Read Plush Online

Authors: Kate Crash

Plush

BOOK: Plush
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special thanks to

mom, catherine hardwicke, jeff toye, judeth oden choi, jon sidel, eric erlandson, nick launay, eztv, smashley walters, brett grace, jack grapes, the lynch family, anais nin, and the rest of y’all

1

Another woman that’s not my mom is screaming in the room next door

And we’re under the covers, hiding from the world of wars

Nobody gets us, but that’s what we have each other for

Nobody gets us in the lost land called going nowhere far

Our lyrics on the paper. His hand writes a word, then mine. I look into his intense, grey eyes and feel like I’m falling into myself – our heads smothered in the darkness of the sheets, our lives forever tangled in the seams of each other. We’re like this together almost every night.

“Shhhh you hear that?” I whisper, my head moving from his chest. Some lady’s yells wobble through the wall – something about not calling – then a slam on the floor morphs into sad moans with a squeaking mattress hitting slow then fast. Jack looks hard at me and I feel the same old cherry pits and tree knots in my tiny stomach. Awkward.

He smirks: “She moans like a holy pregnant cow getting milked by a steamroller.” His fine bird-boned hands move to the side of the bed.

I smile: “Our dad is so drunk.”

Jack picks up the blue painted guitar and starts wailing to the sounds of father’s abandoned hope fisting some slut to forget what living is for. UHHHHHHH. He wails on the high notes to harmonize with her groaning – strings pulling down and being let go. “Hahahahahahaha,” we laugh in unison. The clock hits 2 a.m. Outside night falls into itself.
BAM BAM BAM
. He speeds his guitar to match the mattress beating against the wall so fast.
WAH WEEEOOOOH WAHHHH WAH
.

“CUT THAT OUT! THAT’S NOT FUNNY STOP!” Dad’s voice garbles from the other side of the wall.

“Hahhahahahaha.” Jack’s fingers dagger the fretboard. He ramps the amp.

“Is Jack in there with you Hayley?” Dad pounds his fist on the other side of my wall.

“NO,” I yell back.

The guitar drops from Jack as he flashes his mopey black hair from the bed and out my window, jumps over the hedge, and hops into the window next door.

A ray of light blasts as dad opens the door – shirtless belly and tattoos. Ugh. “WAS JACK IN HERE? SOUNDED LIKE HIM. JEEZE CLEAN UR FUCKING ROOM!” Dad yells. Dirty clothes are strewn like confetti chaos. A fork sticks out of the wall holding a dried black rose. Surrounding it are cut outs from magazines and stolen library books, favorite poems, photos, dreams, Last Exit to Brooklyn, 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Tropic of Cancer, Alice in Wonderland. From my ceiling a sky of silver streamers hang like a jungle of sparkle.

I grab the guitar and start to strum. “Just me…Who was in your room?” I menace back. He gives me the black-eyed stare of despair as I pull my covers up. I want to defy everything about our life together. Dad. I hate his booze and I hate all the strangers that roll in and out of his room like a gas station restroom.

He slams my door. I roll over to the other wall. My wall with Jack.
TAP TAP TIP TAP
Jack taps back.
TIP TIP TIP:
that means we are all clear. Our code. Everything is a secret code between us.

Time to sleep. Another night in the life of a lost brother and sister somewhere under the south Texas moon. No time to weep. A falling down ranch house sinks slowly beneath the world. I lay down and fall into a better world: the world of dreams.

2
    October 24, 2004

It’s 2:13pm and the clock’s minutes are slow-sucking leeches of boredom. The chewed-up, dirty-puke bubble gum from under the desk touches the top of my pale, bare leg, so I slouch further down. The teacher is writing something about finding the meaning of x minus everything, and I am lost in my own journal, sketching a life that’s not yet mine: me on the stage with Jack overlooking a crowd of thousands who all sing our songs and know our names and scream and shout to the beat of the drums. One day. Some day.

