“So, Randy, what’s your problem, anyway”, sinews the slightly sociopathic calm words as sirens approach increasing in volume entering my ears and subsequently driving at G force speed into the depth of my neural networks. Havoc spreading unendingly as roadblocks are built and smashed nano-moment by nano-moment, lights dance into the room, reactive joy in the depth of hatred, parental hands reaching from their untended graves only to veer off at the final second, attributed only to the sweet toothed frenzy of neurotic sleeplessness. I look at her, my wrists obviously bleed as they had been certainly slashed by me almost as it happens, “I guess…this?” Drama screeches to a halt, loosened by bashing, I fall to one knee and look into her recently affected guilt ridden face, “do you think I’m for real now?” an incongruent chuckle ferrets its way out of my mouth as the other knee falters. Inside the chuckle vibrates pure hatred, a way out unseen prior, and a full body release in the knowledge that I won the battle and the war and everything up for grabs in this relationship, except, of course, my life. I hear the echo of my step-father’s voice rattle through the sirens fade, ‘If you’re not going to play to win, get the fuck out of the game!’ In this case, getting out of the fucking game is the only way to win, so there you go.
Two years earlier, I sat sinking into the college rotten couch, hungry, dried up, bored, nerves twitching, and no one to play with. I was no longer a local rock socialite goon searching every hole for footing and wondering how I look through their eyes. I was absolutely sure that everyone looked at me and saw no one, nothing. Paid no attention, lost and sinking, and worst of all no one laughed at me. They didn’t get it. I wasn’t funny. The socially stained sidewalk that gassed my feet had been transformed into a culture-shocking desert that I couldn’t suck a blasted drop of liquid out of, or at least not anything to save me from myself. My empty hands waved frantically as my empty head searched the void for answers that never came. I made the call from a single bed that belonged in a sleazy hotel room and smelled of pounds of flesh unknown to each other, yet now shared the same skin. I heard my voice change gears in a hurry as the sound of adoration was returned to me, a needle filled with liquid derived from human confidence, unawareness, and ego rocket fuel. Churning recapitulation of recently lost narcissistic euphoria came galloping back on a hoarse horse ridden by a borderline neurotic bi-plaster necromancer, guns blazing, tazzer attached. The party was over almost before it started. Several weeks of regenerating fake limbs, sucking down fortuneteller fantasy, until the money ran out. Then the real fun began as primal social brain trauma spread like vines only faster, gripping my head like an animated viral fist. Homemaker from hell with no budget and a musician for a breadwinner made quick work of twisted happiness, or at least what I had traded happiness in for. Gas tank long overdrawn and pushing the car up the mountain of Sisyphus for months now, the only respite came in the form of an epileptic Labrador named Johnson.
The door slams. I flinch. Peeping through the dusty blinds, the scene outside unfolds into a wrinkled mess, letters scrambled, alcohol infused with rage, a man swinging freely at his own door as if freedom means complete loss of control. The woman on the other side of the door screams and curses pretending to defend herself, knowing full well that she has no knowledge of her true intent as the solution sits in the spaces between the sounds. The brutal dance, endless in nature, engages each in the pornographic pleasure of each other’s demise. My eyes suck in, avoiding and dodging my own spaces between as I dial 911. Pats on the back like knife stabs, my vision rests wearily on the projector screen, unable to see myself in the nearer than anyone would like future. Obvious key modulation alludes time and space as I pound my root note into writers block until unbearable boredom forces me to develop a disconnected coda, creating the see through illusion of deeper meaning.
How could anyone get to such a depraved state? We agree with each other infusing an us vs. them cough suppressant. That guy is definitely an alcoholic who needs help. We agree again, reaffirming our own tenuous health. We sure are glad we are not using anymore and can watch this instead of living it. We rub menthol cigarettes into each other’s backs, eyes closing as red lights flash and race across the walls and ceiling. I wonder if they will be ok, as I get back to my book on the hero within feeling over confident as usual.
Morning breaks through the bedroom, she is already up. I smell coffee. Depression mixed with a tidy sum of anxiety and eggs, the new day spawns alien roaches in my head. As I fight the infestation, heat is produced causing the bugs to flee in every direction spreading the sickness at warp speed. Oven mind fired up and revved to full, leaving a usual emptiness that can only be filled by artistic expression currently unavailable to me due to the afore mentioned emptiness. Her unwillingness and inability to rescue me leads to unrequited resentment. Her insidious hatred based on hallucinating the past as present and my simply refusing to help out, out of spite. The unthinkable thought, the unbearable likeness blinks momentarily undeflected, we are the same and we are headed toward the mental destruction seen the night before, our own flavor, of course.
Johnson barks relentlessly. Red lights flash across the room revealing a blood soaked rug and paint that hides years of heavy smoking. She sits at the kitchen table not three feet from where I lay unconscious: smoking, hammer in hand. The shadow figures have gone and her flat stare goes on forever. Her elbow covering the small sections of the artwork we spent hours and hours working on together, her last contribution drips from the tip of the hammer barely held in her comatose hand. Bags packed again.
By Randy Seals
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