Hot concrete. Rubber soles. The worst ever combination known to mankind. Well, I guess guns and newborns are a pretty bad combo too. And like, lemon juice and open wounds. Water and electricity. And the hellish combination that is myself and every single day I spend in this asshole of a town. But, for right now, hot concrete and rubber soles is probably the worst combination known to mankind.
It was a thursday, one of the worst days of the week, and I had just left the old soda diner on the edge of the freeway and found my car had zero gas. Like no gas. Like the fuel had been tapped and drunk by some homeless coyote filled with cactus meat. I decided I could simply walk back into town, but for some reason i assumed my old rubber as fuck boots would survive the literally burning street. I swear, if a tumbleweed rolled across it it would melt and then grow little legs just to jump off of it.
I use my hand to shade my eyes, which for some reason have decided to not melt yet, and turn back to look at the old tin diner to track how far I’ve walked. My car’s roof shoots me in the eye with a glare, and the shiny red and white restaurant melts like my shoes.
I consider going back to my car and sitting inside while I wait for the sun to set, maybe call my dad and see if he could come pick me up, but a quick check reminds me that the battery is dead. Who puts a diner which is generally a common hang out spot for vulnerable teenagers in the middle of the desert five miles away from town. I also consider going back to the diner and letting Shane Whitley give me a ride like he offered.
"You’re the prettiest girl in this whole town." I remember he whispered to me, while I sucked down my banana shake and tried to ignore his armpit as he leaned towards me, teeth glimmering like his disgusting blue eyes.
It’s not that I don’t mind being “the prettiest girl in this whole town”, and not that Shane Whitely’s jaw line couldn’t possibly support an entire bridge, it’s just that I think I could get better, less disintegrating/boner induced offers. I also wish that “this whole town” where I am “the prettiest girl” was somewhere else.
When Shane hopped off his stool to take a piss, and Ms. Re Re Jean The Waitress smiled at me like I had a million-fucking-dollars taped to my forehead, I decided it best to get in my car and go home. Of course that was when I discovered all the gas was gone. I was about to check to see if there were any holes in the bottom where somebody could have drained it, but then I remembered that Shane Whitely is probably washing his hands and finger-curling a lock of his ambiguosly colored hair. You couldn’t ever really tell what color it was, sometimes its black, sometimes brown, and sometimes, in the sunlight, it looks like some dark shade of blonde. You’d think his eyebrows would give it away, but they’re just as perfectly mysterious as his motorcycle-riding, lacrosse-playing face.
A bright green leaf collapses under my shoe with a satisfying crunch, “No, Reed, I’m like certain that I’ve figured something out.” L.R goes on.
“What?” I mutter.
“Dude, this whole entire thing is fake.” L.R hums.
“The jungle is fake.” I can’t tell if the thought is mine or L.R’s.
I shake my head, closing my eyes as I stomp across another fallen vine.
When they open again I see a flash of something thin and black against the violent lush greenery. I feel a strong impact on the side of my head and my elbow slams into a golden trunk. Electricity shatters across it and it’s numb instantly.
“Holy fuck!” Rodney yells. Cheryl screams as I hit the floor and an acidic sting rings through my skull and skin.
The clinic’s bell chimes in my brain, the jungle disappears and I’m back in that chair, surrounded by the smell of lemon soap. Access granted. The doctor walks in holding a clipboard, “Damn dude, we are so fucked I think.” His mouth wavers beneath his white mask and his voice is my own. My knees buckle and my body spasms in the wet dirt. A medical light above my head goes dark as a gloved hand hovers over my exposed port, “Sweet.”
"The Hand of God presses the refresh key, the sky is nothing but white, the universe is born again." He narrates my life as it happens right in front of me, our lives as they happen right in front of us. A final word falls from our collective lips and as his narration catches up with reality, we turn our heads to the burning jungle, "It wasn’t enough" L.R hums from within me.
the air is filled with pheromone angels.
the masks they wear are made of
plastic jewels and poison glitter.
they have wings of tan lines,
wings of soda crackers and condoms,
their halos are layers of bones and rock
surrounded by rainbows.
hot water gushing around my feet,
carrying wrappers and glass,
swirling like ribbons into the drain,
into the hormone ocean,
keeps me from touching their sterilized tongues,
some pierced, some tattooed.
wings filled with blood
rinsed clean with the leftover prom punch,
the bowl glitters in the discoball’s clatter,
the crystal opening and closing
it’s mouths and eyes.
the blood washes away with the cherry,
and they both drip down to the dance floor,
collecting in a puddle beneath life’s
broken white legs.
pink ice cream dripping down my fingers in rose gemstones.
silver-blue saliva seeping through my teeth like blood on a canvas.
honey stars burning like embers on my black t-shirt.
fire is my least favorite thing
I want to lie in the water and drink up
all the salt and saline and realize
how primordial and pretentious it all is
I want to eat fire
and I want to see it come down
from the sky shaped like a gang sign
and I want it to roll off my tongue
and land on the floor
and I want it to jump over six lanes of traffic
and I want fire to burn my hair
and I want it to be blue and red
and I want it to smell like blood everywhere always anything is alive
a side by side comparison of me riddled with bullet holes and a picture of the moon
how many days do I spend eating fruit from a can while 10,000 year old seas die for money