It's too hot for clothing, but you're wearing it because you have to. Something didn't work out today...you didn't eat enough, or too much coffee, or not enough water...maybe all three. Your skin is covered in sweat and it itches.
(more) In your pocket there's a small leather folder with pockets filled with plastic rectangles that represent your resources and seven pieces of green paper covered with intricate writing, designs, and pictures. These papers bear microscopic traces of Hawaiian dirt, coffee, human blood, dog feces, and cocaine. The other pocket holds a plastic communications device (that is giving you reproductive cancer), numerous small metal teethed tools collected on a metal ring, and two metal discs. These discs are the largest denomination of metal currency, but what can they buy you? They can buy you a big red ball of hardened sugar that you can put in your mouth and chew, and chew, and chew, and chew, and chew, and chew.
You think a lot about death and your hair has started to fall out in clumps. Each night you go to sleep and say, "I'll shave my head tomorrow." Horrible, itchy welts have arrived all over your body, which could be due to stress also, but they feel like bug bites. Could the bugs be invisible?
Invisible bugs seem as likely as anything else, as you lay down on the sidewalk and watch as people, smartly dressed, step over you on their way to work.
Things only makes sense if we are all covered in a swarm of invisible bugs that scuttle over all of our inches, map and colonize us, observe and chart our mistakes, from the miniature to the immense. There's no way to make sense of what they're doing; we only know they're there because we itch.(less)
There are day that completely passed by without him even noticing. Every single waking moment lost to the din of the conversations and stories in his head. He didn’t notice the rain changing to sun, the graffiti on his walks, the missing rear view mirror from his car. He(more) could walk thru a day or two of his life like a zombie, not even the quest for flesh to motivate him in any direction. Just the walking dead part.
On occasion, some outside stimuli would shock him briefly out of his stupor. It didn’t seem to matter how dramatic the stimuli was but rather the timing of the moment. The exposed crack in what seemed to be an impenetrable armor of cynicism, malaise and low level hostility towards everything but his collection of ceramic turtles. But every now and again something would blindside him.
He thought of his mother’s passing as a nuisance and refused to go to the hospital in her final weeks but when a strange girl said hello to him on the street, he got right back in his car and called in sick to work when he got home. He crouched down in the dry bathtub and wept for hours. He didn’t know why and he could not stop.
He found two coins in the pocket of his trousers when he pulled them from the drier in the basement. He laughed with amazement that they could have stayed there thru both washing and drying cycles. He laughed so hard that he got the hiccups and fought hard to be able to breath but he couldn’t stop laughing. He vomited in the laundry room sink, laughing uproariously the whole time. (less)
The town was dry and gritty, powdery, some color between tan and grey like someone ground sand under a heel until it was even smaller, finer, until a gust of wind would puff it up into a woman's face til she couldn't breathe, couldn't see, couldn't speak. The town(more) and it's dirt were hobbles.
It smelled faintly, a tang and scratch at the back of the nose, like there were forest fires in the distance, just over the hills, and if she left her dishes in the sink and came out into the yard wiping her hands on the tattered dish towel and looked up in the East she would see the orange steady glow painted along the ridge like a sunset that didn't quite know it's proper place or color, and didn't know that it was supposed to shift and slide and then fade.
But there were no fires, not for a long time and not for miles, but the desert was to the West and the desert was a collector of ash which made it's way into town, stubbornly crawling back to familiar surroundings - homes and yards and office buildings.
The town was both stark and bright, scoured by sand and having developed dyes that could combat the constant efforts of dust to quell their colors. The finest dyes in the country, in the world, boasted the keepers in the stalls that lined the road. It was no empty boast. The colors flashed as the wind nipped at their fabrics. The keepers chatted up the travelers, trading coin for protection against the dust, caps and veils and shawls and capes. The dye, the dust, the merchants in a symbiosis that preyed upon the visitor. (less)