Note: click on highlighted words for the expansive experience.

November 19th, 2014. Morning. The tech is young and overtly cheerful. This heartens my grizzled veteran (she doesn’t know I’ve been getting these since she was in high school [*]) and shifts my semblance slightly, despite the chainsaw mincing my right shoulder. I lie down, spiritually strap in. She puts headphones on me, telling me they won’t help. Prokofiev’s No. 7 makes me feel like I’m in a fraudulent Fellini, or one of Langdon’s later, lugubrious silents, so I ask if she’s got any DMX. She doesn’t smile but says ‘Sure – whatever I type in will come up.’ I think she mishears me. She doesn’t – soon as I’m in the coffin, Up in Here begins. I can’t laugh cuz I’m not supposed to move. Instead, I muse on both the irony and accuracy of the lyrics with regard to my current malediction, and wonder which X track is next. None, as it turns out. But Tribe Called Qwest is mo betta (Scenario, yo). Inside, I am twerking. Inside, I’m doing the Roger Rabbit. LL’s next – ‘I don’t smoke crack, I smoke MCs‘. The banging begins beneath my body and in time, I groove on the deafening, staccato beat and old-school Asteroids/IBM ‘puter noises, James Todd Smith relegated to source music. I can feel the radiation buzz about me, shrink my bowling ball nads to peas. The hammering continues, but I can just make out Whodini under it – Freaks Come Out at Night, indeed. I am hungry. For food and flesh. The latter is troublesome. The former less complex. Thus, we go to a Chi-Mex dive, where I indulge in a burrito and a native roach nearly indulges on me. Pain portends to pilfer joy. Presently I endeavor to preempt the prick and swallow seven pills. One is a Vitamin C. The rest are not. Company’s good and I don’t feel the cold. It is twenty degrees. We go to Dollar Tree and I buy a small monkey stuffy I name Ned and she buys some Christmas stickers. We go to Waldbaum’s and pee. We go to Raindew and look at Christmas shit. We sniffle and shiver at a bus stop as a JHS kid practices Careless Whisper on an oboe, his breathing perfect. We ride the bus and I look at every child and smile and feel sad. We see Ouija (**) and are the only ones in the theatre. We go to Boston Market and eat the kind of Thanksgiving meal I haven’t had in fifteen years. The pain is ferocious, clutching my core like Count Orlock clutching Ellen’s heart. I can focus on nothing. I take the pill I’ve been avoiding, the effect immediate: I talk a lot and do it quickly. Scorsese, my work, Kate, Lauren, somatic therapy, my mother, people’s primitive (patriarchal) (mis)perceptions of rape, and how she herself organically transmogrified my life. I begin to worry about the cost of a good day. The pain is still there but I’m high so we wait for another bus and go to a bakery cafe. I’m chill, hypervigilance on low end because we’re not in the city or Flushing. The cafe is the multiculti late night hot spot of the Caucasian area. We look at cakes, cookies, cupcakes and pies. She gets one tastes like sin and redemption. I get tea. And talk more. And flirt with everyone in a skirt. No one is wearing a skirt but I imagine they are. I want to make out. I want to have sex. I want to make a movie. Now. Fuck the pain. Instead, I talk. She listens, laughs, counsels a friend via text, shows me family pictures, and tells me I’m brilliant. I don’t feel brilliant. I feel like a thug. With learning disabilities. Eventually, they throw us out and we huddle in a doorway and wait for yet another bus. At 2am I find myself alone again in my bunker, buzzing like radiation, blowtorch searing my shoulder, still hungry – nay, ravenous. Mix pain, narcotics, PTSD and an inability to process happiness. The good day was over, I was ready to ruin. The cost was two days. But I am not ungrateful. If, for nothing else, every heartbeat.

 * And conversely, I didn’t know I would be returning the following week to do it yet again, due to errors on the part of both my doctor and the imaging joint.

 ** Lo-fi ‘shocker’ could’ve been made in ’81. Plus points: Olivia Cooke, Lin Shaye, an autumnal score by Anton Sanko, and my companion, who hunkered in the creaky seat to my right, biting her nails and jumping at every cheap jump scare.

  WhereEverybodyKnowsMyName   Radiating   NedtheMonkeyStuffy


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