The Marvelous Misadventure of Marko D Franklin

April 12th, 2011 by acjohner



The Marvelous Misadventure

of Marko D Franklin

by AC Johner


From a great wave of voluptuous rapture, Marko D Franklin was tossed out from the sea.  Waking and feeling of his wet withered nipples being touched by a warm breeze, his face gleaming in the golden light of the sun as he slowly opened both his eyes and starred blankly into the wild wilderness of the wacky and ferocious summer sky all lit up with morning and endless swooping clouds. He was wondering just what had happened, and why he had been taken so cruelly from his voyage among the wave.

Short of breath, and with all of his nerves tingling, he felt the sand underneath his fingers, the cold rocky soot of his familiar shore.   He peered into the horizon searching for some lip or pike of his vessel protruding from the water but saw nothing but the

Perhaps it were not the wild out-there of some sea-faring adventure he were seeking after all, and so underminded by his own twisting narration translating his constantly altering fate, he stood from the sand bowed to the sea, tossed his hat into the water and turned and went away.

Marko D Franklin, the most exotic of people had left from wading in small plastic backyard pools to go explore out on his own, this was all miles and years before when he were still driving a car and believing that anything were possible including tears in space and ripples in time, that the experience of his own life were cosmically and selfishly his own and no one else’s.  That all the rest of the dramatis personae in his court where merely the dancers and jesters and players of his own cosmic theater.  This was all before he was old, before Marko D Franklin gave up his heart to the wind and sea leaving him forlorn at the shore watching his own soul being whisked wildly away like a leaflet of paper, taken to someplace far and beyond any part of the world he would ever come to know.  He was left with only the hope that one day his dream would drift into some harbor and be found by a child who had the lungs, heart, and innocence to carry it on for him.

“Your not that old, old man.”  Kahrah said to him from behind the bar as the juke in the corner banged wildly away and wayfarers from ships marked with signs of Caribbean cruises spit upon the floor and cursed and laughed and beat there fists and winked at all the girls who were now huddled in one scared mass in the corner of the bar waiting for a taxi out of the madness.

Kahrah was a young yellow foreign person who built bicycles and took pictures of birds and had been in jail once for setting himself on fire as part of a demonstration in a park in Nazi Germany.

Marko looked over at Kahrah’s agile fists as he pulled at his peppery beard.

“Why do we always come here?”  He asked Kahrah.

“Because whenever we are away you want in again.”

“And whenever we are here I want away.”

“You want somewhere that is neither here nor there.”

“I want to be someplace only attainable through two doors, the mighty mutant mechanical lotus, and the barrel of a gun.”

“Take mine.  But go out and do it in the parking lot.”

And in that moment just as Marko was about to begin to cry, there was a loud crack, and the wall behind the bar split and from behind it a single golden strand of sunshine pierced through into the dim dingy sot of the grime of the bar.   The ray pierced right into Marko’s heart and as it began to flow a radiant light in through every one of his invisible nerve tubes connecting his body and mind, all the bar fell away to pieces like a finished jigsaw puzzle being blasted with a shot-gun against the back-drop of space and the other side was this great white light that Marko was falling steadily towards until he was completely engulfed within it.  Suddenly he felt a thud and found himself lying on the floor of a large cathedral and this old hairy raggedy man who smelt of urine and rotting feet stood before him shaking his head.

“Where am I?  Where is this?” Marko asked wondering where the bar had gone.

“The house of the holy brother.  Wake up and smell the clean chlorinated floor and see the saffron of the street lights come in through the stained glass windows, its as marvelous as you made it out to be and there are candles and its smells of bread.”

“How did I get here?”

“I dragged you all the way from 7th avenue where you were lying in that ally bleeding to death.”

“I was bleeding?”

“You said you were.”

“Am I now?”

“You tell me.”

Marko got up from off the floor, he stood and brushed himself off.  He looked around the room forlorn.

“How long have I been lying there?”

“Not long.”

“How long have I been out?”

“47 years.”

“And what happened to Kahrah?”

“He’s gone now.  He was eaten.  Eaten by a jelly fish.”

“That is the saddest thing I have ever heard.”

“There are sadder things in this world. Some say he wanted it the way it happened.  No one had ever been eaten whole or alive by a jelly-fish before and after it happened and was in all the papers, all the world came to know his name or at least his face or more his legendary death, which was more than most men can attain within an entire lifetime of trying, Kahrah did it in a single morning just by swimming in the bay at just the right time.”

