I grew up in the land where 14-year-olds built houses in foreign countries. Where 15-year-olds drove Mercedes-Benz and 16-year-olds started thinking about their parent’s colleges.
A cube of marble with arms, a chest, stomach, legs and feet with none of the ripples and bumps of a completed piece. He was a block.
Everything was imagined from mythical beasts to majestic feasts. Yet he could not conjure her, even in his own memory. She would not appear in his imagined world.
I put her clothes from the hospital in the hamper and sat on the bed. What were all those forms I needed to fill out? What were those phone numbers I had to call? Why did I put her clothes in the hamper?
“Turn, bend over, spread your cheeks and cough.” He paused and looked at the other freshly imprisoned men complying. His clothes black with a strip of white, wadded up on the floor behind him.
I knew she was just extending a guilty hand. I looked around the yard and spotted chains and a lock on the lids of their trash cans.
I was terrified to breathe. What I had considered a burbling brook a few minutes ago seemed now like a turbulent vortex. It started to rain.
Rooster’s don’t have teeth. At least that’s what he was told. He was also told to go to college, get married and buy a house. That shit didn’t work out. So did rooster’s really not have teeth?
She wiped it off her chin. He wiped with a towel. The crew struck the set. The director took the footage to the editor. The talent got dressed and drove off in separate vehicles.
When she closed the glass door of the lighthouse, for a moment, there was only silence. Silence and the spinning light.
I flagged down the waiter for another Sangria and sat, trying to figure it out. All this raw emotion and rush of feelings but I was alone. In younger days it was easier to identify my feelings. This is happiness. This is regret. This is anger. As I grew older, the feelings tied themselves to memories and experiences, making it harder to untangle one emotion from another.
She drove, her hands ten and two, no radio, stopping at every light, keeping two car lengths between the vehicles in front. Textbook safe driving. We pulled up to a bakery and she said, “get out.”
Dust. So much swirling in the air that it became mud in the eyes and chewed up cake in the mouth. Their ears built dams of wax and stone. Their noses reduced to only to hold up glasses, unable to pass air in or out from the mucus and wet clay caking its opening.
We had talked about shutting off the world many times and he was a few days and a couple details away from freedom. Tracking time in cigarettes and answering only to his bodily functions.
He looked up at the faces of the other guests. Nodding, smiling, winking, head-tilting, lip-biting, red cup sipping, arm touching, eye fluttering, eye fucking, and jealousy. Bob noticed it all in those faces. He took a deep breath and downed the rest of his drink. What was he doing there?
Something like thirty cubicles span the space between me and this RJ character, so why is he unloading his life on me? His badge! I can glance at the name on his employee badge. I look down at the usual badge holding locations. Shirt pocket. Damn. Belt loop. Shit.
It only takes a moment for our animal instincts to take over us. A hushed whisper of a thought becomes the booming voice of vice.
The morning arrived in a gradient of orange, purple and blue across the sky. The sun hadn’t pulled itself over the mountains and the moon was enjoying a glimpse of the day. The girl with the pearls in her eyes wept.
Henry groaned as he got out of bed. His back popping and snapping as he stretched. It was still dark out. He grabbed a cigarette from the night stand and went to his back patio. The dew from the grass and the absence of sun sent a cold shiver through his body.
Above his head he held the words which were meant to give his life purpose, the words he was meant to obey.
“Excuse me?” she said.
From behind me the tertiary constituent in our sad procession towards frozen dairy spoke up.
The man pulled a Mason jar full of water from below the counter and took a swig. His eyes bulged, his cheeks flushed red and he let out a puff of smoke before replying, “well, if you are camping alone, I recommend a pup tent.”
One packet at a time he sprinkled the salt in a circle around his tent. Satisfied, he took the bag from his mouth and stepped inside the tent.
And so now, into popping maybe over 100 balloons, Jamie started relishing in the reactions of her guests. The force and energy of all the partiers was hushed by a single balloon popper.
You do your best to keep the ball in the air. You drop it a few times while doing your hygiene routine but pretty soon it becomes second nature to keep the beach ball in the air.
We passed a display with all sorts of symbols. The Christian cross was pointed out as another symbol of irony; a torture device used by the Roman Empire became the symbol of a supposedly peaceful belief system.
I sat on the edge of the check-up bed, my bare ass sticking to the thin paper they pull over the top to stop cross-contamination.
A club with a pink sign in Miami vice style writing that said “Lazerbeam” only the “m” was going in and out so every few seconds it was club “Lazerbea”, which I thought sounded cooler.
She reached the steps of the temple and started to climb. At the top, a figure dressed in yellow robes appeared. She hoped he would have a bowl of rice and maybe some sake.
She was in a foul bate sitting in traffic. Her knuckles were white, gripped around the steering wheel and she was gritting her teeth. She refused to look at the drivers or passengers in the cars all around her.
Jerry’s dead now. Susan came by with a carton of milk that had been in the fridge for two years. She doused him with it. While he was trying to rub away the milk from his eyes, she asked him if he wanted a towel and instead handed him a plugged in toaster.
The guy who said “follow me” was our tour guide. His outfit would have been fine in the jungle but we were in downtown Los Angeles in July. This jungle required less clothing.
The cauldron would be impossibly heavy and hot to carry but she had placed the fire under a steel cart with wheels that could be locked.
“Yes chef!” He grabbed the knife and stabbed it into the cutting board. I flinched and peed a little but nobody noticed.