Eye and Guy
Spacer Spacer

Fall/Winter 2002

From the Editor
Thom Didato

Paul Auster

An excerpt from The Pearl of Kuwait
fiction by Tom Paine

"Law of Sugar"
fiction by Steve Almond

"Weekend Pass"
An excerpt from The Ecstatic

fiction by Victor LaValle

fiction by David Barringer

"Ultra Violets"
fiction by Karl E. Birmelin

fiction by Derek Jenkins

fiction by Gina Zucker

fiction by Diane Payne

"Red Sky"
paintings by Jacob Ouillette



Karl E.Birmelin lives in Selden, NY

Ultra Violets

Q: What do you call a flower that only blooms in nuclear winter?
A: Why, an Ultra Violet of course!

Old nuclear physicist joke

The monstrosity of creation that lied in Test Tube Harry's growth culture was supposed to be a high efficiency lung with super conductive alveoli, capable of absorbing oxygen gas 40 times more effectively than the average human lung. Instead, a violet pulp of semi-differentiated tissue hemorrhaging liters of deoxygenated blood and suffering from violent electrical tremors stared back at him.

Test Tube Harry was an employee of Ultra Violet Industries, and was unanimously considered by most scientists in the field of bioengineering to be the world's worst biomedical engineer. Although not a stupid man, Test Tube Harry's experiments were more often then not crippled by a savage mania for perfection, often leading to bizarre, time consuming methods that would ultimately lead to hideous perversions of biology. Out of 142 documented experiments performed, only 1 was considered a nominal, if not moral, success. It involved the chemical alteration of specific proteins found in buzzard semen to produce a cheap substitute for plastic, which, being based on petrochemicals, was becoming more and more expensive to produce. The experiments were commissioned by Funco Inc., an entertainment accessory company that needed an alternative for plastics to be used in Halloween masks for kids.

The Lab Supervisor, a Dr. Strawberry Skell, saw the hideous anomaly vibrating in Test Tube Harry's growth culture and said 1 thing, the same thing he always said when an abortive result had come from an experiment: "Blast it up the ass with some gamma rays, son."

spacer 20x20*spacer 20x20

Ultra Violet Industries was a subdivision of the CynGen Corporation, which had been a dominant force in biomedical technologies and pharmacogenomics since the early 90's. They were the 1st to complete a rough draft of the entire human genome, as well as being the 1st to patent and copyright all the information, making them the sole proprietors of the human instruction book. CynGen offered this information to other companies and the public, but for a price. Corporate subscribers paid an annual subscription cost of 23 million dollars for access. Discounts were made for universities and academic labs, their subscription cost being a modest 3.2 million a year. Paid access to the human genome was not the only source of income for the CynGen Corporation. By owning the patent to every human gene, they also received royalties from Pharmaceutical Companies, on top of their subscription fees, whenever a drug was sold that was synthesized from the sequencing of a particular gene. The gross quarterly estimates of the CynGen Corporation were approximated to be 314 billion dollars.

spacer 20x20*spacer 20x20

Test Tube Harry was masturbating to an 8 x 11 glossy that featured the protein structure and exact single-nucleotide polymorphism that was responsible for large breasts in women. It wasn't the image of bouncing flesh balloons that was keeping him aroused, but the structural perfection of the gorgeous chemical ribbon that delicately fluttered in the plasmic breeze of the cell nucleus.

spacer 20x20*spacer 20x20

Although CynGen never divulged the information to Dr. Strawberry Skell, the fact remained that he was the father of Test Tube Harry.

