“Around the World” is after the Daft Punk song of the same name. Brian Warfield lives in Philadelphia and makes small books with Turtleneck Press.
He packed his bag, he packed it. From his drawers he took his clothes. He folded his underwear. He packed his bag. His bag was brown, his bag was packed.
He stood in line. He stood up tall. He stood in line behind a family of three. He looked at the family. They stood in front of him, not in a line but in some other formation. A formation of three, like a triangle.
He packed his bag, he said when they asked him if he packed his bag. The family packed the family’s bag.
He walked in a straight line between two points. He had walked from his house to where he was going. He bought a ticket. He stood in line and bought the ticket. There were windows all around.
His first stop was France. He was going to France. He was going to Paris. He had been to Paris, France. He was going to Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, croissants. Paris. He would eat a croissant. He would not visit the Louvre or see any towers. In France, when he was in France. He had his bag in France. Underwear, pants, shirt, cologne, tooth paste, tooth brush, in France, socks, shoes, books, some wire, a bomb, a magazine, a tennis racket, France. Bacon was made out of pig. French, he knew some words. Une chienne avec croissant. He went to France and blew it up by twisting a wire to its undercarriage. He got his shoes dirty. Second pair in bag. Take out shoes and switch them. In the French airport he said “oui” when the airport asked if he had packed his bag. “Oui” was French for “yes.” He’d packed his bag. In France. In French.
He went on another airplane. The plane went up and then down. He sat in his seat with the tray up. He went up and came down. The plane hit the ground. It rode along on the runway in Belgium. It was Belgium. He was in Belgium. The plane was in Belgium. His bag was in Belgium. With its wires and his underwear and dirty shoes and dirty secrets and magazines he’d packed. Belgium invented French fries. Belgium invented Belgian waffles. Belgium invented brussels sprouts. He ate a brussels sprout. It looked like a miniature cabbage. He killed many people, Belgians. He killed them with pipe packed with C4. Belgian Belgium. He had sex with a stranger. Bag, underwear, cologne, money. In the morning he left the stranger and walked to the airport. The airport was made of cotton. He wore the airport like kid gloves. The gloves were made out of children. He put the airport on his hands and packed his bag himself. In the airport, waiting for the airplane, there were televisions. They had the news playing with news of his actions. They didn’t know that it was him or who it was. The news, the television, the Belgians or non-Belgians in the airport waiting to go somewhere else. They looked at him like he was one of them.
He’d eaten an eyeball before. The stranger would wake up, naked, handcuffed, a long incision along the inside of a thigh.
Bag packed. Stowed in the overhead compartment. The Twilight Zone episode with the gremlin on the wing. Tornadoes eating towns. Swedish meatballs. Sweden. A cool, immaculate clearness to the air, he’d expected. A Swedish flag. He got off the airplane, walked across the tarmac. Tether. He tied the prime minister up and cut the thumbs of the prime minister off. The 1st and 3rd and 5th and 7th fingers. The prime minister could not play the piano. Eating the meatball of Sweden and a roast with potatoes marinated in the blood of the lamb and carrots. Trailing the wires, twisting a fuse. The people who said hello to him in Swedish. The muppet. Was it Sweden that was neutral, or Switzerland, he always forgot. He’d have to sow the burned-down Sweden with salt. Black lichen scorched to oblivion. He struck a match. The flicker of a flame. He twisted the arm of a sailor. He made a wish when the bone broke.
He ate a slice of chicken. He ate a slice of chicken and a slice of chicken. He ate a slice of chicken. He ate a slice of chicken. He ate a kernel of corn.
In the morning, he looked at a mirror. He checked out of his Swedish hotel. Switzerland Swedish. He checked his itinerary. Could he make a detour to Switzerland and shave the mustaches off famous paintings? Could he buy sixteen Swiss army knives and plunge them into the soft bellies of sixteen-year-olds? Could he sew the eyelids shut of anyone? He looked at his watch and he didn’t have time.
He stepped through the doors of the airport. The airport doors opened themselves up for him. He flew to Latvia and to Turkey where he ate Turkish delight and slaughtered 5000 nuns and to Yemen and to India. The red dot on the center of the forehead was a laser.
In China he read Mao’s little red book on a train and the train took him to different parts of the country where his shoes were untied and his underwear taken off and slung over the radiator and naked bodies writhed over him like snakes. Half-eaten dumplings gathering insects in a corner.
The bag sat like an open mouth at the foot of the bed. He picked it up and packed the things he needed into it. He walked to the airport. He had been inside 1,000 airports. He took the Xiang Fu airport apart screw by screw. It collapsed upon the black-haired heads of 10,000 Chinese. The airplane lifted him out of the destructed airport and into the pristine sky cluttered only by clouds.
His bag insisted on being carried to Guam, where he slathered a balm of napalm all along the cracks and crevices of the foundations of museums and libraries. In Hawaii, he ate a pineapple and he gutted a pig and a Hawaiian and roasted them over a fire and he thrust his fists into the hot meat and he walked inside of a volcano where he bathed himself in lava. He stood up and he sat down and he moved his legs as he walked a mile and he lifted his bag by its handle over the rotating metal of the turnstiles and he put his bag through metal detectors where no metal was detected.
In Mexico, a mariachi band was strangulated and he stretched the skin of their bodies end to end covering the floor of his hovel. He raped Venezuela in the navel and swam across the ocean to Morocco where they filmed Casablanca and he was cast as an extra. He ordered drinks at the bar and opened his bag and took out his ax and split the skull of Peter Lorre. He walked through Spain and took the spear out of the hide of a slain bull and breathed into its nostrils.
And then, back home, he unpacked his bag in his home, where he lived. Took his shirt and shoes and pants and underwear and the bits and pieces and ears out of the bag for one night or one week or one whatever. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. He dreamt a dream and he dreamt that he was flying in an airplane that never came down. He dreamt that he was flying without his bag toward France.