“Everything to me is sad.”

“And everything to you is always sad.”

“I wish I could go back and do it all again.”

“You can, you can!”

“Yes but I don’t want to wait that long.  I want to rewind mid-experience.”

“You can’t, you can’t!”

And all of a sudden Marko turned into a triangle and the old sticky hairy man became an earthworm.  The church became this epically huge wheat-field that some child somewhere had dreamed within a dream to be heaven before he knew of such dimensions.  Marko the triangle and his new friend the strange earthworm began to wobble and crawl through the wisping and bending pieces of golden grass.

“There was a time long ago,” Marko began, “That I decided by some rare spirit to build a boat and sail away.”

“And what happened?”  The earthworm asked Marko who was then a triangle.

“It sank.  And me along with it.”

“That is sad.”

“I could have been eaten by a jelly-fish.  I could have been remembered forever as Kahrah was.  But instead the sea spit me back upon the shore.  Beaten, bloody, every bit of vigor in me sucked out.  I was wasted, beaten, confused.  Long before I set out on the road and took the road, after I set upon the mountain and I took the mountain.  But when I came to the sea, both wind and sound, the very spirits who had called me forward from the beginning sent me back with my tail between my legs.”

“You could have built another boat.”

“I thought about that for many years.  And for years I cursed myself for not doing so.”

“Well, I suppose if you had ever built another boat you would have never become a triangle.”

“Your right.  Marko said to the earthworm.  And a triangle is more than most men get to be towards the end here.”

“Are we that close?”

“Yes, its just beyond that little knoll over there upon the horizon.”

“Ahh yes, the earthworm said. Ahh yes.  Now I remember.  I haven’t seen a sunset as magnificent as that since the day I was born.”

And from behind the knoll of golden grass amidst the backdrop of the sun setting languidly within a blanket of purple and orange and yellow and red, an ivory door materialized.  Etched upon the door was the world Fin.

As Marko the now turned triangle and the earthworm came to its face, the door began to crack slowly open.

“And whenever I finally get here I always want away again.”

“You want somewhere that is neither here nor there, don’t you dear Marko?”

“If I were still in the body of a man I would shrug both my shoulders and let out all my air in one long sigh.  Well?  Shall we go again?”

“Of course, of course.”


Written for KH


April 12th, 2011 by acjohner



A.C. Johner

A rumble of thunder quakes between the bridges sends slight drizzles of rain  down upon the pale and rusting city of Dublin.

Braxton B Barthazar walks out along the edge of the quays watching the reflections of small birds dance in the water.  He wore a long tailcoat, that due to an improper tailoring had been dragging through the sot and grim of every place marked with a neon light along the river Liffy.  It was a gray jungle there in Dublin.  Everything was always damp, and everywhere was the noise of laughter and tins and pints clinging and breaking amidst the sound of drowned out fiddles singing endlessly away in the back of every pub.

Braxton had been in Dublin nearly a summer on credit, and now counting the actual pennies in his account back in the United States, knew the true sounds he would face upon return.  He had failed out of Trinity with a clean smirk and gas. Had awoken one morning too many out on the green without shoes or pants, the last notes of Aldernine twanging off in the background of his memory.  Ireland had finally reached the edge of his collar when the World -Series was put on a tube in a pub down in the mines and this one old man stood and removed stockings and cap to the anthems low twitter as it scratched in through the pipes of the box.  Braxton stood watching, being reminded of home.  Then feeling ill about it and coming out of the door and vomiting in the streets just as one of his school mates was coming around the corner with a group of Irish girls, all of them missing teeth and all of them laughing at him.

Standing at the waters edge, he removed from his pocket the petal of a lily and tossed it down into the Liffy. Just as the sun was coming in behind a great green fog, and the oil ships began appearing like ghosts out along the horizon, Braxton Barthazar tossed himself into the lapping irksome waves after his lily flower now floating solemnly out to sea.

Braxton starred out at from the back of his mind somwhere, gazing into the twilight of a night slipped away.  Beyond the meld and dew droppings.  And rain came down upon Braxton Bigsby as he floated there on his back in his tailcoat in the black oily water.  And for a moment, for they are rare in Ireland, the sun came out from behind a desperate haze of gray and shown a single ray upon the Temple Bar long enough for Braxton to see it cast a heavenly glow and for an instant forgot his desperation and knowing that there is always a quarter inch of froth on every pint and the water pumped up from this here canal up through the swirling bubbling pipes of Sir Arthur’s factory which was a smudge of boxes in the distance beyond the Temple Bar and a clean white pipe that connected every pub with the factory floor.

