, cats, and the snakes kept by that weirdo on the 9th floor, it is frankly impossible that she has not, in the meanwhile of the scene when the Affleck was busy coming to terms with some serious shit, drained 480 residents and an undermined number of domestic animals, all of which, in a careful rack focus, are now revealed to us, stacked careful and unholy thinned, in the deep space composition – Tom the Formalist swells, gums itching in anticipation – past the lactose curve of the Kunba-Alis’ fulsome middle.
So, she waits. She waits for those who will dare to breach the castle of her and her brood, she waits as the snow piles higher and higher, as in the dining room chock full of husked residents, as in the aisle beside us, where those who left before and those who seek to leave now swell higher and higher until we can no longer fear, only anticipate, the moment when they will blot out the light that pours from behind us and there will be nothing to see other than the failure of our own exodus, all flickering and shit.