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Authors: Penelope Crowe

100 Unfortunate Days (3 page)

BOOK: 100 Unfortunate Days
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Day 14

If you are six years old and walking down Walnut Street in the dark there are several things that you have to look out for. The first one is the brightly lit billboard of Dracula posted above the pharmacy that advertises toothpaste. The whole area is bright from the lights, but if you look up at it at the stroke of midnight and you are six years old and alone walking down the middle of the street, Dracula comes to life and he sees you. Then he chases you. And you are too small to run very fast so he gets you.

Another thing you have to look out for is the circus. It has pastel and citrus colored tents. They barely move in the breeze on a day where the heat has bleached the color from the sky and the ground, and are very close together—and it is very easy for a six year old to get lost and separated from her parents.

Some of the tents have ornate signs outside detailing the wonders both fearful and delightful inside. The technicolor lightbulbs strung overhead create random glowing circles and shadows on the ground as the sun sinks. One tent smells like sugar and popcorn but the flap is closed. One sign is midnight black and scar red with the outline of a palm and you know there is a gypsy inside who is dying to tell you something bad about your future—but you decided you do not want to know even though the gypsy wants to tell you so very badly.

After you linger one second longer than you should outside the gypsy’s tent, a hand appears through the flap holding the biggest, most lovely lollipop you have ever seen. It is smooth and kind of matte textured, like a Necco wafer—and you know it will be delicious. So you turn back toward the hand holding the lollipop and you realize it is actually a claw—a dry, brown and wicked claw with pointy nails. You know in your heart whoever is the owner of the claw wants to grab you and eat you. In the split second before you realize you are going to turn and run, you see the tiniest writing marked like an old fashioned typewriter would print right in the center of the pop. Your brain registers what it says and you scream and scream and scream…

Day 15

There will be a day you realize you wasted your life. You were given the wrong directions and know the ones you did use did not apply to you at all. And that is troublesome because now you are old and don’t have as much time. So you start to scramble. You take classes in hypnosis and psychology and past-life regression. You go back to college for art and illustrate a book you feel nothing for. You are mad at everyone when the only person you are really disgusted with is yourself.

At some point in your life a crack forms. But one crack never causes complete destruction. Unless you never fix it. And you don’t. And the crack lets in things that should not be there. And this crack allows other cracks to form. Now your armor is broken. And more and more cracks happen. There is a spider web of breaks, but you don’t care because you are too busy being pissed. And you get sick and develop allergies. You have a chronic disease that no one can figure out or cure. You are tired and have a low grade fever and can’t really get off the couch.

You are allergic to the sun and you get sick from alcohol and you swear these things are your saving grace because if you could drink you would probably kill yourself. You want to kill yourself but you can’t because everyone else in the world is crazy, and who would be able to take care of all the things that you tend to so well. But you can still eat delicious things like sugar-dusted cookies and pink angel food cakes and coconut donuts and chocolate brownies. But you can’t even enjoy them because you are not supposed to have them because of your chronic disease. An autoimmune thing.

Your body is eating itself from the inside. And you put on a little weight. No biggie. But a few months later you look in the mirror or see a picture of yourself and you look old and fat and disgusting. Your jeans don’t fit and your stomach is actually hanging over onto your pubic area. You can feel it when you sit down. You get depressed. And you don’t feel good either so you really don’t feel like going out. But the kitchen is pretty close. So eat.

The worms you have love sugar.

If you walk to Elizabeth, near the Bayway Circle, there is a brownstone type of house. It is surrounded by a chain-link fence and you can get in through the back, but you can only get there at night. There will be lots of people there but none that you know. You have to be there, so you go inside and it is hot. People are all around but they don’t notice you, all except for the red-faced man that you need to get away from. He will follow you, and you can’t let him catch you no matter how many stairwells there are in your house where he can be hiding.

Day 16

Morgellon’s is a disease where living robot threads poke out through your skin. Although they can be red or black or green and look like thread, they can move independently and no one knows what they actually are. Your skin itches and hurts and you pull threads that are inches long from the places where they poke through while you scream because it hurts so badly.

Lots of people in California get this disease, and doctors pretend it does not exist. I have this. Sometimes it pinches and then burns and stings like I am being bitten by ants. It’s not itchy like a mosquito bite—it’s sharp and it makes you scratch until you push so far into your skin with your nails that you bleed. The place that itches has a bump and it is kind of green if you pull the skin tight. Sometimes ice helps—sometimes it doesn’t. Benadryl helps if you take enough to make you sleep. One day the threads will poke through my corneas and I will be blind because I will pull my brain out through my eye sockets.

