Peddling down the street on her pink, white-walled bike she felt the cool morning breeze rush past her bare ears. Turning down a wide side street in the heart of the suburb she spotted what she was looking for, though of course she knew right where it was all along. Coasting to a stop she jumped off her seat and in one fluid motion tossed the bike into a large shrub on the side of the road, so eager she didn’t care part of the handle bars were still visible, peeking out from the waxy manicured leaves. Skipping to the middle of the road she stopped and glanced around. A heavy fog rested over the still sleepy houses, each two stories tall with three windows to spy on the gardener from. Everything was quiet, and she was alone. Crouching down she laced her fingers through the slimy manhole cover’s slits. Rusty and crusty from stagnation as it was, she gave a hefty pull. She felt her arm muscles tighten as the cool metal dug into her fingers. Digging in her heels she puffed out a breath and pulled again, the cover finally shifted an inch with a metallic clank. Breaking out in a grin, she hauled it to one side, creating a slit of an opening. Dropping on all fours, she pulled out a flashlight and flicked it on, the yellow light falling on an old steel ladder descending into darkness. A strong stench of algae and rotting things danced around her nose eagerly, long cut off from the world above. “Perfect,” she smiled. Clenching the flashlight between her teeth she weaseled her way into the hole, her feet groping until one foot, then the other, found purchase on the rungs of the ladder. A chill of anticipation ran up her spine as she took one more glance around before ducking her head low and disappearing down the hole, the dimming echoes of her footsteps falling on absent ears.
Although she did not identify as a man or a woman, and was thus nonbinary, she did not mind when people addressed her as a woman. It tended to make things easier.
“Hey lady! Hurry up will ya’? It does not take all day to take a leak and some of us have lives we’d like to get back to!”
Ro stood at the front of the line at the pay-to-port. Paying to pee via public urinal had been law since she was a kid. There was no point in dwelling on the ethics of it. You simply stepped up, deposited your coins in the slot, and walked in to do your business when the door unlocked. The pay-to-port she often visited was a hot spot, being the only urinal in a ten-mile radius. That morning, the line stretched indefinitely down a long dirt pile of a hill, a steady slope elevating to one of the greatest earthly pleasures known to man. Unfortunately, euphoria was slow in coming that day.
“Hey!” Someone shoved her from behind. “Tell who’s ever in there to hurry up!” Ro looked over her shoulder at a woman, all short legs and furrowed eyebrows.
“Whoever it is, they paid just like the rest of us,” Ro said. “They can take just as much time as they need.”
“Says me.” Ro said sternly. “This ain’t a speed pissin’ contest. Now shut up and wait your turn like everyone else.”
“But I haven’t gone since last night,” the woman complained. “You know it’s illegal to go out in the bush, and I just now found a nickel in the trash so I could afford the port!”
“Not my problem.” Ro said, facing forward. She felt a pull on her arm as the woman grabbed her sleeve, still feeling scrappy. “Let go.” Ro said, restrained. “I don’t like to be touched.”
“Oh yeah?” The woman said, defiance flashing in her eyes. “Make me.”
Ro promptly punched the woman square in the jaw, the line parting around her as she tumbled head over feet down the slope. Ro heard the door to the urinal unlock and open. A young girl holding a stuffed bear stepped out and smiled up at her as the door clanked shut behind her. Ro smiled back, payed her fee, and stepped inside.
I want you
To take this pendant
In the shape of something repugnant
And push it in me
Through my throat
To silence my cries
From the inside out
The soft click and whirling of the disk let him know it’s working. The screen flashes white then crescendos to a glaring baby blue. When did he become like this? Staring at the screen, hunched forward, hands folded in his lap. Sometimes he forgets to blink, sometimes he forgets to take the suggested breaks. Bathing in blue, he feels and thinks nothing: never aging, never growing. One day he forgets to close the curtains, and the sunshine blots out the screen. He is annoyed, and gets up to shut the curtains on the rainbow hues outside. He returns to the desk and loses himself in the ocean. He feels nothing, and does not grow.
Alyssa’s purse thumped rhythmically against her side as she walked down the street, the steady beeping of car horns setting a tempo her feet couldn’t help but follow. The smell of a nearby hot dog stand hung in the cool fall air, coaxing her stomach awake. She decided a quick snack wouldn’t hurt, and let her nose guide her as drool pooled in her mouth. A man walking the opposite way brushing against her bare arm with his worn leather jacket, along with a whiff of cheap cologne. She heard bits of gravel crunch behind her and felt a sudden pressure on her rear. Turning, she saw the man’s arm stretched out, his hand firmly grasping her. Jerking away, she clutched her purse tightly and confronted the man who looked down on her bemused, his cologne wafted around her like a repugnant crowd. Receiving little response from the man after berating him with accusations, Alyssa made up her mind. Loosening her grip on the straps of her purse she lashed out, her fist connecting with the man’s greasy nose before her bag hit the ground with a thud. The man cried out and doubled over, clutching his nose as a trail of red leaking between his fingers. Huffing, she bent over to pick up her bag, brushing city grime from the bottom, and once again felt the comforting straps on her shoulder. She turned to continue on her way, the smell of boiling pork bits once again occupying her interests.
Just because I am not there does not mean I am no longer your friend.
I am sorry I have been replaced in your heart by another.
I am much better than I used to be, do you not want to see?
It is a shame you have forgotten who I am.
I and all I am is lost on you.
*Note: Just a little something I spit out one night and wanted to share. Enjoy!
“Food.” I thought lazily. Strolling through the school library, one could easily loose all sense of time and space amongst the clutter of paper backs and ink. I was certain it had been hours since the start of my shift and would soon be narrowing in on my lunch break. Sighing, I glanced down at the cart of books still to be placed back in their proper serial spot. Just finish this up, I promised myself, and then to lunch. Standing up straight, I pushed the cart forward with renewed vigor, placing the remaining books back one by one as I trolled the aisles.
I looked up from a particular favorite of mine with a lovely colorful cover to see a coy man standing before me. Dressed smartly in a deep purple suit, he stood with his hands behind his back, bending forward just enough so we saw eye to eye.
“Hello?” I asked, slightly taken aback by the man’s peculiar look. He continued to look, no, stare at me, smiling. “Can I help find something?” I asked.
“You may,” He said, narrowing his eyes. Suddenly he reached out at took the book from my hands. “Oh,” He said. “This is it.” He held it securely in his grasp, but didn’t glance down once.
I narrowed my eyes. “I’m glad I could help you.” I said politely.
“I am glad too.” His smile bloomed into a grin of inhuman proportions. “I’ll be sure to bring it back soon.” With that, he stood up straight, extending his body to its full, well over six foot length. I had to strain my neck to see even the underside of his nose.
He turned to walk away, his long suit tails swinging with the motion as he left. I glanced at the clock again. Only a minute had passed. I groaned inwardly and continued with my job, hoping for no more interruptions.