No it’s not. It’s a gun.
Klippinger is less dangling it, he’s handing it to me. I overact, obviously. I heave; I jump to my feet and pace.
What is that metal spider?
“Self-protection. My brother gave it to me. I think it’s a good idea.”
You need a gun. For what? What do you do that’s gun-worthy?
That’s when he takes me to the closet and introduces me to the hash I’ve just smoked.
What is the meaning of this?
“I’m in a new line of business,” he says, picking the morning’s Frosties from his teeth. “I deal mass quantities of drugs. Wanna do some coke?”
I want to leave Minneapolis immediately.
I’m just leaving Minnesota, I tell her.
“Yea, yea,” she smacks her lips and looks back down the road, at the ghost of my speeding car a mile back, “Ya know you’re in Wisconsin, yea?”
Yeah, I am in Wisconsin. Beautiful, beautiful country by the way. The bluffs! Right? I love the bluffs, is that what -bluffs, you call em?
She gives me an incredulous smile. “You know you were speeding?”
I was? I was. I must have been, otherwise… trailing off.
I stare at her. Her eyes go to my passenger’s seat, to the back seat and to my face in one sweep, “You traveling?”
I have bags, yes, those bags are for travel. Like I said, just trying to leave Minnesota.
“Yea, you said that. Now you’re in Wisconsin where the speed limit is 65.”
I look out in front of me, the cars speed past, and the whole moment turns into water, it drains out of me. The sky is grey, the land is dead, and Wisconsin, the foreign soil with an incredibly slow speed limit, is my death, because it is at this moment I remember what I have in the back of my car. It all drops from me, held by some god who has my testicles, my lungs, and my tongue in his hand and has injected my stomach with feverish tickle juice. It is all over now. I see him before me, this invisible inventor, the mad scientist-love child of cosmos and afterbirth, “Yo bitch,” god rumbles in me, “You shoulda left that hash where you came from.”
Does he know I had no choice?
After we steal the groceries I ask him if he has any immediate intentions for his life, a question he always avoids but I ask anyway. He shakes his hand at my face, as if to detract a frenzy of paparazzi, and demands that I drive. I don’t mind driving, I just don’t know where I’m going. He jumps on top of the car and flashes his genitals to a passerby’s. “Hurry,” he screams. “They’re gonna turn around and kick our ass!” He jumps into the passenger’s seat, getting his way after all. I’m driving.
Living in Disguise: