This room has four walls, but it is also without walls, expanding past the fragile steel of my skull. A fragment of me looks at rows and rows of glass bottles that harbor remnants of some yesterday. I am there, fingers tracing along bumpy corks and smooth, cool glass. Memories pulse beneath like a plasma bowl, striking out in purples, blues.
As a preamble, I want you to know that Richie Smith and I released an honest-to-god spoken word/ambient jazz album on November 17. You can purchase it or you can stream it, whichever will go a long way in supporting us. In many ways, Bug Eyes is the sort of emotionally grounded art I wanted to consume when I was younger, and it blows my mind that I now get to make it.
We aren’t ready. When Sebastian holds the door, and the sky blinks into blackness, we aren’t ready. When everyone is left standing in the neon glare of street lamps, we aren’t ready. And when those lights inevitably wink out, too? Well, we aren’t ready for that either.
My father always told me to look to the stars to find my way home. That was true a long time ago, when he was younger, before the universe started fraying at the edges. The stars haven’t shined brightly in decades. Even if they did, I’m not sure I would know the way home, especially all the way up here. But it’s easy to pretend that I can pinpoint where Earth is out this little window, despite the fact that there is nothing but blackness and the occasional moon or bulbous orange planet that doesn’t remind me of our galaxy at all. We’re far from where we started.
There is smoke. It has grown thicker over the last hour, invading my lungs and stinging my eyes. I take another hit and begin to cough. Someone laughs, which is to be expected. With six joints circulating between the eight of us, there is a certain etiquette that is expected. The chuckles die down and leave us in silence in the cool dark of someone’s basement that is lit up with Christmas lights. I guess I don’t know where I am. I guess it doesn't matter.
Dez is not a morning person. I remind myself of the fact when I feel the urge to ruffle his hair. His snapping turtle role isn’t worth a few moments of happiness. In the end, it’s my feelings that’ll be hurt and Dez who won’t remember what he said, halfheartedly apologizing in his boxers over coffee before I go to work.
For months and months and months I've tried to get my shitty short stories published. They haven't been (because they're shitty, obviously). So, in an attempt to move some of them out into the world, I give you this. Surrealist fiction (which is what I want to call this) is not my wheelhouse, but it was sweet, sweet torture to write. Thank you for reading, as always!