Sunday, June 10, 2007

How To Break Your Own House

It's a rough morning. Every morning is rough to certain degrees, but this one was a hanging on the toilet rim as a life-preserving implement morning, a morning where you try not to think about how the taste of rum and adavants don't seem to change much in seven hours sleep, as you collapse into a sweating heap of forced breathing and wide eyes on the ceiling, hearing little over the creeping footsteps of panic in the hallway, outside the doorway behind you.

You feel hell upon your ribcage beating your soul through your face, as your breath becomes more shallow. It's the day of the Lord and you try to believe that that fact alone will save you. You are all out of Adavants. On occasion you smell the bottle that the Clonopins came in and wish you were a little crazier so you can get those from a doctor yourself, instead of having to wait for the great narcotics train to run its way into your neighborhood. It might pull into stop right now, if you made a few phone calls, talk to a few of your people, as you call them for lack of a proper term.

Then reallity smacks you: you're broke. Your people don't deal with that at all--unless you have something to offer. And you would have to offer quite a lota lot.

Then the phone rings.

But it's not for you--not a voice of a friend, though you used to have friends, before you realized that you only thought you had friends and one day nobody called anymore. It's a bill collector and not a mousy one in training, either. You hear the voice of unforced but channeled insanity on the other end of the line telling you that in one week the courts will be notified that you owe ten thousand dollars to Chase Manhattan. There is no other sound on the phone but an obnoxious voice threatening and cursing and pretending to have power.

You tell him you'll talk later, he tells you you'll talk now. All you say is you'll only talk to him after he comes over and personally fellatiates you as you take your breakfast in bed. You hangup and turn it off instead of throwing it against the hard gray tiled floor of your kitchen.

You have nothing to eat, and only alcohol to drink, so you have your first glass of tap water in months. The taste is like iron, with a splash of fluoride and a hint of mind control agents. No free will, no breakfast in bed, no fellatio in the morning from a dog of the man.

You finally laugh. Its nice to do that once in a while, you sometimes think. You walk outside for a cigarette.

You have none.

Outside, the sky is a dirty white paste raining a fine mist blown on the cold wind. It's before noon and everyone is at work or school or elsewhere conducting life's business, and so are you to your own extent, but you are still here, observing the vacuum around you. You walk four blocks and with your last pocket change buy a bottle of coke and a pack of imitation cigar-paper garbage weeds. You're broke and you'll still smoke until your lungs dry up and flake away like dead skin. God made you that way, you say to your self and light one up, a mixture of the ecstasy of fulfilled addiction, and a sandy feeling of grit in your throat.

You walk home and and the rain stays the same, blowing into you face and eyes instead of your back. Water drips into your eyes with the grime of the long night before, a wrenching battle of passion and desperation that scarcely resembled consensual sex between two adults except for the exchange of deep kisses as the traditional gunshot, sex that was constricted in her car's backseat parked behind a bar, performed by two drunk people fluent only in each others' first names. She told you her name was Shantal. You told her your name, but she only spoke it once and that was when she said goodbye. You still smell her, and her perfume on your shirt. You hope you'll see her again soon and perhaps find better accommodations for a rare night of sexual bliss and true relaxation, even though you can barely remember the last time you had sex and was actually comfortable. Still, you smiled your one smile for the day, as you get to the red painted door of your house to find that is locked.

But you don't just find it locked, you pile into it, banging your forehead. You are glad your vision isn't red with blood though it feel like a potato sized bruise will rise soon. You reach down to feel around your blue jean pockets for the key to unlock the door and find nothing but a cigarette lighter and two pennies. You look around, seeing you neighbor pull into her driveway in her black pick-up truck. You think she's pretty, but you have never talked to her. She looks over the hedges through the rain and you wave for the first time. She wave's back, but it withers on the end like flag falling on a dying gust of wind. She unlocks her door, disappearing into the walls of her house.

You fight the urge to pull your hair out and scream at the sky, and begin checking each of your windows, climbing through bushes and becoming soaked through to your skin with cold rain. Your arms feel cold like eels, and your eyes burn with anger as each window proves useless and locked tight. They're made of metal frames and glass that looks new but isn't. In the back and in front, nothing opens. You feel your chest pull itself tighter and feel the urge to move before everything behind you catches up, and you don't know what it will do but you doubt you will live after it reaches your throat and its breath is all you can breathe and smell and taste.

You shake your head, remembering all the times that panic never materialized, and when you regain your composure you continue. Then on the side, facing your neighbors side picture window, one window finally slides sideways for you. You are elated. You think that god must have opened the lock for you. All you've ever been is a good person to others, you think, and so it has payed off. You feel ecstatic when you reach into the warm dry air of you home and grab the dust caked sill. Then you are pulled backwards, your are feet scrambling and your legs are useless to keep you from crashing to the ground.

