Didn't know what to call this one, simply taking the meme words of "dumb", "gay", "sexy" and/or "furry" and throwing them into a blender didn't seem right this time. I would like to keep up on writing because it's something I miss a lot, not just writing because Money and Deadline but because I like it, goddunnit!
I haven't figured out what to call this yet, but maybe I'll ask to change in into a an appropriate title later.
Oh, please don't respond to the stories themselves. Or maybe do, I'm not quite sure how to organize this. There will be two comments: On with the stories and one that says BONER. Maybe respond to the BONER one. Yeah, I'll go with that.
I like reading comments so please tell me what you think. Even if you think I should get deported and that im adopted, I will be grateful for your comment. <3
This is the one where the hell happens.
The Buzz returned when I was filling up the pickup at a gas station just into Whitman country. I was on my was to take up some part-time work at my great uncle's farm house. I'd been minding my own business, standing in line with my money out and counted because I didn't want to fumble around and waste time about it. I always prepare my cash before I buy anything, partly because I don't feel like being awkward about things and other partly because I'm scared I won't have enough or forget to count or something. I have a habit of worrying a lot. Even if it's a little thing. Like candy bars.
A worker girl was stocking the candy bars, and I couldn't help but notice it. Not the girl part, the candy bar part. The way the plastic wrappers sounded when they slid together, the crinkle-cut ends making a hard crackle sound when they scraped the sides of the cardboard box, the boxes themselves rustling against each other with every movement.... The girl had long nails. Like the beauty ad kinds, they were very bright colored and all with white tips on them. And she was tapping them against a Crunch bar while reading her inventory list. Lots of tapping. The wrapper made the tiniest crackle noise when she tapped. More like clawed.
I turned ahead and realized I was supposed to walk forward a little. I felt kind of worried. I decided to count my cash again, and then another time in case I forgot which order 2 and 3 was. I feel like I'm crazy sometimes.
Ever since I was a kid, I've been worried. Worried about what time my brother got home, or if I'd spelled my name right, or if I was choking to death and my body was keeping it a secret from me the whole damn time. That's a weird thing, right? If I was choking, I'd know it because the choking part. But I was so worried I stayed up all night, hands around my throat, counting my breaths carefully until it was time to go to school. If I messed up on a number, I felt like I'd be killed. Please don't ask me why.
It's kind of familiar. The feeling of being killed.
I don't have to think about these things anymore.
I remember clearly the stab of panic I'd felt when I glanced up from my money. The cashier, who looked as if he was covered in blood, was a meter or two away from me and that's when it struck me that I'd been holding up the line. I'm very sorry. Sorry, sorry. I wanted to say sorry to the lady behind me too, but her teeth kept screaming at me so I decided she might not be in the mood. I'd held up the line. I'd made everyone angry. When I make people angry, I always feel like crying. Even though I'm too old for that.
The cashier batted away the flies and asked if I'd found everything alright today. I told him I needed my tank filled up and here is the money thank you very much. He said alright we'll get Collin to fix you up. I wondered why Collin would be fixing me up because it wasn't like I was missing a bumper or anything, but I said thank you anyways. The damn stocking girl's claws broke the fucking candy bar and I could hear it stab my eardrums until it bled so I put my hand over my ear so the blood wouldn't come out. Collin had worked very hard on the floors so I didn't want to ruin it with my blood. I'm very sorry.
There were these two little kids. They both had really bright colored, nice fluffy hair that stuck out all over like dandelions and it made me think about me and my big brother when we were a lot younger. My brother's hair used to be yellow-gold, but now that he's older it's so light it's almost a cloud. The kids were playing at the ICEE stand, mixing every flavor together. It looked really fun and I wanted to try it too.
The cashier asked why I was crying. I reached into my wallet and took out the money to pay for the gas thank you very much sir. Part of the cashier's face sloughed off in confusion. Maybe I hadn't counted it right, so I put down a few extra dollars.
I looked over at the kids. Sunny was dead. His entire side was covered in blue blood, like a bugs. The blue even got in his hair. My skin melted off my hands and hit Collin's nice floor with a wet plop.
When I woke up, I was laying in the pickup with my knees pressed into the radio almost and my feet hitting the passenger door. My pickup was nicely parked on the side of the road at somebody's wheat field, the sun setting pretty-like over the tops of the gold. The seats were wet. I'd sweated through my clothes. There was a small speck crawling along the underside of the steering wheel, a few inches from my nose. Without thinking, I smacked it off. It was a little spider. I wrestled myself out of the truck so I could puke.
