4/13/2014

Switchblade (Short Story)

Switchblade

A loud belch begins your day and you piss dark yellow on a tree stump. Over your back shoulder a mother pushes her innocent daughter on a swing set. You watch her leave, eyeballing you nervously after she sees you marking your territory. Your hand caresses the switchblade in your pocket.

You have a sack filled with your entire collection of belongings. Clothes for every weather condition, saltines, a jar of peanut butter, half a bottle of Whiskey and your empty crack pipe. You swig from the bottle before slinging the bag over your shoulder and leaving the park.

Doug lives on America Street and he cooks the best rock downtown. He doesn't know you're coming but you need to get some of it before your insides spill out and seep into the groundwater to poison another. Your head is filled with huge billboards that multiply shouting "CRACK!" in the voice of Walter, the orchestrator of your thoughts.

Walter narrates your inner life, the dark whisper in your ear while you're trying to sleep. The ghost stalking your thoughts to morph your perception. He screams when you don't listen to him but the crack shuts him up until he comes back louder then you've ever heard and he doesn't let you sleep even if you had a place to sleep but you don't so his voice screams "CRACK!" like bitter nails on a chalk board.

Doug's house smells of burnt hot dogs and rotten flesh. Old dog shit, so old that the flies won't even touch it anymore gathers dust in the middle of the floor. An ash-covered coffee table is stacked with pizza boxes, the newest one on top with a few slices left for later. Its quiet and you think Doug might be asleep. Kicking trash and scattering insects you end up standing over the dopesick Doug, asleep with 3 days worth of vomit in a McDonalds bag next to his bed.

Walter's voice screams at you to stab Doug as you palm the switchblade in your pocket. Sweaty shaking hands holding your switchblade, you spot the big bag of crack under his infested pillow. Walter's voice wants death for Doug. Walter says he will kill you if you don't kill him first. The bag of crack glows with salvation from beneath the pillow.

Switch and the blade pops open, with its slender shadow extending from your hand on the putrid reeking carpet next to Doug's bed. Buzzing flies land on your face and Walter spouts profanities into your rattling skull. Grinding teeth chewing up iron sand in your mouth and red blood seeps from Doug's throat into the pillow but not on the crack because you would never let such a thing happen, not with Walter watching.

You sit down on the edge of Doug's bed and remove the crack pipe from your life savings sack. Walter is proud of you and speaks soothing angry words of affection at you filling the pipe. Smoke in your lungs silences him long enough for you to exhale and fill the pipe again. You grab a slice of Doug's pizza and curl up next to him, using your switchblade to spread peanut butter on a cracker. Smoke fills the room with Doug there twitching on the bed and you tweak 'til sunrise.


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