You know it's not difficult to take a life, especially if it's your own. The appropriate chambered determinate or ignored suggested daily requirement—a piece of cake. Just choose 'A' and put it in 'B,' that's it. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Quick. Easy. Simple.
Well, maybe not as simple as you would think.
I remember finding them naked and finished. Finished with each other, finished with themselves. How do you recover from forcing the door open because my fiance and best friend's clothes were impeding my entry? Half dressed. Full f#@!'d. I vaguely recall stumbling down the centennial stairs because back then, people were half your size and weren't as drunk. I collapsed on the front porch, gathering myself on the wicker chair for a moment as the 'holy shit's' and 'what the hell do we do now!' drifted through the open upstairs window.
Day's then weeks passed. Letters from the landlord. Changed locks. Broken window. The knapsack full of whatever I could grab. Friends couch. Park bench.
It doesn't take long, my friends. Not long at all.
A rain-soaked, atypically cold summer night. Hungry because you haven't eaten in days, and your so-called friends are 'tired of your shit.' The only thing you feel besides your dad's .38 revolver, the one token, the tight ass bastard left you after his porcelain coronary is the contemplation of your furtive actions.
The funny thing is, stuffing the business end of a revolver in your mouth is precisely like placing your tongue on a 9-volt battery, but instead of a quick head jerk and soured look upon your face, it's a definitive solution with a simple side effect and consideration. Who'll find me? Do I care? Am I going to shit my pants? Will she find out what I've done, and will she take a moment to consider her part? I guess I'll never know.
I know what’s going to happen. I wish I didn’t. But, I do. I didn’t believe it at first. It was just a dream I thought. Like scrooge discounting Marley as ‘an undigested piece of meat, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.’ But just as the old man skirted about, grasping the arm of past, present, and future, realizing the apparitions were not gravy, but indeed grave and much like Ebenezer, I am the only one seeing the dark inevitability.
I’ve written in a ledger of sorts nearly every day, every line, every page, front and back. My mother thought it would be helpful. Helpful for me in dealing with what happened. Hundreds of ledgers and notebooks ago. Long ago when I died. Well. That’s what the doctors said. I think I was too young to realize what happened. I honestly don’t remember falling out of the boat in the first place. I don’t remember our neighbor, Steve or John, giving me CPR. I don’t remember the four weeks in ICU.
I do remember not understanding why I had to stay at the hospital or why it was so important for me not to go swimming again. I remember my brothers and sisters jumping into the lake while I sat on the dock, pencil, and book in hand. Giving a brief description of my day, the happenings, funny stories and everything around me. As an adult, my entries have grown to be only occasionally and less than brief descriptions of work, food, traffic, my annoying neighbors and the wild-haired landlord with a million cats. But something happened last night and I need to write.
It’s Friday. So…I don’t know how else to say this but all of the insects died today. All of them. Every single insect in the entire world rolled on its back and assumed the international sign of death. I sat at the kitchen table scrolling through my phone trying to make sense of what happened and to a slight offset considering what I knew was coming. The news coverage is oddly vague with what is going on. Not necessarily the coverage but what’s going to happen. Not the evaporation of insects but what’s going to happen to us. I don’t think they know.
My boss sent us home early for the weekend. Instead of the general euphoria associated with an early Friday, almost everyone wore a grave face of mild concern and tepid hope. Not a single ‘have a good weekend’ or ‘see ya Monday’. It was weird.
When I got home I couldn’t eat. How could I while experts spoke to us in calming tones of the impossible natural phenomenon, their faces unable to hide their concern but instead were quick to distract us with this year's blockbuster or what movie star was doing to another. I left my dinner in the sink. It’s almost midnight and I’m going to try and get some sleep. I only hope I don’t have the dream again.
Today is Saturday. It’s bright and sunny with small tufts of clouds sitting idle. I had two bananas and coffee. I’ll just say it. Today was the bird's turn. Finch, sparrow, robin, seagull, flamingo, eagle. The television and every social media shown millions if not billions of birds littering the streets, fields, rooftops, lolling and rolling in the surf, being stuffed into red biohazard bags. Scooped up with shovels like coal and tossed onto raging fires.