So that's how I knew the Buzz was back. Or, is back, I guess. I suppose it's the sort of thing that doesn't leave you, it's something that melts into your bones and squirms under your skin like little maggots in an apple. It builds tunnels in you, many, many tunnels, until you're as much flesh as empty.
Everything after the whole gas station thing was blanketed in a deep fog of exhaustion. I think I must have sat in the dirt a long while, hollow-headed and worn from all the crying. I can't help myself. That sort of thing-- The crying all the times-- It happens on it's own. I used to cry because I was scared of everything, but later on I just cried because I could.
I remember dialing up Sunny because I was worried about him. But then I remembered I worry too much so I hung up a few beeps in. I don't remember a lot after that, except for I didn't know what to do.
Around middle school I'd discover the gift of Nyquil. Basically you can just down the stuff and go the fuck to sleep, which was a blessing at the time. I was really worried about being killed back then. Somebody kept sneaking razor blades into my desk at school, so everytime I reached in for my notebook or something, my hands would come out covered in blood with tiny scraps or metal sticking out. I'd begged the nurse, please fix me! I'll bleed to death! but she could never find anything wrong with my hands. She told me I looked tired, but otherwised healthy. It still really hurt. I walked around with my hands completely covered in bandages, a glove of colors and patterns I'd purchased myself. So I liked Nyquil because I never had to feel bad.
Staying home was easy. Dad was always off at work, and Sunny was busy with his girlfriends or boyfriends or part-time jobs or something. Also, Sunny loved me. He never questioned me asking to stay home, he just said that we had chicken soup in the cabinet and to not microwave it with the spoon. He'd ruffle up my hair and say "get better, baby bird!" before careening out the door with all the zap of a popped off soda cap. He always zapped. Everything he did, he seemingly popped or zapped or sizzled about it. And I think he understood. He didn't know the full story at the time, but I think he somehow got it.
It wasn't just Nyquil, though. I remember keeping Benedryl on me in mid high and sleeping through half of my classes. I was a fiend for Xanax for a while, then I had a friend lend me his Valium, then I got into some Oxycotin shit. I'll never go back to that Oxycotin shit....I remember swiping some of my brother's anxiety meds at some point, it had made me feel really terrible so I promised myself I'd stop. I'd start taking the meds I was supposed to take, and I'd never steal again. I mellowed out. I was doing better. By the end of high school I'd thought that I didn't need to worry anymore, that everything was due to an overactive imagination or some shit.
I know it's just me. I know nobody was hiding razor blades in my school desk, I know the shower wasn't leaking bile, that there weren't any beetles in my lunches and that my skin is perfectly attatched to my bones, I know, I get it--
It's just me. It's in my head. But even now, I feel sick about the whole thing. It just isn't right. Because-- Because if it's not real--Then why--
Then why does Sunny walk a limp--
Why does he get nightmares--
Why does he have a scar, as big as an icepick, scrawled across the bumps of his spine?
I remember now, what happened after the Buzz. I took a long nap. A few hours with my face buried in the thin dust and concrete, drooling pleasantly like a toddler. If there is one thing I'm thankful for, it's my dreams-- They're always empty, dark, with nothing left to hurt me or chase me, all just comforting speckless galaxy where I can have my peace. I have always liked the feeling of being alone. It keeps things nice and quiet....
I got up, face covered in a coat of spittle and dirt, and panicked a bit when I heard an unfamiliar jingling sound that at first I'm afraid is an imaginary delusion but happily was just my phone. I fished it out of my pocket, fumble with flipping it up, and pressed it absentmindedly to my muddied face. I remember smiling at the sound of familiar sizzles and pops.
"P.J.! You really freaked me there for a second, I mean, you never call, I thought you got AXEMURDERED or something!" The voice exploded.
The image of the bloodied cashier face skin splatted against the checkout counter flashed through my head before I cleared it away with a quiet laugh. "Uh...Hi, uh, it was a mistake. Butt dial." The words came out choppy, and I realized I felt a stone in my throat. Dammit. "It's okay." He'll catch on....He'll catch on....
"You sound like you just ate sand paper."
"I'm just kind of tired."
A heavy pause. "Where are you?"
He caught on.
"I'm, um, on my way to Uncle Dave's...He, uh, he wants some work done..."
"On the farmhouse?"
