Sunday, March 5, 2006

M = Male (p. 21)


M = Male
Jake Beard

She enters the room with great caution. The Paxil she just snorted, only because she is out of coke, is giving her a difficult time walking down the stairs. Snorting prescriptions is a rare occurrence; she usually avoids having to stoop so low, but desperate times and all that. It provides that same burn in her nasal passage that she had begun to crave, first only after sex and then after waking up. The bleeding from all of that nose-candy is the only problem. Fortunately, she’s coated in a crimson red dress that has the ability to hide such stains well. The room seems too distant and distorted like a radio channel that is too faint to listen to, despite the great, glimmering and haunting tune. Needless to say, she wants to be a part of the party. However, the sudden feeling of ice grabbing her entire being had ceased all her attempts. The horrible event upstairs just moments ago jarred her into a sub-reality. “A beer; that will make me feel better,” she reasons to herself. This is a false assumption; the beer enters her and only accentuates the sour, salty drip in the back of her throat.

She feels there really is no point in being at this party any longer. If she’s tired of trying to look put-together, she is certainly exhausted trying not to break down at this point. From across the room two men she does not recognize lower themselves in front of her chair. Words come out of their mouths. Her name, Seria, surely floats into the complex network of her mind, but other than that, their speech is somewhat like a Bj√∂rk song when one has not had enough sleep; beautiful and melodic, yet unintelligible. Not one for broken social silence, Seria stands up and leaves at the second the two men shut up, waiting for her response.

Outside, the air is definitely that of autumn, chilly enough to give her goose bumps when her bare parts touch the leather on the seat of her car. While always being one prone to rash decisions and action patterns, irrationally driving home to her parents’ from the small college town she now lives in is not usually one of them. First, second, third gear, get on highway, make it home. It ran through her head like a mantra.

She gently jogs from the parking lot to her dorm - a ridiculous four-minute walk - removing her heels, allowing the cool concrete to soothe her feet. When she enters the dorm she continues up some flights of stairs and decides to use the elevator on the way back down; black overnight bag, one pair of jeans, one tooth brush, three joints, new Pumas and a sweater in a color invented in a customer research laboratory, run by J. Crew. Ignoring her roommate copulating in the corner of the room, she retrieves her copy of The Catcher in the Rye off of her bed. Sadly some of the pages are bent and gnarled from the rampant fucking it had just been subjected to. Seria decides to leave on her dress and makeup, just a quick change of shoes. She does not want to spend another minute in the dorm. She will just change and wash up in a gas station bathroom when she will be forced to stop due to her acorn-sized bladder. Besides, the dress makes her feel so confident.

Choosing the elevator for the decent of the building was a bad idea. Hoping for a seamless exit, her plan fails. The doors open up on the next floor down. Bernard came in. Bernard is the kind of guy who will shamelessly touch a girl’s thigh, then just giggle, saying he “can’t help it. It looks too good,” thinking it is all some sort of compliment. Seria closes her eyes and hums when the doors open to his pancake face. “Going somewhere?” he inquires, gesturing towards her bag. “Kinda late, don’t ya think? Ya never know what’s gonna get ya out there.”

The elevator doors open, donating a sigh of relief. Seria makes no response to the creepy man and swiftly makes way to the car. Going home will make everything better, she decides. She will just explain the situation to her mom, her loving mom, and she can switch schools and everything will be okay. Once at the car, she sets her bag in the seat next to her. She removes the first joint from the cigarette case and lights it using the car lighter—always a difficult task. She turns on the heater, but only on the floor so that she can feel the warm air over her hairless legs. Speeding out of town, listening to a scratched Radiohead CD, she slowly inhales the off-white smoke. It calms her at first but leads to paranoia and sudden sickness, both of which the drug has not given her in some years. Thirty miles out of town, forty…
The streetlights cut off at this point, too far from any form of civilization. Tears flow from each corner of her eye, only to be sniffed back up her nose. The sudden crying spell leaves her driving in a sorry state. Red, Blue and White lights flash behind her, at first a glimmer, only to get stronger and closer as the seconds race by. A siren. Slowing her speed down to around sixty and signaling that she is looking for a place to pull over takes a lot of effort. She rolls down all of the windows, allowing a flush of air to blow the reeking smell of joint out of the Volkswagen. “Can I please see your license and registration, ma’am?” one Officer Bartlett states, more than he questions. Grudgingly Seria reaches into her bag and removes her driver’s license, and from her dashboard her insurance card. She doubts they will help her at this point, and thinks of perhaps saying that she does not have her license. The cop takes both and returns to his cruiser. The seconds pass like hours and he returns, asking Seria to get out of the car. They stand in a nest made by both cars, his headlights still calmly beaming in stark contrast to the flashing, patriotic lights mounted to the top. Seria feels like a mess. Her dress is creased and crinkled, she’s wearing tennis shoes, and her makeup is smeared from the tears. “You look like a whore, you know that?” Officer Bartlett once again stated and questioned at the same time. “But, as I am sure you know, Joram speaks out against whoredom in Kings 9:22, and the LORD himself spoke against it in Deuteronomy 31:16. Yep, it’s all up here in my head, the whole thing.”

Bartlett becomes flushed and rapid in his speech, Seria very cold and fearful. Her high was busted the second she got out of the car, and she is now afraid that the cop cares about the pot the least of all. He continued his rant: “But no, you are no whore. You are much, much worse. The Bible never even mentions freaks like you, and we sure as hell can’t have none of that, it, YOU around my town.” With that, a silencing blow is lodged into Seria’s face. Suddenly layed on the grass along the side of the road on this October night, she feels kicks, first just at her side, but then more to her head when suddenly, thankfully, she is no longer able to fear or feel the next blow. She is unaware of how long this bizarre scene is to carry on. She slightly notices being dragged, but so far from consciousness at that point, she has little care.

Mr. and Mrs. Blaine were not told everything about the death of their son. In fact, since no one really knew all the details of the situation, it was speculated that due to the high level of narcotics in his body, he was beaten to death after a drug deal gone wrong. To his parents the police omitted that he was found in full makeup and a red cocktail dress. After attempting to file documentation of their son’s death at his university, complications arose. There was no Eric Blaine enrolled there, only a Seria Blaine, who had been missing from classes for over a week.

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