One In The Oven

2:15 I woke up in a cage with a woman restraining my arms.

2:17 My captor is now escorting me to a brightly lit room.

2:18 I’ve just been stripped naked. She's lifting my legs over my head. I feel violated.

2:19 I can’t kick my ankles free of her grip.

2:20 She's dousing me with a white powder.

2:27 She just strapped me inside a transport pod. I don’t know where she's taking me.

2:29 My hands are free, but the clasp across my chest is too complicated to unlock. And I can’t wriggle free.

2:30 I can’t see my captor. Just a moving sky and my flailing feet.

2:32 This transport pod is strangely relaxing. That powder must’ve been a sedative.

2:39 We’ve stopped moving. My captor is silent.

2:40 She just exited the pod. Now’s my chance to escape.

2:42 My efforts to chew through the straps are futile. Going to try wriggling again.

2:45 No use. Temperature’s rising. She'll be back any second.

2:49 No sign of my captor. If she doesn't kill me, the heat will. Need to buy myself some time.

2:50 Can’t reach the window. Can’t squirm out. Looking for something to throw.

2:53 Everything throwable is soft. Fuck.

2:55 Still no sign of my captor. My clothes are soaked with sweat.

2:56 My God. She's cooking me to death.

2:57 I need to get out of here. Now. Think.

2:59 Maybe if I make enough noise, someone will find me.

3:00 I just shit myself. Great.

3:02 Wailing for help. I don’t think anyone can hear me.

3:04 Caught my reflection in the window. My skin is so red.

3:07 Shit is seeping between my back and my seat. It reeks in here.

3:11 Hard to breathe. Head feels heavy.

3:14 Heat getting to me. Seeing colors.

3:18 Too weak to scream. Too dehydrated to cry.

3:21 Nodding out.

3:24 Goodbye.

3:30 Just woke up covered in glass with cool air blasting through the broken window.

3:32 A man wearing black clothes and sunglasses is pulling me out. At last, I’m free.

3:35 I can see my captor over the man's shoulder. She's in a cage. Her arms, restrained.

Awkward Talker

I have trouble starting conversations. It’s not as easy for me as it is for others. 

Last night, while I was out trying to stargaze, an important-looking dick walked toward me on the sidewalk. As he approached, I noticed he had the kind of face that would look exactly the same with or without his stupid mustache. He carried a black cane with a wolf’s head for a handle.

I envied it.

I imagined leaning on it, knocking things off the top shelf with it, and throwing it like a spear to pretend the wolf could fly. If the cane were mine, I’d make believe it was an army-issued rifle. I’d holster it in the elastic of my sweatpants and have friends. And when I came across these friends of mine, I’d pull the fake gun out of its holster, point it at them, and say, “Gotcha, bitches.”

Hilarious.

I’d be what they call “a character.” People would want to see more of me. They would say, “He’s such a character! Always with the cane he pretends is a gun!” then exchange glances with one another. Then they’d wave the whole thing off with both hands and decide to do lunch with me.

“Lunch?” they’d ask.

“Let’s” I’d say, holstering my pretend rifle.

The important-looking, mustachioed dick continued in my direction. I skinnied sideways so he could pass. But he made no effort to make himself passable, and our shoulders collided.

“Pardon me,” he said as he brushed past me, just like the last person who had something I envied.

“Come back!” I beckoned.

He waved me off and sped up. I went after him and tapped him on the back of his pea coat.

“I have something to ask you,” I blurted out.

What?” he responded tersely. He kept walking, like he was scared of me. I wanted to ask him if he ever imagined his cane was a rifle. Then, when he said “Yes,” I’d say, “Me too,” so we would have something in common. But I knew that would scare him, so I said something I thought was scary so we could be scared together.

“I’ll shoot you with your own cane!” I bellowed, lunging toward him and reaching for the wolf’s head. He recoiled into a batting stance, ready to swing. That was when another important-looking dick came along. This dick was bearded and owned the hat shop we were standing in front of. But he wasn’t wearing a hat, and I thought that was funny.

“What the fuck? Who the fuck are you?” the bearded dick said forcefully, poking me in the chest.

“Uhhhh,” was all I could get out. I couldn’t look him in the eye, so I looked at his display window.  It was full of breastless mannequins wearing derby hats sitting around a square table. There were playing cards stuck to their hands by means of some invisible adhesive—probably the quick-dry liquid variety. However, there wasn’t a single thumb between the four of them, and this bearded dick expected me to pretend they were playing poker.

“Who the fuck are you?” the bearded dick grunted.

I think he thought I didn’t understand him, and that was why he asked again. I think he expected me to say something. I made a thinking face to appease him. Then I actually started thinking:

They don’t have ears or hair…yet their hats do not fall over their eyes…there has to be an adhesive…but the same quick-dry liquid adhesive used on the cards and hands…would probably ruin the hats…no, a liquid adhesive wouldn’t be right…the mannequins must have adhesive tape between their heads and their hats…and these strips must be looped into O-shapes…wait…they sell double-sided tape at the Five & Dime…dumbass.

