Yesterday The Trees Were Encased In Ice / 18 November 2002

The wind blew and they creaked and cracked. I pulled a new Gore-Tex Unitard from the dispenser and put it on with the help of some corn starch. I threw myself into the snow, rolled down the gentle incline into the neighbor’s yard, hitting collapsed branches and fallen icicles, across the unpaved road, over the gutter, the curb, winging the hydrant — I didn’t feel a thing.

I limped back home and fixed myself a blistering toddy. My pharynx got drunk before anybody else, squealing and singing, “What shall we do with a drunken sailor? / Pull out the bung and wet him all over.” I wired my mother, telling her in clipped phrases about my adventures in the snow, the absolute success of my protective gear. She FedEx’d a filmstrip and audiocassette. I called up Eller, knowing he’d bring along six or seven strangers, each more sinuous and deadly than the last. Once everyone was settled in the den I fired up the projector and dimmed the lights via remote control.

The first image was me as a small boy, mid-wipeout, a sleek silver disk flying out from under my ass as I jackknifed onto the ca. 1978 snow. The audiocassette featured my mother on the autoharp, playing an original composition called “Long Alabaster Snows.” The chorus goes: “Eyes closed / Deposed / Tumbling in a heap / Black dreamless sleep / Proceed when you hear the beep.” She beeps and I progress to the next slide: Yrs truly in moon boots and nothing else, at an age when this is cute and not hair-whitening. Nude Tot Giving Thumbs Up, Eller suggests as a caption. And R2-D2 Made of Snow for the next, and then Red Marks Under Flexible Waistband, taking his copyediting job at the Portland Press Herald home with him, though this time it’s endearing.

The song concludes with a lengthy instrumental coda, Mom working the same four chords over and over, a hypnotic pattern that gets imperceptibly quieter. A curious tension in the room as it wound down. I’m thinking now it’s because we were all waiting for the next beep, which never came. Meaning no one saw the final picture in the filmstrip, me and Mom in the backyard in the middle of a blizzard, the Polaroid flash reflecting off ten million blurred snowflakes.

Joshua Green Allen

Fireland is a rickety old website by Joshua Allen.

A novel called Chokeville and a beverage-review site called The Knowledge For Thirst.

A great deal of typing is collected in the Archive.

Articles and whatnot for other sites, including The Morning News, Wired, and McSweeney's, can be found in External.

I've been involved in a number of Epiphany Sink pictures.

I record music under the name Orifex.

The RSS feed is here.

Join the notify list for extremely infrequent updates via email.

The Sexiest Sentence Alive, Fireland Broke My Will To Live, The Black Pill Diaries, and a sampling of Old Fireland Designs.

I can be contacted at .


♦ ♦ ♦