"Yeah. I'm getting payed pretty good, too....So...."
There was another pause. A longer one, I could actually hear the gears in Sunny's head working overtime. I waited a minute before figuring that I'd lost him for good there.
"Uh, Sunny?" I squeaked.
"Yeah. Hmm. Yes. Uh," His words got tripped up for a moment, and that's when I knew he was really worrying. "Uncle Dave's farm house. Yeah. Sorry, I was just....uh.....Just, it's been a while, hasn't it? I'm trying to remember it, but, uh, I mean i-it's kind of--"
I'm terribly stupid sometimes. We don't have to think about these things anymore. I forgot that. Sunny, I'm sorry. I begin to panic, wondering why I'd mentioned such a thing, why I had to bring it back to that--
The stone in my throat disappeared all of sudden. All of the words happened at once. "When I'm back in Seattle, let's go to Mee Sum, okay?"
I felt as if I wanted things to be okay. Like if I said the things I wanted, they'd somehow happen without any problems. I heard my brother take a deep breath, I could see the color returning to his face.
"....Look, Mee Sum is totally great and all, but if you come by wouldn't you want it to be a little....Fancier? Like, with actual chairs and stuff?"
"I like the chicken," I blurted. "And there are benches by the boardwalk."
"Not gonna lie....That sounds pretty cool."
"I'll tell you when I'm in town."
"Give me some forewarning, willya? Cass is doing this thing where I like, plan out stuff. I gotta day planner."
"Sounds painful, actually. I gotta write numbers and shit."
By this time, the sun had officially set and the pinpoints of light were first peaking out of the darkening blue. And it was getting colder. In wide open plains like that the nights get nasty cold. "Sunny, I think I have to go now."
"Mmhmm. Well, don't be a stranger or anything. Like, you can butt dial me a few times a month at least"
"And stay out of axemurdering."
"Love ya, P.J."
"Love you too, Sunny."
I flipped the phone shut and wiped the gunk from my cheeks, all the dust and drool and tears. I promised myself I wouldn't break down again today. No more Buzz, no more crying.....Just. Get to where I needed to go, reward myself with a hot shower and pass the hell out. I counted through my steps. And then I counted them again. As much as I worry about numbers, putting a name on things helps them feel doable. Like I'm not completely gone.
I could feel the chill of night claw it's way up my coat sleeves as I took to the steering wheel. There is no melting. There is no sound.
It's just a dark and starless night.
I am very sorry for how messy it is. One way or another I wanted to write something enjoyable, so I sat down to write. But I couldn't, so I slept for 16 hours. Then I cleaned the house and made tea, after that I tried to play a game but I kept fumbling the buttons. Strip me of my gamer rights, will ya?! So I eventually wrote this, and I did not stop because I very much wanted to finish something for the first time in a while.
The weekend before I had my sister over and we ate at a nice hombow joint in pike place. It was very small and narrow, with pretty windows where you could see the water. The beans there were delicious. I'm still thinking about them.....
My card was rejected, though, which made me real embarrassed.
I hope to write more because it will be good for me, and I intend to make a habit out of it. It's quite silly now but I'm sure it will be decent at some point. I also want to add a crow named Jingles because that looks cool in my head.
I like the feeling of water in my ears.
I always think about water seeping into my brain. There’s a hole in the ear, of course, so there must be something stopping all the water from getting into my skull. I found this diagram in a science book of the ear, with all it’s curvy parts and little tubes turning in on themselves. There’s this part called the tympanic membrane. It’s a thin, flesh colored cover deep in the ear that vibrates with all the sounds or something. It’s so thin, so small, I used to think about poking it out with a needle. That’s kind of fucky. But I thought a lot of fucky things back then, I hadn’t adjusted quite right. There was this mental divide between myself and the body I was in, so the idea of jamming a coat hanger through my ear canal seemed more like a bored experiment than anything else.
Where do fingernails come from? That thought really struck me in middle school. I mean, it’s just this hard little plate that’s buried under the skin ...To where? The bone? Except probably not, because nails aren’t made of the same stuff as bone. In actuality, the nail grows not too deep in the flesh of the finger, surrounded by this little hardened skin stuff. There’s a root, too. Like a plant. I’d press my middle finger to the top my pointer, trying to feel the root of the nail. The root had to be somewhere.
