Micro Chunks

Marshmallow.

Traveling by air-conditioned motor coach through the Punjab, my fellow American Boy Scouts and I pelted passersby with marshmallows. As supplies ran low the game escalated. Skill shots – the ornate center “O” of a Be Gentle on My Curves roadway sign, an underhand toss that dropped a white dot down the plastic throat of a pot-wallah’s wares – became shit shots. Beggars cringed as a volley of missiles hurtled at them. My assistant patrol leader reached down and balanced a white cube on a cyclist’s turban. Last marshmallow in the bag, last shot: I plucked it out of the cellophane sleeve and popped it in my mouth, masticated the powdery mass until it was tacky. The bus lurched forwards. I dangled the glob in the sun and let it dry until it reached the perfect consistency for throwing. A leper approached, gazing up at us, moaning for baksheesh, for a school pen, for one rupee. He had one arm; the other was a flaking stump the color of a dangling cigarette ash. He spotted me. I nodded at him. Drew my arm back and flung it at him as hard as I could. It hit him on the forehead and clung. He pulled if off and ate it.

Milk.

Milk came in Baggies that looked like saline solution or breast implants, and that was the best stuff, the one touting its processing plant pedigree from the United Arab Emirates. Untrustworthy stuff. Though you snipped the tips off when you used a bag, cunning men with heat guns scavenged floppy empties from rubbish tips and filled them with inferior product. Lacings and dilutions that were alarming to imagine. Chalk and water. Fleshy arachnids mashed into paste. Ass milk. Dog milk. Chemical solutions of lye that mimicked the precise blue hue. Water was what would could kill you no matter how stomach churning the other contaminations might have been. Mailings from Non-Governmental Organizations proclaimed the water gelatinous with fecal bacteria. Waterborne pathogens are the worst. Pregnant women advised to shower with eyes clenched. Teeth to be brushed only with UV-sterilized water. A single droplet consumed inadvertently risks Delhi belly and three days of bed-rest punctuated by very, very fast darts to the W/C or a stay in the Apollo Hospital intaking IV fluids, or a Medivacing to Singapore. The latter didn’t seem such a bad fate. But it was better not to risk untrustworthy milk. We ordered directly from the farms. Great battered tin tureens of unprocessed buffalo milk we had to boil. Cereal and chocolate milk suffered. The milk was thin as water, but for a skin of fatty mucous strong enough to snag Cheerios. It dried hard, bonded to the sides of mugs and edges of spoons and had to scraped.

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Why We Trash Hotel Rooms

A situationist analysis of trashing hotel rooms. An attempt at writing prose poetry.

“The New Flesh” essay in Angel City Review

PDF link to the magazine.

Awarded Art 365 Grant

Amy and I were selected as 2017 Art 365 artists by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition.

Art 365 is an exhibition from the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition which offers five Oklahoma artists a year and $12,000 to create innovative artwork in collaboration with a nationally recognized curator. The artists work with a guest curator for one year to create a body of original artwork for the exhibition.

The Horror of the Ouachita Mountains

The closest Paul Bowman ever came to killing Bigfoot was in 2011: “I was kicking around camp around two, three in the afternoon when there was a rock impact from the west, a large one—he couldn’t have been far—so I get suited up and grab my camo and rifle and go out. Bob Strain stood guard.

Coast to Coast Cat Smuggling

The rendezvous was arranged for a motel parking lot just off the I-44 freeway in Oklahoma. (“Please beware of this one,” warned a Google review of the motel. “Your life is not safe here.”) A helicopter cruised overhead. Outside, the temperature was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. A man and a woman in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled under an awning.

South China Morning Post Reviews “A Grand Theory…”

Grand Theory of Everything
by James McGirk
Amazon Digital Services (e-book)

Perhaps “strange chemicals”, and large quantities of alcohol, have affected the way James McGirk thinks. For A Grand Theory of Everything is odd – deep but also shallow, and meaningless, unless you too have careened through life trying to make sense of stuff. That will include many, although few will have had his upbringing, living as a “princeling”. As an Anglo-American teenager growing up in New Delhi with journalist parents, his was a third-culture existence, heightened by hard drugs, which he took to expand his mind and become a psychedelic astronaut. Then, everything was like an onion, wrapped around a core of nothingness. His theory of everything shifts when he encounters Colonel John Boyd, developer of the OODA loop, which stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. The premise is that by acting faster than an opponent you will appear unpredictable to them and have the upper hand. Readers will wonder whether this Kindle Single was the result of a bad trip.

The Horror in the Ouachita Mountains

Giving a talk to the Oklahoma Skeptics Society about my search for the Ouachita Mountain bigfoot and the group of amateur researchers who want to kill him. November 9th at Picasso’s Cafe in Oklahoma City: 7pm-9pm. (More details forthcoming)

The Stranger

A new piece in Oklahoma Humanities Magazine’s Internationalism themed issue about assembling a version of the United States from abroad.

A Grand Theory of Everything

What do you do if you’re a teenager, stranded by your parents in New Delhi, without any sort of adult supervision, with easy access to all sorts of strange drugs? If you’re James McGirk, you use your bad trip to develop a philosophy that explains the whole world and all of its complexities. In A Grand Theory of Everything, McGirk takes us from the winding backstreets of New Delhi to his cramped apartment in New York City, and then on to his eventual relocation with his wife to the empty plains of Oklahoma. And, most importantly, he takes us inside his own head, where his weird theories take shape to help him understand his alienation from his family, his struggles to find a career, his wife’s failing health, and all of life’s hardships. 

 

 

 

Amazon Author Page

Here’s a link to my new Amazon author page