Two police officers are above you. A trunk-splitting kick pushes the wind from your body and you onto your stomach. A third officer is running with his gun in his hand toward you, pointing the way of death through the mouth of steel. Rigid machine's hands are reaching down to you, twisting your arms behind your back, and the shackles are closing tight against blood and bone.

You try to explain what you were doing, but the hands that chained you in cuffs also took your wallet from your back pocket and handed it to the backup and the gunman to pick through. You say this is your house, but they say you have no ID. You say you have a drivers license and the three say you are a liar with no ID. You try to say your name but your mouth is forced to the concrete, chipping your front teeth and grind them into your lips and the blood tastes like thick tap water. One of the three above and behind you says that's enough, but you don't know what he was talking about who who he was addressing. One of them--you think its Gunman--asks where your ID is. You now remember that you used your driver's license to scoop pot into a joint before. You tell him you don't know. You think of the girl, Emilly--no, Shantal--and wonder if you will see her ever again, but the part about sex seems distant and fraudulent to you, now, on the ground, with your mouth bleeding and your identity being questioned by gun carrying judges out in the field.

You know it's a mistake. Many of those get made these days. You lie on your belly, arms locked behind you in pain from parts of your body competing for the title of most broken. You tell them who you are and they disbelieve. You say I am and they say you are not without proof. They ask why you aren't working. You tell them that you write. They ask if that's how you get paid. You tell them yes, but they say you are lying to them, you have no money. No money, no identification, no job. They laugh at you. One still points a gun as though you were actually dangerous. One stares down, boot ready to plunge into me. The other holds up an orange bottle.

You can't read the label, but you know it says Clonopin, and somewhere else on it it says Henry Malendowsky, which is a name that means nothing to you, but Henry Malendowsky has a name. In type. On paper. You have no paper--you have only an empty bottle of prescription drugs with the name of a person on it, someone who you are not, and you can't explain who you are. You know a mistake is being made, but a voice leans down behind you, very close in the residual rain, so close you can smell the hot breath and little else and though you can't see it, you know that soon you will be chained forever in a darkness with only that smell and little but memory to remind you of who you are.

The voice finally asks you the question. Who are you? And the only thing you know is that you are, but that's never enough for some.



mist1 said...

Stop using your ID for that. That's why they make discount cards for grocery stores and ParSmart and stuff.

Susan Miller said...

This is fantastic and immediate and profound and everything I want in a read. Damn, Eric, you are good!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Life's a bitch, huh?

eric313 said...

Good tip, I use the paper's cardboard packaging for stuff like that, but this guy needed to loose his identity quick and painless.

Hell yeah! Thank you for the compliment. Your story today was excellent too. It helped me to churn this up from the muck!

--It's me trying to be Kafka--shhh!

eric313 said...

Thanks UT Mosha God! I'm lucky with fiction like that. Isn't it early over there? It's damn early over right here. I still have to crash and go to school in a few hours but I'm wired right now.

Blancodeviosa said...

sniff the clonopin bottle..
that is actually one thing i have never done

MyUtopia said...

Wonderful post.

benjibopper said...

really enjoyed this! you slipped from second to first person at one point, but i liked it. never read kafka, but i should. kafka on the shore was good too.

fringes said...

I used to post my fiction on my blog. Now I just blog.

MONA said...

very insightful, into a culture that is alien. Seems frightening...

eric313 said...

Thank you all. I'm a baby at this but I'm glad you all are as cool as any readers I've met. Say what you will and it will be read with tremendous interest on my part.

Yoo know it!

I'm glad I'm not there either, but then again, a spare bottle of clowns is hard to come by anywhere.

Thanks you. You teach writing and I love to hear from people that know, even a small nod. Bless you by what you hold most holy.

Thanks for the tip. I need to not test you people's patience like that and freaking proofread.
Thanks for reading--And get Kafka, he's always a quick reading story.

Hey, but this is more fun. It's real enough. Maybe one day I'll just blog away. Right now, it's too new and fun to write for.

Thank you! You are a wonderful poet and you are welcome to glance at the extreme side of this culture, but that isn't always the case here.
Thanks for your comment

Thanks for reading me! This is amazingly cool of you all to drop by and say what's up.

eric313 said...

And it is fixed. Thank you, all concerned parties, I love you all.

miller580 said...

Nice work. Excellent imagery...especially with lines like, "his gun in his hand toward you, pointing the way of death through the mouth of steel."
2nd person narration is very difficult to pull off (or so I am told everytime I use it) but I think you were successful.

Keep writing!

eric313 said...

Cool! All Millers are welcome here!
Thanks for the compliment. 2nd person has that really crazy feel, like a voice in someone's head telling them what to do. It is very strange, indeed.