But one day/some day is not today. October 24
th
, 2004. I wish I could flash forward to the future – KAPOW! Right now! Boo. My spell didn’t work. I’m still just here.

The blonde, letterman-jacket-wearing, cheerleader-fucking, dumb-ass, popular jock named Freddie – who’s sitting behind me – pulls my black, gnatted hair and whispers, “slut.” I sit straight up and lurch forward over my desk, crouched like that hunchback in that book we read in the last class. For some reason all the people in this tiny, fucked-up, conservative, border town think that originality is a sin and that my look – tattered, thrift-store nighty; yellow sunglasses missing one lens; button that says
“im a bad boy;”
red, plaid boxer shorts with fake blood on the ends; and too much purple eyeliner – means I like to put out, am a retard, and I’m going straight to hell. But you can’t go to hell if you’re already there. Here.

Edinburg = hell.

The school can’t figure out how I’m violating their dress code and lifestyles, just that I am violating their conformity.

Last class of the day. Ugh. It’s dragging my heart in the cement pain of the box I’m expected to live and die in.

The bell is my savior. I run out to the hall where all the stupid girls – who all look the same – bounce in their jeans and drool over pointless things like lip gloss and parents that give a fuck. I grab some things from my locker and turn to go to Jack’s. I see him down the hall. My brother Jack is one year older so has a little bit bigger locker. I’m 15 and still nowhere. His black hair is in his face like always and he is watching someone or something hard… but who?

I follow his eyes to what appears to be the only Asian boy in this part of the lost world of white trash and fresh over-the-border Mexican nationals – and he’s drumming on his locker with his pens really fast. Ridiculously fast. Jack has the fire in his eyes that I love – a fire that ignites when he’s in a good mood and goes cold when the full-moon-sorrow, bipolar, sad-boy comes out and scares me into thinking he might be dying. Boots heavy on the tile floor, I wade my way through the swarms of blah blah blah kids.

“Jack… Jack… who’s that? I’ve never seen him before,” I say soft and low so that the Asian boy doesn’t hear.

Without moving his gaze from the kid he says, “I don’t know… but look how fast he drums…. are you thinking what I am?”

“Yes!” I try to hold my excitement back and my hand slips from his arm as Jack walks right over to the bouncing kid and taps him on the shoulder. The kid turns. Whoa. Super freaking hot. I can feel the electricity in his heart. Eyes. Arms. Such strong arms.

“Where’d you come from man?” – Jack’s eyes are almost popping out of his head.

The kid smiles, shrugs and stops his drumming looks down at his Doc Martens. He tells us he transferred. “You know the story. Bad-ass army dad knocks up hot, Asian chick in a foreign country then eventually gets transferred to a base in Hicksville, USA.” The kid scratches the back of his neck, leans against his locker, and crosses his boots with more swag then Jay-Z in Dirt Off Your Shoulders.

“You a drummer then?” Jack leans even closer.

Bzzzzz
– a fly lands on my hand I swap it away.

“Duh.” The kid shrugs again.

“Where the fuck have you been all our lives?!… Hayley come here!” Jack’s hand waves me close. “Sis… meet our new drummer! You are free after school, right?” I walk across the hall slow and try not to stare too hard at the all that hot mess coolness. “Yes,” the kid says.

“Hi… I’m Hayley, the singer and” – think of something cool to say…. umm… “resident alien. What’s your name?” The drummer’s eyes scan my body, stop on the black heart necklace on my chest that Jack stole for me, then roll up and look me down deep into my darkness.

“Donnie.” His hand reaches out and I shake it slow.

Dreams do come true.

“Look, Donnie…” Jack pushes himself between our hands shaking – our fingers may have lingered too long on each other – and stands right between us so I can’t see Donnie anymore, only Jack’s tall black-jacketed back with the permanently slouched rock-n-roll, guitar-boy shoulders – an angst and stone mystery that is forever eluding me. “…you like Afrirampo, Heavens to Betsy, Patti Smith, Los Mutantes, the Screamers, Blok Party, the Kills, Raveonettes, Iggy Pop, the Veils, and Prince?”

