Thursday, August 16, 2012

City on a hill (Keith and Lana)

     She shoots through the door with a flourish, a tall girl in a striped dress and heels, her short brown hair curly and dissheveled. Slams it behind her and presses up against it in mock fear and excitement.
       -Oh my god Keith you are not going to guess what just happened...
On the floor a shaggy haired male hunches around an oversized graphic novel. He rocks back and forth imperceptibly. He has on an oversized sweater, paint stained, and a pair of thin grey sweatpants. It is obvious that he has been wearing these for at least a few days and has nothing on underneath. He is sitting on the floor at one end of the long attic room, its musty air lays thick around the floor and is sloshed to and fro by a small oscillating fan. He looks at her with indifference and mumbles out a,
       -What? This a mere formality, really, he knowing full well that if he outright ignored her (what he would have preferred to do, really) her drawn out, indignant response would have simply ruined his night.  She scuttles over, her heels pulling up the carpet as she drags her feet. There is a half drank bottle of cheap white wine beside him, at least one fiesta-ware cup filled to the brim with cigarette detritus is perched on every flat surface in view. Track nine of "Day Dream" plays on a stereo in the corner. She stops midway to the floor as she begins to sit, considers for a long moment, and pulls over a relatively unsoiled old copy of playboy, slides it under her adjusting her skirt so that as little as possible touches the floor. She has chosen a spot mere inches away from his body and he has begun to noticeably lean away from her, the unsolicited human contact causing extreme discomfort even through the cushion of the Reisling. Her eyes are wide.
       .she open her mouth too much.
     -Okay you know Trent, that guy from Orion house that always wears those cheesy suits?
     -Uh, sure.
     -Okay well he was fucking this girl Tanya, you know she has like that half shaved head and looks like a horse. So you remember the "Marriage Party"?
    -No I wasn't there but I...
    -Ohmygod it was amazing everyone got fake married so we like totally tore down the institution of marriage plus we got super wasted afterwards and lit a couch on fire.
    -Yeah I heard it...
    -Anyways he was there in this fucking grotesque blue suit and with Tanya and they were just fucking...making out all over the place and he was wasted of course, and then, can you believe this I walked into the kitchen and saw them in the corner and he has the fucking nerve to like, LOOK at me while he's sucking her face. Can you believe it?
    The fan finishes a circuit and returns, the gust of air it pushes spins an empty chip bag whose exterior of silver and orange whirls together and briefly form a metallic neon blossom on the carpet.
The air passes.
      The bag slows and
returns again to its natural state.
     -And then tonight he comes and tries to talk to me and be like "Hey how are you feeling?", When imitating him she lowers her voice, pulls her chin back and bobbles her head back and forth, -And "Why aren't you talking to me?" Which it should be completely obvious you fucking idiot why I'm not talking to you. God. Fucking chauvinist.
   Her fury is so great that she has failed to notice that his attention has been pulled back and sucked into the book. The page he gazes upon is without frames, a chiaroscuro mess where action bleeds from the top left right, then down to the bottom. There is no dialogue, the characters have no faces. A distorted dog picks up a knife and runs to the bottom of a page where he threatens a large breasted woman. Behind him a  bottle labeled triple X lies on its side, a small puddle forming at its mouth. The dog lunges at the woman and stabs her, a pool of blood erupts which runs and mingles with the alcohol from the bottle. The liquids swirl, congeals and a lump forms. This solidifies into a small body, the form of a man which steps put of the muck and bolts away. He enters a small brush nearby which, as he enters, becomes to him a forest. Thorns surround him as he travels deeper, they cut him, sabers relative to his size. He finds a small pool formed in the hollow of an earthbound branch. He stoops to it and drinks, catching his reflection for a moment. He pauses struck by something we cannot see. The page turns. He looks around, apparently wary of a a threat. What is it that lurks in the thicket? Has it caught the scent of his blood? He pulls a thorn off of vine, grasps it like a knife. Behind a stalk he notices a shape. Malevolent, surely. He rushes towards it, leaps off a branch his foot splashing the puddle. He comes down on the shadow driving the thorn through its body. The shape however is none other that a miniature of the murdered woman, lovely and untouched, her face bare but beautiful. Her blood leaks out, combines with water spilled from the puddle. He sits on the trunk of a bramble, stunned, holding his head in his hands. His head fills the page, black streaks, ersatz eyes. These few marks are enough to convey the sense of this strange creature. The liquids mingle and congeal, form a small lump...
The Page turns. All is white.
   -..And so I came over here because I can't even...stand her. She looks over at him, at the last second he had brought his gaze away from the book and met hers. -Well anyways, I got some coke so you wanna do that tonight? The shift is wrenching. He drops the book. While his eyes, his mouth, betray nothing, a subtle shift in the tension of his forehead relays his excitement.
   -Sure yeah. Here. he hands her the wine bottle. -Have some of this.
   -There's a party at Hayley's, we should go.
      She picks up the case of an Enya album.-Can I use this? He hesitates.
   -Yeah, I guess.. She taps out a molehill of powder from a baggy printed with red inverted crucifixes, cuts out two lines (one noticeably larger than the other) with a library card. Keith places the graphic novel and a sweater into a stained green Jansport, frayed at the seams, slings it around his shoulder and looks over at Lana presenting him with the plastic platter and a rolled up bill.