The early experiments conducted by CynGen that would lead to the amazing breakthroughs in In Vitro Fertilization technology now being realized were not without certain "misplacements," which inevitably led to a complex web of translocated lineages within the CynGen Corporation. The Executive Research Geneticist of the In Vitro Program, a Dr. Jack Frost, was becoming frustrated with the lack of diversity amongst sperm donors, so much so that he had degenerated to scraping dried semen stains off of dirty underwear found in the lockers of fellow scientists and interning college students involved in the program. At that time Dr. Strawberry Skell was a lowly intern whose involvement in the biotech labs was limited to culturing waste tissues for anabolic growth hormones to be used on severely atrophied bull testicles; the kind of throw-away research that was normally tossed at interning students from local medical colleges. Through some minor miracle of corporate bureaucracy, his research somehow fell under the rubric of CynGen's In Vitro Program. So when 1 blistering summer morning Dr. Jack Frost stumbled onto the contents of Dr. Strawberry Skell's locker, loaded with semen-stained socks and a hardcore she-male magazine with all the pages stuck together, needless to say, he was quite pleased. As it turned out, Dr. Strawberry Skell's chronic masturbation was a pathology of considerable salience, the focus of which was mostly confined to transvestism. The derivation of Dr. Strawberry Skell's sexual proclivities was this: When he was 13 years old a young Strawberry Skell had cut class mid-afternoon to return home and watch his favorite cartoon, Transformers. What he came home to instead was his waifish mother being sodomized by a male cross-dresser with a vulcanized dildo strapped to his pelvis (the dildo, incidentally, was made with a super-polymerized rubber which was synthesized and manufactured by the CynGen Corporation.) Also, the transvestite was plasticized up to the neck in purple liquid latex, which was manufactured by CynGen's then rival, Synthetico. (The CynGen Corporation's rivalry with Synthetico was short lived. When Synthetico was first established the competition between them and CynGen for industrial chemical engineering contracts was fierce. Often degenerating to hideous media battles by exchanging cheap blows through their respective publicity firms. After a few months of numerous false press releases, vicious advertising ploys, and prank phone calls, Synthetico crumbled. The demise of Synthetico Industries came when several high placed executives for the company were implicated and then indicted for, among other things, reporting gross underestimations of financial grosses to the IRS, failing to comply with standard EPA regulations, gross negligence with regard to disposal of industrial waste, management and administration of child pornography rings, and mail fraud.)

From the buckets of scrapings pillaged from Dr. Strawberry Skell's locker, over 40 test tube babies were produced, 18 of which spontaneously combusted into cauterized splinters of moist bone and tissue after only 2 days of existence. 17 of the surviving test tube babies were retained by CynGen for service in the corporation, many going on to high level executive and administrative positions, with their surreptitiously acquired sperm samples being used for similar experiments. This led to a breathtaking complexity in the gnarled genealogical trees of CynGen's employees. From what is currently known in the classified files of the CynGen Corporation, there is a %99.8 chance that Dr. Strawberry Skell is Test Tube Harry's father, as well as the son of CynGen's CEO, Maximillian Logan, who's wife is the sister of Dr. Strawberry Skell, and also the mother of both of them.

spacer 20x20*spacer 20x20

Test Tube Harry's pathological perfectionism had manufactured many gruesome anomalies of nature. However, his greatest failure came with the advent of PROJECT ADAM. The goal of PROJECT ADAM was to create a human being whose natural inclinations towards violence and cruelty were instantly negated by compassion and empathy, a being whose emotional glaciers were chemically defrosted, whose neuro-chemical climate was always a sunny and breezy 75, with %0 percent chance of rain.

First, Test Tube Harry grew the brain into the fetal state, making sure it wasn't so developed that it would begin settling into bad habits. The next and most important step was to perfect the neuro-circuitry by correcting serotonin connections and making sure to engineer the locus coeruleus in the brain stem to maintain proper levels of catecholamines, most especially norepinephrine. These were the mood circuits which, in theory, once stabilized could virtually annihilate depression and violent tendencies. To achieve this, Test Tube Harry poked a series of chromium catheters into the fetal cerebellum, which were routed via fiber optic cables into the rectal cavity of a retarded orangutan that had its brain stem plugged into a quantum computer that delivered 160 volts of electricity every other millisecond. As the rectal sphincter of the orangutan violently dilated, it discharged short bursts of bioelectricity to the fetal cerebellum, which would then, in essence, properly align the neural pathways of the entire brain. (Although ultimately the experiment would end up an abominable failure, 1 interesting effect was produced. The retarded orangutan, named George after the curious simian, when sexually aroused, would glow a strange ultra-violet fluorescence that would reveal itself first in subtle explosions along the spinal cord, then in brutal chemical eruptions across the derma, and terminate in Day-Glo eyeballs that seemed to hemorrhage a neon lightning.)

The end result of PROJECT ADAM was Omega Andy, a complete abortion of everything that was good and holy. Not only did Omega Andy suffer from severe paroxysms of depression and violence, but he was also physically incapable of realizing the depraved fantasies of his psychosis. His brain and most of his viscera had fully differentiated, however, his bones, appendages, and most of his skin had failed somewhere in the developmental phase. He looked like a waif of human organs suspended in a bag of silicone jelly; replete with 2 baby blue eyeballs candy striped by engorged capillaries, floating above a decorticated mouth of wind-up chattering teeth with a pronounced overbite. Wrapped around his viscera was a mangled tree of bronchial tubes that quivered like perforated bloodworms with every breath.

