A Drifter

Things had been queer since Kurt had left. Words seemed unjustified. Sounds seemed cruel. Dogs were rabid as they lay their pups of betrayal. She hoped she could get a ride from the station that morning. Maybe she could call Gunnar. But Jorjian knew that would be no use. He left her with a hole of no hope at all. Things had really gotten bad for Gunnar anyway. Bills piling up, medical and otherwise, from when he got hit by that car somewhere between Pike and Pine. His phone had shattered. His eyes red and gashes tracing the blades of his back. One time he made her bandage him up, thick gauze couldn’t stop the pressure of oozing blood.

She worried for him, because of his sister, and his mom. Word in the neighborhood, at least from the fat lady across the street with the smeared face paint and graying chihuahua, was that she had O.D.’d. Others wanted her kicked off the block. Too many late nights with her squealing, squawking at the cops. Her shirt always bunched over her tummy, her belly ring always glowing translucent. Others, including Jorjian, were jealous. Why did she get to have all the fun? Why didn’t Jorjian? Why was Jorjian now so cut off from all that she had been?

Things moved slowly on her walk home that day. Up one hill, two hills, three to where she had lived in that government housing or the next. All up the hill on Denny Way, apart from the rest of the city buried in grease. Things drifted for Jorjian, one could say. And then she recalled the bugs. Those tiny red beatles that had infested her mattress through the floor below her.
“No wonder,” the exterminator chuckled. “Just down below you there’s more bug than bed.” Crackhead we both agreed. And Jorjian watched as the man sprayed his soft patent air, white with chemical, clear of life, and she watched as he left her, now consumed with grief.

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