A Story by Steve

Friday night lethargy.



They said I had a gift, that I was blessed with these things that couldn’t happen to you, and they were right. When I was barely a year old I climbed out my pushchair and skipped down a ravine, only to get held up on a swallows nest. They found me there, hanging by a suspender strap. Dogs never chased me down the street, I never turned a corner to have a bike tire slam into my knees. No scrapes, no insults, no jealous glares. I never got in a fight, never broke a bone or even stretched a ligament, never got busted for smoking. I was lacrosse state champion three seasons straight. I won money on the lotto on two separate occasions. You ever won the lottery? I walked under ladders, over sidewalk cracks, never skimmed stones and made wishes, always stayed up late at night, forgetting to lock the back door.

Maria’s sitting there. I hated you, she says. I hated that you were a b*****d and you had everything and never called me when my cat died. That’s what I really hated you for.

I’ve got more lives than a cat. I reckon. Only I never had to test them.

I started doing things, crazy things. I drove the wrong way down the Jefferson State freeway with Lynyrd Skynyrd on the iPod, singing and going so fast into the wind with tears and the insults and horns of angry drivers swerving past my left ear. I was laughing the whole time cause it was nuts.

One time I walked into the community college, dragged a load of books off the shelf, swept them down and had myself a little fire in the quiet reading area, down in the basement. I walked right out into the afternoon sun through the fire door and the alarm never sounded. That was June 19, 2002.

Jesus, she says, shaking her head, drawing it out. Is she laughing?

Four people were injured by that highway stunt. You. Hospitalised. Four. People. You know, " she pops gum " one was a kid who had just enrolled at Madison State. A haemophilic. Almost died from a head cut. But you torched the school you a*****e. So it wouldn’t of mattered.

They dragged me to a mental hospital but crossed my records with a kid from Yell County. He’s probably right now screaming silently in a linen cupboard somewhere. I got work for a housing association and sent out extortion letters to tenants under the name of ‘Billy’s Bailiffs Co’. Made a snazzy logo and big money then crossed the state line.

Started a racquet selling protein shakes to the rich junkies who shot up while they traded out the late night markets. Lived in a hovel above a landlady who cussed with the filthiest mouth you ever heard. Crossed back into Madison, wizened with age, setting my cufflinks straight to the wind as they say. Bet on the horses, won every time, carried girls across towns after me and scrambled them eggs before they woke.

Now I was getting older and the chase in me was fading to a canter. Cops caught up with me in Brook over fixed licence plates and got me doing community service for some rich miser. She was old and when she passed away (falling from the roof trying to fix her satellite dish) I got her money the house and the dog. I was away again.

What did you do with that dog? She asks.

It died of gut worm some 3 weeks after. I traded jambalaya in the market towns of Rockford for a time, but the heart wasn’t in it so back I went to Madison. Went back to my parents but they had moved on. The doors were locked and a black lady I never seen before answered the bell. The money had gone too and I was pretty sick by then and bleeding from places it wasn’t right to bleed. I caught the 22 bus to the hospital at Junction Street and been there ever since.

Huh, she says, getting up. Well it’s good to hear you’re taking the treatment. I gotta go. Same time next week? I’ll bring Dylan if I can.

She leaves a red balloon cause it’s my 23rd today. It sits by the flowers she bought by the bed on the white dress stand, waving at me through the air conditioning. She’s special that Maria, I don’t even want to share her with you. I look at the balloon though the red of it hurts my eyes even when I screw them shut. I think some more about that landlady with the potty mouth and then again about Maria. F**k. I don’t think I ever apologised for running over her cat.   


© 2011 Steve

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Added on September 16, 2011
Last Updated on September 16, 2011



United Kingdom

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