One day in the 7th grade, I went down to my dad’s garage and found his toolbox. I fished around for the needle nosed pliers. The ones with the really skinny ends on them, you know. I’m not exactly sure what you’re supposed to do with them. I’m not a tools guy. Anyways, I wedged the thing as far as I could under my nail, clamped down, and ripped. There was a lot of blood. The nail came out by the root.
Sunny, he found me in that horrific mess, my entire hand dark red and dripping. There must have been blood on my face too, because my first thought after the whole thing was to stick my finger in my mouth like a little kid. It’s just so fucked. I just feel real bad about it. Sunny’d just gotten out of the hospital himself, and I know he’d seen all sorts of crazies out there. I remember his white face sinking down the in the doorway, his body shaking so hard I was sure he was going to fall apart. Like all the bones and all the skin and all everything was going to scatter off into different directions. He looked really small, balled up like that. I was going to tell him I was sorry but when I opened my mouth, all the blood rushed out onto my shirt. Thick, dark blood. It was warm. Sunny was crying.
People were told to keep an eye on me. I was put in therapy again. I was given meds that I never took. Eyes were always burning into my back. Little holes, little burns, all along my body from these little eyes. They were red-hot and made of iron, and they followed me wherever I went. If I didn’t do something right, they’d kill me. I was sure of it. They’d come up and stab me to death and punish me for lying around in my own blood, if I cried they’d punish me for making such an ugly noise. They’d push me under when I was in the bath until the lights behind the eyes looked blinding like a halo and then nothing would come after. That is the feeling of being watched.
It was all in my head. I was really a strange little kid. You wouldn’t know it, just looking at pictures-- I’ve got dark circles but I'm smiling, missing a few teeth, wrapped up in too-large winter coats with snow piling up on my fluffy little head. Sunny’s got this million-dollar grin in all of them. We made a hallmark card pair, I think. Like a pretty little thing you’d send to relatives on the holidays along with a tin of butter cookies. We were good-natured kids. We’d just lost the chase.
The therapist I had asked a lot of questions I couldn’t quite get.
“Why did you hurt yourself?”
“I wanted to see the inside parts.”
“The inside parts?”
“The parts on the inside…”
Anyone would feel stupid, answering like that. It was a back-and-forth in which I became quieter with every word. Eventually, I would go completely silent and we’d have to end the session.
I would still go to school most of the time, although the teachers were given a special note stating that I needed somebody to trail me whenever I was at lunch or going to the bathroom so I wouldn’t do something stupid again. It was embarrassing. Nobody picked on me for it but I could hear little whispers all around me, piling up like cloud of fruit flies ready to pick me apart. Little glances wanting to now how much blood there’d been.
My head was full of bug bites. I wanted to scrape them clean.
The image of my skull, empty and bleached, was a hopeful to me somehow.
Inside of my skull, my ghost could make a little house and live peacefully sipping ghost tea and peering through eye holes like tiny windows. Yes. When I grew up, I wanted to be a ghost. I wanted to disappear happily without a single care.
That’s what it is, I’ve got it now.
The sloshing sound of water in my ears.
There is a point where no air comes in and it’s just droplets of water snaking down, down into my throat where the hands are wrapped around. It is weirdly warm here. And bright. The sky is full of specs of light and pretty glints of gold, bouncing off the foggy shape above me. Kind of like a halo. In all the old fashioned pictures, halos aren’t just rings. They’re full on orbs of glowing light that circle around the entire head. If I stop moving so much, the water won’t ripple so bad and I can see better. I’m such an impatient child. I let the light come through. I’ve been waiting for this for so long.
There’s an image of hazy light behind fogging glass. There’s colors and swimming shapes with the lines between them melting away, making it all swirl together into a sea of milky maybes. If I put my hand right here I can feel her, and the long-tipped nails with the white parts on them, and the indent where the wedding ring is supposed to sit, and the soft give on the knuckles that come with old age. The hands shiver. If I stop breathing, I can hear the gentle sob from above. It sounds like it’s far away, because all the water is around me. It’s in my ears. But I want to hear what she sounds like. I’m always afraid of forgetting. I’ll wake up and forget things even though I’ve lived them everyday. She never looks at me or speaks to me but now she’s doing it, before she runs away--
I thought about this when Sunny was hugging me. I felt bad about making him cry with the nail thing, so I started crying too and the tears made everything shine. He looked a lot like Mom. Through the tears, the colors all blurred together and I thought she was really there, holding me and crying like she did back then.