       No one has done the dishes in days, a plastic sheet that would protect the ceiling's recessed fluorescent lights is hanging down halfway to the floor and a bag of flour is snowdriftspilledout along the length of a countertop. As in Keith's room most of the horizontal surfaces hold a cup or plate filled to the brim with ash.
   -Haha! CHILLLL. Jeff is sitting in a ripped mustard yellow recliner lodged in the corner of the kitchen, Keely is atop a pile of newspapers with a tallboy in her hand. Keely is giggling to herself, Jeff's laugh bounces through the kitchen, fractures and rushes into the rest of the small house, seeming to reverberate back: the tines of sounds converging back in the kitchen so that he seems to laugh for two at once. Keely looks to the side, hides her face in her hand and continues to laugh. Keith and Lana descend the stairs, avoiding a full grown Siberian husky curled up on a small landing who tracks them with a dreadfully bored look, .
   -...Then I'm like, well fuck you, AND fuck your plastic abortion. Lana snorts out a manic laugh, too loud.
   -What up chillerrrrrs? Jeff pulls out the final syllable, gives Keith a cockeyed look, his eyes glazed over slightly. Keely looks up. squinting and unfocused, lets out a soft
  -We're going to Hayley's. I donno, there are a bunch of people over there...
  -Haha. Sounds chill. I guess. Jeff stops, -Wait a minute! Looks around as if coming to a profound realization.-...Hayley's not chill. Why...She isn't chill at all. Keely becomes very serious.
  -Most definitely not chill. They both laugh.
Keith and Lana turn to leave, Jeff has shifted to picking a string off the arm of the recliner, Keely turns as they go.

     Over many years of trampling feet this hallway has taken on that characteristic attic smell which is surely as revolting to other species as the scent of a barn, or mouse nest is to a well bred city girl. Reminiscent of old photographs and furniture, though this hall is mostly bare. Lana and Keith burst through the entryway laughing to themselves. Outside the roiling foam of drunken society burbles about, eternally attention starved and seeking validation, the alcohol uncovering oral stage insecurities which, when processed through the factory of a man in heat comes out (inevitably) as obscenity. Keith and Lana were apparently both asking for attention as, on the way over, they were stopped and yelled at numerous times. Keith ignoring the attention or laughing it off, Lana (militantly conscious of her status as a woman) provided impromptu
S.C.U.M Manifesto thumping sermons right there on the street before the unwashed and unsaved. This resulted in stunned silence or a flurry of nervous backtracking so embarrassingly common in a man confronted. Lana once (though not tonight) almost came to blows with a quite adamant (and quite drunk) gentleman hailing from out in the county before being dragged away bodily. She was livid for the rest of the week, telling the story with exponential embellishment to anyone within earshot. All this to say that downtown Westham is a cyclone of pent up id, frustrated drives, amplified egos and superabundant alcohol to which an undying crowd flocks, out of some unfathomable urge, on a weekly basis.
    They are looking for room 201 which one would assume would be a simple task though the drugs would say otherwise. After much frantic scrambling and running up and down the same staircase repeatedly Lana finally opens an unmarked door which reveals a mezzanine staircase which leads to an ancient part of the building. 201 is a rusty nail in the hall, the door has been painted black and a steady measured pulse leaks out into the rest of the building. Lana knocks, looks at Keith, vigorously rubs her nose. They laugh at her. The air pulses.
   -bitch. Lana pounds on the door
  -Open up bitch!, she sings. Giant smile plastered on her face. Keith sags, looks nervous. He hikes up his bag and cinches down the straps. The door cracks open a small girl wearing bright paint over her pointed nose and pleasing eyes pokes her head out, Justice dumps out of the room.
  -Yesss. What?
  -Hey! Ohmygod how how are you? Lana open her arms and steps forward but the door remains steady.
  -Can I help you? Lana lets her arms fall, the smile remains but is tarnished.
  -Uh we heard you were having a party. Hayley stares for a moment as if asked to compute an enormous sum. She glances at Keith briefly, no sign of recognition upon her face.
  -No. A man totally nude emerges from the darkness, painted in swirls from lascivious ankle to shaggy dome, and puts his arms around Hayley's neck.
  -FUUUUUUUUCK, Hayley shoves him off with surprising strength, he stumbles backwards and disappears into the constant movement behind her, movement which is cocooned fully in the threads of the darkness and is assures no human source.
 -Sorry! She slams the door, damming the music and leaving Keith and Lana in the humm of the hall lights.
 -fucking whore, Lana looks over at Keith who is tight lipped and clenched fists . -Well... She looks around, stunned, as if bereft of an intimate article -I mean, where else are we gonna finish off this coke?

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