Day 17

A man with silver-blue eyes asked me if I needed a ride back to my car while I was getting coffee in town. He was thin and tall and beautiful. He smelled like ice. He was drinking water and he told me that he never eats. I did need a ride.

Day 18

Things that piss me off:

Having to go to the bathroom in the middle of a good conversation.

Gaining weight.

Dieting.

When anyone is smarter than I am.

When someone is saying something negative or mean and they do that fake laugh.

Lyme disease.

When white people act like they are black and black people pretend they are white.

Suburbia.

Cliques.

People who look younger than their age because I look much older than I am.

I am not including the obvious like, war, poverty, and our government.

When the radio DJ says a Led Zeppelin song is next on the radio and it’s something from In Through the Out Door.

Yeast infections.

American Idol.

When I am talking and someone is going “uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh” the whole fucking time.

People who watch TV while you talk to them.

Cooking and cleaning.

People who talk about how much money they have.

Being sick.

Planes. Flying.

Day 19

When my son was in third grade he threw a ping pong ball into a fishbowl and won the tiniest fish at the fair. He named him Little. We had him in the smallest fishbowl we could buy. He was an easy pet to care for. One pinch of food a day and change the water once every two weeks. He got a bit bigger and we got a bigger bowl. Then he got much bigger. And the water got dirty almost every day. And Little got sick. We did not know that goldfish got sick.

We went on vacation and when we came home Little was sucking the water in through his mouth like he was taking his last breath. He had white spots on his scales. It was too late in the day to call the pet store for advice, but we tried to add new water. By the next morning he had long ghostly strings of something trailing from his fins—and his eyes were white. The pet store said he would probably die but gave us medicine and told us to buy a bigger tank. We did all of the things they said.

The medicine worked and Little lived. He also turned white. And he grew about twice as big. And then he got sick again. He was floating sideways in the tank and his gills were blood red. The pet store said he would probably die but gave us more medicine and told us to buy an even bigger tank. We did. A thirty-nine gallon tank. And we got Little a friend. A black puffy-eyed goldfish. We named him Blackfish and he lived about six months. Then Little got sick again because the water was poison because we did not know Blackfish died, and Little swam in the death water for a while. The tank was covered in algae and you could see in the front or sides.

When you open the top to feed Little, tiny flies swarm around, but the water is sparkling clear and Little is about five inches long. We were away once and forgot to tell the pet sitter about him. She would never know because the tank is downstairs. We were gone for weeks and weeks during the summer. We came back and Little was sick but we fed him and he was fine by the end of the night. We have to get a bigger tank soon.

Day 20

If I act sick and always have a disease I do not have to do anything. I can sit on the couch and eat candy and watch TV all day. I can be a lazy cunt. Then when they leave I can go in the kitchen and take out the recipe that I had been working on since last year. Nothing as obvious as arsenic or aconite—but things that have been left to change and blacken month after month.

The items I need for my recipe are kept in separate jars with stoppers on them and they have skull and crossbones labels on them. They think it’s funny and my way of amusing myself. Some of the ingredients are simply herbs and harmless on their own…parsley, basil, thyme, salt…and some of the ingredients are things you normally don’t keep in your kitchen…dirt from my best friend’s grave who died when we were sixteen, my blood during a full moon, hair, a rusty nail from an open field, water from a stagnant lake, taken at night. They are numbered one to forty-seven.

I am forty-seven years old. I will add another jar in July the day after my birthday. It will be a jar of water with a snail in it. I will cork the jar and the snail will live forty-eight days. On the forty-eighth day the snail will die and will disappear, except for the shell. The water will turn silver-pink and will glow until the next lightning storm. Then the jar will be left in the storm and it will collect some of the rain water which will douse the glow—but now the water will be different.

If the vapors from the water are inhaled, the person inhaling them will be clairvoyant for a month, but they will only be able to discern bad things. And every moment of insight will be accompanied by fever. Usually the psychic abilities are attributed to the high fever—but every one of the things comes true—or are already true. It is a horrible fate to be sick.

Day 21

The jar from last year contains my hair. Beautiful long pieces of my hair from when I was fifteen years old and the sun turned it golden, in a jar of water from a well with one drop of water from jar number one. Jar one was given to me by someone I no longer know. Last year’s jar is the only jar that has a screw-on top. This jar has to be put in a dark place, behind the stairs, adjacent to where many people walk every day.

BOOK: 100 Unfortunate Days
5.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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