The water, the light, and the hands around my neck. The familiar feeling of being killed. It always feels like a gentle dream to me.
It’s something I think about a lot.
I got pretty nostalgic and bought some Jovy fruits on the way back from the grocery store. Whenever the house got rough, Mom would buy us Jovy fruits to eat and we'd sit on the docks and I'd tell stories and throw rocks in the water while she made phone calls. Jovy fruits are like fruit by the foot, but more cheap and plastic-like. If you try them, rasberry is the best. They should only cost you 69 cents. HA.
As blood gushed out of my purpled nose and onto the wet concrete, I thought about something nice. Like snow. Like P.J.
We had this timeshare up in Canada because the government gave us money for things. It's kinda weird how that stuff works out. Anyways, we had this timeshare place-- it's this kind of cute cabin place-- and we'd stay there over Christmas breaks and then some. Dad would go out for skiing and I went, until my leg got bummed. I was pretty good at it. Gramma said I had the "Devil's Lightning " in me. It's apparently this insane zap quality you get about people when they're very careless and reckless and all, so I s'pose I gots a whole damn summer storm in me. I'd zip down the hill, going so fast that the flecks of snow'd hit harder than bullets against my dumb, red, face. I don't do that anymore. But if I could, I would. I'd hit a log or something and fly onto my back and I wouldn't care, I wouldn't care, I'd do it a million times over because I never learn. P.J'd look so damn worried when I'd whiz past-- He prefers watching-- and he'd always chastise me something awful if I crashed. He'd run, all the way down the hill to meet me. He always would.
I'd tried to get P.J. to take to the whole skiing thing, but he'd just get this polite smile and shake his head quietly. He's like that. Like an old person, an old person whose seen everything already and just wants to drink tea or something. He's about 4 years younger than me. He should be into running around wild and screaming like a chicken with his head cut off or talking all the time, but he just... Sits, and watches, and smiles sometimes. He used to smile sometimes. If I'd crash because I was a dumbass and flipped over myself or fell off the fence while crossing it or dove right into a snowdrift because I just forgot to think, P.J. would be there. I'd crash, and I'd look up and he'd be smiling over me like everything was gonna be alright.
When I opened my eyes, I saw a lot of dirt and shit lying around on the concrete.
The blood had crusted up over my lips so when I licked them it cracked like shortbread. My whole body kinda felt like shortbread. All crumbly and stuff. I uncurled a bit, like a pillbug away from danger, and let the hot iron sparkies nail themselves into my bones. I must've been curled up for a thousand years, I thought, maybe a millenia, maybe an eon, maybe more. A science book in class had this picture of some beetle inside and amber piece. The science book said that the beetle had been preserved for thousands and thousands of years because the resin in the amber hardened so no bacteria can get in. I got to thinking that I was probably stuck in amber for a very long times and that society as we know it has crumbled, and I was the only one left in the whole world and I could do whatever I wanted n' pleased. The more I thought about it, the harder I smiled. And the more I smiled, the more it hurt. Because I still had blood on my face.
I thought about what kind of motorcycle I'd like to get if humanity has ended after all, and then I got up. I must've broken 30 bones at least. I used to not be so terrible at fighting and all that-- I mean, I wasn't very happy about the whole thing-- but then I just can't move very well anymore. That was the trouble, I guess, dragging around that bum leg of mine. It took a very long time to pull it around so I could get up alright. Then, I wiped my face as best I could on my windbreaker and shuffled out of the alley with the package in perfect quality.
Inside the package is a milk puzzle. It’s this really smart person kind of puzzle where there’s no picture, just white on white on white so you can’t tell where to put things. You have to look real close at the shapes. I mean, I’m awful at ‘em-- I can’t focus worth a red cent of if there’s no picture there-- but P.J. just eats them up. He’ll focus real hard for hours, picking up each piece so careful you’d think they were made of glass. The one I got is a perfect circle, so it’s s’posed to be even harder because there’s no corner pieces. I’m sure he’ll like it. I hope he does.
Well, anyways I found a bus to 4th n’ Pike and then hopped another one right after real smooth-like because I didn’t have too much money on me anymore. Kirk might’ve taken it off me when I got shit-kicked, I can’t really remember. Kirk really isn’t too bad. I still kept my eyes open, though. I was sure he had enough fight left in him even after all that.