I didn’t go to the grocery store. I should have plenty of food, but does it matter? I don’t want to leave my apartment. Maybe I should have.
I returned from the laundry room after taking too long in convincing myself to. A lot of the residents were talking rather than shoving quarters in the washers and dryers. Especially Mr. Hendrix who is normally quiet and subdued. Mrs. Clover who has always been our complex’s steadfast rock and go-to for any of our problems stood silently without any guiding or supportive advice. Instead, she stood, folding the same shirt over and over. Several of them had proposed a trip to the country. 'Get away from the city' they said. Even though the closest city is 90 miles away.
I am noticing a distinct change in people. A distinct change in everything. Besides the growing smell of death, something else is lingering. Metallic, cold and hot at the same time. Clean. Odd. Like nervous sweat. Bitter and not. It’s on everyone’s faces. A concern with a growing amount of consideration.
I finished my laundry and put my clothes away. I forced myself to eat a frozen pizza. But the pictures of the birds, everywhere, birds you don’t expect to see in mass graves, a macabre scene all over the world halted any bit of hunger. It’s an amazing conflict of expectations and reality. Kind of like drinking orange juice out of a coffee cup. It’s late. I’m going to bed. Hopefully no dreams like the one I had a couple of days ago.
It’s Sunday. I am still in bed. I don’t want to look at my phone or turn on the T.V. I’m going to eat some breakfast and will write later tonight. I didn’t have the dream last night. I don’t think I’m ready to write down what the dream was about. Not yet.
Well. It’s about noon and some unusual things are happening. Mr. Hendrix and Mrs. Clover’s cars are packed to the gills and it wasn’t much later I noticed the majority of the complex’s inhabitants followed suit. I am going to turn on the TV.
Here we go…The oceans died today. Well, everything that called water home, died. Oceans. Lakes. Rivers. Streams. Fish and porpoise. Whale and shark joined the toxic death soup lapping along the shore. More reporters with handkerchiefs over their mouths. Wide-eyed newscasters with unconvincing smiles.
I think people are officially losing their shit and definitively choosing to be on one side of the line or the other. Not that I am losing my shit, but I am starting to consider the message with a little more severity.
I called my sister and brothers about half an hour ago and they are going to the family cabin. I told them I would meet them. I couldn’t tell them the truth. I should have gone to the store. I’m almost out of food. The entire apartment complex is dark and quiet as if the power is out. I checked it. More than once but still am going to keep the lights off just in case. I don’t feel safe. I am going to bed and will write more tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll write the message. The dream.
Monday. I am not going to work. To be honest I am not going anywhere. Not after what I saw on television last night. I couldn’t sleep. I know I shouldn’t have but I turned on the news.
Panic is finally setting in. Cities are being vacated unsuccessfully. Small rural towns like my own are creating barricades to keep the evacuees out but it isn’t a surprise to me as no matter where you live, people are leaving the big screen TVs and instead overrunning any place with food and water. One reporter stood in front of a grocery store gap jawed as people shot each other coming in and going out of the store. On another channel, a news camera panned across a parking lot strewn with dead bodies, a small child walling next to either its mother or father, a rusty pick up running over anyone who happened to be in its path, including the child. Hell. Hell, on earth is all I can say. That’s why I’ve locked myself in here. I don’t want to see it, smell it, taste it. All I can think of to write anymore is we have two more days and I am beginning to solidly believe I am the only one who knows.
I should mention what sparked the insanity. All of the animals died. Every animal you can think of. From mountain gorillas to household pets. Dead. All of them. And the unusual thing is they did it conspicuously. As if they looked for appropriate gathering space to lay down together and…die. It reminded me of the nut job who killed all those people with the arsenic Kool-Aid. Nearly neat and tidy rows of bodies. Lined in otherwise symmetry. Someone is knocking at my door.
