In through a Door, out a Window by Elijah Matthew Tubbs
Editor-in-Chief Jennifer A. Howard on today's bonus short: Elijah Tubbs’ curious, twisty descent into language and history and violence left me feeling like myself at 8, spinning for kicks in the kitchen: fun-tippy and off-kilter until the feeling hit my stomach and I knew it was time to worry about where and how hard I would land.
In through a Door, Out a Window
Defenestrate, as in being thrown out of a window; as in a word created solely based on one incident, The Defenestration of Prague; as in Protestant radicals tossing two catholic deputies of the Bohemian Assembly and a secretary out of castle Hradschin in 1618; as in the first event of the thirty years’ war; as in forced faith; as in famine and disease; as in the deadliest European religious war; as in eight million causalities; as in the grace of a Holy Roman Catholic tyrant, Ferdinand II.
Many twentieth and twenty-first century linguists tie defenestrate tofenestra, Latin for window, possibly related to the Greek verb, phaenein, to show; possibly as an Etruscan borrowing, suffix, -stra, as in Latin loaner words: apulstre, the carved stern of ship with ornament design, or genista, the plant broom, or lanista, trainer of gladiators.
A word trails off into another and another then needs another, and like all incidents, experiences, and ideas minuscule or massive, they butterfly effect out, changing the following. Leaving seemingly an infinite amount of cookie crumbles behind.
Defenestrate, as in have a nice life. Defenestrate, as in Francois the tabby cat swung out of a window by dastardly Laurent. Defenestrate, as in reality television as quality entertainment. Defenestrate, as in milk blue. Milk blue, as in breast milk; as in a child; as in an Omaha defenestration. Defenestrate, as in Bohumil Hrabal feeding songbirds; as in death. Defenestrate, as in tomorrow. Or yesterday; as in a time machine. Defenestrate, as in MKULTRA; as in Stranger Things; as in a few “wrongful deaths.” Defenestrate, as in the canary who could sing, but couldn’t fly. Defenestrate, as in a poltergeist; as in broken televisions. Broken televisions; as in shattered glass; as in irate exes from a second story window. Defenestrate, as in Eutychus; as in apostle Paul’s outstandingly boring traits. Eutychus, as in fortunate; as in true bamboo. Defenestrate, as in two different stories, a fall or a throw? Defenestrate, as in mainly suicide. Suicide, as in a depression; as in Pierre Q. Defenestrate, as in poetic inspiration. Defenestrate, as in _____________.
Those two deputies however, by what Cicely Veronica Westwood said was a holy miracle, or a comic accident according to the religion or lack thereof of the beholder, survived their fall, landing on pillows of trash.
Trash, as in streets of mud; as in defecate; as in odoriferous; as in horseflies on hot horse shit; as in summer on an Arizona ranch; as in sticky plaid love; as in inevitable betrayal; as in shit happens; as in defenestration.
Elijah Matthew Tubbs lives and writes in Arizona. Recent work is featured in Sonora Review, Permafrost, Connotations Press, and elsewhere. He is co-founder of ELKE "a little journal."