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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Acid Fizz - 14

only two more episodes left.  you're not reading?  you got to be keeding.  well, all the earlier ones are right here:

click picture & open link in a new tab for a song while you read


i’m not too dumb to know this is a bad idea.  i guess i don’t care.  ashley’s crazy, everyone knows that.  maybe she’s obsessed with me.  what if she makes some kind of scene and chambers finds out what we’re doing?  fuck it.  oh jesus.  the damage is already done.
            Tyler Li again.  I can’t keep coming back like this.
god fuck just like that.  can’t believe five minutes ago i was blinking at my data, she asks me can i kill a spider for her? she looks up at me and i drop the smeared tissue in the trash and kiss her and it’s just downhill momentum after that.
Metal clacks.  The doorknob revolves.
oh fuck!  her head bobs off of me and my dick is a sore thumb in the middle of this room, as big and central as the sun in our solar system.  she pops me eyes that say, “shit!”  she grabs my dick hard and bends it under the flap of my unzipped shorts.
Andrew is in the doorway, not looking at us, at the afm/stm machine.  A pen hangs between his lips like a cigarette.  He holds some wrinkled papers.
he hasn’t seen us.  he turns so slow.  but not slow enough.  ashley grabs my zipper.  i can’t move, i’m too stupefied by my own assheadedness.
Andrew’s eyes turn onto us just as Ashley zips us up.  She’s still on her knees, head level with our lap.
“Uh…” we say.
“Are you kidding?”  Andrew asks.  His eyebrows lift and his mouth opens into a shape like a baggy smile, his bemused expression.  “I don’t suppose either of you noticed the afm/stm is leaking again?”
We bite our thumbnail.
“Professor Chambers, we’re both very stressed about whether or not you’ll get that grant.  We’re just trying to relieve some of the tension,” Ashley says.  shut up, you crazy motherfucker.  you’re going to get me kicked out of the program.
“Excuse me?”  Andrew says.  He huffs in an imitation of a laugh.  “Get out.  I’m going to talk to both of you tomorrow.”
Tyler wants to exit the room as fast as possible.  We push Ashley aside and stand up.
“I’m sorry, Professor Chambers,” we say as we walk past Andrew.
“Take this,” he says and slaps the wrinkled papers into our hand.  “If you could have this make sense before tomorrow because I don’t understand your conclusions at all.  Also page thirteen is missing.”
“Okay,” we whisper.
I escape in Tyler’s breath, all the colors of the room seep together into one and I can’t see it, but I feel it.  I knock something and then I’m sitting at the back of Andrew’s head, staring out his pupils.
Ashley stands up.  “It was just a couple of minutes.  We were almost done.”
“Leave,” we say.
She walks out of the room.  We’re alone.  We go to the afm/stm, careful to shy away from the steam and to clear the drops on the floor, though it’s just reflex, Andrew isn’t truly scared of it anymore.  We flick a switch and the meters flatten out.  The steam thins.
We step away from the machine, sit down at a desk, sigh.  We watch a drop of condensation fall from the ceiling and break apart on the floor tiles.  How many times is this going to happen?
when is enough enough?  how many times do i clean the same mess?
A memory opens in our head like a folded letter.  Two beer stains on my pants, linked like an infinity symbol and also a little like a piss stain.  I thought it was love at first sight.  Uki.  She was sly, Japanese, smiled supremely at my jokes and asked me for everything, Would you get me a beer?  That sandwich?  Little things and I liked doing them for her.  I was so nervous around her I chain-drank High Life all night.
We were at that hostel right off the beach in San Luis Obispo.  It was Dad’s third wedding and we flew out early to hang out before the rest of the Chambers came and surrounded us.
We met Uki the first night.  She had locked her key in her room and shut the door on her purse strap.  We found her in the middle of the hallway yanking on her purse, leaning diagonally to put her entire ninety pounds into it.  I pulled it out for her.  Eric invited her to dinner with us.  I was worried the two of them would hit it off.  He had come back from the Peace Corps with a tan and a confidence he’d never had before.  He had blond hair and a white smile like Don Johnson.
