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Authors: Kate Crash

Plush (5 page)

BOOK: Plush
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“Jack… please.”

He loosens his grip a bit and Dad gasps for air. He throws Jack’s hands off his face and keels over, hands on his knees, coughing. His belly billows left then right. Jack doesn’t move, just menaces: “Her OR us..”

Dad straightens. There are marks of Jack’s fingers all over his thick, red, now purple-blue neck. His lips purse: “That’s not fair!” Dad is pouting like a five-year-old whose candy just got taken away by Mommy.

“FINE. FUCK you, DAD!” Jack storms out and I follow him, bare foot, into the living room. His hand makes claws above his head, clenching in the pain of himself and this life we were born with. His head does not sway, just stays straight as he brings his arms down to his sides, makes tight karate fists, then recoil. The veins in his strong, velociraptor arms try to free themselves from his skin – this cage of a body we are all trapped in. I feel my heart, a rabbit running from wild wolves. Jack’s fist goes, and it goes, and it goes, and it goes, and it punches and breaks the giant window that walls this inside pain from the outside world. Glass shatters, over and over, all over our broken lives. He steps through it into our front yard, water coming down his face, raining on our world, his demons all climbing to get on top. “Jack?” I follow him out. He looks like a pissed off black bear the way his body is contorted with the rage that he cannot contain. He’s holding his ears now, but nothing will drown out the sound of the pain of this life but each other – and sometimes not even that.

There is no wind. Just a tree above that dares not shiver in the angst of the lost prophet of nowhere.

“Jack…” I say so sweet and soft. I want to be his light in this shadow of our storms. “Jack…” He doesn’t turn. But he’s shaking. His demons are shaking him. His demons are my demons now. “Jack…” The sun is in my eyes, and I’m trying not to cry. Everything is burning. I’m burning up my insides. “Jack… I’m here… It’s fine…” His arms come down a little. “FUCK DAD. FUCK TEXAS. FUCK MISS FAJITA… No, sorry Dad is FUCKING Miss Fajita. EVERYTHING IS WRONG!” His hands unclench the fists – cut-up hearts. “Jack… Why don’t we just leave?…” – I want to touch him but I’m afraid – “for good.” So soft I speak. His breath is not as heavy. I can see his shoulders, that were shrugged in rage up to his ears, start to go down.

I will save you Jack.

I won’t let us drown.

But I can’t tell him that. But, right here, I’m making that promise to myself. As Jack is my Jesus, I’ll be the wings to his broken nailed up wrists and crooked arms.

“Jack… Look. SXSW is only a couple weeks away. Why don’t we just leave tomorrow or tonight and never look back?” Jack won’t look at me. He’s embarrassed of his tears; he always wants to be so strong for me, to take care of me, to be my savior, my father, my lover, my brother, my god. I take his hand – my small hand in his big hand. Always our bodies fit so perfectly in one another’s. We were built to be one. “But you have three months ‘til you graduate…” he says so soft. Then Jack is quiet.

When he’s quiet I get nervous because I can feel his darkness eating at him: a black hole of hungry hyenas to the carcass of his soul. “It’s ok Jack. We’re gonna be famous. You said so yourself. Let’s just go.” His hand is clinging tighter to mine. Sometimes I know I am the only thing tethering him to this earth. He won’t float away if I stay close and hold him down to me and to our music – to remind him of our single heartbeat. He stares at his feet. Bare, dusty, cut up by glass, blood mixing in the dirt. Red mud. Us here. Forever and always against the world.



At 3 am the house is silent. The world blanketed by blackness. This is the time. The time to forget leading a life not our own and make our world OURS. I grab my packed, army green, holed-up, duffle bag; bear; iPod; backpack; and mic.
Tap tip tap tip tip
. Jack taps the code for “time to go through his wall to mine.” I turn the handle so slow as to not squeak at all. Boots off. Jack is baggy with lack-of-sleep purple under his eyes, but all fired up. I see that crazy thrill of our new life burning his grey eyes into wild flames of horses escaping the corral, manes flashing white in the wind of their speedy escape.

Donnie is already silent and cool outside in all black, his bike in the back of Granddaddy’s old pickup that we are about to steal from dad. Dad got it when Grandpa died a year ago in the fire of wine, stroke, and disappointment – his last words were, “Son, you never made me proud. Take my truck.” Guitars, amps, stands, clothes. Everything is in including the 40 buckaroos Miss Fajita prize money Jack stole from her little shiny yellow purse, 14 ham or PB&J sandwiches, 12 packs of Twinkies, 5 chocolate milks, 15 Capri-Suns, and some cut apples, all pocketed from the backpacks and bagged lunches of a nearby elementary school while the kids were in an assembly and everything was left in cubby holes outside.