I bummed around for a short while by the metro because this girl with a guitar gave me a cigarette, which was nice. She was from out of state. She was ditching her ‘ol family ‘cos they weren’t very nice to her, so now she was getting money from playing the guitar at places. She’d been to Utah, and Idaho and Oregon. She said everything here stank of weed. She said she wasn’t gonna be held back by anything or anybody, and that now she’s alone and it’s the best feeling in the world. I thought it sounded kind of triumphant. Like what the star of some kind of movie would say.
I couldn’t spend my whole day there after all so I wished her luck and headed to the transit center when I faced a bit of trouble. There’s these big stairs, you see. My leg might’ve seized up a bit halfway down them, and I was left standing on the steps with a dumbass look on my face. It was very pathetic. I don’t mind if it tingles or if it zaps or shoots little spikes but when it dies-- Well, I get frustrated. Suddenly I had all this dead weight hangin’ off me and I can’t do anything about it. I just have to wait. The same thing had happened when I’d asked Kirk about the money, and now it was happening again for no goddamn reason. Some business-like people rushed on past me from their lunch breaks and pooled onto the platform below, hustling and bustling and pushing into one another like a giant amoeba of panic. Carefully, I slid from one step to another. I felt hot in the face. Back in body-shop, I’d lent Kirk about a good $40 for some ticket thing he’d wanted, as long as he paid me back. He said he would. The asshole promised, he did--
There’s the voice over the speakers, now, telling everyone to come aboard--
He looked so mad, he got a hold of my collar and I just couldn’t--
“The train is now exiting the station”--
My heel missed the mark and I managed to grab the handrail before cracking every bone in my body on the stone steps. I had a perfect view of the train and everyone in it, zooming off down the tunnel until they were a tiny speck of light.
Before everything had gone to hell, I went everyday to my best friend’s house after school to play Banjo Kazooie on his N64. He wasn’t very good at video games even though he was a complete nerd, so he just had me take care of things for him. P.J. could come along too if he wanted. Mostly he’d just sit and wait nervously to go home. The whole house was like another planet to us: The furniture all had those fancy claw feet on them, everything was either beige or gold and I don’t think there was a single speck of dust in the whole place. That’s because Mrs. Loharani, the mom, was very serious about being a mom. She even had those porcelain dishes you’re not s’posed to eat off of sitting in a glass cabinet you’re not s’posed to open. That’s how fancy they were. At first it felt wrong for us to be there, with is being so clean and nice. Mr. Loharani once walked in on me blowing some cigarette smoke out the open window. He’s the dad. I thought I’d be in big trouble, but he ended up lending me his left over boxes from then on.
“Just don’t let Ma see,” He’d say.
So really, they were generous people. I think the mom n’ dad were just happy that somebody’d bother with their son like that. I mean, he used to be so anxious about everything, tripping over his sentences and such. But he’d get all clingy. And he’d give me things. His comics, and games, his figures. He’d tell me everything. He had a very big mind in there.
Eventually he went to college. Law school. He’s a bit older than me, you see. We talked and kept up and visited and then all of a sudden, we didn’t. ‘Cos that’s how it is.
The reason why I bring this all up is because I was half-asleep on the bottom stair at the train station when I felt this tap on my head and it’s Mrs. Loharani, big winter coat with 30 scarves around her. It was a big surprise. I hadn’t seen her since a bit after my leg got bummed. I was pretty depressed then.
“Sunny? Sunny McAnderson?” She asked.
“Hiya Mrs.Loharani. ‘S good to see you,” I was about to get up but then my leg shook me back down, so I stayed put. “I’m just on my way to visit P.J.”
“Sunny, you look awful!”
I made the mistake of wiping at my face, only to realize I might’ve just smeared cruddy blood all over it again. “Sorry ‘bout that. I think I forgot.” I’d forgotten I might look a little purple, too. I probably was full on monstrous.
Mrs.Loharani looked awful worried, bundled up under all those scarves.
Most people would say something like hello goodbye see you later maybe and disappear after that, but not this woman. She reached down and picked me up by the arm even though my leg was shaking away and said “You can spend the night in Matt’s room tonight”.
“Actually, my train’ll be--”
“Boy, I don’t know what you’re expecting to do but you look like you’ve been hit by a car. The train will be there in the morning. Are you going to argue with me?”
I let her swoop me away, because that’s just the kind of person Mrs.Loharani is.
She paid for my ticket onto the streetcar, and when I sat down she lighting quick pulled out her handkerchief and began to dab all the crud off my face with it. I felt sorta bad, ‘cos all my face gunk was getting on her nice embroidered handkerchief. I couldn’t even say anything. She was already gabbing away.
