Doom Scroll

Edward R. Morris

at the office, gabe. it is glorious. no one anywhere, streetside or up here on the 12th floor.

Yesterday 11:37 PM

felt so toxically muggy that I opened up all the windows. now it’s glorious.

Summer breeze

no one on the street, just cars now and again. was sitting and dozing while i two-finger-poked at this laptop and dreaming that i was back in bed with the kitty. so espresso. ohboyohboyespresso. now i wanna put music on and dance on the roof but it’s so peaceful. would be like walking on new snow. plus there’s like work and stuff lol

Yesterday 11:42 PM

from that high up, you could be anywhere in the world. you’re in the aether. literally. in the airwaves. if you meditate, you can hear the news straight from the source. feel the big feels, all the big shifts, all the big things,happening across the world. someone will be tweeting about it. big ripples at any hour. somewhere it’s always this hour

❤️ 1

Yesterday 11:50 PM

you’re higher than a tree full of possums yourself, mijo. it’s cute. it makes you smile more

😂 1

Yesterday 11:54 PM

i just clocked off. we had three fights on the main floor, and one heat-stroke case who dipped right into my arms. i am so high i can see your office from here. i smoked this whole ass, life-size joint the boss gave me after shift. just now. wanted to savor with boots off. ye.

Yesterday 11:57 PM

but that does make me think. what you said about ripples. the way everything’s interconnected. a war one place messes up shipping somewhere else, and pretty soon some farmer in peru is getting shafted out of their livelihood because they can’t get enough water due to this one stupid thing that is entirely outside of their control. at night, the airwaves are clearer. more signals to pick up from further away.

12:03 AM

the spiritus mundi. spirit world & spirit /of/ the world. the collective semiconscious. learned that from the priests in jr. high, hahah. no really. from w.b. yeats

😂 1

12:05 AM

i miss your face. i swear to gods next time i will stay for breakfast. i had class

12:05 AM

swear by thyself, the god of my idolatry, and i’ll believe thee

12:06 AM

you always know what to say.

12:06 AM

i always know who to read so i can sound cool. but i do pop my ears up and listen. especially when i’m this exhausted. jesus what a shit show

12:10 AM

i wanna take your boots off next time. and batter all the knots off you. you carry all your stress in your shoulders.

12:11 AM

i will give you one thousand dollars right now, unmarked, for a backrub. i think i have about four hundred in my wallet, there’s part of a six pack

12:12 AM

this is for school. i should have paid you for that latest screaming orgasm.

12:14 AM

you always know what to say, too. and the hell with bonnie and georgette. they’re louder than new year’s when they go at it. absolutely no stance.

12:15 AM

the wind’s blowing upriver, into downtown. it smells weird. like when there was that first rash of wildfires. except not all burnt batteries and meth. more like dead things

12:17 AM

ugh. i just saw a whole string of tweets, something about southeast side. there was this big fire.

12:18 AM

some other business that couldn’t stay open getting torched for the insurance money, or another landlord did it, or whatever the hell byzantine shit it is any more. everything is disappearing. did they say what burned?

12:20 AM

naito and morrison. didn’t say what kind. wtf is even down there, la migra?

12:21 AM

ICE is further away, lol. Naito and morrison is just the waterfront. there’s a copshop near there, though

12:24 AM

i hope ICE burns to the ground and they salt the ashes.

🔥 1

12:25 AM


12:25 AM

never smelled anything like this. there’s a fog bank coming up the river, too. with the wind. maybe the fog will damp it down or something.

12:28 AM

like when it rained during the wildfires. that sure helped. we were all out at clackamas united methodist helping the church people hand out hotel vouchers, i told you about that. tents, too. and i never handed out so many bottles of water at work, either, gotdamn

12:30 AM

hahahah, while every bubba in clackamas county tried to say that antifa was burning the forest. i read about that. good times.

12:31 AM

foggy out here, too. and it kind of doesn’t smell any better than what you’re talking about i can see fog the whole way out to foster road. that’s two and a half blocks. was it a direct action? some kind of event?

12:33 AM

you mean a protest????

12:33 AM

sorry, need to translate to earth people language. yeah, something like that. was it that? do you see police? what about that crummy little spy plane they have puddle-jumping over downtown sometimes?

12:34 AM

someone was flying a little baby drone down by one of the apartment buildings. a couple of homeless folks, not even doing anything, just roaming around talking and sharing a cigarette. but up where they say the fire was, where it’s near, the streetlights are out. all the regular blocks, too. the houses. it’s all gone out.

need to get a breath. head is spinning. this is stressing me out all of a sudden.

12:37 AM

i got you. get a breath. all of a sudden, i don’t feel so tired. i think i’m coming down there, in a minute.