“Wait.” The engine was revved and Jack runs back inside. I see a light flash. He runs out, whooping. “I put that industrial block of cheese in the oven four hours ago and turned it all the way up to five hundy seventy-five… The cheese is melting all over the living room. That cheap carpet stained in orange-yellow, phosphorescent, glowing goo.”

I roll the window and look out into the broken living room window. Jack hits the gas, and I see Miss Fajita crying with goo all over lower body. Crying, crying, crying. This may be the first time she realizes what she has gotten herself into: a life we’re not even kissing goodbye.


Night. Tires. Black. Speed. Curves. White lines. Hours. Loud music. Me, between Jack and Donnie, driving. We’re halfway through the six hours to Austin, where we will stay at Donnie’s second cousin’s house – who is half Eskimo and half white trash. Who would leave moose and ice Alaska for tumbleweeds, armadillos, and fire?

At sunrise we pull into the Texas Star in Alice, Texas, right off the 281. Hostess doughnuts are in order. I go to the bathroom and Donnie follows me. I pee in a stall, and then he pushes his way through the door when I try to go out:

“You wanna get high?”

“Um…” – I don’t know what to say, but I’m bored so what the hell – “ok.”

He pulls out a joint and lights it up, blowing smoke into my mouth and then kissing it. We look tired, straggly, off. The good thing about rock-n-roll is that looking fucked-up is part of the job. I can’t stop coughing. I can’t stop laughing. I’m woozy; my feet are light. He shoves his tongue in my mouth and we’re moving and laughing and his hands are up my shirt…

I blink and
Donnie has been punched in the eye.

Jack is standing over him as he’s splayed out the floor like a dried-up starfish in the sun of a waveless beach that no one knows about. “IF YOU EVER TOUCH MY SISTER AGAIN, I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!” Purple starts to bloom below Donnie’s left eye.


Jack is whispering nonsense and I grab the Hostess from his back pockets and eat and laugh, and I just can’t stop fucking laughing, and…

“You got her fucking high?” – The bathroom is all smoked up – “If it weren’t for the gig I’d leave you in here to rot and die and let the lions of rednecks devour your waify little-boy body with their beers and shotguns and anal raping good times!” Jack grabs my arm and forces me outside. Doughnuts crumble from my mouth like an avalanche leaving powdered snow on the path behind. Donnie wobbles a few feet back.

We are silent in the car except for chewing and my laughs and Mr. Brightside on the radio. The light blasts the windows; the sun is rising high. Two and a half hours later, besides the black eye, the two are laughing, Donnie is nowhere near accidentally touching my leg again, and we are almost in Austin.


This house is fucking crazy – not quite what Donnie had described. Nor is the sleeping situation up to par. His half Eskimo cousin, 32x sized, “Sketch,” lives with two Hawaiian brothers and a tiny Polish girl with hair dyed midnight blue. We are
in the excommunicated suburbs of Austin in a falling-down, wooden, not-quite-suburban house in the ghetto of the lost boys with broken minds and too much time. Who needs a bed when you can be splayed out on a living room floor with a Chihuahua named “OY!” peeing next to your head every few hours?

Above our carpeted hellhole haven from the former hellhole are four Bar-caloungers, faux-black leather, all in a row with little weed trays and each a wireless joystick for all the video games these fat motherfuckers play. They smoke all night, game all night, fry all night, and then work by day in some lost Walmart minimum wage boredom.

Sketch: “DIE MOTHERFUCKER!” He grimaces.

The girl is touching the crotch of the neck-and-face-tattooed Hawaiian named “Draco La La,” while he blows pot smoke laced with Angel Dust into her mouth. I would like to sleep. This isn’t happening today though. I’ve been left alone by the boys of my band to this throne of weed and spam. So I crawl under a blanket and play fantasy rock star in my head, while zombies are shot and lives are shot out wasting away the in suburban decay. I don’t know how I’m goning to survive two weeks of this. Even home felt more stable, because at least I had my own room. Here I have no space of my own. No place to hide.

I feel a light kick in my back. I poke my head out from the under covers. Sketch’s Barcolounger is right above me. The room is in that dim, no-lights-on-but-neon-TV haze. OY! is dryhumping my leg. His tiny spike collar is too big for his neck and is digging into my skin. So I kick him off, and he flies with an “AYYYY!” I’m convinced he’s half rat.

“Hey lil’ haze… You wanna get high?” Sketch.

He’s got a triple chin and is sucking on something that looks like meat fat.