The second night we had a party at the hostel.  Eric wore a Hawaiin shirt he found in our room.  I wished that I had found it.  I thought it was awesome and he wore it as a joke, but I still thought I looked cool in my fedora.  Eric squawked notes on the saxophone with that eleven-piece brass band that gave an impromptu concert in the garage.  I’d dreamt of Uki the night before and when I saw her there alone on a couch it felt the way it did during an earthquake once when the Earth bounced me up and I didn’t know why I couldn’t feel the ground beneath my feet.
I sat down next to her, probably too close.  I spilled half my beer on myself I was so drunk.  That couldn’t have helped anything.  I tried to sop it up with somebody else’s sweatshirt.  What kind of idiot would do that?  We talked about Elvis Costello, quantum mechanics, airports, airplanes.  I got up to pee, spilled on myself again and apologized to her for no reason.  She smiled.  I told myself while I swayed at the urinal that I would make my move when I got back.  I walked into the garage and she was gone.  I wandered between drunkenly blurted brass notes.  I went to the lobby.  She wasn’t there.  Two guys from Canada asked me to play pool.  I walked outside and down to the beach where a few people were hanging out, but she wasn’t there either.  Gus the always-shirtless maintenance man asked if I wanted to check out a party with him down the beach and I said I was looking for someone.  I checked out the garage again, then the kitchen, then the lobby, then walked the halls for a few minutes and I couldn’t find her so I went to bed.
“Andrew, is that you?” she said after I stumbled into my room.  I looked over at Eric’s bed and couldn’t see anything.  “I can’t see your face in the dark,” she said.  I heard a kiss.
“Lucky you,” I said.
“Have a good night, bro?”  Eric asked.
“Mm,” I said.
I thought I was drunk enough to pass out but I lay awake for about a minute, hearing them whisper and neck.  I thought I was going to go insane.
“I’ll be right back,” I said and walked out the door.  In the halls I thought, “please don’t fuck her, please don’t fuck her, please don’t fuck her.”
I went to the beach and Gus was alone, sitting in the sand, smoking a joint.  I smoked it with him though I’d only smoked one other time in my life.
He asked me if I’d seen Uki around and I said, “No.”  He said how beautiful she was and what an amazing person she was and how he thought he could bang her.  I got the spins.  He asked me if I was okay and through gritted teeth I said, “Yes.”
He left and my head churned and I closed my eyes.  Waves, salt, wet sand, saxophone, no order in my head.  I couldn’t bear to open my eyes but I imagined myself from the outside, vomit rising in a mote around me.  I thought I would never make it back to the hostel.
Then there was this hand on my back.  It was like it massaged my whole body at once.
“What did you do to yourself?” I said.
“Fuck this,” I said.
“I’m gonna get you some water.”
He left and I puked a couple more times and dry-heaved so hard I cried and I hated the waves like it was them that was making me sick.
I came back with an empty beer can full of water.
I asked him where Uki was.
I said she was asleep in the room.
I asked if she still had her pants on.
“What?” I said.  I thought he was just drunk and not making sense.  “Yes.  She fell asleep right after you left.”
I thanked God.  I vomited again.  I thanked Eric for taking care of me.  I apologized for being a mess.
“It happens to everyone,” I told him.  I told him about the time in Guatemala I was almost stabbed by a man for vomiting in his front lawn.
I laughed.  I don’t remember anything after but I woke up under the covers in my bed.  He must have cleaned the vomit off of me.
It was gross.
Now we’re pumping solvent into the afm/stm to neutralize the Chambers compound.  i was hesitant right up until the second i started pumping it in, but i feel good about it now.  i can patch up the machine right, start with a new batch and do real work.  but i feel like i’m losing something.  it’s just the past, i guess.  one day i’ll feel the same way about the new batch.
That’s me steaming into nothing.  I don’t feel anything.  Sorrow, perhaps, for dragging down Andrew all these years since the accident.  I told that girl in the woods that her family would find her when they died.  I hope I didn’t lie to her.
I want to say something to him or do something for him before I leave.  I can think of nothing fitting.  We had our times together and now I suppose we’ll have our times alone.  I love you, Andrew.
one day these will be the good old days.
Goodbye.  I drift out of him and I know this time I won’t come back.

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