“Papa thinks he’s got so many good investments,” She said, giving the hankie a lick before dabbing at my sorry face again. “And I just try to keep him mindful, you know, but men think they have it all together. That man just puffs his cigars and signs whatever he sees. I have to read them over for him or else nobody else will. He’s opened up an optometry place, did you know? Oh, you couldn’t, you were out. But if you ever need an eye appointment, just tell us. Your father wears glasses, yes? He should visit us sometime. You never visit anymore. What am I supposed to do? I just can’t believe it. Matt doesn’t even call unless we force him--”
I felt like a rock had just dropped on my head. “How’s Matt?”
“He’s fabulous, his professors say he’s got an articulate mind, you know. He’s come down to visit.”
After that, I couldn’t stop thinking. About Matt. It’d been a pretty long while, so he must’ve looked different and all. Maybe he’d grown a mustache. He’d always wanted to do that. It looked strange in my head: The image of that skinny, big nosed kid leaning over my shoulder to look at the TV screen, a goofy mustache slapped on just because.
We left that street car and walked a couple blocks. My leg was a lot better by then, but I could tell she was watching me carefully so I wouldn’t lag behind. She asked me how therapy was going. I said great. She asked about P.J. I said he was adjusting well. She asked if I’d eaten yet. I said I’d had breakfast but that’s it. She said she’d make chicken curry for us all. That made me feel warm inside.
We eventually got to the house, which was just as I’d remembered it. The finely trimmed hedges in front with the well-kept yard and sprinklers everywhere. I felt like, between then and now, nothing had happened after all, that I was just napping for too long and it’s gonna be alright. “Hurry in, dear,” Mrs.Loharani was already unlocking the door while I'd been thinking off to Mars in the lawn. “Papa will be down later for dinner.”
Everything was the same. The same beige and gold, the same pictures on the wall, the same everything everyplace. Goddamn, I couldn’t believe it. It’d only been a few years but still everything had stuck around. I leaned over one of the chairs to see if that marking Matt and I had etched behind the tea table was still there. It had to be. But there was somebody else there.
“What are you doing?” It was Matt. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs with a cup of hot tea and a textbook. He was a lot taller than I’d thought. Taller than his own dad. His face had caught up to his nose so it didn’t look that big anymore, and there was a shadow around his chin of where a beard was coming in. My best friend looked like an adult.
“I thought--” Something got caught up in my throat. It was embarrassing. “--Well, uh, remember when we drew something back here? With my carving knife?”
I waited for something to happen. He stared at no place in particular for a while, and then turned to walk back up the stairs. It began to rain.
I think I shouldn’t be here anymore.
The last few hours I can't really pin down too well. Mrs. Loharani asked me lots of things. She was real patient. I realized she was talking nicer and nicer to me, like as if her raising her voice would shatter me into a million pieces. I s’pose she’s not wrong. My face feels sore, because I smile when I'm nervous or angry or sad even and I just can't help myself, no matter what I try. I remember she gave me tea. She asked me lots of things and I'd try to give good answers but my mind began to move like molasses. Matt hadn’t said anything. I tried to think of why. Mrs.Loharani handed me some tea. I said thank you very much. My insides were getting dull, so I gulped some down too fast without realizing it was too hot and I choked it out over myself. Man, Mrs. Loharani's face. I'd choked it out on myself like I was three or something and her mouth was just hanging open. Picture me, nose purpled and spitting around in a thrift store windbreaker right in some nice lady's lounge. My windbreaker has a hole in the armpit. It wasn't made very well.
Right after that I think Mr. Loharani walked in with his cigar box to show me and I started laughing. It wasn't funny, I know, but my lightning started acting up and I couldn't help myself in the slightest. I was zapping myself to death. I was sizzling to dust on the floor. I spit a little. It felt like all the lightning and all the thunder and all the everything inside of me was burning it's way to the surface and slicing right through my skin. I must've been that way for a good million, maybe hundred million years. And then I got up and went to the bathroom for two hours.
I couldn’t think of anything. I think my brain cogs must be knocked out a bit funky. I could hear Mrs.Loharani whispering to the Mister something about me.
