7/15/2014

Life On Barre (Short Story)




















 Life on Barre

    You rub your crusted eyes in a daze and squint at sunlight that shines in beams through your window shades. The strong scent of dirty bong water hangs limp in the air. You sit up to notice that while you were asleep your cat had hunted down a cockroach and spilled a few leftover beers in the process. Your head pounds as you stumble over the dead roach and several puddles on your way to the bathroom.
    Your bathroom looks like the deleted scenes from a low-budget horror film. Your piss is dark yellow and putrid like the rest of the room that surrounds you. The tiles in your shower are caked with regenerative mold that has developed an immunity to even the strongest of cleaning products. Somebody’s dirty g-string is hanging there on a shampoo bottle. Although the very thought of using this shower is repulsive, your need to shower is high. You turn the knob for water and — nothing. You must have forgotten to pay the water bill.
    A turn of the sink knob produces brown water that has been in the pipes for too long. There is a bottle of purple mouthwash that you can use in place of water, so you scoop your toothbrush out of the green sink and slobber on some toothpaste. As you brush your teeth you wonder who that g-string belongs to and why it’s still hanging in your shower. The mental image of those stains causes you to gag and projectile vomit in the sink.
    When you gather the strength to re-brush your teeth and leave the bathroom, you notice a stranger sleeping on the couch in your living room. You rubberneck past the stranger on your way into what was once a fully-functioning kitchen. Then boom! — the coffee table pops up and causes you to trip and fall face-first onto the floor. If you had more time before class you would be worried about the deadly colonies of bacteria down there, but instead you scramble to your feet and make moves for the kitchen.
    Your kitchen is notorious for its resemblance to a treacherous WW2 minefield. The floors are held together by the highest quality duct tape, and packing tape clogs cockroach entry holes at the corners. But at least the fridge is cold, and you even have a working dishwasher. The fridge door swings open to a furious swarm of native fruit flies. You shield your eyes and blindly reach for a leftover pizza box, shoving the last slice in the toaster and tossing the empty box on the floor before heading back to the living room.
    The stranger that was previously sleeping on your couch has managed to scamper off during the minute that you spent in the kitchen. Luckily with this particular stranger there isn’t any vomit left behind. You pocket the sunglasses that the stranger did leave behind and start off down the hall, past the retched bathroom on your way back to your room. Your bong is still packed on the desk from last night, so you snap it before sitting down to grind up some more weed. There is a moment of silent appreciation that occurs between you and your bong that nobody else could possibly understand. Warm smoke fills your lungs and you exhale into the asbestos air around you. You rise coughing but relaxed and feeling the buzz at the edges of your eyes. You drift through your house on your way to grab your pizza from the toaster.
    It smells like something is burning as you walk into the kitchen, which can only mean one thing — your pizza is extra crispy. Your hand burns as you frantically search for something clean to put the steaming slice on. Paper towels are a luxury of the past, and all of your silverware has been eaten by the house. You sprint full-speed to the bathroom to grab some toilet paper only to see that you have unfortunately just run dry. By now the slice has cooled down enough, so you take a bite and calmly walk towards the door.
    The front door swings open to the crunching sound of plastic cups and empty beer cans. You walk outside to the swamp smell of your lawn, examining the mess that you’ll be cleaning up later. There is trash everywhere, and your feet sink into the stinking ground as you walk. But the sun shines bright, so you reach in your pocket and pull out your newfound sunglasses. You wear them with a constant grin as you walk to campus for a day of class.

Up next: Jerome (Short Fiction

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