Donnie straightens: “You forgot M83, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Suede, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Nirvana, and the Birthday Party.”

The perfect answer.

“Holy shit! I love the Birthday Party… How the fuck do you know them… They’re better than riding a unicorn on an acid trip….” Jack raps. My heart skips a beat. Hair falls in my face. I want to say something right now but I just don’t know how.

Jack continues: “We have a mostly working kit, minus a tom or two kicked in during one of Dad’s famous whiskey moods and now they’re like as broken and bad as he is, but they still work and feel good, and we live like a fifteen minute walk from here – why don’t you come by like 6 o’clock and I’ll make your rock star dreams come true. I’m fucking amazing and I think you just might fit the right dirty punk ‘n roll electro shoe….“

I smile shy and look down at my feet: “Our band’s called Plush.”

Numbers and addresses are exchanged. Cell phones are shoved back away in tight black jean butt pockets. Jack and I walk our separate ways from Donnie – who is in Jack’s grade. I’m on a cloud – a hot-boy-plus-we-finally-got-a-drummer cloud. Ohh-hh. I want to believe I can be somebody more than just me, small town me.

3

The fence has fallen down so you can’t open it – just step over it. Paint chips and dust and tall, unhindered grasses surround our 3-acre ranch, growing nothing on it but the useless. There is never any dinner at home but always powdered Kool-Aid and fish sticks. I hate my body so I never eat after I get in the door anyway – only water and sorrow from a filter drowning out the beauty of the sky. Miles and miles of heartache. No dad. Just me and Jack. Forever in time. In art. In each other’s hearts.

Jack hops over to the rotten, red, once-leather, now-holed-up, unholy crust of a couch, lays down, and shouts. “WOOOP!” He’s sucking down blue Kool-Aid like there’s no tomorrow. The possibilities of our life and an escape are looking up.

I got a couple hours to do my homework until Donnie gets here. Lost in equations. I wish my life could be so easily solved with so many answers that are just true and right, but the world isn’t so black and white – just a grey fog scream with some occasional confetti to rain down and make you believe things might be alright if you try for just another day to make it so.

Electricity. Loud thunder roars.
VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM. VROOOOOOOOOM
. I run to the living room, where Jack has already hopped up to the window. Black ninja metal and chrome zoom through dust clouds on our dirt road under that empty baby-blue sky. Donnie rides – Donnie
rides
– in on a motorcycle, black lightning in a day fading to night – in a world of permanent night.

Jack throws open the door and lets out a war woop as Donnie spins his bike, throwing dust up over Jack’s shirt, and hauls to an immediate stop. He’s got a tom taped to his back and a full on leather jacket – a black hair, moto helmet, sex dream song.

“Hey Donnie… Let’s roll to the garage ‘cause we got a new song to show you. Unveil the mirage!” Jack runs to the left and kicks a metal and red lever. The garage door rumbles in its rust and rolls open.

Posters of Iggy and Bowie and Mosshart and Glitter and Leopard and Black are everywhere. Scarves on my mic stand. This is the beauty in life – what I live for. Jack lifts me up in his arms, spins me around, and plops me in front of the mic. Amps on. Lights down. Door closed. Donnie on the drums:

“1-2-3-4”

4
    Feb. 12, 2006

Fifteen months passed slow but in a flash.

The old, yellow, pickup truck that used to be our crazy, Nazi, militant, agro, corn-farmer grandpa’s rumbles and shakes our bodies together and away. All three of us bounce on the ripped-up yellow foam, poking free from the tears in between the seams of reality. The sky is endless on a Tuesday afternoon ditching school – Donnie, Jack, and me in a lost world. The large, metal stick shift sometimes hits the side of my leg when Jack thrusts the direction another way. Flurries of dust scream behind us. The music is so loud to drown out everything that’s wrong with… everything.

BOOK: Plush
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