Dinner was real nice. The old man and missus were very polite and made nice small talk about the optometry business. Matt didn't look at me the whole time. I felt like dying a bit, not because of Matt exactly but maybe only slightly, and then when it was over I went to bed and now I'm alone in the dark. They lent me His room ‘cos they are nice people. I wonder if Matt still has that lighter I gave him. Maybe not. I dunno.
I'm not good at giving gifts, I think. People act real polite, but I feel like I just can't tell if they mean it or not or if when they say "you shouldn't have" and such. I'm just not very smart at it. The lighter wasn't even the real gift, it was just something I had on me as a placeholder at the time-- Matt had put me on the spot very quick-like. He was going off to law school. He was asking for something to keep.
"To keep?" I'd no idea what he was meaning, but he looked serious about it.
"Yes, to keep. I thought it would be kind of cool, I guess."
"I don't mind." So I fished around in my pocket and plopped my heavy silver lighter in his hand. It was the one with the half-rubbed out engraving on the side, all these delicate curls fading into the parts where the silver shines off. You couldn't even see the words on it anymore.
He closed his hand very quick around it and smiled.
His bedside drawers are empty, and so is the underneath of his bed, and his closet too except for a few random button-ups he must've not been too fond of. Maybe he did take it. But I can also picture him leaving it someplace and forgetting about it and not worrying about it all, and now it's completely gone forever for real. I can still remember the weight of it in my hand, and then the way it made such a fantastic zap when you flick it, and how I'd use it everyday behind the building at lunch. I want to ask him if he has it but it's the middle of the goddamn night and I've already traumatized them enough. They're really nice people. Mr. Loharani got to open up a fancy optometrist business in downtown, and Mrs. Loharani is a part of this ladies knitting group that makes hats for depressed orphans, and Matt is in a nice law school with a lot of very smart friends who talk about encyclopedias and other nerd things with big words like "circumlocution" or whatever the fuck. I s'pose I'm not suited to this sort of thing. I sit at the edge of the bed looking out onto the street where the road was slick with raindrops.
The rain pelted harder and harder in my head until I'm sure there were little pellet shapes in my skull. It had been raining for a hundred years now, and it was going so hard that people and cars and such got all lost in the tiny bullets. I couldn't even hear the thunder anymore. Just a whole planet of rain, rain that goes on forever. Right before my leg died, there's this tiny hand that rested on the top of my head and it belongs to P.J., and it's gonna to be alright. It's gonna be alright in the end. I know it. 'Cos even if it takes forever, P.J.'ll be waiting for me at the bottom of the hill.
Somebody is using the bathroom in the hall. I wait until they're out, and then a little more, and then I tuck P.J's gift under my arm before slipping down the stairs. Nobody notices me leaving. I make sure the door is locked behind me. It's gonna be okay.
The night is cold and empty, and I'm the only one here. I hobble as fast as I can to the station with my package pressed tight against my chest. I can hear the rain.
I'm gonna go eat curry. Curry is my favorite food in the whole wide world. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never be tired of it. I'm actually a huge wuss and i can't do spicy things in the slightest so I can only get like 1 star or 2 star mostly. My sister, she's pretty okay at spice. I can't remember. I was gonna write something else but I'm too hungry. I spent a long time writing this and I don't know if i care for it or not. I'll decide after curry.
oh yeah this is about sunny, pj's brother who is mentioned sometimes. he's probably fine. curry
See? I told you. Except I had to do the colors again, which was mildly annoying.
This is for comments. Saying this sort of thing makes me feel self-important, which I don't like.
Thank you for keeping up. I kind don't want people to read it, but do want people to read it somewhat sorta. I appreciate it.
These are kind of practices of sorts, but they still have a canon they stick to. It'll be more structured at some point. But yeah, adult P.J. has some digging to do.
I'm not sure how long it'll be, but I do know where I want it to go. I try to make callbacks when I can. If something has happened, even if your mind tries to forget your body will make sure you remember. You'd mentioned before how it was locked to first person and the kids are just looping in their own minds, so I'll probably try something different.
I'm not exactly trying to rush to the ending at all (which is probably kinda bad of me hehe). I sorta just think, "What do I want to show?" For the last story, it was "timestuck sunny, sunny is lonely, sunny runs away". For the second one it was "PJ is far away from his body". The first one was just to get things started. I wanted to create the feeling of something else taking your body. I forgot what the point of this paragraph was, but that's that.
It would be really cool to update regularly! First though I've got to get things worked around more comfortably irl. I at least want to put a few illustrations in. Thanks for your interest, as always. It encourages me a whole lot.