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Bloodflowers excerpt 9*

June 8, 2013

*A very, very rough draft.

I wait until I get home to call Jinny. I drive, and I let my thoughts and Dave’s race incessantly. Dave is shattered, I feel, but more than anything, can’t let go of the fact that James had TGB on his couch. It’s just… so fucked up, he thinks at me, over and over again. I can’t argue with him. My phone rings, and I ignore it as I always do when driving. I’d put my money, ten to one, though, that it’s James ringing me. The only person I’ve ever designated a specific ringtone to was Dave, and I certainly don’t need that anymore.

I wish he’d shut up already. But maybe you need to listen to me. Maybe I need him to shut up. Maybe I’m trying to tell you something important.

“Unlikely,” I say. “You just keep rambling about TGB.”

My point exactly, actually.

“I don’t follow.”

You’re not going to like this, he warns.

“Not like what?” I ask him, because there’s no other information coming from him to me like there usually is. In the instant it takes me to realize this, I realize he’s right, too: There’s something he’s been keeping from me, and I’m not comfortable that I didn’t even realize it.

Um. You need to know that you are not going to like this on a lot of levels.

I don’t really know what to say to that, so I just wait. Let him break the silence. I wait. I focus on the road. The winding back road from James’ to home unfolds in front of me.

I knew about TGB.

“You knew about TGB. What the fuck does that mean?” I don’t get it. I suspect I’m about to feel even more betrayed than I already do, though.

It means I knew about him. Tonight. And for the past six months. And I didn’t tell you.

Each thought he throws at me feels like I’m being stabbed in the stomach, the heart, the head…with a rusty, blunt screwdriver. I can’t make my mouth work, but Dave doesn’t really need me to speak anyway.

Are you even aware that you’re mouthing the words to Iris’ “Panic Rev” right now? He sings the first few lines:

You won’t like this
Gonna tell you everything
Come read my mind
Hurry ‘cause it’s racing…

“No, I didn’t realize. But it’s apt.”

Crash and burn…

I tried to warn you, he says.

“Bullshit, you tried. I don’t even want an explanation. Just fuck off, David.” I shake my head, my stomach lurches again, and I moan. I’m trying hard not to cry. I’m five minutes from home. I can hold it together that long, I think.

And then what? Dave questions me. I say nothing. I turn on the CD player, flip until I hit Iris’ Blacklight, then skip past “Panic Rev” to “Disintegrate.” I sing along as loudly as I can manage, but my voice cracks with a sob. I try to tune Dave out by trying to remember the quadratic formula. You could sing the alphabet backwards and it wouldn’t help you, you know, he tells me.

“Just shut up, okay? Give me a couple of minutes. Just let me get home and then say whatever the fuck you want to say and be done with it.”

Fine.

I pull into the garage as the last bars of “Disintegrate” fade away. I want to run into the house and lock everything else out, but I can’t. I force myself to walk slowly, Grunt by my side. I’m living like I’m not afraid to see myself disintegrate. Jesus Christ, save me…

 

Home should feel safe, but it doesn’t. It just means I won’t wreck the car when David explains his bullshit to me.

B., have a drink. Seriously.

“You know I don’t keep alcohol in the house anymore.”

Except what you didn’t get rid of… the last bottles we bought. In the basement.

Shit. He’s right. How could I have forgotten them? Something tugs at my soul, and I feel like it’s something important, but I can’t place it. “And if I drink a whole bottle? If I drink two?”

Then we get shitfaced.

“That’s it?”

Yeah. I mean, it can’t really get much worse, can it?

I think of the scars I’ve still got from a month ago and will likely have for a long time, if not the entirety of my life. “Yes, it could.”

Oh. True.

“Fuck it. I don’t care.” Dave, wisely or not, says nothing. I search for the elusive box of wine bottles, finding it finally on a shelf in the laundry room. I grab one, not caring what it is, and march back up the stairs with Grunt on my tail. I grab a glass and a corkscrew as I pass through the kitchen to the living room. “Okay, go,” I say to Dave as I open the bottle. “Explain your latest round of bullshit to me.”

So, yeah. I’m, like, your subconscious or something.

“Seriously? That’s how you’re going to start this?” I shut my eyes and press my palms into my temples. I’m starting to develop a raging tension headache.

I don’t get it, either, so don’t judge me. I don’t mean that I literally am your subconscious, or at least I’m not the entirety of it. But, good lord, Bryan, you have some shit buried way deep. You block it out. Some of what gets through, you attribute to me and my being a complete asshole. A lot of it, though, you just don’t let through. So it’s not like I’ve been keeping secrets from you. I swear on my life.

“Did you really just swear on your life, you dead piece of shit?” I almost laugh, but it’s really not funny.

Hah. I guess I did. At least Dave is amused by this.

“I don’t get it, still. Are you saying I knew about TGB all this time? You’re seriously out of your mind. Our mind. Whatever.”

Well, no. I tried to tell you. But you blocked me out. I didn’t even know you could do that to me. Turns out, you can.

“That would be a great trick right about now, actually,” I say, and I chug half a glass of wine. “How the hell did you know about TGB?”

So sue me. I get bored when you’re asleep sometimes. I poke around and see what other people are doing, what they’re thinking.

“So you just pop yourself into James’ head when you feel like it, huh? Do you have NO respect for privacy?”

Not really. Honestly. But what about you, Bryan? Are you really going to defend James in this?

It dawns on me that I haven’t bothered to look at my phone. When I pull it out of my pocket, sure enough, there are a shit ton of text messages and a missed call from James. I’m not interested in reading them. He didn’t leave a voicemail. “No, I’m not going to defend him, David. But having you violate my privacy on a constant basis is irritating enough to make me want to defend others’ right to it. You are seriously an ass.”

I drink more wine in the silence that follows.

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From → Bloodflowers, fiction

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