Gary J Shipley – prose














We were underweight and filled ourselves from their fridges. Found some Third World vanity in the proliferation of mirrors. And it was fun for a while, ventriloquizing the head – working that fabulous mouth with our unsanitary hands. We had it lip-synch to Video Games. Some of us fans sang along. Knew the words like we knew now how 3-D was paraplegic. For one of us, finding her dead was a balcony job. He’d delayed it a few seconds to take off his shoes and socks. There by the edge, toes in line with the railing, white socks spilling out the tops like pig offal. She was a new kind of dead. A bit much to take at first. The eyes undiminished: tasered eggs of jet-lagged light. Her thin arms embalmed in soft furnishings. Not a single contusion on her. The victim of a planned kidnapping waiting to be set free. They were all gone in that block. The ballooned faces, the rods and cones of their eyes dead: a frozen sitcom of pearlised PoWs inflated with advanced kidney failure. The rich still put to sleep in different ways. For all its seeming blindness it knew the difference. But she was different still and barely dead. Hers was a Pixar death. A death lived out in pap-shot frescoes and aborted sex tapes. Like her soul had been adopted by the dream of some found footage confirmation of God. A death that stayed warm, that needed feeding and watering. A death with its own version of sleep. Worried about the onset of muscle waste, we got her up on her feet. Dragged her through chicanes of sofas and low tables. The girls force-fed her liquidised croissants through a straw. We all examined her for signs of recent surgery. Lacking reasons to leave, we stayed a week. Got down beneath the wetware of humans. Found her skin spray tanned on the inside. Her skull made of clear Perspex, its folded contents custom-made for a series of square frames. The cortex gleamed like glazed cow intestines, and it was a while before we saw the need for filters. Once we started we did them all: X-Pro II, Lo-Fi, Sutro, Toaster, Hefe, Inkwell, 1977… Some of us thought we saw a smile emerge from the evicted contours of her face. By the end we noticed her fingers becoming stiff like Barbie legs.



Gary J Shipley is the author of eight books of various sizes. His latest is forthcoming from Blue Square Press. He has published in Gargoyle, The Black Herald, Paragraphiti, elimae, >kill author, nthposition, 3:AM, and others. More details can be found at Thek Prosthetics.

This piece can be found inside a limited edition chapbook, HUM KONG MILLIPEDE.




About gobbet

gobbet is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the very best experimental poetry and prose. Intellectual perversity and explorations of dark themes are positively encouraged. We are only interested in work that is progressively experimental. We want to see risks, and we want to see them pay. No previously published work. Prose should not be longer than 1000 words. There are always exceptions. Send 3-5 poems. Include a short bio. Send submissions to Work will be published every 5-10 days. We also intend to publish anthologies of selected work published in gobbet. We will do our best to reply promptly. Most submissions will receive a decision within a month.
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