salt inhalation

               :: kharla m. brillo

Nobody wanted your thighs, the way
your toes eat sand and choke as if
it didn’t learn how to avoid cement
cracks, and anything in half,
                    in thirds, anything
Your ankle looks like a cliff,
your ankle won’t want you to jump
over something you would blame it for.
Trust your lungs if it takes you
out to sea, if it wants you to
                           inhale salt,
if it wants war
with the waves, if it wants to toss
your hair the way painters do with
black paint. Some days,
the ocean
looks like
              an ashtray pretending to be blue,
full of wreckage and spit. So you call
yourself a failed landing, but your hands
were only taking you to places
far from perfect but
                 always, as real
                        as your heart beating two
point five billion times when this
is all over. When this  
                         is all over
but it is not quite
yet. Hear that song. Why won’t you dance
with your awkwardness sprayed painted
all over kitchen floor? Why won’t you
stumble over, fall flat, and still,
                  and still, call your knees graceful?

Biological warfare has been devastating people since at least the time the Mongols started wiping out enemy cities by catapulting diseased corpses over their walls, but its grand, mustard gas-y upgrade in World War I all but ensured that most every military worth its salt started dabbling in inhalable horrors. The U.S. military was no exception, but where most military organizations were content keeping their terror-bacteria in laboratories, they wanted nothing to do with such lame-assery. Instead, from September 20-27, 1950, they carefully sprayed the entire city of San Francisco with enough Serratia marcescens and Bacillus globigii bacteria to expose the area’s 800,000 residents to new, vile lifeforms.

To be fair, Operation Sea-Spray was intended to be (slightly) less “Fuck San Francisco, amirite?” move than it seems. The operation’s aim was to find out whether enemy agents could unleash a biological attack on a coastal city, and the researchers were allegedly fairly sure that the bacteria they had used was almost certainly harmless. However, it was in fact anything but. Within days, people with mysterious, difficult-to-treat infections caused by a hitherto extremely rare bacteria called – all together now – Serratia marcenscens started trickling into the area’s hospitals. By November, one patient had died. The doctors didn’t have a clue what was going on, because the military hadn’t bothered to inform the health officials before, you know, covering their whole city in strange bacteria.

What’s worse, the bacteria may never really have gone away. Weird infections have sporadically cropped up in the Bay Area ever since the experiment, and doctors speculate that the military-introduced Serratia may well be the culprit. A Serratia infection killed a man as recently as 2001.

5 Military Experiments That Told Ethics To F*ck Right Off

in, and out

Rated T for some swearing; focus on Stan and Ford’s relationship; gen; probably a lot of angst.

Based on these headcanons I sent for @defying-gravityfalls. Can also be found on AO3.

Thirty years is a long time for old arguments to fester and grow bitter, and thirty years is a long time for old ghosts to haunt your sleep. Stan and Ford are living the dream on their boat, seeking adventure on the high seas. Living the dream, yes; but dreams don’t come without nightmares.

The Stan O’ War rises, then falls again in a slow rhythm, like your breath when you sleep, steady and predictable.

Stanley leans against the railing, inhaling the salt air. The sun is warming even the deep creases around his eyes, and he’s several degrees tanner than he was six weeks ago. Turns out you can even tan in the Arctic Circle, if you’re committed. And don’t mind the freezing cold.

Stan is liking the Bahamas a lot more than Greenland.

They’re en route to the Bermuda Triangle, which despite Stan’s off-color jokes is not connected with Bill Cipher in any way, according to Ford. Who, speak of the devil, is currently sketching something in his already beat-up new journal. It has a drawing of himself and Stan pasted to the cover, hand-drawn by Mabel and liberally treated with glitter.

Keep reading