“Hey there boy,” a heavenly voice came down from the dock, “What are you doing in the river?  Can’t you smell the shite about you?”

The sky ceased up like a puckering asshole and the sun vanished from the sky and Ireland was gray all over again.  Braxton looked up from the River at a girl in pale dress knelling over the dock smiling at him. And heaven was again an open sore waiting to be infected.  Braxton reached up his hand and took the edge of the dock into it with one flawless swoop emerged from the water and fluttered and flapped around on the dock in front of the girl pretending as though he were a fish, finishing the charade with a long arching spit of water out from his mouth and onto his boots.

“I’ve just swum from the Island of Man, and before that Richmond. I’m to round my way round this here blessed Island and find my way to back to the States to receive world record for having done so.”

“You, have swam all the way from the Welshland?”

“Have and will again.” Braxton said grabbing at his knees and going into pretend convulsions to get the water from his coat.  It was a good wash for his dusty tails now coming unpinned and dragging along the dock making him look like a duck.

“I’ve paused briefly to use a telephone.  Seems while I was on the swim my mom became terribly ill and may have it out with God if I don’t get a quick word with her and tell her to let them have the soul without a fight.  She was a demon catholic you know….Say do you think you could take me to a phone, and perhaps help me into some dry cloths and maybe have a look at the Liffy map and a drink down their at that place with the light and the white handkerchief where all the sailors and kiffmen are going in one end standing up straight and coming out the other sideways?”

“Are you asking a girl for a drink?”

“Well, if you are not busy with some other Irish business.  I should call your attention to my accent as it is American, and divinely so, means that I am made of money.  Can I see your teeth?”


-she smiles and shows all her teeth-


“Oh lovely, I have counted 32.”

“Are you Christian?”

“By Night.”

Arm and arm in sog and sot they are off down the dock.  Boots clicking along wobbly planks and the sounds of the waves gently beating the edge of the dock and slight licks of wind from the sea coming in around their ears making them go woo woo woo and all thinking of digging their bodies into one another and kisses and fairies and long trips in cars across to Kilarney, but first into this public house here where sailors go for jolly and a carved and ashen sign hung above the door reading…


The Half Bog


They are into the place and down into one of the corners where it is dark and there is a slight pale red light from the stained glass window in the front of the pub and the shadows grow long from its edge to the long golden rail of the bar where a one-eyed man is smiling chesterly at them and pouring a thick inky beer into frothing pints.
“Do tell your name dear swoon swan of the Liffy’s shore.”


“Your Mother’s?”

“Of course.”

“And the Primary?”


“And is there a middle to cusp the two?”


“How delightful.  Let me put it all together….Jamie Lee Bartelogenifugalwitz.”

“Remarkable with the accent.”

“Thank you.”

“Is it a Boston?”

“No.  I am Midwesterner. We have far better sunsets and are the breeders of the nation’s best farmers and killers.”

“Of which breed are you?”

“You must look closely at my hands for signs of blood or dust to know the answer.”

“And what if there is both?”

“Then I am Irish.”

The man behind the bar comes around the bar with pints in arm and slabs them down upon the table spilling little bits up over the rim and down the sides of the glasses and upon the cedar table where Braxton is laying his face in to suck up the spilt contents with the sides of his mouth.

The bar man heads back to the bar.  Braxton finishes with the spilt contents in one clean slurp and then calls for the man to bring a token for the juke.

“We don’t have a juke.  We have a Woodbine.”

With that said, the barman hits a switch upon the wall behind Jamie’s shoulder, and deep deep deep into the darkest corner of the pub behind them, a dim saffron light was turned on and cast an oval light down upon the carving of a wooden doll, half the size of a man with red fedora and fiddle stretched from elbow to shoulder.  His eyes were two great white buttons with flashing red bulbs in the pupil of each. The entire contraption was caked in dust and spun with a thousands spider webs.

The barman hits a second switch, and the zzwooz of electricity buzzes from the pale balsa bones all the way up to its eyes.  It immediately stands on both legs with whirls of dust clouds emerging from its joints.  Its eyes beam two bright red electric lights out into the empty space above their table.  For a moment it is motionless, until Braxton gives its leg a flick and all at once it begins to play the fiddle and sing.

