I’m glad I found you. You’re glad? Yeah, I called you but some stranger answered and hung up. I sold my phone. Sold it? Yeah, pretty cheap. Why would you—? I don’t read anymore. You don’t read? No. What does that mean? It means I can’t stand all the garbage. Oh. You should stop too. Stop reading? That’s what I said. I can’t stop reading. Sure you can. The world is—. The world is shit and you know it. You’re just being dramatic. Dramatic is wailing and flailing which is kind of what you’re doing. Oh shit. O shit yourself. You can’t be serious. I am serious; I don’t even listen that much, anymore, either. What are you talking about? I play foreign films on my television without the subtitles. Huh? I don’t even watch it, just let Russian fill my apartment while I clean or draw or sleep. Russian? Or French or Scandinavian or whatever; anything I don’t speak. Are you okay? Am I okay; what the fuck does that mean? Are feeling okay? I feel great. Uh-huh. You should try it. I’m worried about you. There are other things to worry about. Like what? I thought you said you couldn’t stop reading?
She told me someone barged into a daycare yesterday and stabbed a bunch of infants. I told her these sorts of things are why I don’t keep up with the news. She said a bag of hands fell out of a trash truck upstate. She said a fat guy in Jersey jumped five stories and landed on his daughter’s car, killing her too. She showed me a video of a car crash victim whose face hung like burst balloon from her tomato paste skull. She told me someone bombed a wedding in Syria, killed 45 children. She looked up a guy who ran over his ex-wife in her driveway so many times that the car was out of fuel when they found her. There was a school bus that broke through the rail on a mountain road in Colombia. A bunch of cheerleaders burned in a van. An entire bottom floor of a hospital filled with elderly women died in a flood because someone forgot they were there. Eighty year old lady raped and murdered in LA. By her sixteen year old grandson. And his school chums. A small prop plane burst into flames shortly after takeoff and dropped on a church. After purchasing a $2 million insurance policy on them, a dad killed his wife and three children by driving them off a pier. A bus driver in Kansas City found a head. A teacher in Miami found a foot. A worker fell into a hog pit in Iowa. They ate him. The President threatened shoot a bunch of Mexicans. I told her this is why I don’t read the news.
Buoy lights burst radial flame across the water. The flashes of it lapping against my chest betrayed the dark blood leaking from the wound. A ship of inconceivable size transformed the waters into powerful swells and valleys. I worried someone might spot me but I finally recognized a figure so high in the darkness, it had no features, no details. Just a silhouette. A black cutout leaning over a rail. The swells lifted me high and away from it and it disappeared into the void. I wanted to grab the buoy but she had told me to let them pass. She would find me. I cannot imagine how but she did find me. She dragged me into the boys’ tiny vessel, bobbing under the glitter of the stars, the real pain just beginning to set in.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.