Jesse S. Mitchell
Let’s hold on to some of it.
Let’s hold some of it back.
Let’s not let it all go,
Bleed it all out
Weeping like an orphan,
Just a big gooey, gory mess.
Hold it back.
Her skinny shoulders slide around aimlessly in her green jacket. The sleeves going on and on forever, like infinity. Her clothes bulky, containing multitudes, universes, nebulas and vapors and not bones or skin or random blood vessels and capillaries. Loose in her flushed hands a few sheets of crumpled paper.
In the one bright light shining in her face from far across the empty auditorium, blinded her in circles and circles of blue-green glare, Marquis de Sade glare, punishing her eyeballs, living off the terror. But in the light she could make out the tops of the rows of red velvet chairs and the sides of the few faces sitting in the middle. She could also she the stage at her feet, red stained natural boards, frozen in place morbid growth rings and bug bites and depressions. She finds it odd, odd and gruesome the way we make all of our everythings out of the skeletons of an always-yielding natural world.
Her brow dripped sweat.
From the heat.
From the nervousness.
If you could imagine a thundering herd of wildebeests, then you could imagine the pounding of her pulse.
Don’t mush the words together.
“Ah, you can stop there, Med… Med..ia?”
“Yeah, hey well you see we are really looking for someone more…”
“Yeah,” interrupting them, “Yeah, well you are the ones who called me back.” She tossed the papers on the stage.
She nods and walks off stage and makes her way to the door on the theater side.
As soon as she steps outside, she smiles. A rage of life. The sky has always begun to turn dusky pink. The clouds slipping away down the darkening horizon.
The whole maelstrom of movement. Two hundred thousand million earthbound souls, eyes as big as jetliners, slamming down feet on pavement. A big atomic storm of centuries of human progress. A stiff wind goes rushing through the trees. Medea moves through the crowd like the breeze, unseen, but you can’t help but feel, the boughs bend back and branches shake. She moves down street to street musically, melodically, pure air.
She makes it to her garbage dump building, damp, ugly, grimacing. Rotting in place, a bitter old man crumbling into its shoes, a portal to nothing. She slips past the carnivorous door, sharp teeth dangling, every threat, every day. She walks up the flight of stairs to her apartment. Each step heavier than the last, adding gravity and mass to an already crushing world. Runs her fingertips over the lines and waves of crashing red spray paint, blue rot, green mildew. She hums.
She pops open her door, tosses the keys on the kitchen table. Three rooms, first kitchen/dining, then an almost vertical living room and a bathroom and a bedroom stuck to the side, helplessly.
She reaches into her fridge and grabs two brown glass bottles. Twists the top off the first one, downs it quickly, in one go. Chucks the bottle in the trash can. Twists open the second and takes a drink and moves into the living room. Past a bookshelf covered in old cameras and film equipment, two posters book ending, a large picture of Andrei Tarkovsky on the set of ‘Solaris’ and a smaller but framed picture of Dario Argento holding a long butcher’s knife.
She takes off her jacket and throws it on the floor. Her black tee-shirt has no sleeves, cut off months ago, a grey sweat-stained strap of flannel sports bra cutting into her ribs and a big tattoo of a heart on her shoulder with the word ‘Boss’ written in black inside.
They are always looking for ‘someone more’… more this or more that…her hair was too dark, her eyes too dark, she was too tall, not tall enough, but everything is code. She knew the code. She could speak all the different languages humans like to converse in when they intend to not tell the truth.
She grabbed a little digital camcorder off the shelf and walked over to her kitchen table. In the middle of the otherwise vacant top was a cluster of paper strips and thin almost invisible strings. She set her beer down and switched on a tiny fan clamped to the edge of the table. Air started to move around. The paper began to flutter. She reached out and grabbed one string and pulled up, a figure emerged from out the pile. At first it seems like nothing but a stick figure crudely sewn together. She switched on the camera and pulled it in tight on the figure. The more she pulled on the strings and the more the air moved the more became apparent. Medea crouched down close and shook the strings and began to move in circular movements around the table, filming. When she was ready she reached over to the small stereo and pushed play on the CD function and Mozart’s Symphony no. 39 began to play.
A thin sword, a rapier unfurled out the figures hand, a high Elizabethan collar sprang up. The figure moved and swung the sword. Medea working the camera with one hand and the paper cut out with the other. She shook the top strings hard and individual intricate strands of long hair fell down from the head.
A few more swings of the sword and a quick bow.
Switch the camcorder off and kill the music. The figure falls back into a clump.
Over to the barbiturate-grey computer. She switches it on. Attaches a USB cable to camera and computer. Watching her face reflect in the dirty screen. She waits for the upload. She types in the name of the file ’Apha Behn 1‘.
She leaves the machine on.
She goes to the bookshelf and takes down a matryoshka doll. Opens the first doll, takes out the second, opens that, etc. until she gets to the next to last, opens it but inside isn’t the final matryoshka, she lost that years ago, inside is a small cellophane bag. She takes that out and opens it and pinches out a dark green nugget. Takes a pipe from behind the computer screen, breaks the nugget up into it and lights it. Consumes.
Drinks the rest of the second beer.
Moves on towards the third.