Bob the King

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2018 by cbrannonwatts

Something I wrote on a lark for a market that wound up not wanting it. I think it’s hilarious and has a lot of good things happening in it – though it would have been easier to write a narrative with weight if I weren’t constrained to a 700 to 1200 word limit.





Bob, The King

The sun twisted and flashed on the distorted planes of his wet carapace, even in the plum colored fall of light. Flashes of that green lightning struck her eyes a thousand yards away. Though Sami couldn’t see much beyond the vague shape of him, she knew it was Bob. He was larger than she expected, and as she stared he grew clearer in her eyes – a monstrous figure in emerald tinted aluminum, lithium ion powered limbs, the seamless exoskeleton in dark blue bands over his plating, the anterior sonar array like horns, opposable thumbs, true surround bluetooth speakers all over like a thousand tiny eyes, retractable razor claws and bottle openers in both palms, water resistant to 300 meters (according to the sticker she knew was on the sole of his left rear paw)… Bob was all she could see, all she could think about. Strains of “cold as ice” echoed in the open space between them in her mind’s ear or in actuality, it was hard to say…

She knew the stories, knew the prophecy.

He was glorious.

The legends had spoken of the one-to-come, he-who-blares-rock-from-below-the jaw, Bob the Cyber Raptor, Prince among Princes, King of Kings. His was the name spoken by children and adults alike in the middle of the night, the one who would save them all. They had waited for generations, and finally the sacrifices they had made to Aiwaii Electronics Cooperative had borne fruit. Bob was come.

The shadow in the sun stretched and let out a piercing whine any animal could recognize – a reconditioned 28.8k modem. It sent chills down Sami’s spine. Now things would go their way, finally. Now they could return from the woods and reclaim the world. It would begin as prophesied, and end with the animals returning to their rightful place at the center of it all. She let the tree branch fall from her hand and turned back into the shadowy woods. Behind her, sparks and trenchant jets of flame erupted from Bob’s open mouth into the violet haze of oncoming night. The modem rang again.


“When did you get the call, you say?” the larger of the two badgers stretched himself into his full height and sniffed. His uniform fit him badly, bunched as it was to resemble his natural fur. He turned to his compatriot and raised an eyebrow.

“Uh… three o’the clock or so? I wasn’t really, um… watching the clock? I mean, I know it was before shift change because Rogette called and said she was going to be late – but wanted me to have some warning… she’s nice that way, Chief.” His boss was no longer looking at him.

“So, at your best guess, then, Ernie? Would you say it was 3? 3:30? It’s what, 4 o’the clock now? How can anyone cause this much of a mess in the half hour it took before you thought to investigate?” He waved his arm, a gesture meant to encompass the scene before them. He couldn’t complete the arc though. Grandstanding required that someone actually pay attention and Ernie didn’t have the brain cells to waste. If it wasn’t before him, immediate, then it might as well not be.

The parking lot was a nightmare jumble of smashed vehicles and small fires, pockmarked asphalt and the glittering crunch of broken glass. And then, there were the bodies. All around, stacked like an impromptu wall, or the world’s longest altar – their soft hairlessness an affront to the animal kingdom, their flesh rent and scorched into an indistinguishable mass of bleeding pulp and bone. Some details jumped out – a pair of eyeglasses on top of a hand bent unnaturally backward, a spire of what appeared to be collated and compressed spinal columns that teetered precariously in the breeze, two flatscreen televisions that appeared to be permanently frozen in coitus interruptus – the tops of which afforded a macabre tableaux of scalps of a diverse hue, a great pelt of collected human hair in all styles and colors… Chief sneezed. He wasn’t cut out for this, maybe.

In the distance, a guitar solo rang out. On its final note, a window in the store facing the lot – apparently the last intact pane – slid out like a splinter with a slurping noise and crashed noisily into the now still lot.

“Well, I would tell you to take statements, but I believe that’s an idea whose time has come, and gone, aye, Ernie?”

The building was once a fine example of human architecture – if you went in for such things – but now it resembled nothing so much as an abandoned sports stadium after a tremendous riot. If such a riot resulted in the death of ninety percent of the spectators, that is. Those who had not been slaughtered and thrown into the quivering pool of flotsam below lined the square facing the building in two straggling chains of humanity, many of them broken and dying as they stood. Pathetically, they held hands and some were humming – the words impossible to make out, but it had the litany and rhythm of a children’s tune and was doubtless meant to console. There would be no consolation here.

Sami smiled and shuddered.

She had dreamed of this day, but the reality was grim beyond imagination.

At the top of the dais, behind the concrete podium bearing a still-whipping flag, in a place intended for a politician, lurked Bob.  His mighty shoulders glared in the torchlight cast by the animals that had come forward from the woods. They all held torches of some stripe, having decided long ago that the gift of fire was the one human artifice they would appropriate. That, and the consumption of coffee, perhaps. Some of them had grown quite fond of the overly sweet beverage and there was already a spike in childhood obesity because of it.

Bob could not speak, but he did not need to.

The sparks shot forth from his mouth even now, after the Great Human Calamity had passed. As one, the animals having come forth from the woods knelt with paw over heart. To a creature, there was a grim glinting malice in their eyes that was obvious even in the dark. This was the moment they dreamt. Their intent was Bob’s.

Bob let out the ugly modem yell of his hunger and without warning charged down the hill. The humans didn’t flinch, broken as they were. They met his fleet figure’s path with the expectant gaze of the inevitable, but were cast aside.