The person wasn’t knocking but banging. With enough force, I imagined hands bloody and bruised. It was a woman. Her voice raw and scratched, pleading for me to let her in. I didn’t. I couldn’t. She begged in between deep sobs. She must have sat at my door for 30 minutes before I heard male voices and the quick scurry of her feet. I barricaded my door with the couch I got from my parent's estate sale. I’m going to try and sleep. I almost forgot. The dream.
Four days ago. I woke from not being asleep. That’s the best I can explain it. I was neither asleep nor awake but coherent to my surroundings and the message. It reminded me of something I’ve never shared with anyone until now. I had a late-night connecting flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids in one of those narrow puddle jumper turboprops. It was intensely brief but for a moment I felt as if I was not in a plane flying hundreds of miles per hour at 30,000 feet but as if I were sitting at the kitchen table like I am now. The sensation of movement had evaporated leaving a stillness I’ve never felt before, until, four days ago. I stood in a void of white light. Feeling neither weight nor pressure upon any surface of my body. I stood but didn’t. I breathed but didn’t. I was and was not at the same moment.
The message was simple, heavy, leaden, dense but delicate like a butterfly wing. It is so difficult to describe. The closest thing I can think of is the small moment in a swing just as the direction is changing. Feeling the weight briefly evaporate then resurfacing with intensity. ‘Humanity ends in seven days.’ Words unspoken but somehow heard. The voice was calm, clear, comforting, penetrating.
I’ll write more tomorrow. I’m going to bed in my bathroom just in case someone breaks in so I can escape through the window.
Today is Tuesday. The power is out. There’s no water coming from the faucets. I don’t have anything to eat except a can of refried beans and some salsa. I sat and looked at it for 15 minutes before eating it. I can hear gunshots outside but no sirens. My phone is nearly dead. I’m thinking I should try to find some food and water. I’ll write more when I get back. If I get back.
I found the woman who had been beating on my door. I covered her with a sheet that was snagged on a bush. Animals and birds are everywhere. I threw up too many times to count. I’m going to eat and drink what I found.
I’m feeling better now that I’ve eaten and drank half of my water haul. I was surprised at how many people were out and in similar situations as myself. Their arms full of bottled water, cans, candy bars, and whatever was left. I saw a man who gave me a casual nod if we were passing each other at a sporting event. Getting our snacks at half time and returning to our seats. Except instead of a tray of nachos and solo cup of beer he had three bottles of Jack Daniels and two-liter bottles of Diet Coke.
I’m beginning to consider something. Do we deserve what’s coming? Is it not a surprise this is happening? I’m not surprised because people suck. We suck. No one gives a shit about anyone other than themselves. We are more inclined to respond instantly to the dings and pings of our phone rather than interact with another human being. We are like Pavlov’s dog. Instead of salivating for a brief flash of meat powder it’s the luminous glow of a viral video, Facebook post or rambling nonsensical message from Twitter or Snapchat.
And here we are in the middle of some terrible shit our first inclination is to grab whatever we can without paying for it? Take advantage of the flesh of another and leave her dead in the street? Roll over each other without discrimination to man, woman or child? Kill each other for what the other has only to be surprised when someone else does the same to you. Karma is a bitch and we have pissed her off.
Oh…. All the plants died today. I don’t care to elaborate except there isn’t a green thing anywhere. I’m going to sleep. Tomorrow is the last day. Better get my rest.
It’s Wednesday. I woke up with a heaviness in my chest. Not an uncomfortable pressure but it feels as though I’m being pulled from the center of it. Like a fist full of shirt pulling me. Pulling me outside. I’m going to eat the cans of soup and candy bars I found yesterday.
