Photos of Me on a Cloud
It was his shoes I noticed first. They were on the wrong feet. They looked like two bananas curving outward. I wanted to ask whether he was a monkey. I asked him where he was from.
“Mississippi,” he said and then he spit on my carpet.
“That’s not too far from here, relatively speaking.”
He shook his head, no.
“Nah,” he said. “I don’t have any relatives up here.”
He spit on my carpet again and I thought to mention the shoes again. Time passed. I counted the knuckles on his left hand: six.
I asked, “What kind of ice cream do you like?”
During the night there was heavy thunder and blood and hammers.
In the morning he took a shit with the door wide open. I could hear all the splashes and echoes in the bowl. I told him he was a sweet boy.
I said, “There’s a shortage of sweet boys in the world.”
His head bucked backward like he’d been struck in the face with a shovel.
“Sweet boys are fags,” he said.
I said, “We all know how the story goes.”
I ate breakfast in the sunlight. I watched the street, the cars, the people. I imagined the world as a giant board game. I grew lonely so I called Sherry. I told her I’d visualized having sex with her lots of times. She warned that I should be more careful. Then she said she wanted to take photos of me on a cloud. I told her I’d be there in ten minutes but it was more like one million.
Two birthdays had passed and I’d gotten a few haircuts. We recognized each other by our specific calls. Mine was a low birdsong. Sherry’s: an unmistakable quack. We built a fort of couch cushions then we fucked in the fort. We fell asleep watching Saturday morning cartoons. We fell asleep despite the anxiety brought on by our missing parents, my father’s phantom sighs at the kitchen table, the smell of safety and strong tobacco.
When we woke we climbed on top of a cloud. She directed me. I acted. She snapped several photos of me in bendy positions. For one year she displayed the photos on the walls of her gallery. When the year was over she sold all the photos to children whose feet were deformed.
Mind you this was just the beginning, an introduction to spit.
Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel FREIGHT. Visit his website here.