Omega Andy lived for 2 ½ months in a glass mayonnaise jar that was prominently labeled: KEEP AWAY, IT BITES! Although his life was brief, his existence was miserable. When he wasn't screaming at interns and lab techs, Omega Andy silently brooded in intense psychotic fantasy which, if it didn't involve finding some way to terminate his own existence, then with horrifically mutilating someone else's. He dreamed of eating holes through pregnant bellies, ripping apart and consuming undeveloped tissues, then regurgitating the semi digested jelly back into the mouths of his captors. His fantasies often involved super-human capabilities, like 1 in which he was able to telekinetically control and manipulate gravitational fields to bend and warp human body parts, crushing skulls and torsos by creating concentrically imploding gravity waves around them until all the blood, brains, and entrails had collapsed into a slimy bolus the size of a yak ovary. Mostly, however, he dreamed of doing himself in, constructing elaborate fantasies in which by some tumorous cyst of corporate incompetence, he would be accidentally washed into the vast sea of medical waste scheduled to be christened by the GE industrial incinerator, condemned by a nuclear Jesus to be cellularized into atomic mist, just like all the other waste tissues.

Every day Omega Andy thought of a different way to kill himself, only to remember, just before his nightly thorazine cocktail, that he simply did not posses the faculties to do so.

spacer 20x20*spacer 20x20

Test Tube Harry sat alone in his 1 room apartment, vivisected by a purple light radiated from wallpaper that looked like a collection of broken blood vessels. He was thinking about what his parents' DNA transcriptions might have looked like. He thought about committing suicide. And then he thought about making some cookies.

spacer 20x20*spacer 20x20

CynGen's surreptitious involvement with the Central Intelligence Agency effectively began with the inception of the Corporation. CynGen started as a small chemical engineering plant based in the suburbs of Long Island's Suffolk County in New York. After only 6 months of operation their corporate infrastructure began to crumble as profits plummeted, leaving them highly vulnerable to corporate take-over. It was at this moment that the CIA first approached CynGen.

The CIA contracted the CynGen Corporation to chemically engineer a super-addictive opiate that would be distributed throughout the U.S. through Columbia via the Mandolin Cartel. The Mandolin Cartel was a wholly operated and bankrolled creature of the Central Intelligence Agency, disguised as a large criminal organization run by an imaginary mob of renegade guerillas from the hills of Columbia. The product created by CynGen was dihydro-oxy-heroin, a deadly narcotic that was 10 times more addictive than morphine, capable of creating a savage chemical dependency after the ingestion of only 1/16th of a gram. For its efforts, the CynGen Corporation received %5 of the gross of the operation, which resulted in a profit of approximately 1.75 billion dollars a month.

Within 3 years the CynGen Corporation had amassed an unprecedented amount of wealth and influence. The size of the corporation had increased 100 fold, with over 6,434 factories and labs spread throughout the continental U.S., and 8,333 worldwide. It was at that point that the CynGen Corporation had made the decision to enter the biotechnology field, and from there join the race to become the first company to crack the code of the human genome. They were not alone. Over 300 companies had also joined the race making the competition for the copyright of the entire human blueprint a savage 1. They needed help. Once again, the Central Intelligence Agency was more than happy to lend a helping military unit. In exchange for access to advanced biotechnologies, the CIA conducted a deliberate and sustained campaign of industrial sabotage that would significantly weaken the corporate and scientific infrastructures of CynGen's competitors, rendering them incapable of competing at the level CynGen was prepared to, significantly altering the course of science and industry for the next 100 years.

4 years, 2 months, and 13 days later, the CynGen Corporation had completed the 1st draft of the entire genetic code of a human being, a breakthrough which future generations would applaud as the greatest scientific landmark man has ever achieved. Less than 6 months after this incredible moment in human history, the Central Intelligence Agency once again approached the CynGen Corporation.

The goal of OPERATION POLLY ESTER was this: to create a synthetic being capable of infiltrating the borders of hostile countries for the explicit purpose of assassinating foreign government officials of the highest level.

After 3 long years and 100's of millions of dollars spent, In Vitro Sally was created.