“Um… with which drug?” I don’t know about the whole drug thing but I’m open to anything, I think. And all the rock-stars I worship all get high all the freaking time – live fast and die – right? His eyes are purpley puffy.

“Well. Speed or maybe you just want some weed with Angel Dust.” He inhales the biggest inhale – deep like half the joint goes – but I guess when your that big your lungs are bigger too. Before I can say yes or no or even figure out what I want, his mouth is on mine blowing smoke, and I inhale so deep even though I don’t mean to.

I feel gross, violated by those big fish lips. The smoke hits me hard and fills my whole body. And I can’t stop myself from breathing in. And shit is getting
weirder and weirder
. Then I cough hard – violent shake attack. Sketch pulls away his fish mouth. My eyes feel big. Too big. They are so heavy
I can’t keep them straight. I feel fast and slow all at the same time
. Am I dying? The girl and Draco LaLa are fucking on the Barcalounger next to him fully clothed, just her skirts hiked up. She’s on top riding him all rodeo, but she’s still smoking their fat joints as they rock back and forth, and his arms are around her body holding the joystick thumbing it around. I never knew people could fuck, smoke weed, and kill zombies all at the same time.

Man this shit is hitting me
I feel really fucking weird man. What is Angel Dust anyway? I think I see the cops, man. The fucking cops. I try to speak, but only slurs come out. I hide back under the blanket, but I’m a corpse now. Death sentences are laced in my head. I hear laughter: the world is fucking laughing at me. I must crawl to freedom NOW, without anyone seeing! But I’m seeing! All the noise in my head is like a bad modern-art painting nobody even pretends to understand.

I try to wrap the blanket around me and cover even my feet – not a finger out either. I
make it to the door. I’ll crawl like a slug. Slugs. I HATE SLUGS. Maybe they’re eating slugs. Door, Hayley, door. I slither, I slither, and I slither. I think it’s been 3 hours. I poke my head out from under the covers. Quick, so no one sees… Fuck. I’ve only moved three inches. No one is in their chairs, but I hear noises in the kitchen. Demons? I cry. And cry. But nothing comes out. I go under the covers and chew my nails. They won’t find me. Nobody will find me.

I sleep for what I think is a year.
A slow, fast year of nowhere but angry, crazy, freaky, broken thoughts jagged on the cliffs of my lost mind and broken soul
. Or maybe it’s two years? But I look at my phone, and it’s only been less than an hour. And I’m not high anymore – well maybe just a little stoned – but no more freak paranoia parade.

I’ve had it! My head is out of the cocoon completely. I look up; they all have cigarettes in their hands and meat on their plates. I can barely breathe in the smoke; the room is a heavy, neon-blue veil of it. I have to get out of here. And just like that, the front door opens and my boys show up: fast and wild and bugged. Jack hates video games, but likes the drugs.

“We will rehearse in the yard unplugged, Hayley. KOO KOO KACHOO,” Jack yelps. “We have a lil’ bar show later tomorrow night that Donnie booked us to practice in front of a crowd before the festival madness starts. We gonna be big bitches!” And he does a stage dive off a Barcalounger onto me.

Life is coming back to me.

We walk out onto the splintery porch. Dusk. Heat. I think I will start to sleep out here because the spam Draco & Sketch are always frying up and burning fills the house with that smoky, dying-animal smell that makes me nauseous all the time. They keep disappearing to play a little more game, smoke a little more this or that, or fuck in a back room so it catches on fire. Bongs n’ spam. This is not a rock-n-roll romance!

I grab a stick as a mic.

“LET’S DO THIS!” Donnie yells and does a drum roll on my leg and I laugh:

“This is the craziest yard I’ve ever seen.” The beat up backyard has gone un-raked for centuries. Leaves and trash cover broken dumpster things upon things. The pit-bulls in the neighbor’s yard scream murder-laughter. I hope there aren’t holes in the fences for them to come after us. The ditched child-seats are rusted and crying, unhinged. Why do they have old child-seats randomly around their big trees? A dust devil swirls up. Oy! runs out and dances around my feet. We set ourselves up in formation like the porch is the stage. Donnie in the back is drumming on the bench. Jack sways and sings the notes that he hits on his ampless electric. I have to sing soft so we can all hear each other. I hold my arms up and sway like it’s the real thing: I imagine all the junk in the yard are fans. Yes, yes, yes! I imagine the crowd -an endless stadium of screaming mouths – screaming for me. I imagine streamers popping out and fireworks and all those things that comes with money and success. I jump off the porch like the rock-star I think I am. I fly. I fly and the world is mine!

BOOK: Plush
8.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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