Something is going on I can’t explain. I know it sounds ridiculous seeing how everything is dead outside as if that’s not strange anymore. Well. To a certain degree, I think I’ve gotten used to it so now it is my new normal. Until tomorrow I suppose. The strange this is there is a low hum mirrored with another nearly imperceptible tone not outside or inside but everywhere. It is quite pleasant and when I focus on it the feeling in my chest increases sending goose flesh across my extremities. It is decidedly pleasurable. I think I’m going to go outside and see. Hopefully, I’ll be back to write some more. Holy shit. I’ve never seen a sky like that before. Brilliant. Blue. Clear. Nearly overwhelming. I couldn’t take my eyes off it even though there wasn’t anything to see. Everyone who had ventured out stood staring upwards. I wonder if they felt and heard the same as me? I found Jack Daniels man and cast a quick nod which was returned with a smile and a flick of his hat. I moved the couch and am going to leave the door open. I need the door open to hear the sound better I think.
It’s nearly 10 o'clock. I realize what’s happening now. It took me a while to figure it out. Not the message but the message itself. I know that sounds ridiculous but everything has been a global sucker punch. The world's greatest prank. Give everyone the biggest pile of shit with no signs of ever getting better, leaving us in a position of hopelessness, then give us a hint, a brief interlude that maybe, just maybe it’ll be ok. Then. Bang. We’re all fucked.
Today was a wonderful day. Like the last day of school. Two lovers' first kiss. A mother's hug after a long departure.
Some of us rigged a couple of BBQs together found a bag of charcoal and cooked some thawed hamburgers while a few others began burying the dead animals, and several sang a couple of Familiar Hymns. It felt normal. Normal within the abnormal. But now the day is nearly over and I know what’s going to happen tomorrow and I don’t know of anything else to do but pray. Pray for forgiveness ruining the earth and not realizing how fragile life is and how we’ve become so inconsiderately blind to everything. I’m going to pray to them all. God. The Universe. Allah. Buddha. Jesus. I’m going to pray to anyone who’ll listen. I know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I wish I didn’t. But I do. And I pray it doesn’t.
Otra vez! (Again)
Where the hell am I? Memory is blank, wiped, scrubbed clean. The only thing I’m sure of is that my nose is broken. Again. But the pain in the center of my face is nothing compared to the apparent oblong clockwise rotation I felt. Clockwise. Definitely clockwise. No putting a foot on the floor to make sure but it feels as if I am trapped on a defunct county fair tilt a whirl with a greasy coverall clad carny at the controls showing no signs of slowing.
Why are we naked? And tied to a chair? What happened to us?!
Calm down. We’ve trained for this.
But! What happened?
Shut the hell up and let me think.
Two conversations occurred. Both inside my head. Both nestled deep into my psyche for as long as I can remember. One rational, well trained, calculating. The other oblivious, distracted, inattentive.
Doc Proctor believed it was critically problematic having more than one voice in my head let alone two.
I disliked the narrow shouldered bulbous headed man from the get go. Peering over his spiral notebook while tapping a pencil against his immense forehead. Feigning concern for my well-being. Reporting to my superiors whether or not I was a potential risk or a valuable asset. Glazing over my potential multiple personality disorder as a result of compensation for everything I’ve seen and done. A glancing side effect from what I’ve become.
Get in the Goddamn game man!
Yes! What happened?!
Evaluate the situation. Know what you know.
Clothes are gone. Ropes around my ankles, wrists, and trunk. Metal chair. Complete darkness except a barely discernable pin pricked red light, elevated, to the right. Smell is gone more than likely to my benefit. Something secured to my right arm just below the elbow. Water dripping behind and to the left. Air is calm and musky. Complete. Dark. Silence.
Remember when the neighborhood kids dared you to go into the open manhole then closed the lid?
You’re not helping.
I do remember the storm drain more specifically the slow eclipse of light as they slid the metal cover. High pitched laughter drowning my screams. Cutting my hands on the rough underside. Unable to lift the heavy plate and whoever was standing upon it.
Given the certain circumstances, I can only conclude we are dealing with some serious if not professional hard asses.
Remember that one time you found that dead cat?
Ignore that asshole and concentrate. We’ll get out of here just like we got out of that storm drain. We’ll take care of things here just like we took care of things back then.
You found it but it wasn’t dead…yet. Remember?!
