Authors: Andrew Kjelland
Dark, just dark no moon but plenty of stars out tonight. One of the few perks to living in a small town I suppose. I’m walking towards a bridge over the interstate just out of town. A falling apart decrepit thing about a mile out, past small intertwined patches of forest and cornfields. The nearly forgotten road crumbling and scattering under my feet, as I take a drink from my fifteen-dollar bottle of vodka, chased immediately by a drag off my cigarette. I try to ignore the blood under my
by watching the early fall winds steal embers off the tip of it.
I’m here, the little forgotten bridge used by more farmers than anyone else
. I kick a chunk of concrete off the side, leaning over the edge I watch it fall the thirty or so feet to the interstate. It’s defiantly not a high enough fall to kill me, but with a semi careening towards me at seventy miles an hour, it’s a done deal. Who knows, they’re military vehicles taking God knows what to Chicago so they might be going faster.
I hoist my legs over the railing, first my left then struggling with my right. I sit, staring at the general direction of Chicago. On a normal night there’d be a white haze caste over the horizon. It’s completely dark now, apart from the random soft bursts
of light. Li
ke a thunderstorm over city.
Lights from behind me move across a sign telling how far Chicago is. Waxing into full circles, finally speeding out from under me. I watch as the truck heads towards the city. The tail lights piercing the darkness as they speed away.
I take another drag off my cigarette.
The tobacco, tar, and G
od knows what else crackles against the early fall air.
OW, OW, OW, fuck, smoke in my eyes. I swear if I don’t go through with this I’ll be the first smoker ever to die of eye cancer. Is that even possible? “I’m sorry sir but it seems your eye is malignant” the doctor will say. “You have finally beat your depression but it looks like you only had two months to live anyways.”
It’s funny how;
well funny death seems to make us. Little memories like burning myself on the grill at work, old conversations about nothing, hell even going to church with my parents float through my mind. That reminds me, God, he’s been on my mind lately. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat on my roof listening to blink 182 just asking for a sign. Not anything spectacular. Just a shooting star, was that so much to ask? To just see a simple shooting star? I’ve asked so many times it should have happened just by coincidence.
Lights slowly appear on the billboard in front of me again. Filling into complete circles, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississi, it appears under my feet. I repeat this with the next one, both almost exactly the same time. Good I know I’m drunk but I can still count at least. Now for the most important part, I hold my bottle of vodka at arm’s length. The last few remaining drops reflecting the cigarette in my mouth.
I let go, one Mississippi, two Mississippi,
The cheap plastic bottle bounces then gets blown down the road. Good, an exact time that makes things easy. I’ve always sucked at math but I’m pretty sure that when I jump I need to be at one missi. Just enough time to be in front of the semi but not enough time for him to react and do something stupid like miss me. It’s perfect really. “Local teen dies by falling off Passover.” Ingenious, I’ll be the poster child for Passover safety everywhere. There’ll be posters, road signs, CNN will tell my life story in the best of sense, and there’ll be a little cross next to the road just for me. I’ll be famous. O, erm, I mean if there still is a CNN anymore. Plus knowing my luck I’d just get lumped in with the casualty report anyways. “Six hundred and twenty have been shot and killed though out the country last night.
O and in lighter news, a dumbass kid fell off an over pass. He was confirmed dead shortly after paramedics spatula’d his face from the grill of a passing semi.”
Will God talk to me now? At the edge of my life? Personally I would say this is prime time to speak up. God… God are you there? It’s me again you son of a. I stop. Will is that what you want to say right before you meet him? I think to myself. Dam I hadn’t quite thought that through. Who knows
what to say at a time like this.
Do I come clean? Should I be repenting right now for all the shit I’ve trampled through my life? Or ask the question perpetually in the back of my mind. If he is to be or not to be. Is he real or just imaginary? Have I been talking to myself this whole time?
Pastor always said that
you need to know you’re going to heaven to get in.
Is that right? Would
really send me to hell for having reservations about life after death? I mean for Christ sake it’s all just a fucked up guessing game.
Hm… I guess the people I’ve killed will be the main subject of the conversation anyways.
“Hey Will thanks for believing in me an all, but I don’t need you getting blood stains on our new carpet.”
I suppose murder isn’t something you can just wipe off on heaven’s doormat. Murder, that’s a funny word. Muurrrdddeerr, it’s odd how just the sound of it seems to take on its meaning. Menacing and dark, did they do that on purpose? Or does it come as naturally as the action it describes? Murder… Murder most fowl… The murderer is on the prowl… The murderer is a cow… Dam it my mind’s wandering.
I take another drag off my cigarette. I hold in my hand something that’s killed
and yet it’s in every corner shop in the nation. Does that make it a killer? Does something that comes as naturally as cancer from a cigarette have anything in common with filling some guys’ chest with hot lead? Are we not similar? Can ending someone’s life regardless of how it’s done not be considered our own brand of natural, instinctual cancer? At least I was upfront about it. I never dicked around filling someone’s lungs with tar over thirty years. I made it quick, not three minutes and their lungs fill with their own blood. That’s a decent way to go right? No long over dramatic goodbyes. No looking back on their life with regret, or forward to things they were going to do. I kept them in the now. The fact that every second suddenly demanded more respect, more gratitude.
Does it even matter? In the grand scheme of things if life truly does go on forever will I not look back an infinity from now and laugh? Would it not be like looking back on my childhood and realizing how innocent I was? Like a star in the night, a once incomprehensible fire and light reduce to nothing but a twinkle in the sky.
