another fiction excerpt — from a story about the boring apocalypse

We talked about decline. We sat near a tawny night light to ward off our depression.

He said he bought a neoprene vest in Nairobi and I never felt so miserable in my life. He talked about sculpting with vectors to simulate high dimensions, city kids and the smarts required to build gaming machines from local trash. Not a monologue for my taste. I wanted him to descend the length of the rope dangling from the neon signs we’d scavenged to adorn our hideout. I wanted him to flex his thick ankles through the trap door announced by electric bells and LED buzzers, to crawl across the lightless basement and crumple into sleep. I wanted to find some magic layers had peeled off him.

I wanted to walk up behind him, push up his hair and speak into the back of his head. What did you see? Tell me what sight so bad it fixed your mind on the endtimes. What line of reasoning so determinate it made you escape. To this squat where you so coolly remark on a certain state of affairs, where hours congeal in numb complicity with our desires. Unlike the non-time of the homeless that could press us both into oblivion if it wanted.

I asked for a lie ’cause he said no future is true. But I had something else up my sleeve, a hunch that all this was more simple than it seemed. So I parted with my psychic indulgence, restored my attention to the light and the narcotic effect of our defeat. I’d dream in his lap and he’d stay up to watch the sun inoculate the city with a little hope, with some luck. I asked him once which one of us has cooler dreams? I know it’s me, but I let him think it was him and now he’s become delusional. A mind sharp and reflective as lacquer set on a task that’ll quicken our death. As long as we were safe, though, it was fun to play house.

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