Sleepingfish infinite
Process News 1

illuminabysses by Jace Brittain



JACF kicked his legs.

Water, no joke, is too big.

Jacf thought about kicking his legs and his legs kicked.

Ocean, no really no joke, is too small.

Jacf kicked his legs or thought about kicking his legs and his legs kicked some more as he held his desperate breath and followed a thick hose surfaceward his hands gliding guiding a blinded man out of the black black blue. Jacf thought wrongly that he was emitting bright light from his eyes and his ears and the cavernous pores of his scarred face and from the outie which punctuated his bare whitewhale belly. Bright bright light, he thought, like the EEnunciation he thought: Angel Gabriel to swim out my mouth and deliver us from scars and bellies and bloodflowing and this transcendental itch. Formication of the blinding white hot variety: the culprit/in other words: his skin he hoped he thought might as well just crawl off him and swim away and leave him to it. The ascent.

I am the door to Ossawa Tanner's painted a-waitin' virgin.

Sunshining just an idea down deep enough.

Light is drowned by chaotic pressure in to from all directions at once. Darkness doesn't play any tricks. Things are as invisible as ideas are down deep enough. Jacf's kicking legs kicking in aquaspace necessarily displacing. Displacing what or where?

Width breadth just ideas oceanic.

Itching occupies one's sanity/otherwords: Formication is real.

Aha. Jacf's kicked his legs formichaotically.


Oceanic breathhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

hhhhhissing hose followed downward opposite hero Jacf's vector terminates at a coupling bonnet atop the small submersible vessel named PhosphorusDubVersion. Dub, as the three aboard and the swimming one above call it, was an observational diving bell submersible before it was retrofitted and resubmerged as an anechoic chamber. Thus the acoustic damping tiles blocking the view through any of the three window porthole eyes and thus the special pressure which maintains both hydrostatic and anechoic equilibrium despite the open entrance exit moonpool at the bottom/otherwords: keeps the water and decibels low. The three inside sit in three of the four chairs arranged facing two-by-two fulfilling at present capacity only two-by-onebesidenull of the maximum. Kaw usually leaves his feet wrinkleraisening in the moonpool to break the surface tension and provide a little decibel-raising dwinkletinkling sounds so nobody loses their shit like they had when he had whispered, let's talk incantations.

Nebrakadabra, as thought by Mira who wincing from Kaw's whisper caused Kaw and Beebe to wince too and this wincing which looks like winking made some racket too. So Kaw uncrossed his legs, put his back against his seat and let his legs drop into the pool again and in what felt like minuteslong the echoless dwinkletinkling water had established a new acoustic base, equilibrium adjusted and maintained.

A few small incandescent lanterns hung in metal cage guards above their heads, but the hanging had been immobilized by duct tape because of squeaking.

Asa nisi masa, whispered Kaw, only just heard by the other two over the ohmbience of the drinkletwinkle and the sound of Beebe's previously deafening bloodflow. We gotta stay positive, Jacf will be at the surface in no time, he'll discover why we haven't been brought up, and rectify thissssssss, these whistling words susurrously pushed through Kaw's clenched dentures.

Magic words comprise most of most deceptions.

Everybody knows some magic words.

The corpulent Beebe thought that wishful thinking would only get them so far not far, and Mira heard this and rolled her eyes which the incandescent light reflecting off the water made look bigger and bluer than they really were. Mira sat beside Beebe facing Kaw with her knees drawn up to her chest in order to avoid touching Kaw's wrinkly knees which he slowly carefully quietly crossed to hide his growing affection for Mira reminded to him by the rolling of her bigger bluer eyes.

Mira thought very quietly about Kaw, a talented chemist and physicist and aeroacoustic engineer for whom she worked as a personal assistant. He was also a totally oblivious and lonely leerer. To avoid audibly glowering at the decaying old creep, she mostly kept her eyes down. The more field experience, the better for her and her future, even if the field was this miserable dank echoless chamber. Why were they still down here? And jeezus, Kaw wasn't so bad relative to the bulging slackjawed drooling Dr. Beebe beside her. He was a supposedly great ornithologist with enough knowledge to pass as a marine biologist, along to say, that's a mollusk; or that's a fish; or that's a extremophile and a new fuckin' species, fellow millionaires-to-be take wing against a sea of troubles, trebles. This supposed-to-take-an-hour-tops-per-descent project was intended as a sound experiment with designs on mapping the inherent human rhythm with particular focus on a theoretical connective thread between the aurality of locomotion and the riddim of thought. Still, Kaw had insisted on bringing this jowling and prognathously mandibled protruding teeth chomping animal expert, like just in case. Mira fiddled with a tuning fork.