“Go!” barked the bearded dick, pointing across the street.

I scurried across the street and sat on a bus bench. I watched the bearded dick talk to the mustachioed dick like they were friends. The bearded dick pat his hand on the shoulder of the mustachioed dick as he leaned on his cane. Then, they laughed. And when they laughed, I could see the steam of their gasps converging. It looked so cool. So I set out to find someone to converge steam with.

I have trouble with this, too. It’s not as easy for me as it is for others. 

I walked a block and found two assholes talking. I approached the one wearing red and said, “What the fuck? Who the fuck are you? Who the fuck are you? Go.”

It didn’t work. But I finally saw stars.

Such Misunderstanding

May, 1666

Upon reaching the natives' camp, they told us, in their language, "Leave our crops be, and we will give you our daughters."

We had no interest in their crops or their daughters; not until we realized their daughters were so undervalued, and not until we saw that by torching their crops, we might teach them to value their daughters more.

It did not occur to us that they might interpret our actions as, "Even to the likes of us seafaring men, those daughters of yours are of so little value that the pleasure we derive from destroying your harvest is preferable to the pleasure we'd derive from their possession", or perhaps, "We will torch your crops and then have your daughters." Those sorts of possibilities tend to slip your mind in the moment, only to occur to you later, in your well-appointed quarters, sipping from a magnum of pupu-tree liquor and reviewing the day's events in your log—but such misunderstanding on the part of the natives might in fact explain why they elected, in the glow of the fires we had put to their crops, to pulp all their daughters' skulls with clubs.

At the time, we thought they were offering us a sacrifice...

 

Church Crush

I hate church. But I like Emily.

We’ve never talked, but I’m pretty sure she likes me back. I can tell by how she smiles at me when she sings.

You see, Emily’s in the choir. And choir girls are beautiful because they have beautiful voices. But she’s the most beautiful because of her curly hair.

She’s way older than I am though. She has braces and goes to Youth Group with older boys. I don’t like them very much.  

I’m stuck in Sunday school with kids who pee their pants. And my teacher, Mrs. Winslow, is a bitch.

I learned that word from my dad. And I think Mrs. Winslow is a bitch because she told me I have to wait two more years until I can go to Youth Group.

I want to join the choir so I can be with Emily. But I can’t because my dad says singing is for girls and sissies. I think he’s a bitch, too.

Two years is a long time. She could change churches. Or become an atheist. Or, so help me God, marry one of those older boys.

What if I never get to talk to her?

I guess I'll just smile back.

Big Thinkers & Binge Drinkers

She asked me why we’re afraid of the unfamiliar and why we have urges. I said instinct. She called bullshit. 

I watched her finish her drink and shiver a little. What was left of the ice cubes in her glass clinked together as she set it on the table. I didn't say anything, I just moved closer. 

She told me about studying in London and about how she loves kids and about the time she broke her ankle at the beach. I asked her if she wanted another drink. She asked me for my jacket. 

I could feel her watching my back as I stood at the bar. She made me nervous.

I liked it.

Our eyes locked as I made my way back to the table. I wanted her to feel nervous, too. But she stared back coolly. 

Damn. She was fascinating.

Her fingertips grazed mine as I handed her the glass. She laughed and told me I have a funny walk. I told her I never thought about it before. 

We toasted to London and the unfamiliar before we downed them. Blood rushed to our faces, then other places. And this time, she moved closer to me. 

There’s that instinct I told her about.  

Hooked

“I have a confession to make,” he said to me with a twisted smile. “I’ve dreamt about this.”  

He brushed my hair behind my ear. His filthy, jagged fingernails made me uneasy. 

“You’ve been coming over here for months,” he leaned in close. His calloused hand snagged my tights as it slid up my thigh.   

I was terrified by his bulging eyes and his scabbed face that left blood stains on his eggshell-white pillowcase — but I needed what was in his pocket. 

He slipped his hand under my shirt.

“Can I get a taste first?” I blurted out as he unhooked my bra. I felt time screech to a halt as my addiction undercut every bit of logic that passed through my head. 

What am I doing here? (I need a fix). I barely know this disgusting guy. (I need a fix). I respect myself too much to do this. (I need a fix).

“Anything for you, gorgeous,” he whispered, his cracked lips curled and exposed his rotten teeth. 

He pulled the resin-stained glass from his pocket. An all-too-comforting chemical smell filled my nostrils. 

I don’t want to do this anymore. (I need a fix). I can still get out of here. (I need a fix). I’m better than this. (I need a fix).

One drag transformed all of my fears into a vibrant display of delirium. 

I wasn’t scared anymore. I was on a date with Prince fucking Charming.