I THINK I’LL LIGHT OUT AWHILE.
The Bubble climbs up my vertebrae and rises to the top of my
skull, squishing my brain tissue down below the level of my
eyes. A strange spongy pressure seeps into my sinuses and
the Bubble grows, grows and — !
I climb then out of my ear, yes, the left one, and land on Matt
Burke’s shoulder. I shake off the cranial fluids that have
coagulated around me and commence to crawl over the desks,
clumsily slinking on all fours over notebooks and plastic bottles
toward the window. I hop onto the ledge and reach into the
pane, pulling open a portal, and I jump right through.
I am able to survey the area standing on the plumage of a
bottlebrush tree. I jury-rig a parasol out of twigs and
leaves, and skip-hop onto the telephone wire. I walk the
tightrope like a circus ballerina straight on out to the beach,
my sequins glimmering in the spotlights, the crowd aghast below,
holding its collective breath at my danger. The myriad
faces widen in a gasp as I leap forward and land back in my skull
with a small kersploosh! of cranial juices. The classroom
buzzing resumes and the Bubble subsides, retreating down the
optic nerve, through thickets of grey matter and climbing down
the vertebrae, nesting again in the base of my spine.
MEDITATION ON THE STARS.
They’re up there, spying on me.
They peer down, they do, though little sprockets, little
sprockets in the atmosphere’s black tarp. They’re made of
some kind of brilliant, more-than-phosphorescent light, and
they’re big tall things, performing all kinds of EXPERIMENTATIONS
on me — and I guess on you too. Though, I don’t
know. Maybe they don’t care about me at all, or you,
either, and maybe that’s why we’re under the tarp. It’s
like a fungal garden they’re growing, the sprockets are actually
little ice-pick holes to let water in but not really out, and
when they find us in a few years, you know, in the back corner of
the yard, they’ll be like, “Oh, woah, I totally forgot about
But anyway we were walking all silent one night and I looked out
the sprockets and looked at the superphosphorescent
scientists. The little sprockets were all laid out just so,
like a bag of marbles spilt over wet pavement, and I said, I
“You’ve got to look — just look at those stars.”
And you glanced, and you shrugged, and you said,
And your smug little proclamation of teenaged ennui got the
scientists all huffy and they went to go sit in some sullen
corner somewhere. You really ruffled their feathers.
They’re not so hot on you, I reckon; no, they’re not. But I
think, and this is in the realm of conjecture now — I make no
guarantees — I think they might think I’m okay. Because
they still do come out from time to time. I don’t mind them
looking at me, much, in fact, it’s a little nice from time to
time, and ceilings really can get to be a bother for that
reason. A ceiling does get so lonesome at night; makes it
hard to breathe, you know? Like they tied up the tarp too
tight, as one does around a murdered corpse, wrapped twice and
all. I think those sprockets are good to breathe