Focus. What’s the last thing you recall?
We were going dark. No trace. Plausible deniability of our existence. Target was cleared for elimination. Extraction was limited to a narrow window both in location and time. Simple in and out. Four-man team. Two I’ve worked with before and one unfamiliar. Marco. Tall lean twitchy bastard with a high-pitched laugh even when nothing was remotely humorous.
I didn’t like him. He wasn’t like Davis.
Good. You got it now. I didn’t like him either by the way. Keep going.
We were 5 kilometers south of Carapachibey, Cuba in a zodiac millpro. Zero two hundred hours. Black seas indistinguishable against the dark night kept our advance under 5 knots. Marco was at the helm handling things as if he had done it before. Davis and I were forward port and starboard shrugging off the salty spray as the 14-foot inflatable slammed into the waves towards the target. Cal was covering the stern but mostly monitoring his watch as the extraction window was slowly narrowing with every passing second.
You noticed something odd.
My stomach doesn’t feel good. I told you that whiskey tasted funny.
Marco kept reducing speed.
It wasn’t a noticeable decrease, however; Cal caught my attention pointing a hard finger towards his watch. We were slowing our advance and our chances to make the rendezvous point on time.
We had no other option other than to hit ’em hard and fast. Target was eliminated. Collateral damage was minimal. Mostly unimportant low levels. We shoved the whores off in one of the dinghies. Secured the 20-meter yacht and acquired the secondary objective.
Davis covertly pulled me aside. “Somethin’ just ain't right.” He had the same look in his eyes as he did in Fallujah. Just before the skies opened raining hell down upon us. “It’s just an easy job. Let’s get the hell out of here before we miss our extraction.” Davis loosened his grip slightly before letting go.
Where is everybody else? Are they in here with us?
Quiet. I’m trying to figure out how the hell we got here and besides, they’re not in here with us.
How you do you know?
This is a professional’s situation. They’ll keep us separated until…
Footsteps. Three sets. Heavy.
We should see if they know where Davis is!
The door is on the right, see?
Bad things are going to happen again, aren’t they?
Shut up and keep quiet. Focus on what you see.
Three. Dark silhouettes. Two standing on either side of the door’s frame. Can’t see clearly yet. Eyes un-adjusted to the transition of light. A soft wave of condition air reveals the stink we’ve been sitting in. Figure tall lean. Twitchy? A single bulb illuminates overhead revealing the shadow’s features.
Hey! It’s Davis!
Shit… We are not going to get out of this one.
“Welcome to Mexico Major.”
Lie still my heart.
"Don't forget my play list." The last thing she said. The last thing I remembered her saying.
Nine months. 'Ten months actually' she reminded me. Often in the back of a taxi, on the narrowed steel fire escape, our 'roomy' twin bed. All of which she entered with quiet resevervations.
She carried our something. Our something better. Through the thankless administrative job on the umpteenth floor. Along the bittered and littered streets of the lower east side. Amidst the wretched blank faces scattered about the stale subway. She carried our something. She carried it until she couldn't anymore.
I see now. What it's like. I wish I didn't. But I do. There you are, unfettered, ubiquitous. Nurses quickly, quietly taking you about. Unsure of their exact intentions but I release upon their experience. You are so pretty. Just as you were on that summer afternoon in the park when the sun lit your face and breaze lifted your auburn hair as if it were curious to what lay beneath. It was in that moment you stole my heart and still keep it.
Now, with our something, watching, thinking. What do I do now? She is a mere fraction of us together but now our together is just me. Just me and our something. What do I do? How?
Just as that breeeze glanced upon your brow does the realization of your never ending beauty illustrate slightly through the blue eyes staring upon me.
New life for another. An even exchange? I wish I could determine but at this moment it is indetermined. My love for you has compounded inexplicably to our something. Our child. Your child. My child. I will love her just as I have loved you. Maybe greater. Maybe.
She touched the crook of his elbow. He responded with a light tapping upon the metal cot. Her heart bounced with exhiliration. Again. For the thousandth time.