Beebe packed his sausage fingers together in an alternating fashion called interlacing among less horizontal folk and wiggled his wetsuitfootied toes on both of his feet stretching out his legs and smushing his heels into the yellow-padded seat beside Kaw. Kaw smiled dumbly at Mira. Mira gritted her teeth and did her best to turn her eyes backwards and into her head.

Bee Ell Double-Oh Dee Eff Ell Oh Double-You bloodflow bloodflow!

Bee Ell Double-Oh Dee Eff Ell Oh Double-You bloodflow bloodflow!

Hellsbells, lady, quit your goddamned witch chants, Beebe seethed through his breath. Mira and Kaw both winced.

Mira raised one eyebrow: I didn't say a thing. fatman.

Beebe exhaled heavily nasally: well, you must have thought it, witch.

Wincing Mira raised one finger: cut witch from your thoughtvocab or else

Mira's aposiopesis hung heavy and, being echoless as everything else, left a plunging craterous silence which was then filled with the sound of Beebe's hungry heart pumping exasperatingly in order to fill the overwhelming orders demanded by a massively strained vein system and the sound of the repeating chorus the inchantation which was actually a smirky pop song still ringing Mira's formerly teenaged ears and was now rolling from mind to mind in what seemed to be a shrinking submersible a shrinking suBee Ell Double-Oh Dee Eff Ell Oh Double-You



Bee Ell Double-Oh Dee Eff Ell Oh Double-You bloodflow bloodflow!

The song slipped from her mind, crawled into Beebe's mind who tried desperately to shake it out succeeding both in increasing the volume of his own pumping blood and in skipping the earworm off the surface of the moonpool and into Kaw's mind's ear. Kaw accidentally hummed a little and each of the trio convulsed clutching his or her ears. The song bounced from ear to ear to ear to ear to ear to ear and on and steadily increased in volume. The notes were written on the subcutaneous tissue behind their forehead epidermis, the lyrics steamed out their ears as vapor given off from the music stomata of their pores, the vessel's pressure changed, the base decibels dropped, and the ditty was deafening.

They did their best to communicate through stymied whimpers.

Beebe: shut the fuck

Mira: can't we do anything to make this more bearable

Kaw: some gradual adjustments to the quality and quantity and content

Beebe: shut the fuck

Mira: just do

Beebe: shut the

Kaw: HEeerre goes nothing, He He He.

Kaw very so slightly twisted the valve for Helium, giggling just imagining the hilarious and charming wit a higher frequency voice would allow him we are going to need a bigger boat I'm a little teapot being or nonbeing that is here the fragahhhh

As to howness regarding pressurization, equalization: the hose and its associated valves, discs, bonnets, reliefs, springs, seals, caps, autocaps, anticaps, bodies, holders, screws, vacuum, gases, canisters, bannisters, autovalves, halves, levers, sprigs, sprinkles, reels, antibodies, taps, colders, and so on and so wide and so forth, are supposed to be all regulated by a computer and its human monitor at the topside termination of the old hissing hose toward which Jacf was swimming.

toward which Jacf was EEscending and feeling any moment he would be free. Partial pressure diffusion drove rippling waves of oxygen between his skin and musculature forcing carbon dioxide bubbles out out and up from his tear ducts and the space between fingertoenail hyponychium. Jacf's blood boiled his intestines and departed as plasmapropulsion every ion and onandon accelerating virtuoscillating electroneurotically unstoppably un/ otherwords: his mortal coils fueled the light which propelled him. Jacf saw himself from all sides reflected and refracted. A power whose only obstacle is water and air I am water and he is air and I am air and he is water. Jacf's hands and face were raised. The bubbles coming out his ocular holes and from beneath his fingernails raced him toward the sky.

Followed upward the hissing hose terminates in a cluster of tanks aboard a shipshaped floating production storage and offloading rig christened Venus. Aboard the vessel the human monitor named Cecilia Byford who once used the word desiderate with regard to Kaw and her considerable yearning for him sat and read something she didn't understand, to wit: The opposition of denominative function represents as the crow flies, speech, itself becoming primarily dreamsong in the the poet's cameraeyes, necessitating devotion to udder fictions, bovine virtuality. Second verse, same, as, the, first, becoming new yet totaled beyond the trauma wards wards wards. Eloquence surprises, while the object named is a bathysphere.

