I know I am in trouble when Patty Lawrence says she’ll kick my ass. Others have said as much before but they’re nothing but talk. The nurses on the cancer ward call her Peppermint Patty, even though she’s the opposite of cool and refreshing. I am the oldest but this is not a victory. I aim for her sick, ugly face. Afterward, my whole hand pulses. It feels so good.
Ulric, Nicole Wexler’s blind calico, received the new dog gamely enough, rubbing against his leg and leading him to the DARK PLACE, where THE BAD THING HAPPENED, and where UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THEY GO. Ulric warned Bruiser about the DARK PLACE by meowing loudly and nudging him with his head. The DARK PLACE was the dining room, which was haunted by a young girl who, on a warm, summer afternoon many years ago, stabbed one brother and choked another. After perishing in an institution, the girl returned every so often to see how she could have successfully dispatched with her family. Her grandmother’s Colt would have done the trick, but unfortunately she had acted on impulse, and would regret it for eternity.
Craig liked his room ice-cold and the song called Providence for its tale of drugs lost in a garbage can. Did you find your shit? he mimicked, shooting black rubber bands from his wide wrists. His maroon Eldorado had a sunroof he kept open in bad weather. At the diner, he ordered french-fries he wouldn’t share. Eventually he went to college, became a film major, and wrote me letters about his misdeeds and ski trips to Idaho. It was during this time I slept with three men who were friends and then were not. He dropped out his second year and returned home with the idea he liked sushi. I watched a group of people jam the revolving door. Two in one slot, four in the other. Changing his name to Zach and then Tyler, he spent time with some underage girls who didn’t mind his habit of crooking his forefinger over his mouth when he laughed. Or the laugh itself, which was really a snicker, reserved for jokes about fat chicks and New Jersey. On the table, a moat of ketchup arose between us, and outside the Eldorado shimmered in the moonlight like a prom queen, her tin crown stars in the sky.
Aimee Bender writes, “If a sentence has an emotional impact, which of course it does all the time, it does so in large part because of its placement against other sentences, and because of how, almost musically, the emotion will land on a paragraph or scene or moment or white space or word.”
His unconscious sister on the floor, an emaciated mutt giving him the eye, and discreet piles of shit everywhere. Time to save the dog.
* title of Crooked Fingers song
It is widely believed that angels have no skin, and the hearts of robots are twice the size of dogs. All improbable outcomes have occurred, and though it is very cold, so cold our skin falls off in sheets, our hearts alight in the dark.