Feb. 12, 2003
volume i, issue x
this killed
The Locusts are Coming
John Dempsey

The phone rang.

I picked it up and the Giant was yelling, "The Locusts are coming!

You have to warn people!

You have to get away from here! Get in your car and head north!

Head to where it's cold!"


"I don't have time to explain, just go! Warn anybody you can and leave! Hurry!"

"Hurry where?"

"Oh, shit I can hear them! What about you? Can you hear them over there?"

"Hear what? It sounds like static. Probably just a bad connection."

"No- oh, god! Hurry! Hurry beforeBlaaaarrrrrgh!" and the line went dead so I hung up the phone and opened a beer.

Switched on the television.

There was a newscast on, a reporter was telling people to go into hiding, "basement or nearest fallout shelter. Take only the necessities," he then read off a list of necessities:


Canned Food

First-aid supplies

A radio, and I thought,

what about the beer? What about cigarettes? What about pornography and oxycontin? Huh? What about weed? Huh? But he seemed to have forgotten all that; he just read something from the bible and

"God bless us all,

the locusts are coming." I turned the thing off, figuring that it had finally happened. The world had finally snapped. The whole planet had cracked, flipped out, gone off the deep end and taken a permanent vacation forward all mail to the psyche ward to be censored before it reaches our dear patient amen. I opened another beer and sat down at the computer.

I typed a letter to Leon the editor,

and then I typed a poem to some woman in North Dakota. It was dirty,

the poem, not the letter, full of sexual innuendo and erotic descriptions, I even had a picture of myself, in a towel and sporting a hard-on which I attached. I sent the two emails, lit a smoke, and listened to a sound coming through my wall, "Bissmelah alrahman il raheem, malek yowm it deen, eeyaka naboodo wah eeyaka nasta een, ihdina serrat il moostakeen" Karim, the Arab next door. I knocked twice on the wall.

"Hey man, what the hell you doing in there?"

"Praying." he says.


"Yes, today is the Day of Judgment. I don't want to wind up in hell. You should be praying too."

"Nah, it's alright."

"It's not too late for you. Come over and I'll convert you, we can pray together! Yes! We can enter paradise together! As brothers!"

"Uhmmm, maybe later on man, I've got some work to finish up."

"If you say so, but remember, Allah waits not."

"Alright, I'll keep that in mind."

"Bissmelah alrahman il raheem." I opened another beer, stretched and looked out my window.

Looking out my window I saw a young man running.

He was waving his arms,

yelling, "Locusts! The locusts are coming!" and he looked absolutely mad. He looked so wonderfully and perfectly mad, so delightfully and flawlessly mad that he might have been a great poet, or a great painter. Guy look like an artist and so I opened the window and called out to him, "Hey, what's the matter buddy, why don't you come up here and have a drink?" But he paid no attention,

he just kept on running and yelling, looking both beautiful and mad while peeking over his shoulder, running from some invisible enemy, tripping over his feet, falling, jumping back up, yelling "Shit! The locusts!" running further away, spectacular- made me wish I had a camera.

So I started thinking about cameras.

Wondering how much a good one would go for, nothing too fancy, just something capable. I knocked off the beer and got up for another, opened the fridge and grabbed a can of domestic, opened that while thinking about cameras, drank half in one shot and it tasted so damned good, so damned delicious and satisfying that it made me think about my future. This is what I thought, 'I'll never get anywhere like this, just drinking more and typing worse and my liver has got to be beat to all hell, the lungs are up next, cancer around the corner and herpes down the hall and I'll never get anywhere, shit, anywhere at all(I finished the beer,

feeling disgusted with myself, truly, totally, completely fucking disgusted, and I thought some more and finally I thought)screw it, every man is a machine and every machine needs fuel!' I started screaming at the beer can. "Fuel! That's all you are, just fuel for the machine! No more and no less. Just plain old fuel! You got that? Huh?" 


"What was that?"

"Crunch-Crunch, Crunch-Crunch." And the sun had disappeared, blotted out from the sky and replaced with "Crunch-Crunch,

Crunch-Crunch." And then I heard screaming, no words, just screaming, might have been the Arab, maybe he had gotten to paradise and realized that it was a fraud, or maybe it was that mad artist who had run away earlier, or maybe it was the beer can, who knows? Who cares? Crunch-Crunch? My windows began to bulge in towards the room. Small grasshopper shapes crawled along the panes and the wood started to creak, Crunch-Crunch, and I had a few beers left so I opened them all at once, gulped one down, stuck a smoke into my face and waited for the locusts.

(c) John Dempsey 2003