Perhaps a bad translation from the French, she thought. Mallarmé macremé crochet, she thought as she applied the proper force to both handles of the large bushing sheers in order to facilitate a scissoring diagonally across the inscrutable book. Chop. With some effort, the sheers sliced through the text. She had been and was leaning precipitously over the railing swigging a generic bottle of rum and halving the shipshaped rig's library. She allowed the two imperfect halves of Mallarcremé's book to fall over the railings. The partial spines fell fastest, most efficiently and took certain words with them while others unraveled the strung binding enough to flutter free for a second or two longer than those that were bound. Pages and parts of pages and prose separated with the initial cut distanced themselves and each from the other luxuriously, descending in flapping fits and starts scooping wind and being scooped before eventually joining the already dampened and disintegrating paper sinking beneath a broad swath of ocean surface. Cecelia grabbed another book and began to read.

Now the shadow of the column, she read but stopped and chopped. Goodbye Grillet, she sang and made like she was waiving a handkerchief. Bon voyagee! Don't forget to write! She grabbed another book, this one another weighty technical tome

mmm she thought but not with particular focus on the nonsense in her hands. In fact, she was thinking about the awful wreck of her life aboard this awful wreck the shipshaped rig Venus. She was on a more or less indefinite furlough from progress toward listed desiderata: her own ship, her own crew, her own lover. An amorphous shape around pursuit paused permanently at accruing geld, getting hired out on someone else's rig. Someone else who don't know or love the sea or nobody, but can foot the bills and pay hand over that foot. She thought for a moment that in the service of continued monetary income she should probably cease obliterating the shipshaped rig's mostly bookshaped library. Swig from the bottle. Chop of the book. Ah, another. Chop. And another. Auf deutsch mmm. Franz...Chopka! Someone musta calumniated Kay, since unless otherwise he had really done something wicked, he was arrested one morning. Huh? Kay kaw, a dark and mysterious past superimposed upon a friendly old man. She had found his records, most of which were redacted besides the arrest and the time of the arrest. Still, she loved him and desiderated since desideration was the only explanation for the yearnshaped hole in her guts. She loved him, she loved the ocean, she loved him, she loved the ocean, she thought as she sliced pages and pages which then featherfell circuitously down. She watched the whiteblackgray shower of paper in silence. No, not in silence, rather in eeroo eeroo eeroo eeroo eeeeeroooooeeeeeee

The computers were a-buggin, the red lights were a-flashin, and the speakers were a-makin that sound which shook her brain loose from its mooring what the fuck? Somehow calamity musta visited Kaw. And the others! The pressure was wonky, the gases jerryriggerred, equalization jicked what the jick what the juck? How long had this been happening? The valves blurred and settled and blurred as she set two of what looked like four hands on valve handles and watched their stems spin.

Not so far down the honking hissing hose's exterior, Jacf was gorging on particles of text. His teeth were inefficient sieves, irrelevant for an omnivore, letting past Frau Montags beside Montague's beside Mssr. Montags do you read what you eat? I do and I am that which I consume incontrovertibly. I am Whitman's raineerooded particulars, Zola's toejam dipped in streams, electromechanical manual writer Zane's shallow dive, Krohn's sailing accident, Girondo's last swim, Crane's Caribbean cruise, Berman's cement diving slippers. Jacf reached the surface and breathed and all his bright light poured out and escaped into stars and plants and the moon. He pocked the night with his porescar rays, he cried phosphorescent particle tears, he emitted whalewhitebelly navelwaves which joined the celestial canvas too. He looked up at the shipshaped rig Venus, grasping with his violently shaking right hand the hose which hissed down to PhosphorusDubVersion.

Aboard the Dub, the crew's short-lived experiments with helium had predictably been less of a diversion than Kaw had hoped. Kaw felt his quotes had been misheard at their high frequency, Beebe had screeched and warbled the words shut, the, and fuck. Mira had her arms wrapped around her chest-drawn knees and rocked back and forth shaking her head.

