You directed me to stand against the kitchen counter, facing you. You seemed to imply this was foreplay. I was so excited that you were taking an interest, that you were going to initiate, without the use of subtle suggestion or hesitation, a sexual interaction. I stood there aroused with anticipation. You smiled at me with your big, round eyes and said, “I’m pregnant.” Your words hit me like a blow to the face. “Six weeks…I’ve already talked to Daddy.” I began attempting to pinpoint the time of conception. It had to have been the time you stopped taking your birth-control, but failed to tell me. I said, “You’re pregnant?” You continued to smile and said, with a knowing tone and half roll of the eyes, “Yeah”. I apologized, “I’m just a little out of it.” expecting you would blame my less than enthusiastic response on the fact that I had just woken up. This would be it for me. I would stop living for myself, doing things as I felt they should be done. I would find a job that paid enough to support a family. It didn’t matter how I felt about the job or how the job made me feel about myself. This was no-longer my life. You would raise the child in your image. What room would there be for my image in him or her?
I am in and out of sleep next to my cousin in a bed in the kitchen. We had shared a bed as children many times, but we were grown now. My father walks through the kitchen talking back to my brother who is in another room in the house. They are talking about my brother’s trouble with his job. I speak loudly in present tense, as though I am giving him the words to use, “I quit my job.” My father comes back into the kitchen, “You what?” He is offended by my statement. I start to explain and he interrupts, “Go to my room.” I go to his bedroom to wait and continue on into his bathroom. The floor to ceiling windows in the bedroom and bathroom frame the flooded yard beautifully. The water is murky, but there is bright green grass poking through it. The toilet and the fixtures are all on the left side of the room. A window to the right is framed by a very white wall that comes back toward the door I entered and then is met by another white wall the door frame was built into. The toilet is very tall and was not flushed the last time it was used. I stand tall to aim into the bowl and then look for the flusher. It is awkwardly positioned on the side of the bowl. I then go to wash my hand and have to almost stand on my toes to reach the soap. I dry may hands and move my back into the corner of the room, the towel still in hand. My father comes in and grabs the towel away. I cover my face with my arms as my mother hits me with a knotted sock. I hear my father on the phone as the sock beating continues. He is speaking with some kind of mental health professional. Then my mother takes the phone, “He was just talking about it…” with a mocking tone, “Oh, it’s going to happen anyway. I’d might as well get it over with.”
We were staying for the night in the remnants of an old commune. The group had begun to make camp in a newer building on the grounds. They told stories of a sleeping quarters not far from there. The area had a violent history and strange things had happened there long after the violence. I went to investigate. The sun had just gone down and I let myself in. The room was dark and, although it felt dirty, I could not see clearly enough to establish whether it was or not. I came to what I recognized as the outline of a bed in the center of this small room. The bed took up a good portion of the floor space and there was little room for anything else in there. I climbed onto the bed and laid down, facing the dark ceiling and fell into an early stage of sleep. I felt my body move from one side of the bed to the other as if it were floating in a pool of water, being manipulated by blowing wind. I awoke the next morning with a newly found lucidity. I hadn’t meant to sleep. I hadn’t meant to stay as long as I did. I knew I needed to get back to the others. I stood up from the bed and looked around the floor. It was wood. Random items laid around the room, but it was mostly clean. Looking for my shoes, I found another pair, belonging to the previous resident, perhaps. They rested in a hole in the wood floor where on of the blanks had been removed. I found my shoes and left.
Carrying a putty knife as I walk a wooded path at night. A darkly cloaked person comes running toward me and stabs at me with a knife. I attempt to fight him off, but am wounded in the abdomen. I fall to the ground and woman who apparently witnessed my attack comes running from nearby. My attacker flees dropping his or her knife. Who knows how long he or she will be gone. I pick up the knife and break from my wooded path. I let myself into a nearby house. I enter the kitchen area and see through a pane of glass a child and his female caregiver sitting on a couch, focused on the wall near this window from the kitchen. She notices me and comes quickly into the kitchen. I explain I was attacked and ask her to phone the police. She agrees and says, “It is a good thing that woman came when she did.” “What?!” I pin her against the island in the kitchen, the assailant’s knife in my left hand, my putty knife in my right, threatening her with their edges, “How did you know about the woman?!”
I was sent to the mall to purchase a book from Barnes and Noble. I was in a hurry because my mother needed the book for a social event that was to happen in the next hour or so. I ended up parking on the wrong side of the mall and went in through the library entrance. This library had been other businesses in the past, but the labyrinth structure stayed the same. There was an elevator that went from the second floor down to the parking garage. This did me little good as I needed to find my way to the first floor of the shopping mall, the floor where Barnes and Noble was. After some frantic, aimless navigation of this library, I found the stair well and made my way out into the halls of the mall. This mall had the tendency, as most malls do, to give me extra things to carry and keep track of. I soon found myself riding a yellow Vespa, wearing suit pants and a white dress shirt, and carrying the jacket in a Men’s Wearhouse bag that hung from the left rubber handle of the Vespa.
