Chapter 1: Punk Kid Lost It

“Jesus Christ.” He always says Jesus Christ. He’s never been to church; it’s just catchy. This thing, that thing, overhead, over the shoulder, like salt spilled, at me, but I dodge: he’s looking, you know, frantically.

“Where in bloody devil is?!”

German accent, Slavic grammar, English phrase.

From Jesus to the devil: makes sense, or does it (?), disparate; I guess it speaks to the desperation. I’m doing that weird thing, the dramatic irony thing, but in real life, where I’d lied to him, told him knowing full well what a big deal it was/is, “I haven’t seen it.” Maybe my lip, the lower, quivered a little, but he didn’t notice, I think; I was mostly steadfast—mostly—and I’d told him that so he huffed and rushed past, and now he’s doing this, looking. I’m standing here, feeling guilty, trapped, more trapped than guilty.

Art needs space, you know; real estate for residency. There’s a reason they don’t just stuff galleries full of the stuff, wallpaper the walls, you know? It’d be overcrowded. So paintings breathe, sculptures breathe—or at least need to—for maximum effect.

All that sounds wrong; let me clarify a bit better. I’d sold my boss’ “rare item” out of spite. Which is unlike me, to be malicious or impulsive, either/or. And it wasn’t so much him—I don’t care about him—it was that anyone should gain license to criticize me, I shouldn’t be so afraid.

The opportunity just arose, I guess: a buyer made an offer, and I hardly thought that the boss’d notice. And the collectible “item?” It was harrowing me, havocking me—his cherishing it and not me—a little dramatic, I don’t need to be cherished, but at least appreciated, a little.

I’m engaged with avoidance. When he’s…

“Well when was the last time you saw, where was the last time you saw…?”

I’m, “I really don’t know. I forgot that it was here…” I just want to leave and I need to get out of here. I’m welling.

Chapter 2: The Getting

I’d get it back and say I found it, no harm done: my thoughts entirely all the way home. On my bike, I think more clearly; when it’s just “keep going” besides whatever else I have to think about, it’s simpler to just make sense of it all. I can’t adjust to this criminal feeling, so I’ll fix it, deep breaths; a little more torture comes first in terms of how much I shouldn’t’ve and how easy it would’ve been to not-to. Bike’s back tire stains nasty the wall after rebounding off of it, on my up-the-stairs, around that corner, by the landing. I feel jostled now. Fettered inside, I texted the buyer from about-a-week-ago (one of those “all-digits” numbers, I wouldn’t save the contact). Our first exchange read:

The Buyer (grey): “Hey: from your shop earlier today. I’ve got the money all together for it. Can I come back?”

Me (blue): “Yeah, we’re closing soon, but I’ll wait.”

I delete those texts.

My new message:

I’m sorry, but there’s been an issue: I need to refund you and get back the collectible. I’ll even pay you extra for the inconvenience.

Read

No reply, and so I knew I had to track him down. It wouldn’t be all that hard. I knew where he worked vis-a-vis our in-person interaction and that’s all I needed; he said he was always there anyways. So there I went. His work was a food place, waiters and tables, not take-out. It was close. I ask for the buyer at the front by description—I petitioned the maître de*—and there he was, in the back, cooking. In the kitchen, because it wasn’t like I had a choice, right up to him (the place wasn’t swanky, so it wasn’t all that bold), I asked about it and if I could get it back, the item. And how upset he was, he looked; he was, upset.

He said that after he was off we could and I agreed, and I apologized, and I biked my bike back home. He’d meet me by my place. And I was paying him back extra for the inconvenience; I did it all to myself, I know. I slipped on black ice by a bank of snow.

Chapter 3: Garish

Wounds dressed but still stinging, and elsewise me; wincing and dry heaving after sobbing and heaving trudged/tarnished bike back home and waiting and the buyer didn’t even show up, and he won’t even answer my calls. And I say “even,” but I wouldn’t either if I was him, but I really figured what with me actually turning up at his work like that earlier he wouldn’t screw me like this, but I guess…f u c k.

Sorry late b ther in 10.

:).

Chapter 4: Rebel, Rebel…

The buyer came, sullen, dropped it off, and took my cash—extra—out of my own pocket, not that that stung (because what a relief to be done); we chatted—no, not really:

“Hey, sorry for…”

“It’s okay, I get it (half-hearted)…”

“There’s a extra 15 bucks there, I felt bad so…”

“Oh, cool.”

(I wanted him to say “oh, no way” [or something] and give the fifteen back.)

(He didn’t.)

I waved him off and went back inside and up, past the scuffmark and more inside and closed my apartment’s door behind me without turning around, instead staring down at the “rare item” I was clutching/grasping: the “rare item.”

I hated the thing. And it hated me back.

I’d thought it was gone.

The limbo it was in, existent now only to me, piqued my interest and I started to think; and then I stopped and then I obliterated the thing. Decimated it entirely for my sake. In my destruction, I was absolute. The “rare item” was no more, I mur-der-d it; forsook—d e a d and damned—that cured me. The ringing in my ears, and the vomit in my neck; the weight that I carried was lifted.

Unfettered at last, alas.

X

***

For all installments from 30 Birds, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. “Velvet” by the Bloody Eyes
  2. “Subtle” by Yukio Mishima
  3. “Geronimo Sunset!” by Jun. 27
  4. “My Hero” by Annie Wonoffate Million
  5. “Gender” by Jun. 27, Part 1
  6. “Gender” by Jun. 27, Part 2
  7. “Eel Dogs ‘Til Stupid” by Jun. 27