Bob wanted something new, and Sami was the first he rent, the cheers of the human lines the last thing ringing in her ears.


agree to it (close)

Posted in poetry on May 10, 2011 by cbrannonwatts

there’s something to the fight. there is a fight, for

sometime. fists raised, leaves tremble in deep blood the

well of meaning, the well of fear silver in the better disclosed there

,going so far as to huddle unnamed in the Amazon drip

.cosmic rays subside.

in the face of stellar dust, your face sharp with will

,the same dust that decorates your grandmother’s bathroom

shelf. the same dust that speaks to memory. there are more

consistent ways of showing the wall than to scream.

you could build.

short fuses lit in alleyways a continent or three moons

,it no longer matters to the lesser creatures – what means

safety; what measure safety from the cut on your nose.

run now as speech explodes shallow, as ripples through

time and sea more than land, as means magic.

in one hand, she held a broken thermometer. one smooth

bubble of mercury pooling disney malignancy your space

shuttle, one flight left. your reflection in her hand

.your son poised on the top stair

.one dream.

and you a comedian.

the dart of mist weaves out and over, sheets of gray.

tattoed into the moment, embedded as gravel in your palm

, as glass in your elbow, the warm meaning

.there will be “no more manned flights into space,

“the announcer laughs. he just had his one too many.


staggered clips slap your atmosphere. sodden rumbles

into chest and belly, shed and attic floor. you think it’s unreal

that this space you have known, that this space should be

fist fight fight. fist

.agree to it


why your hands raised.


Posted in poetry on May 2, 2011 by cbrannonwatts

it was the first accident

:red-winged alcohol smells like burning pine

the day after. cool to the touch

,an accident of firsts. no traffic only

naked children running after a three-legged dog

bearing abcessed teeth and balloons filled

with raisins. they shook while they ran

, running murder the first accident

murder of running glass on the sidewalk. sunlight sounds like

canastas and the river, the embankment slapped

by the wounds. too, the other accidents were

blood and summer innocuous in repetition

three passengers later.

it was the second accident

:a half-burnt offering wrapped in deli paper

through which the oils from the meat smeared her

hand in her pocket. rockets behind them stopped

anything before it began, and she almost did

not hear when he said: “if I’m going to write anything

,it’ll probably be poetry. I hope it makes you cry.”

she smiled at the place he could not see and responded

,” it better be about blood and the loss of teeth, hope

and broken bodies.”

some small hell, then. where musicians are mice

,the language of wind across an open flame

covers the night

where is the last moment.

overheard at the art show

Posted in poetry on May 2, 2011 by cbrannonwatts

there’s art here. it’s all full of perversion.

art is full of violations. eat here. fill all violations.

have swift light full of all the damage. the never

words of optical loss. never

your declared speed of light.

fake tits. never is not.

sell yourself books of cheated words.

my wife has offered to buy her own words.

I’m still not for sale. I’m so amazing for me. this is not good.

peacock as a sample of what is called sleep.

a taste of sleeps within the situation. I’m just

interested in work. of that’s a dialogue only. one

of these is a cancer interested in an interview.

that’s therefore the biggest type of want.

do you.

hum room

Posted in poetry on May 2, 2011 by cbrannonwatts

there’s a hum

hum in

the human

room. the lights

are Florida

room in the


hum in a dirty bathroom

the dishwash lightening

some cheap storm draping sand

despondency scarred shoulders


move justice outside

on wobbling dollies

her voice muffled

in contralto

in widow’s cotton

the screech sinks under

the door, underground

understand doors

open watersway

a long low pulse


no one enters

there is life

around and trouble damned

the faucets run tympanum

hold golden fodder

for curtseying fools

blind in their effective

mirrors the room

is the room

in the room.

what we don’t, we become

Posted in poetry on April 27, 2011 by cbrannonwatts


under this sun stereographed

with rain with under this

something moves too fast to discern

you blame your eyes.

what others you know known

other. when moves the fallout

ground, “silence,” we said. always and lips

to fingers the people you had fleet

ravens with were.

not condensed into anything pure not

the substance the staff the mantra,

alimented/lioned/segregated the short

bitter slices the short bitter knot the

bit flatterers hold court, gathering fire

fingers still to lips smelling now of kerosene

of class still. sundered as thought.

it’s not a train

– a moon

– some star, a reflection of a star

it’s not a circuit

it’s not your heart

what we don’t, we become.


accordingly Sunday on

radio drama partly

cloudy. identity develops rapid

“do not blame your eyes,” and

“do you know who,”

and so on. the results, when mobile,

call each environment

and a few fingers


compression is not clear,

ownership of your mantra

alimented to cup short lioned

pain; a full period of transition.

fire but met the judge.

environment fingers today, wary:

petroleum cocaine class arrested.


with no training

the moon

reflects the number won;


your heart

what we need to know.


gathering in droves of the mostly concerned, corner,

have turned eyes their eyes have turned it takes an

infant six months or more we can do it in an hour.

what we don’t, we become.

in an effort to understand, the corpse is paraded on the breeze

Posted in poetry on April 26, 2011 by cbrannonwatts

water moth moth

to water no candle here

lifting one last time a Lazarus season,

the job between flame and wing: what

trials are left the downward air,

the slide as ghosts the sidelines fret?

this is real, then, your body.

too many mantles of frost, coffee

spilled shoulders hunch a love exaggerated.

there is a place your wings repaired, paired

your place and wings, the finest dust

ensorcelled hair strikes the face behind

fingers grasp and failing fall.