In Vitro Sally was, by all criteria medical and biological, a human being. She had skin, a heart, and lungs. She had a liver, fingernails, small and large intestine, and a belly button. She derived energy from the molecular breakdown of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate, she had blood and stored reserve energy in the form of complex webs of tri-glyceride situated most prevalently in her lower abdomen. She had a stomach that churned and writhed to swish around a caustic puddle of hydrochloric acid that broke down most polysaccharides and proteins into their more fundamental chemical components. She could not digest cellulose. By the textbook medical definition, she was, indeed, a living human being whose place of residence those who once spoke the English language called the planet Earth. In Vitro Sally was defaulted into this all-inclusive definition for the simple reason that medical science had not yet invented a nomenclature that took into account the bizarre anomalies inherent in her biological structure. If a taxonomist had been there to witness the 1st breath of In Vitro Sally, after the gruesome surge of near-toxic fluids in his belly, he would have to classify her as a new sub-species under the homo genus. A fitting taxonomic classification might have been - Homo Femme-Fatalis.

This is what In Vitro Sally was: A perfectly engineered assassination machine that looked, breathed, and defecated just as any human being would, except she was beautiful. She had soft skin that felt like velvet to the touch, crystalline blue globes for eyeballs, thick blonde hair that hung like a feather off her shoulder blades, a complexion like amber porcelain, and perfectly shaped C-cup breasts that looked like they floated on invisible clouds just above her rib cage. That's what was on top. This was what lied underneath it: a retractable esophagus that could shoot out the mouth and poke a 5 centimeter hole through a 20 lb. block of human skull, teeth that were super-conductive transformers wired to a bioelectric brain stem capable of generating over 6,000 volts of electricity, elbows of serrated bone that could carve up even the toughest Christmas turkey, and a spinal column that could be activated as a biomechanical chainsaw which could easily bisect the thorax of a 300 lb. human being, among other things.

Creating a being of such unprecedented lethality was not easy, the most daunting task of which was to manufacture a super-material capable of not only extreme strength and rigidity, but also a certain flexibility. This problem was solved when the lead scientists involved in OPERATION POLLY ESTER stumbled onto a material known as Biochrome-BLUE. Biochrome-BLUE was a substance, organic and cell based in nature, whose properties included the strength of reinforced industrial steel, as well as the elasticity and flexibility of spandex. Biochrome-BLUE was synthesized by the molecular fusion of endodermal tissue, a thermoplastic resin of polymerized methyl methacrylate, chromium-53 (an isotope of chromium-52), nutmeg, and elemental promethium. On its own, Biochrome-BLUE was a soft lump of flaccid tissue. However, much like erectile tissue found in the penis or clitoris, when engorged with blood, stood with a rigidity comparable to iron. The use of Biochrome-BLUE over calcified bone to compose In Vitro Sally's spinal chainsaw was unanimous even before the substance was fully tested.

As with most great discoveries, the invention of Biochrome-BLUE was purely accidental. Several months before the operation's commencement the United States Department of Health had contracted the CynGen Corporation to develop artificial uteruses to be used as replacements for those which were horribly shredded by incompetent abortion doctors. By being able to provide on demand replacement wombs, the government thought it would be able to save money lost to lawsuits by federal employees whose abortions were covered under most federal health insurance plans. When a large chemical explosion occurred after an ambitious biomedical engineer by the name of Test Tube Harry tried to fuse vaginal tissue and chromium-53, the only thing that was left of the lab was a few pieces of torn uterine tissue, and an unknown substance lying in an unmarked petri dish, glowing a brilliant fluorescent purple. (The purple substance was an isotopic prelude to Biochrome-BLUE, fittingly classified as Biochrome-PURPLE. Biochrome-PURPLE was a simple fusion of similar elements, its singular variable being a chain of carbon atoms wrapped in fluorine. The fluorine sheath stabilized the chemical structure of the substance, preventing microbe degradation to the carbon atoms. Unfortunately, this property prevented any kind of substantial flexibility. Several incarnations of the Biochrome series were developed by CynGen's chemical engineers before they came to BLUE, all either lacking flexibility, rigidity, stability, or all 3. The most interesting of them all, scientifically, was Biochrome-BLACK. It was the fusion of all Biochrome-BLUE's elements with 1 remarkable variable, mitochondrial DNA, providing the material with the exceptional ability to metastasize and reproduce all on its own, therefore making the substance a singular organic being unto itself. However, there was 1 unfortunate problem, Biochrome-BLACK was dangerously unstable. It would often, completely autonomously, mutate into gruesome radioactive tumors that would seek and destroy other organic systems, behaving in a systemic pattern of mutation and replication like a large, multicellular virus. It ended up as a horrible epidemic within the corridors of the CynGen Corporation, killing 17 interns and several Nobel Prize winning chemists.)