I should mention here that I can fly. Now, by fly I mean I can keep myself off the ground with a forward momentum longer than most would be able to. It isn’t actually flying because gravity always wins in my struggle to be air-born. But there is something slightly supernatural about the height I can accomplish and the length of time I can spend lifted from the ground. Two black, adolescent brothers watched as I nearly reached the shopping mall ceiling in my rush to find Barnes and Noble. I made eye contact with a very tall man as I reached his eye level. One boy was 12 or so. The other was about 16. As I landed, the two ran up to ask about what they had just seen. The younger asked if I was a super hero. I said that I was not and joked that I may have the ability to fly, but was not very strong and would make a lousy super hero.
The older brother left and I stayed with the younger brother. He asked if I would like to come over to his house some time. I said I would like that. I began looking for a pen when I spotted a tailor’s shop. The boy and I left the yellow Vespa with the Men’s Wearhouse bag still hanging from it in the mall and entered through the glass door at the front of the tailor’s shop.
It was quieter in here and the man behind the counter met me with a smile. I asked if I could borrow a pen and he was happy to oblige. I looked through the business cards in my wallet until I found one I no longer had any use for. I hoped it would have some blank white pace on the back. I turned it over and it was entirely white with the exception of something written in my own handwriting, something familiar and possibly significant. I had little time to read it and was eager to get back to my new Vespa so I wrote my phone number below the message.
I told the boy that we needed to get back out to my new toy before someone took it and he went out to check on it while I returned the pen I had borrowed. When I made it outside, I found the scooter and the bag attached exactly where I left them. The boy was nowhere to be found. Then I heard screaming behind me. I whipped around to witness the boy and his older brother being pushed through the center area of where the hallway I stood in and another crossed.
I followed, but my new Vespa was almost completely out of battery life. I chugged ever so slowly in the direction I saw them heading. As I exited the shopping mall, the structure of the hallway continued as a street. There was a cross section of road the mall was built along, but I assumed, for some reason that the boys’ captures would’ve continued on the same path, heading forward instead of left or right. The lawns of the houses on both sides of the street corners were elevated, held in place by wood planks. 2 white teenage boys sat in lawn chairs in the elevated lawn to my right. I made eye contact with one as I passed. He asked to the back of my head if I was looking to Sean and Jason. I said I was and he pointed to the lawn on the other side of the street. Because of the height of the lawn, I had not seen them as I passed. They were laying naked, face-down in the grass. The youngest was on the far end of the lawn. His smaller body mirrored his brother’s.
With some sadness and caution I left. I needed to make it back to my car and had completely lost any sense of where it might be. I came back down the street and made a left when I got to the mall entrance. It was now getting dark. I felt the sawed off shotgun handle sticking out of my green backpack. It was the same backpack I carried through most of my high school days. I pushed the handle of the gun downward into the bag and zipped the bag closed.
It was now completely dark and I made my way through back allies. I hid behind a fence as a police car trolled by. I hadn’t killed the boys, but knew I would be suspect. After the car had passed I fit my Vespa through the hole a few missing planks created and began pushing the scooter down the sidewalk. I flipped on the headlight, but I knew it wouldn’t last long and would only draw attention. I quickly shut it off again.
I begin traveling at full speed with my girlfriend at my side. I am gradually leaving the ground more and more until I am airborne. I move into the sky above this tree covered grassland and watch her as I pass over and circle around to look at her. She looks up and smiles a knowing smile at me as she hops from the bank of this grassland to a small island in the center of the small body of water. The right sides of my right leg and the bottom of my left foot is brushed by the tops of the trees as I pass over them.
When she makes it to the other bank, I come down and locate the skateboard I had left there. It is bound with rope, but the rope shortly gives way as I skate. We have a boom-box and it is playing songs remember from a not so distant past. I recognize the beginning of Mighty Joe Plum’s Live Through This. I ride the left sidewalk of the road we travel, riding down the the ramp of the side walk to the street and then back up the ramp at the other side of the intersection. I direct my path to the other side of the street and use my fingers to pull the skateboard up to slide across the wooden fence as I arch my body to keep my feet planted on the board. After landing this maneuver, I pull the board up and slide it across the fence again, all the while keeping my feet planted on it.
I enter the yard ahead before my girlfriend and begin to hop the fence to the right of our entrance. As I raise my body with the slightest effort, my girlfriend enters the yard. When I look to her, she is looking past me to the area beyond the fence. Her facial expression tells me to come back down. Were we caught?