Monday, October 13, 2008

The Last Year of Life

Day 17. Office. 12:58PM
Crushed cotton drapes hanging there in the stale air. Degrand wheezing at his humming monitor. I etched a tiny sketch on the bottom of my desk drawer with my letter opener, inscription 'You've Got Mail!'. The engraving was of two heads and they were kissing and their tongues were intertwining and their tongues were forked like lizard and snake tongues.
I spent most of the previous night on the phone with Kenny. He had called me to tell me about a car accident he had witnessed. He was with his mistress and she was drunk. They were driving on a stretch of road, the main pass to get out of the city. It was late. Her name is a weird name. It starts with a 'Sha' something. She has a lazy eye when she gets drunk. It hangs there, dead in its socket as she spits and yells. Kenny said he was trying to console her because they had seen a flattened cat, freshly run over. She had lost it when she saw that cat. She was yelling and crying, spitting in the car. Kenny said he put his hand over the middle console to stroke her hair and she bit him. He flicked his hand and it struck her cheek, and that was the point where she jettisoned all remaining logic.
'You fucking hit me!' She had tear paths burned into her cheeks.
She fumbled around in her purse and pulled out a vial of pills and she cursed his name and swallowed a handful of them. Kenny didn't know what they were and he was afraid. He was pulling his own hair at the roots and screaming at her. "What did you take," he asked. She did this before. She would take a lot of sleeping pills or she would take Xanex til her head burst. It was all for attention. It was all to make him feel as bad as he could about everything. Kenny told me that it was at this time when a line of stopped cars started forming in front of him. He looked in front and he could make out a car that was flipped over, wheel still spinning. His attention was now split, half on her, half on that. So many thoughts swirling around in his head. She was doubled over, feigning unconsciousness and spitting on herself. Kenny told me he got out of the car and was met with a teenager with a large hooded sweatshirt on.
'You don't want to go up there, we have fatalities. Decapitation,' the teenager said. People, children, barely acquainted with high school, they were wailing at the flipped car's side. Kenny said he put his hands over his face and started to weep because that was all that he could do. Said he was frozen in that instant for a lifetime. His mistress was what snapped him out of it. She had gotten herself out of the car and was stumbling through the line of cars in front of Kenny's car. She started yelling and she started screaming at the people around the flipped car.
'He hit me! He-fuck-ing-hit-me!' She was pointing at Kenny. People looked at her, palpable grief spewing from their faces, but no one said or did anything. She stumbled over to Kenny and collapsed in his arms. 'He fucking hit me!'
A woman rushed by, wanting to observe the crash scene. Kenny's mistress lunged herself at the woman and begged her to keep Kenny away from her. The woman replied that she was a nurse and had to attend to the accident. She let Kenny's mistress collapse to the wet pavement. Kenny said she looked like the flattened cat that had caused the entire episode. He walked over and picked her up, put her into the passenger seat of the car, turned the car around, and took an alternative route. He told me that he put the car in park and phoned for an ambulance, but the dispatcher said all of the ambulances were tied up with the accident and it would take several hours before they were able to respond to his call. They suggested that he drive her to the hospital himself and he said that he would comply. He hung up the phone and wept quietly to himself. He told me that he guided her to the guardrail on the side of the road, stuck his fingers deep down her throat, made her throw up the contents of her stomach and all of the pills that she had swallowed. He had looked at the vial when she was passed out and saw that they were only mild nerve pills. He took her home and laid her on her couch. He tried to sleep on the floor next to the plaid couch, but was unsuccessful. Said he cried most of that night.
I did not know what to say to my friend. He had been there for me in my time of need, but I did not know the words that I should have said to him. He wept on the phone and he sounded like an injured animal. I did not know what to say to him. I heard his sobbing and the static of the phone line.


My Idea of Fun said...

very fucking gripping, man. i love the psychological depth displayed in the mistress; without coming right out and saying it, you make her motives very clear. i'm really looking forward to your next installment of this series.

My Idea of Fun said...

i thought bell wrote these things. i really did!