❤️ 1

12:37 AM

it’s fine. i’m sure it’s fine. i would get fired if i brought you up here after hours

12:38 AM

then gtf outta there

12:38 AM

you need to sleep, you got class. i don’t want to keep you up

12:39 AM

Well, you’re right that I have class, but tomorrow is a free day at school. thoughtful, though. I always block off one free day every semester

12:40 AM

you are as persistent as me. creates friction. moar friction pls

😂 1

12:40 AM

the mouth on you. i needed to smile. but it feels weird out there, for real-real. people squealing their tires on my block, at this hour. i just heard a bottle break. if some shit was really going down, you know nobody would tell us regular people, anyway. it would be like ‘the purge’, just without all the organization and efficiency, hahah

12:42 AM

that is both ominous and nerve-wracking

12:42 AM

my bad

❤️ 1

12:43 AM

okay, now there’s cops and shit. multitudes. i would strongly advise not coming downtown if you ever want to get laid again in your life.

12:43 AM

i hear you. chill. if your life is in danger my life is yours.

❤️ 1

12:44 AM

jfc wow um can we get back to that pls

12:44 AM

yeah. but where are the cops

12:44 AM

i keyed into the break room across the hall. looking out the window. they’re all down on the waterfront. roping something off. big hole in the ground. There’s smoke. But what could have burned. Smoke is coming out of the hole. Something must have blown up underground. It looks like a bomb crater.

12:47 AM

meteor? they just recorded a big honkin one down in the dalles last year

12:48 AM

i never saw a meteor that big in my life, if it is. but that’s what’s making all the smoke. like. all of it. and it shouldn’t. and it smells like the ass of ass, if ass had an ass. like the whole thing landed on a morgue

12:51 AM


12:51 AM

the cops are all just standing around. it’s creepy. the fog’s getting heavier. none of them have respirators on. i can’t see their faces much. they walk funny. wait, something moved in the hole. noit didn’t. it. it. wait

12:53 AM

i’m coming down there

12:53 AM

oh please don’t. just talk me through this a little. can you

12:54 AM

there was a lot of sweeping off of feet that happened, Kirsten.

I never met anyone like you in my life.

❤️ 1

I can do a lot more than that. but i think you have the right place to start

12:54 AM

wow that helped <3 no, really. okay. what else i see… wait, oh, wow. people screaming. i want to shut all the windows. going to do that. with the giant heavy window-pole from back in the day that i can brain people with. or hook them through the face. see? i catch on.

12:55 AM

that’s hot.

❤️ 1

12:55 AM

nyeeheh. gimme minute

12:56 AM

okay, this is bananas. Gabe just listen. please.

1:04 AM

i promise i won’t interrupt

1:04 AM

the whole waterfront is foggy. all the cops had their lights on. no lights. i don’t even see the cars. wait, i can see one. the van. it’s one of those swat things, with the big cowcatcher on the front?

1:07 AM

😲 they brought a bearcat

1:09 AM

yeah one of those, and it’s not doing anything. it’s parked weird. nobody’s near it. everything smells dead. i want to get out of here but i’m not going down there. people are freaking tf out. All different kinds of screaming.

1:11 AM

why is there this much fog out here by my apartment. and mfs screaming the same way. some of it sounds like russian. some, hmong. all of it sounds scared shitless and at throats. like a bazillion people screaming through a wind tunnel at once,and then someone autotuning it. making music out of it close, too. fk this, i am getting the sawed-off out

1:17 AM

get a breath. let’s make it back to each other

1:17 AM

we always know what to say

❤️ 1

1:18 AM

half of downtown just went dark. keep texting me. bring reloads. the fog is starting to get some air. some height. the smell is /ridiculous/. winds going every which way and making weird hooting sounds, but none of the flickery little gusts break the fog up at all. they’re just spreading it.

1:22 AM

unbearable in here with the windows closed, now. still in the break room. i hope you can come get me. i will keep it together. for you. you keep it together for me

new whistly little winds, up here on 12, with the windows shut. new little air currents where the air doesn’t get blown around normally. droplets, beading on the windows. there is the smell at first, but these are… friendly. silver, then white. misting misting they are misting. dissipating. fog. little puffs of fog

1:26 AM

little fog puffs up in here. fog up in here. it’s. wait it was. the sky the whole time. the sky over the waterfront making the fog, reflecting down. lights from above. and with those lights change

the kind no one wants to believe in. there are thousands of people on the sidewalk. why are there thousands of people now, why are they

1:28 AM

what even are they

Gabe oh my god i love you so much please come down here




1:31 AM ∎

For Lauren McKenzie.

Sacred to the memory of my pal Marvin Kaye, and H.F. Arnold

Edward Morris has been nominated for the British Science Fiction Association Award, the Rhysling Award, and the Pushcart Prize in Literature. His short fiction has appeared over 150 times worldwide in markets from Interzone to The Lovecraft Ezine, Perihelion SF, and Big Pulp. Print anthologies include The Children of Gla’Ki: Tribute Stories to Ramsey Campbell, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, The Worlds of Philip Jose Farmer, and ReAnimators! His short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Finnish, Polish, Hungarian, and most recently, Egyptian Arabic with Dr. Ahmed Al-Turki’s fantastic translation of ‘Jihad Over Innsmouth’ from The Book of Cthulhu. Morris is a multiple sclerosis survivor who lives and works in Portland, Oregon, as an author and bouncer.

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