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Category Archives: Bollweevil

Bollweevil used to count cards.


“I need more!” Columbine gasps as he bursts into the basement office. “Please, Bollweevil, I can’t do this, I can’t keep trying to think around it!”

“You knew the limits, Mister Columbine,” says Bollweevil, picking a nail, looking over his glasses. “You received a fair allotment, just like every other customer. With which of your words were you careless, Mister Columbine?”

“–,” Columbine whispers. His face crumples in desperation. “Ah! The–the additive conjunction!”

“You are, of course, willing to pay the overage fee.”

“Yes, yes, anything!”

Bollweevil smiles inside, opening a drawer to slowly, teasingly unroll a fresh strip of ands.


“Mister Crane!” manages Bollweevil, startled. “A delightful surprise! How–how long were…?”

“Been waiting,” says Crane quietly. Crane’s always quiet. “Saving up.”

“Yes, you’ve taken great advantage of our rollover–”

“Never liked you.” Crane moves closer. “Word-counting, extortion, this little basement tyranny.”

“Not another word, Crane,” says Bollweevil coldly. He brushes the shotgun under the desk.

“Been saving,” says Crane, and brings his arm up.

Bollweevil’s jerking at the gun, but the fistful of exclamation marks is already exploding around him: a thunder of percussive silences. There’s blood in his ears. Crane walks forward, smiling, and Bollweevil’s screams are soundless.


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Sordid the under from windowville. Light. Corner out bump or or; palms hornwise to white bruises? Dry? Again and Unmirror ddammitt you stop. stop. Blue. Angry. Pain Bollweevil struggles

Desperately up out of the dementia. His hands are shaking. He’s dirty and his mouth tastes like piss. People are walking by, trying not to see him. He’s cold and so thirsty; he scrapes his lips with his tongue and tries to speak, which

Lost. Tumble: word aways. Grit wheelfinger nails as, cry! Lost (but lost (but


“Bollweevil?” gasps Salem, surprised and joyful.

Bollweevil screams raw and tries to get away. His legs aren’t working. He grabs a bench and scrambles.

“What a fortuitous encounter!” says Salem. He hooks fingers into Bollweevil’s nostrils and pulls up, and Bollweevil’s legs do work, then. Salem grabs his hair, then presses their lips together and puffs hot stale air.

Bollweevil’s unsure whose breath is worse.

“Say thank you.” Salem wipes his mouth.

“Thank you,” mutters Bollweevil. They’re the first words he’s been able to speak since Crane. “Thank you, thank you,” and he silently counts one-one. Two-two. Three-three.


“There,” says Salem, “him. Shut him up.”

Bollweevil frowns. “But he’s not a subscriber–why him, anyway? He annoys you?”

“Government wants to be your Jesus!” shouts the man on the bench. “And if I weren’t the radio, the numbers on the eyes inside your eyes!”

“It’s an incantation around that whole block,” Salem snarls. “And if your business ethics get sticky, need I remind you you’re living on borrowed mind?”

“Fine. Paper, pen, scissors.”

Salem’s pockets produce a penknife, a receipt and a China marker. Bollweevil scribbles, counts and makes one cut. The man on the bench swallows his tongue.