Though what a time for a diversion and then one came. Up through the moon pool, a fish appeared. It was large for a fish, medium for a dog, just floating on the surface of the moon pool. It had black eyes and long black eyelashes and magnificent fanned fins, and its mouth was a meshy crisscross of long skinny prognathous sharp toothlike stems which began to draw open and suck in the interior light of the vessel from the incandescent lamps until all of the light shined out of its open mouth and the lamps hung dimly. Beebe let his legs drop in the water and leaned toward the fish with his hands out. I don't believe it, he said and said and said, I don't believe it. His heliumfrequencied whine was remarkably clear: I don't believe it.

Mira and Kaw looked at each other wide-eyed and then back at Beebe. Beebe lifted the fish from the water and pulled it toward his own prognathously protruding dental mess of a mouth until his lips touched and surrounded the mouth of the creature and eclipsed all light in the Dub.

High frequency moans rang from cartoon ghouls in the almost complete dark. The only thing Kaw could see was Beebe's orange glowing cheeks. Kaw didn't move a muscle. Mira didn't make a sound. An abrupt yurp preceded some splashing, and then it was just heliumhigh nasal breaths.

Beebe? Kaw whined in the dark. He couldn't see anything now.

Uh huh, Beebe said and light emerged from his mouth and returned to the lanterns lining the top of the Dub.

Kaw looked at Mira.

Mira stared at her knees.

Beebe spoke

That was an extraordinarily rare fish.

Kaw turned his attention back to the valves thinking the pressure must be slightly off or something, perhaps only another minor adjustment, a touch to the right or a touch to the lefffffuck flashingflashing red. Kaw tried to say, something's amiss, but his voice bleated out a calamityhowling saxophone.

Beebe dropped his jaw to say: oh no what's wrong, but what was wrong was apparent when his eyes popped and splattered and his living guts were ejected through his gaping maw. At last, his spine was ejected past his jutting prognathous mandibles before his entire body exploded in a redwhiteandpink spray. Kaw wiped Beebebits from his face and looked at Mira who was covered in blood and stuff and clutching her head like perhaps she had been hit by a shrapneled tooth. She looked up at Kaw with bigger, bluer eyes looking desperate like what's happening help, Kaw, help, she pleaded with her bigger, bluer eyes. But then. Pop, pop.

Kaw stared at an eyeless Mira and felt devastation tear around his insides. And then he exploded. The combined concussive thrust of rapidly decompressed exploding human bodies extruded their icky Play-doh remains out the circlebottomhole moonpool of Dub.

The Dub's cables and hoses were suddenly stuffed and stressed to the point of severance and the small vessel was cut loose. The light's were ejected but stayed lit long enough to illuminate what were mostly helium bubbles rushing out the top and bottom of the vessel which was quickly filling with water as it spun wildly propelled by the escaping gases. Dub disappeared into the abyss, invisible as ideas are invisible down there.

Death shake rattle and roll.


Cecilia had been in some astronomically considerable sort of a panic, but she had stopped still when she had seen the tall male figure striding across Venus' deck. The skinless man reminded her of the anatomical musculature models of high school biology. He left squishy red footprints where he walked. He had seen her, approached her, and said her name. Cecilia, he said.

Kaw, she said softly. Without answering, the man took both her hands, drew her in close to his torso, and led her into a waltz. While each step squished, he sang sonorously sweetly loudly

What is the dark for
what is a lark for
why are shady lanes?
Why is a cozy corner so rosy
everytime the rain
starts fallin?
What do we got you for
what do we got me for
why are there stars above?
You know, I know,
everything's made for

Oh Kaw, Cecilia said, some croon you have, she squeezed his hand and red ran between her fingers. Kaw? Kaw? Jacf naively wondered aloud while biting the inside of his cheek. I am Kaw. I am Jacf. I am Kafka. I am Zola. I am Girondo and Mira and Brecht. I am ocean waters each and all. I am morning and evening. I am many Johns and Felisas and Walts and Susans and a few Witolds and Ernests and Beebes and Oliverios and Chinuas and Ralphs and Mollys and more Alphonses than I care to admit and Georges and Estrellas and Hannahs and Barbaras and Voyniches and Francises. I am. Ich bin. Je suis. Sóc. Ako. Ego sum. I am René and Francis and Frank and Sam and Samantha and Francis and Francis and Shakespeare and Francis and Bill and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis and Francis

Process News

Jace Brittain lives in Los Angeles or Berlin or Indiana or Austria. His writing has appeared in The Destroyer, Deluge and Fanzine. He is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Notre Dame.


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