Milk Duds, Melted

by charly hardman

Terrance was fat. Fat bastard. No matter.

In his brain, I mean. Fucker couldn't get around the directions on a shampoo bottle. A cereal box? Sure. Cereal boxes don't have directions. Much easier than shampoo.

Terrance didn't know he was fat, so nobody else really did either. He projected sexual confidence like a football star, and could criticize fat people with a straight face on both the teller and the listener. Terrance had a big dick that he hadn't seen directly in years.

This story is not about Terrance. It's about a girl.

Girls have no names. They are girls. Girls are better than boys it seems. Boys have names that stick to them. The girl I'm talking about is . . . jesus, I can't even remember her name. She hasn't had sex with anybody else yet. She didn't play with herself until she was 16. An AOL thing.

She met Jamie today at 15:32. He was in line behind her at Burger King, listening to her order in her clipped way. "#1, small, coke, fries, no cheese, no mic, to go."

"Do you sing?"

He asked again. "Do you sing?"

                              A bored voice: "Three ninety four."

She looked around the corner of her head, thinking he was talking to somebody else, but allowing that he could be talking to her. When she saw his eyes she continued the turn. "What?"

"I was asking if you sing. You said you didn't want a mic. Only a singer would care about something like that."

"Microwave. I don't want them to microwave my sandwich. It ruins it."

"You're one of those naturalist chicks?"

Turning back, she gave the money to the bored hand and kept her eyes forward, not hoping he would stop, but letting him know he was wrong. He knew only that she smelled like his version of paradise, and used her shoulders so well to hold up the little straps on her summer top.

Jamie had sex with her tonight, alone. It was pretty good. They never saw each other again, far as they know.

Tomorrow she'll go back to Burger King, knowing there's a chance she'll see him again. No big deal. She doesn't think he was on his way home from picking up an eBay win in her state. She doesn't know that there's not someone up above watching out for her. She won't know, when she takes her last breath, that nobody cares. Nobody even cares about himself, beyond the dying bug, cringing sort of caring. She must die one day, and she doesn't even know it.

Tomorrow she woke up, looked at the clock, and wondered how she always wakes up a few minutes before the alarm. Something beyond what she thinks about moves with her life, making her nervous and protecting her. It is God. He's up above, watching out for her. What does he have in store? ::What is her destiny, mama?:: She asks him inside her head, waits, then hears an answer she made too self consciously to believe. It wasn't the first thing to come into her head.

She used to imagine that her life was a movie, and that there were people in a small live-in theater watching everything she did when they weren't asleep. It was 16mm film, but real time. She would never lie without knowing that they watched her. She would never steal without wondering what they thought of her. She would never exercise intent to harm another, because the disheveled movie theater people judged between bored nods, their feet kicking discarded cups around on the sticky concrete floor. The theater was nothing but balcony - projector mounted in the open out front, screen medium smallish big.

When she was 16 she saw on TV a Brazilian girl, despondent over a lost love, really jump off a balcony and fall to a splat. She wanted to be that girl and experience jumping off a balcony to a splat. For joy. Acceleration. Nobody knows about suicide but dead people, and them just barely. A bullet works through the palate as the taste and smell sensation hammers brain for a last visit before the fatal disintegration. A flash of misgiving, then submission. But it's not like the brain stops working just because it's exposed to the air. She figures that suicides have peaceful dreams as they lie there waiting for continuum to yield. Up, like reverse feathers the soul goes to heaven, in heaven's time. We are all good.

And tomorrow she is wondering who said that she has to wake up every morning. It's getting so that she resents the sun. But it's not the sun's fault; she's smart enough to know that. Sleep is what she craves. Is waking up an important part of sleep though? In a few dreams, she thinks she had the chance to check out, though her bug interior wouldn't allow even a peek through the door. She thinks she is ugly. She thinks boys lie to her when they tell her how beautiful she is. "Hot!" they say. Cringe. She doesn't like to be complimented. Say it again though. I'm alive. Take me home now please.

Burger King instructs its associates to ask if a customer wants cheese on that. Do you want extra ketchup? Salt? Jiz? How many burgers has she eaten with some pervert's come on it? Does she even want to know? What day was it? Who? Would it matter? Once, it bothered her enough that the whopper lid came off for a quick look. She couldn't be sure though. Took a bite . . . then more bites . . . at the mercy of another - a person who doesn't exist. If she puts a face to the character, it's always Bob Denver from Gilligan's Island. Gross! But he's pretty cool, for a professional loser.

It's funny how images look so official when it's a strip of 16mm celluloid. Repetition and movement dance together, and she's been immortalized. Even bad movies from the 60s look filmic (like a movie from the 60s). Did they see her buy that revolver just in case she got attacked? Did they see her first boyfriend in elementary school, flirting and dodging like a bird? Will they see this?

Unemployment. Bummer! Well fuck 'em. She never hired them anyway. She never wanted them, digging into her brain in what should have been intimate, private times. Why couldn't thoughts have been her own? Couldn't they respect this at least? No. They're here now, watching me - knowing through years of acclimation my thoughts: How high school was fun. My dog was killed by a car. They named me when I was 7 months old. Why?

It's getting slower to think, and they're just sitting there in the first four rows, slouched like every other day. I guess they don't care any more than I do. They don't have fun with each other. They are bored with each other. Hateful. But . . .

But there was no projector. It seemed like everything was on one side, like . . . on my side, in my head, in

Genine. What the fuck is a Genine?




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