Miss Misery

Strains of Elliot Smith in the apartment; she listens to the iPod through its bluetooth speaker, and wanders around, putting things back where they belong. It’s like cleaning up after an earthquake. A flood. A fire. There’s a damage, here, she doesn’t understand.

She picks up an ashtray and puts it on the counter.

There are only six fingers missing from the Oban.

The army men in the refrigerator stand guard around the carton of milk. One with a grenade, one with a bazooka.

She picks up a pile of magazines, newspapers and other recyclable newsworthy material and begins to sort it into a small filing cabinet by the desk.

The army men in the refrigerator guard the Chinese takeout.

She picks up magazines from the floor, stacks them with newspapers and other recyclable newsworthy material.

She puts the army men around the milk carton.

“It wasn’t an iPod,” she tells herself, sifting through the charred wreckage of the landline, the five, six, seven replacement phones.

She looks toward the bathroom.

The smell, the wrong smell, too-sweet strawberry, artificial, the hardened plastic bits, still stuck to the glass plate of the microwave.

The shower is running.

She closes her eyes.

There is a tooth embedded in the doorframe. It belongs to a man out of time.

She walks in the door after picking the lock, and kicking the action figure out of the way, pulling down the sign that says YOUR GOVERNMENT LOVES YOU with a wry smirk. By the time she reaches the trash can, her hand isn’t holding it.

She walks in the door after picking the lock, and puts the lockpicks back on their earring loop and then begins to undo the buckles on those so-tall boots and exhales the clove she’s suddenly holding.

The shower isn’t running.

She looks toward the bathroom.

There are only three fingers of Oban left.

She walks in the door and smells peach shampoo.

She closes her eyes.

She walks in the door and sees the notebook on the coffee table — the drawing that changes every time she turns the page, and back again.

The fire escape window is open.

The Chinese takeout is in a frying pan, hot, with butter and eggs.

The smell fills everything.

The fire escape window is closed and the blinds are drawn, and the lights are off and she knows not to stand near it.

“How many years has this been?” she wonders, fingers drawing spirals through the dust on top of the ancient monitor.

She closes her eyes.

She walks in the door, music playing, and stops in her tracks, all six feet plus, boots still on, headphones in, looking down at her hands. Shaking again. Peeling nailpolish, a cherry clove between two fingers, scars and bruises coloring her pale skin.

It’s dark outside.

The blinds are up.

The wind is howling.

It’s like cleaning up after the apocalypse. Stockings half under the couch. Empty packs of cigarettes everywhere. Ash in everything.

The bottle of Oban is empty.

She closes her eyes.

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0 Responses to Miss Misery

  1. Trent Lewin says:

    This is writing. Like the discordance (is that a word?), the quick fire of it. The back-and-forth through time… seems like she’s lost in time too, but at least she has Oban for company. Really excellent stuff Jones, and totally original, just like you.

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