She edged from her bed to his. Silently. Unknowingly to the rest of the baracks inhabitants. Her lips, dry, chapped, eager, drapped upon his ear.
"I love you."
The words whispered lightly as a feather drifing upon the wind, a beat upon the air from a butterfly's wing.
Three taps upon the metal cot. This time from his 4th digit ringed with a brass band. She knew. He loved her as well.
Wrong Place. Wrong Time.
"Does anyone know you're here?", I whispered intensely.
He was evaporating quickly. Deflating like a kids birthday balloon,pin-pricked,drifting lazily towards the ground.
Winter’s vapored breathe.
Songs and stories descend.
Tales spun in fires soft glow.
Of Rune Bear’s end.
Young eyes wide.
Elder mouths smile.
Ghostly shadows dance.
A warrior of great extent.
Bearing, helm of awe.
Sought Rune Bear out.
Envisaging its fall.
Entwinned in battle.
Under slivered moon.
Rune Bear fell.
Yielding to gaping wound.
Spoils towards aggrieved victor.
Glowing Runes pelt.
Ethereal blue light.
Spirit blood abandon.
Spirit soul elevated.
Rune Bear exists.
I wish I had never found this goddam watch.
I’ve disemboweled it with hammers, cinder blocks and the heel of my boot. Skipped it across calm waters. Watched glowing embers consume it, slowly with calm alacrity. I’ve watched it slip into concrete depths and muddy hollows.
Yet, it’s still here. No matter how carefully I ensure its temporary destruction, it reappears. Shinned, scrolled silver, pearly faced, decorative flor de lis hands gliding over Roman numerals. An over-sized worn crown and large looped Figaro chain. In perfect working order. Keeping time. Making time.
Time. I have no idea how long it has been since I found it, laying open, handsomely displayed on the garage sale folding table between pairs of tube socks and caramel colored carnival glass.
I could see her in my periphery as soon as I pulled the watch from the red velveted box. She halted her yarn in mid-bobble, scrutinizing me behind her sun glasses, the effective, oversized ones you get at the optometrist. She leaned forward in her sagging lawn chair as if she was readying for a potential pursuit.
“That’s my husband's…was.” She said, placing the knitting needles into a plastic grocery sack.
“How much do you want for it?” I said.
It was her grin. Now that I think about it. Like the Cheshire cat. Broad. Bright. Almost too large for her narrow skulled face. The teeth were too perfect. They conflicted with the thin skin draping coldly around them, against the jutting cheek bones and forehead, like a thread bare sheet blanketed over an antique in a dusty attic. Her incongruous smile wasn’t untrustworthy at that moment, it became so, much later.
She struggled standing, hunched, unfurling slightly, ambling towards me. She smelled like mothballs and gin. “Take it. He doesn’t have any more use out of it. Ever since I found him dangling in the garage.”
She shifted her feet, tossed a knuckled thumb towards the detached building. I imagined for a moment him still hanging behind the closed door. Swinging slowly. Clockwise. In his Sunday best, his belly sliding out from underneath the suit jacket. His chin laying on his chest. Reflecting an ‘oh well’ kind of posture. Or, laid back in the matching lawn chair. Arms dangling. Legs protruding. Head, gone. Shot gun balanced between his legs, erect.
“Go on. Take it. You seem like a nice young fella.” Her smile was genuine. Terrible, but genuine.
It is here that I’ve come back to a hundred times. Trying to dissuade the old lady, myself, unsuccessfully. No matter how I try, the watch wins. Beyond this point, the future is either fucked or really fucked no matter what I do.
You see, I pressed the crown of the watch. Time froze. Everything did. The old lady’s wretched gin-soaked grin. The college kids struggling their new davenport sofa into their truck. Her husband swinging in the garage, I supposed.
The watch-controlled time. I could pause it and reverse it. Forwarding was only possible to return to the constant. Too many variables existed and time was woven the rate it passed.
