- onSeptember 25, 2017
- Vol.37 Autumn 2017
- byKim Hyun
- Glory Hall
Galaxy Express 999*
A groggy Sam Bill hugged a narrow Eve, who had fallen into an anemic sleep.1 He looked out the window. The train that had left at eight was entering a ghostly star system lush with the dreams of dead birds. Sam Bill tilted his head, trying to remember the time that he had spent alone. The cold steam of the train slipped past the twinkletwinklelittlestarhowIwonderwhatyouare tree leaves, leaving droplets of dreams in its wake. Iridescent dreams shook loose and bumped into love and parted and burst and became transparent. Sam Bill watched the disappeared dreams instead of the disappeared memories and fell on his seat. Eve trembled slightly. Sam Bill kissed Eve’s forehead. The space between Eve’s brows wrinkled sweetly. Who are the surviving Sam Bills greeting now, thought Sam Bill. Annoyingly, Eve opened her eyes. She raised her arms in a stretch, then listlessly dropped them. Sam Bill looked in Eve’s eyes. The two small, tiny black holes where the whites had disappeared looked like the origins of extinction. A klaxon sounded. Gu gu gu, or 999, the klaxon mourned. Eve placed her hand on the windowpane. The tail of the train loudly hit the forest as it slid out of it. Flocks of six-colored stonewall birds flew up in unison like protesters. Blind Eve sensed the rainbow feathers that had drifted and stuck on the window. She tapped along the glass. Sam Bill brought Eve’s hand with its dried, cracked skin towards him and placed it on his chest. He lowered his head and breathed into Eve’s hair. There was a long silence. It won’t be long now, cold snow! Eve whispered with her last ounce of strength. Sam Bill raised his head. The white grains of the molecules of the cold stars scattered past. A graveyard on a winter beach. Sam Bill recalled how neither he nor Eve had ever seen real snow. Sam Bill put his lips close to Eve’s ear and whispered a sutra.
The sandstorm that had been observed through short and long intervals grew worse. The train gently neared the core of the cemetery. The pattern of death created by the countless floating glass coffins was more beautiful than expected. Sam Bill looked down at Eve’s heavy face, sunk in sleep. We know the beginning and the end. That was a relief. Sam Bill pulled Eve deep into his embrace and automatically closed his eyes. The last songs of the androids peacefully filled the train. Once the train ripped through the dark and crossed the galaxy, all the androids would stop functioning. The space funeral simulation switched off. The moonlit night became even more of a moonlit night. Sam Bill, who had been waiting for the funeral to end, pressed the G button and opened the door to Earth.2 The Pigeon carried the past sell-by-date androids and sped towards a burning Earth. Sam Bill greeted, alone, all the Sam Bills and Eves.
* First-generation funeral train developed by the Maetel Corporation for human space burials. More commonly referred to as the Pigeon for its design and klaxon taken after the pigeon’s body and cry respectively.
1. Not long ago on an out-of-joint time, I met David Bowie who was coming from visiting Earth’s time. He won’t talk for a long time about his son’s movie that he saw on his time on Earth where he lives as a singer. The names of the following characters have been cast from the movie I briefly heard him talk about.
2. A large crematorium built to dump androids in. They are called by various names depending on the planets the androids were born on, resided in, or immigrated to.
In the beginning, this animal made a hole in its tongue and is still hunting for that boring Dick Du at Melancholy Crossing . . .
Last night, Agyness Deyn attended a James Salter1 reading club at the Plaza Hotel. She was drunk. She lashed her critical whip at the three ordinary readers. She smoked marijuana. She pierced her tongue. On the empty way back home, a comet fell. Agyness Deyn stopped in her tracks. She wanted to pick some star’s eyes to give to McDormand. Agyness Deyn bent over. Seizing this chance, Agyness Deyn’s anus opened with a wheeew. Once her gassy tummy had thus relaxed a bit, Agyness Deyn plopped down her large butt on the pavement. She felt a happiness unmatched by anything else in the world. There was a chilly wind that had begun at Arlington National Cemetery. The star’s eyes began their voyage into the night sky. Agyness Deyn looked up and watched the star’s eyes soar and float in the air. They were light days, the best of times. Look, fat pussy. If you’re not renting out Melancholy Crossing, get those fat hams out of my face. Dick Du’s caramel-colored spit landed precisely on Agyness Deyn’s formidable thighs. The clanging length of Dick Du’s laughter took a long lick behind Agyness Deyn’s ear as it slinked past. Her wits completely about her, Agyness Deyn wiped off the spit with the sleeve of her silk blouse, the one where the cuff button had fallen off, and stood up. Agyness Deyn stretched her long squiggly legs and took off after Dick Du. Half the moon was covered in clouds. In an eerily quiet alley, a reborn shadow leisurely stretched its shoulders. Finally, a broad Agyness Deyn caught up to Dick Du. Agyness Deyn bit down hard on Dick Du’s ear and shook it. The star’s eyes began falling like snow. The air filled with Dick Du’s screams and insults. Agyness Deyn fell into a sustainable and peculiar sense of joy. Agyness Deyn, claws protracted like some Bangkok alley cat, ripped off Dick Du’s ear. Dick Du tried to stop the blood that sprang like a shout with his hands, his two legs spreading in the air. Agyness Deyn thoroughly chewed the V-shaped cut of flesh and swallowed. That felt like swallowing six beef patties at once. Agyness Deyn’s heart thumped. Agyness Deyn spat out Dick Du’s golden earring. The comets rained down. The star’s eyes bloomed. The iris of the sky opened wide. In a flash, fur grew from Agyness Deyn’s neck. Agyness Deyn lowered her body as low as possible and slunk towards the apoplectic Dick Du. Boing, Agyness Deyn’s substantial body soared weightlessly.2
1. An American novelist and screenwriter. His works include The Hunters, Still Such, and Light Years. His short story “Last Night” was made into a short film starring Frances McDormand in 2004.
2. On the birth of the film: Last night, the participants (which include me and McDormand and all of you) of the nighttime James Salter reading group at the Plaza put together the titles of all the works Salter wrote within a six to seven year period and read them. Me, McDormand, and all of you had never met before, and Big Animal began with a story from McDormand who shared it with us. Of course, McDormand’s story is a rearrangement of an anecdote related in the New Yorker about McDormand’s lover jumping in.
Translated by Anton Hur
Kim Hyun is a poet and women’s rights activist. He won the Kim Jun-sung Literature Award for his first poetry collection, Gloryhole. He has authored another poetry collection, When Your Lips Open, as well as the essay collections Don’t Worry and Come Over, I Have a Question, and Whatever Sweater.