Daily Turmoil

Island (Flash Fiction)

It’s the smell of stale cigarette smoke and the lingering presence of pot in the air that first wakes me up. The sun that creeps through a crevice in the curtains maybe a close second. Two near-empty bottles of vodka and a litter of beer cans line the floors, tables and the trash cans overflow with spilled ashtrays and bloodied tissue paper – empty baggies that once contained more than a nights supply. To the left of the couch two naked kids are splayed out on the floor. The boy’s face is in the girl’s vagina and his ass appears black and blue all over sprinkled with some blood on top – which I could only assume is a messy menstruation cycle gone horribly wrong. Look around the room and see a splash of dark paint covering the walls. This’ll come off the credit card, I think. After I tug at myself for a while and realize I’m not coming anytime soon I get up and walk to the curtains and swing them open watching morning waves crash while I smoke a cigarette and let my erection disappear. A breezy fall wind from the tornado set to touch upon the island later today steers me back inside and I walk past the motionless kids and into the bedroom where I partake in last night’s leftover blow and then look to the bed to see the love of my life but she isn’t peacefully sleeping. She’s not even here. Memories more mixed than a jigsaw puzzle slowly unfold and the vault that contains yesterday’s snapshots creeps open.

Back in Junior High I missed curfew when my six-dollar Wal-Mart watch failed to conform to society’s bi-annual time switch. Seventy lashes courteous of good ole’ Dad and his rusty old belt taught me never to trust clocks again so I watch impatiently and unconvinced as the digital switches over to the next hour. Sit, chill, wait … nothing. I fumble for a smoke, light up and watch the empty bedroom cloud over. One minute switches to the next and I’m glad that Dad educated me on the importance of time in this world. The ash grows larger than the cig and I end up ditching it inside her half-empty Snapple bottle. By the time the telephone rings I’m too overcome with anxiety, unable to get a grip and compose myself and I end up taking a spill and smack my head against the nightstand, further distancing myself from this Hell we call life.

Shrouded in darkness, confused, head pulsing. Ring…ring…ring. Every three seconds, one seemingly louder than the next. Finally I snatch up the receiver and after a moment of hesitation, say “Hello?”

Nothing.

“Hello?” the voice says over a static line hard to hear – the result of a bad connection. “Morning sir,” the voice continues, this time a bit clearer. “This is your 9 A.M. wakeup call. As you know, checkout’s at 11. Y’all be cautious getting off this island sir. Storm’s s‘pose to be movin‘in real thick right ‘round noon.”

I manage a weak thanks before the line goes dead and I’m left lying on the floor, the fog from outside manifesting itself inside – all further judgment is hopeless. And then I remember my love: dirty blonde hair wavering in the wind wearing her high-school cheerleader hoodie and her glasses – the non-prescription-slashawrist-emo-screamin’-shits). Her lips: a voluptuous pink, tweaked and smirking. Her eyes: a traffic signal saying floor it fella’. The green-light, the go-ahead. But proceed with caution because as much as I’d love to say it all started just a few days ago, whatever nerve that triggers that primal instinct to carry out the madness in me – in all of us really – began long before the Internet-crazed, sex-starved, fucked-up nature of this shit-filled dump.

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