Will that twinkle hold any sway? Will it be my foundation or nothing more than a stepping stone?
I’ve got plenty of questions only God can answer. I could be a monster, but I’m no judge of monsters or men. I’m no critic of self appeal. What I’ve been molded to believe what a model citizen should and could be may have no bearing after tonight.
Lights appear once more, my heart begins to race. Leaning over my hands grasping the railing behind me, one missi; a star shoots across the sky.
NOW TO A HAPPIER TIME PRIOR TO ALL THIS BAD FUNGSWEI
The name’s Will, I’m a lanky nineteen year old recently demoted to orphan and I’m stuck. Stuck at a crap dead end fast food job, in a dead end little town about a half hour short of Chicago. I know what
you’re thinking. Chicago the m
ecca of opportunity is so close why not live there? Well, when you live on less than ten thousand a year and don’t own a gun… I mean I’m no genius but even I know it’s not good to be poor in Chicago. Like I said I’m a little lanky I suppose even though I eat the crap so called food we shovel out to people every day. Guess I’m one of the lucky ones with a great metabolism. I enjoy wearing Blink 182 shirts that compliment my wisps of sun bleached blonde hair as it caresses down my forehead just long enough to stab me in the eyes when god sees fit. I am currently sitting in the lobby of my seventh circle of hell mcjob waiting for five o’clock to come so I can punch in, and then subsequently wait for ten o’clock to punch out.
I’m just sitting here watching CNN’s coverage of the occupy Wall Street protests and waiting. Waiting for Grace, a non-assuming twenty something year old that despite how beautiful she is nothing about her personality tips you off to her actually knowing it. She’s got… to put in the best way possible, a “radical” sense of humor. I’m not saying in a “radical dude!” sort of way but one that incessantly catches you off guard. It’s delightful and as you have probably already figured out I’m prac
tically in love with the girl.
I’m telling you this so that you can now correctly assume that my depictions, descriptions and incoherent fawning over a possibly
self-imposed image of who Grace really is, might have a slight bias to it. It all started out as a high school crush. I would ditch class and get food just to see her, and that was before I had even ever talked to her. When I graduated and needed money I told myself I got this job because it’s the only thing in town, but to be completely honest it was to finally talk to her.
I still remember the first thing she ever said to me. It was my first day on the job, nervous as hell being trapped in the confined space of the grill and sandwich-making table, her constantly just feet away. It’s always hot and humid, but instead of water in the air it’s grease from the deep fryers. It gets everywhere, in your clothes in your hair in the Kleenex you just blew your nose in. The black and white tile floor constantly covered in a thin layer of it. I remember I was cooking burgers and of course I couldn’t even do the simple task of getting them on the grill right. She comes up behind me; her wisps of wavy blonde hair caught in the sweat on her forehead and with a smile says, “Here like this, don’t be scared of it!”
I laughed nervously as she quickly made me look like an idiot.
“O I got you” the only thing I was able to squeak out.
“Don’t worry its easy you just need to get the hang of it.” She smiled pulling on my shirt telling me to come with her. She walks across the room leaning under the table. “I know there has to be one under here.” She says, or at least I think so. I was too busy uncontrollably staring at her ass as she searched for god knows
what. “Got it!” She stands
her face beaming while holding a slightly greenish grey little ball in her hands.
“What’s that?” I ask, but she just smiles and chucks it at the ground. It hits bouncing surprisingly high and rolls under the grill.
“It’s a bouncy ball,” she gleams with a hardly controlled, possibly the greatest noise to ever grace my ears giggle. “There is so much grease in the air that it collects under the tables and, wh
ola a baby bouncy ball is born.
A McDans stalactite I suppose, or as I like
to call them super stalactites. You get it? It bounces?
Like a super ball?”
“OOO I get it,” I laughed quite stunned at how outgoingly lovely she is.
“Super stag, patent pending,” she smirks making a serious don’t you fucking steal my idea face.
But that was… dam that was almost a year ago and besides a goodbye hug here and there I’ve gotten nowhere. However, that is all about to change tonight. You see, she’s having a party and thanks to the recently brought to light promiscuity of her now ex-boyfriend I have a clear shot of making this o holiest of angels in human form mine. I do concede my possibly over dramatic, hormone induced sycophantic esc love with her, but how would you feel if the person you’ve done nothing but try and get close to for the last year suddenly has an opening in her significant other department.
But that’s still a few hours away. At least CNN is playing on the TV. Occupy Wall Street is the only thing they cover these days. Whether it’s a new slogan or the rising death toll, it’s practically on a twenty four hour, seven day a week marathon. Let’s just say Oakland and most of the rest of the country is a hellhole right now, and it’s doing nothing but getting worst. With fifty dead since the cops sent a veteran to the hospital with a head injury a month ago it’s done nothing but escalate. Last week Obama called and ordered the National Guard to keep people in check in most major cities across the country. And all that did was piss them off even more. People by the thousand show up every day to block the docks in Oakland, and the police
arrest them by the hundreds.
All while firing tear gas and rubber bullets in mass. The protesters responding with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Shit is hitting the fan and it’s just a matter of time till people start bringing guns and shooting back. CNN right now has a live feed of the protests in Oakland. They’re showing live helicopter footage of the docks. Just a sea of people, an incredible sight. They stand immovable as tear gas streams into the crowd and back out when someone gets the balls to pick it up and throw it back. I stare mesmerized, how I wish I were there, in the absolute thick of it. I mean I doubt anything will come of it but at least everyone there
said their piece, and all I can say is I watched them.