Please Don’t Eat The Fish
Two men set out on a boat. Trout leap. Or maybe they’re bass. They’re fish anyway. Fish are ugly, slimy and murky colored. Their eyes will stare at you forever, astonished, if you should fail to slice off their heads. Fish bones are harp strings, are pliable toothpicks that can stick and stay stitched in the middle of your throat, forming a foundation, a kind of tree fort. The fish, the fish. Please leave the fish alone.
We ate German food because that’s what Mother knew. Boiled things always pale tan, usually potatoes or bread. Once we threw a clump of peanut butter on the bubbled loaf and choked it down, sweating. Once I stuck out my tongue and drizzled golden honey. It didn’t taste sweet, not at all, but rather fowl, fishy, like my long gone father.
We sit against a curb right outside the store we just stole from. Bennie blows smoke into the gray coat of dusk. We’re two months from starting school but we made a pact that we ain’t going. Benny asks if I’m hungry. I’ve got a jackknife and a switch blade, two packs of Wrigley’s gum. Later I’ll want more, but for now, this is plenty.
At one of the last stops in the city, there’s a wino shivering with his winter coat and a skull junkie boring holes into the bench. My car was stolen last night. None of my friends could drive me to work. I considered a taxi but thought this might be an adventure.
Now, door panels part, assaulting us with gushing arctic air. Just before wino and junkie get close enough to step inside, the driver punches the accelerator. He chuckles, as so do most of the passengers, their scarves and hats bouncing.
I wipe away a clear cloud from my fogged-up window, but I can’t see them because already we are so much farther than they are.
I sit back, enjoy the rest of the ride, and think about the morning’s first meeting.
She says, “Fuck fuck fuck this planet we’re living on.” When she tosses her head, her hair heaves like a heavy black salad. She’s smoking and drawing hard on all that black tar, the gritty nicotine, and you know what? I find it all sexy as hell.
They don’t have them anymore, but once I saw a couple doing it in a phone booth. She had a red bra and military boots, a flea market skirt hitched up. The glass wobbled and throbbed. He looked like he meant it. The glass never broke. It seemed as if it should have.