“Oh how marvelous!” Jamie cries clapping her hands and giggling like a little girl.

“Oh now see, that’s all it takes to impress them, a bit of hard wood and music.  Make him play the Rover!”

The Woodbine contraption goes into the White Rover flinging its two wooden legs about as if they were sacks of cabbage without bone nor joint.  Its red eyes flickering in and out with the electricity as its mechanical jaw goes WA WA WA.

“That is amazing! I love little things like this.  Oh dear, do I want one so bad!”

Just then the front door to the pub swings wide open and there in the doorway stood the silhouette of a mighty brut beast whose breadth of shoulders was nearly as wide as the door itself.  It snarls and growls and calls for six whiskeys.

The barman jumps and hits the switch on the wall flipping off the Woodbine and rushing to the bar knocking down a bottle of scotch with a great crash, Braxton following the sound with a sudden whale and tears and leaping at the floor.

The big Irish sailor comes inside making his way to the bar with two great swings of each of his legs and then knocking back six shots of the lud one right after the other.  Braxton comes up from the floor licking at the sides of his face and wobbling.  He looks over at Jamie who is glaring at him displeased and sighing and shaking her head.

“Hey you there,” the great green beast roars out at Braxton.  “You there!”

Braxton was alarmed but is careful to keep composure and stiff eyes and spine trying not to shift any of his main joints.

“Yes bear, I mean sir.”

“I just come in from the sea.  And I need a good strong lad to help lift me cargo off me ship.”

“Haven’t you a crew?”

“There was a storm out near the eyes.  They were all tossed overboard,” he said bowing his head and removing his hat placing it over his belly.

“That is terrible.  That is utterly terrible.  Although I am entertaining.” Braxton replies motioning towards Jamie.  She nervously smirks in the corner.

“Balls! Come with me!” He roared out again crashing his fist down upon the bar splitting a clean line down its center, and then stuffing both fists into his pockets and pulling out crap loads of dollars.  Braxton’s eyes are wild and immediately his liver is screaming from underneath his shirt and the froth of Sir Authors great black murk was emerging from the sides of his mouth as if he was a dog gone rabid.

In the darkness and dust of this ole establishment upon the quays, strangest of strange things happen and will continue without end as long as there is a river flowing through the city Dublin.  This dear Braxton boy of the United States, having never seen or attempted a decent days work in his life, is uplifted at the sight of tunes and toonies. Bending backward breaking all moral and dreaming of wines and hams and fires and the shedding of cloths down at the Barthar Palace where all the whispers have been shunned out, and satin sheets are pulled back with little mints and inviting nipples between.

“Oh dear, your not going are you?” Jamie says, all disturbed and clutching for his arm..

“I’m afraid something inside me is not giving me much a choice in the matter.” He says staring the brute straight in the eye trying to keep from shaking.

They are out the door following the man down the quays where they had moments ago met when Braxton had leapt into the water.  At the end of the lot stood the tall shadow of a swaying ship.  In a low cloud of fog, its sail’s towered high above the rivers edge and even above the rooftops along the quay where strings of laundry swayed gingerly against the winds of the sea.  Even from a great distance, the groans of its rickety belly echoed all down the river and off every window of every empty flat and public house that stood within a screams distance.

They reach the side of the ship and stare up the wooden pegged plank connecting the boat with the shore.  One step at a time they climb aboard behind the brute.  He disappears down a little hatch and immediately starts tossing wood boxes out of the little hole onto the deck of the ship.  Braxton starts running towards the crashing merchandise trying to catch them and pile them into neat stacks.

One of the boxes comes up over his shoulder and with a crash behind him, Jamie is suddenly screaming and he turns in time to sees her pale Irish face become as white as the moonlight, then looking down upon the floor and seeing the broken box at her feet, and a pile of eyeballs spilt about the deck rolling in all directions.

The two of them start running far beyond the quays, the groaning ship, and now shouting captain, as they disappear into a rare twilight at the edge of this Irish city.  Braxton with his hands out chasing after Jamie trying to catch her blouse and stop her as his own tail coat goes on flapping wildly behind him.  A small rain begins to fall. Big iron ships clang against the sides of the harbor and the two of them disappear underneath the tramway down a little ally where stray dogs are tearing apart a piece of rancid meat and somewhere in Ireland a baby begins to cry.

Jamie throws herself into a brick wall and goes to the ground kneeling in a puddle, her eyes full of tears.  Braxton catching up behind her throwing his arms around this girl realizing that he had never even told her his name, and even now having forgotten of the eyes and feeling sad for her as she weeps into his arms and he is nestling his face against her ear saying there-there, there-there.

And across the sod and crumbling cobblestone streets, the rain falls in slight patterns around bottle caps and shars of glass.  And Braxton hearing the song of the Woodbine begin to twang in his head.  Seeing its red electric eyes cast out across the dark and empty steam rising up from the concrete ally. “Its all just a sphere,” he thinks to himself, closing his eyes, as he strokes the Bartelogenifugalwitz’s thin sopping hair, whispering to her over and over, there-there, there-there.




Walking Through Spain

April 12th, 2011 by acjohner

Walking Through Spain

On down this old road. Dagger strapped heels tightly feeding on the ground. See beyond and out the world of madness and longing for more always wanting to put more in past the teeth and why they are never clean always putting more and more into there.  All the things that make us whole again.  But never ever ever full, always only partially empty, and partially full.  And never the way it was meant to be and why nothing works in this world except the wheel and if it ever breaks down the earth will come alive and screw us all to death.

Up over the hill the sunshine, then the glistening of a thousand wet rooftops all with scarlet clay tiles and I smile to myself because I have been on this walk before and know that this same little path winds all the way along the coast of the Mediterranean, all the way from Almeria to Barcelona.  It takes one summer to walk the entire way.  Sleeping on the beaches and drinking wine on the steps of churches and the Museum of Salvador Dali, and eating tapas with every drink never once having to pay for a meal.

Then waiting in Barcelona for my bus to Madrid where a plane would take me home and spending my last night out there on the beach watching teenagers rampage in and out of a row of discos some of them sneaking down the beach to get at one another and always in the style of the dog…it must have been something the Spanish liked to do a lot.  But that’s not what I remember the most, even though it is the part I love to tell friends…what I loved the most was a single sunrise I saw camping with hashish in Alicante and living with this strange girl in Madrid who was German and only liked to read American authors and always read my stories even though they were all terrible and told me I was a wonderful writer but sad.

And what is so sad about it Evelyn? Is it the same everywhere or do the expressions change with the changing of colors? Do you mean the flags? The Flag of Florida is my favorite. I hate the American flag.  Why is that Evelyn? It just looks disgusting all the colors are bad together.  Do you think American sadness is the same as German sadness?  Of course it is.  What about Spanish sadness?  There is no such thing, everyone here is happy.  Are you happy?  Of course. I’m not.  I want an adventure.  You’re on one.  This isn’t an adventure enough for you?  No.  All I’ve seen of Spain is this window and nothing beyond it.  That’s because you drink all the time and never go anyplace.  I’m not one for cities.  Get out of it.  Come with me.  No.  And her walking me to the bus station.  A frightened boy with no tongue but English and just wondering from town to town saying perdón perdón…donde está el cuarto de baño? And sometimes not getting answers because my tongue was all wrong.  Then meeting this girl from France, and one from Argentina, and two that had a cottage out in the countryside where we all got naked and let me lick wine off there breasts because it was all I wanted to do, and realizing that Spain is a lovly and loving country after all for divine nakedness and dancing and drinking in the streets.  Everything can be done in the street because everyone loves to watch and see how the others do and they always share everything.  Even if it’s only a baguette and a dozen mouths, crumbs are dispersed.  Running all the way up the coast in cars with strangers then mostly with this girl from France who was a Lesbian but we always slept in each others arms because it was nice and why not do nice things for a change you American she would say always thinking opposite of everything fun.

Then coming back to Madrid finally on a bus after seeing a thousand beaches covered in tits and walking up to Evelyn and not thanking her for my summer even though Spain was her invitation, and I was sorry that I got tired of sleeping next to her.  And that I would not stop writing and drinking long enough to take any walks with her in the park.  And now looking back I wonder just how I got by with my manners all like a bag of assholes.  And wondering why they always whispered behind my back but loved me when I was drunk which I was all the time anyway.

I could walk all this way again but I’ve come this far I might as well go back, otherwise I may never come back, and the adventure is always in vein for me if I can’t tell anyone the story.