William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Twenty-Two

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Adam dreamed about elves, hard nasty elves, wired on the tastiest crystal meth that had ever been cooked.  They chased him up twenty flights of stairs to the top of a building.  Adam was exhausted from the climb, even in the dream, but he outpaced the elves because they had shorter legs.  Once on the roof, he looked around and saw no chance of escape.

They were upon him within minutes; thirty of them at least, the ugliest and meanest closest to him, and they demanded that he work for them forever.  When he refused, they dangled him over the edge of the building and asked if he could think of a worse way to die.

This question was clearly an intellectual challenge, and it gave Adam a clear advantage.  “If I can think of a worse death, will you pull me back on the roof and let me down?”

The elves pondered the challenge and unwisely agreed.

Adam braved a look down and saw the tiny cars speeding back and forth below.  Then he closed his eyes to think.  Being burnt alive would likely be more horrible, but would the elves agree?

“We’re waiting,” they taunted in unison.

“OK,” said Adam finally.  “Here’s what’s worse than falling to my death: falling to my death on fire while being attacked by a cheetah.”

Silence, then elf ruminations.  “He has a point,” one said.  Then they pulled him up and left.

Adam woke in a sweat.  He pulled the blanket up so that it covered his eyes.  He could feel Celeste in the bed beside him.  He could smell her too; sex and vodka, a sensation which almost melted him with joy.

He imagined that she did not find him attractive physically, but he sensed her draw to him.  Having no experience of this, he examined the possibilities as he curled up next to her.  She rustled quietly next to him and was still.

He had helped her.  He had befriended her child.  He might appear to have some wealth.  And he was not overtly an asshole.  Could that be it?  He wasn’t sure.  He had to pee, so he extricated himself, staggered to the bathroom, and urinated voluminously.  He felt magnificent.

“You’re rude,” Erzulie called from her little room.  “Don’t you even close the door?”

“Sorry,” he called out.  Done, he washed his hands and leaned into her room.  “I guess I’m used to living alone.”

“You’re a pig.”

“I am,” he confessed.  “I always have been.  In college my feet stunk so badly, my roommates filled a cat litter box with foot powder and kept it at the side of my bed so I would step in it when I got up.”

Erzulie mumbled something, but she was already falling asleep again.  “You know something, little girl,” Adam said, half to himself, “you look just like your mother.”

Written by williamdoonan

February 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

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