I walked for miles, days among the frozen. I’ll be honest, I was inappropriate with some and really inappropriate with others. Once, I went back to watch the old lady’s husband, who was in his Sunday best, watch dangling from the suit vest, entering the garage with a note pinned to his chest.
I figured a decade would be far enough to go back. It started with cash registers, then banks and of course the jewelers; casinos fell, stock market suited assholes followed closely and based their actions on mine.
I had everything and anything I wanted, until the point. The mathematical point at which I acquired the watch. Time has its own rules and at that point everything catches up and there is no other way of putting it, everything and everybody is fucked. Sometimes it’s a day, a week or seconds after the point, but the fabric of time loses its threads. Terrible things. Unholy, unbelievable things happen.
I’ve been back and forth, before, after, during. I try to undo what I did. Get back to zero, but I can’t. It’s the butterfly effect. I return to influence the colored wings trajectory, but the waft of air produces an action, mathematically compounding to deafening and terrifying results.
The only good thing I have found with the watch is the value of time. Not in a secular definition, but mathematical. Time is funny, not in the context of being preciously and abusively squandered as it passes, but in the measured seconds and milliseconds of our chosen actions. It’s the split second you pause at an intersection and you narrowly miss the guy running a red light. It’s the hurried actions that precede life altering moments. Our daily routines and connections in measured time decide life or death for us.
I’ve wondered, mostly at night, in the dense hot air; the night before the point, moments before time catches up on itself, whether or not I can continue. I’ve aged terribly and can only imagine how long I’ve been traveling. I have unbegrudgingly made my decision.
If you are reading this letter. I stole this suit from the house next to this garage and I apologize. If you are the old woman who finds me dangling from the rafters, I am terribly sorry for any inconvenience. Whoever you are, could you please get rid of the watch that’s in my vest pocket. It will only bring misery to the person holding it.
A tried traveler.
Oranges. It smells like oranges, I think. But, not the ones you dig a finger nail into just before revealing the flesh, the ones you find in cylinders to cover the real smell. The shit. The stink. The smell of polyester and sweat. Vomit and disgust. The basement bathroom, the house guest uses because the veal parmesian wasn't 'sitting right'. I think.
My mind struggles in the balance. The edge of conciousness and sleep. The tidal slack. High. Low tide. Who fucking knows.
My right hand instinctively thumbs the safety. My left, glides over the features of a doll, I guess. Its over exagerated features. Chin. Cheeks. Hips. Too dark to tell what configuration the doll is trying to exude. On the other hand. The gun. Simple. Metal. Speed. Death. If loaded. I checked the clip. Empty.
It's too goddam dark in here. Air is hot, stiffling, throat drying. Water. I wish I had water. My throat feels like sandpaper. I think. I lie.
My thumb glances over what I can only imagine are painted blue eyes hovering below thin brows.
Hands are the only thing moving, working against the dark restraint. My back. Hurts like a mother fucker. Blood caked lips. Nose broken, I think.
"On your feet."
A tin canned voice.
Too dark. Smells like shitty oranges and something else. I think.
"ON YOUR FEET"
A little more stearnly, but still mechanical.
"Do you know where you are."
I nodded. I think.
"Do you know who you are?"
I nodded. Who the fuck am I? I thought.
Safety on, safety off. Some cobwebbed space in my mind wished the gun was loaded.
I held the doll by the thinness between it's disproportionate head and shoulder. Choking, inanimatley.
"Very good. Move onto the next room, please."
Take a look.
Do you want to see it? The basket weave of dense discolored tissue? Was it a burn, laceration or abrasion you ask? You may not want to know, but I can tell you’re curious. Go on. Take a peek. As if we are a couple of 12-year old boys in the school yard, comparing whose is worse. Better. Mine might be hard to find though. It’s deep inside. I can’t even see it, but I know it’s there.
It hurts when bumped, banged or hit.
It bleeds a little if scratched.
There’s no band aid for it. Just a hard swallow and deep breath as the tissues tear into another gapping fissure.
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Do you still want to see it?