Love Unto the Dog Star
Illustrated by Jessica Wilson
Love. In a mugshot.
“Ready, set, go!”
I am dancing, great gods, dancing, and I hardly know why. I hardly know anything, I am possessed.
I am flinging my soul about under lights. Fights! And a big black guy is throwing me down on the ground.
I am waiting, fainting, I am here. A deer. In your 21st Century headlights.
You might say, I came for your women. We built them better, later, you see, harnessing our Reason to subdue our lust, what a tragedy is this Earth, and I am back, back in time, with a mission, or, let us say, several missions. Before we traded cheekbones for the generation ships.
Prancing like a wolf with his kill!
And the woman is laughing. What a thing, innocence! A horrifying power. The power to hypnotize, to ashame, to move bodies and hearts and minds in an instant, a memory of childhood, a darkening shot at your old cynical eyes, you see her prance, you see her legs move and you know it’s only because she wants to, only because like a gazelle the joules are burning in her young legs, and for no other reason. To be unaware of your pull, your gravity well, is only to deepen it.
And I laugh with her, and the flashbulbs fire (I arrived with a great deal of money, praise God), and so what if the generation ships are lost, eh? Our ancestors in their Enlightenment wisdom may have been dead wrong.
Can you imagine anything sweeter than seeing a beautiful woman for the first time?
She is a Valley girl, great gods, and I’ve done my research. You may have heard otherwise, but they’re good suburban girls. They worry about what daddy will think, you see.
“I want to shove my face into your ass,” I whisper into her ear, and she has the grace to turn red, while shaking her finger in my face, twirling out of my reach, and I, desperate peacock with the scent of cunt in my nose, stalk on the dance floor toward her, raising my knees high and moving stiffly, stuffily, ridiculously, to her.
“How did you get to be so beautiful?” I shout at her, when I’m back within hailing distance, and she shakes her finger at me again.
“Why are you such an asshole?” she shouts.
“I thought women your age liked that sort of thing,” I say.
“Not really,” she says.
Sirius, will I be alpha-dog? Cog, in your machine? Whirring towards Manifest Galactic Destiny.
“Come with me into space!” I shout, and she laughs.
Memories of time travel are even less reliable than other memories; they have a horrible kind of permanence. This record is merely an exercise in nostalgia, in this sense, an effort to make it rosier.
I know I brought her back. Didn’t I? Isn’t she here, next to me?
How many coldsleeps has it been? I dream and dream, so many nightmares and so many infuriating glimpses of truth and enlightenment the way they come in dreams, just out of reach, grasped and then un-rememberable, untranslatable, forever lost.
“Are we there yet?” she asks.
And I see her face. She dyes her hair pink. She can’t be older than nineteen. And I stroke her cheek, and say “Almost.”