By all accounts medical and scientific, In Vitro Sally was a flawless specimen of bioengineering. She operated with a smooth mechanical precision far beyond most technologies of the day, and her manifest efficiency was so perfect it was beautiful. So when, one breezy autumn morning, In Vitro Sally and a low level lab tech escaped to Las Vegas to be married by a transsexual Elvis, suffice to say it came as quite a shock to the lead scientists and CIA Agents involved in OPERATION POLLY ESTER. The ensuing panic that inevitably followed In Vitro Sally's disappearance was a grim prelude to the horrific debacle that would ultimately lead to the termination of the operation.

Here is what happened to In Vitro Sally: She fell in love. The recipient of that tender molecular embrace was a young geneticist by the name of Delroy Ohm, whose own sexual proclivities ranged from the traditional to what some would politely term the exotic, which included, but were certainly not limited to, hotwiring his scrotum to a 9 volt battery and delivering short electrical shocks to his genital area. When Delroy Ohm carried In Vitro Sally across the cigarette burned carpet of their Reno motel room and delivered her onto the rayon water bed, he wasn't aware of the surreptitiously implanted Fail-Safe device that was embedded in a synthetic hymen inside the womb of his newly wed bride. Upon the hymen's rupture, the nanometer wide device immediately shot an electrical "panic" signal up the brain stem of In Vitro Sally, flooding her brain with chemical distress signals that would elevate her "Fight Or Flight" response to a level of savage lethality.

When the CIA finally located In Vitro Sally they found her, like a child trying to fix a family heirloom she had just accidentally broken, putting back into place the 1,001 pieces of mutilated appendages and body organs of her dead husband. The look in her eye was one of profound confusion, an echo seeming to reverberate in her eye sockets that kept repeating, "What did I do wrong?"

spacer 20x20*spacer 20x20

There was cause for celebration. A grand event terrestrial in nature, nuclear in its possibilities. Test Tube Harry, once a sick inside joke to the prevailing chemical winds of the bioengineering zeitgeist was now, perhaps, on the verge of winning the Nobel Prize. On the beautiful autumn afternoon of November 20, 2002, Test Tube Harry had composed the first rhythmic concerto of the first stand-alone human heart. A breakthrough that would revolutionize the medical industry, allowing any human being with health insurance the opportunity to cleanse their souls of the burden of an unfortunate genetic lineage, providing the old and decrepit and the prodigiously decaying with an on demand replacement for their dying hearts. Humanity's grand war against entropy had taken a momentous step forward.

Executives and scientists, engineers and businessmen piled into the 78th floor of the CynGen building to celebrate the dawn of this brave new age in medical science. There was 1 notable absence from the tremendous festivities being held, Test Tube Harry was nowhere to be seen. He was expected to make a grand speech to commemorate his achievement, as well as sing the glories of the corporation that provided the resources to make such a remarkable advancement possible. Instead, Test Tube Harry sat alone on the 43rd floor, basking in the beauty of the biologic symphony throbbing inside a Plexiglas cylinder, beating on in a mesmeric state of incessancy. He thought about how gruesome a human heart looks when beyond the dermal box that shelters it, like a Red Delicious apple with a core made of blood and muscle, then wrapped in velvet and turned inside out. It sang to him. Then he thought about the failing internals of genetically damned infants, suffering grandmothers listening to their chests, waiting to hear the antiseptic melody of biotic death. All would be saved.

He felt the delicate warmth of a chemical goodness flood his limbic system, swishing around heartfelt images of the weak and the dying rising from their sterilized bed sheets and dancing through hospital hallways, crying their tears of salvation. Test Tube Harry watched his heart beat, systematically pumping the dying back to life. He watched until his eyes hurt. And then it exploded.


"To Do List - Week of March 14th"
Carolyn Hiler
Issue 18 - Fall 2005

"Strike Anywhere"
Antonya Nelson
Issue 9 -
Winter/Spring 2003

"Safety Guidelines for the Operation of Michael, with Help from OSHA"
Amy Havel
Issue 13 - Spring 2004


George Saunders
Issue 5 -
Winter 2002