The Ark

Whatever floats your boat...

We eat them on a couple of cold, limp slices of spinach pizza. Then we walk to the liquor store to pick up some beer.

By the time we are back to Andrew's apartment they have already kicked in, hard. My tongue is buzzing and my hands are something seperate from me, always moving. This makes me laugh. An uncontrollable, whole face laugh. I crack a beer and put it down. We're in his basement apartment, and it feels like a cave. His upstairs neighbors are having a party, so we invite ourselves up.

On the way up the stairs I notice a fire alarm is sounding, but no one else seems to hear it. It continues to grow whinier in my ears until it is almost unbearable, but I don't mention it because I can't decide whether or not it is real. We walk straight into the place without knocking. See no one. We round the corner down a strange skinny hallway. Still no one. It's too quiet, and the hallway is long enough to change my mind at least twice about whether there is actually a party or if we are breaking and entering.

The doorway into the kitchen breaks a sound barrier and the room is pulsing with yellow people sweating beer. Someone named Adam is suddenly in front of me as if we'd already been having a conversation and I didn't realize it until now. I haven't met him before, but I somehow know his name is Adam. What is he saying? He is definitely talking to me but all I can hear is the sound of people's shoes sticking to the floor. And then the background noise retracts almost physically and my vision zones in on his face, which looks yellow and pulled at the sides. His facial hair swims around his clammy chin and upper lip which twitches over his pellet teeth. I hear him say he is going to be mixing electronic music at a warehouse party, themed 'Earth, Wind, and Fire' on Saturday. I should come. His cracked mouth says something about having to come dressed to represent one of the three, although he plans on dressing as Plasma. He thinks this is hilarious, so I puke out a laugh.

Where is Andrew? I look at my hand and it is holding a beer, unopened. Where is the one I had earlier? I crack the can, and set it down. The back door leading from the kitchen to the deck hits me in the back. Fuck off, door.

Cops. ALRIGHT WHO LIVES HERE? No one is phased, no one answers the question. Just a crowded shuffling of sticky feet through the kitchen and back into the hallway, which has narrowed by this time. I don't think my feet are moving but I am flowing forward with an orb of bodies. Where is Andrew. I look at my hand, and it is holding a beer, unopened. Where is the one I opened? Slip the new one into my purse. The orb squeezes it's way through the front door. Where is Andrew. My hand is in the air. What is it up there for? Clamped at the elbow. It's Andrew. Downstairs, to the cave.

Two people made it in with us, one guy, one girl. No one I know. There's something in my hand. A beer, unopened. I crack it open and set it down. They're telling me they are from a small college in Vermont. They want to know how I know Hillary? Who's Hillary. I'm laughing. I'm pretty sure they think I'm laughing at them. I think I am too.

I'm in the bathroom sitting on the toilet with the lid down, head in my hands. The tiles are rippling around my feet and I am crying. Not tears, just leaking. It won't stop. I wipe away streams of stinging liquid and get up to look in the mirror. I find a mouth smiling, curled unnaturally in each direction. Upon discovery of this face it darkens into a frown. The eyes hang at the corners and pulse in the middle. Eyes looking at eyes, on a face that is not my own. I press clammy palms on either side of the wicked face, and tighten its skin. The eyes bulge happily and the skin is the same yellow as Plasma Adam's. A putrid sickness washes over me. The drip from the faucet is drumming dully. When the drumming feels closer I find it's a knocking at the door. I need to pee.

I unlock my eyes from the person in the mirror and let them wander up the walls. Black mold dots the ceiling and suddenly everything feels soggy. The humidity is stifling. Heat rises, I need to sit. I slide my back down the wall and I am on the floor. The rug is wet. I need to pee. I am on my back. I can feel my muscles contract and I know that I am no longer in control of my body. I am sinking into the floor. The ceiling is moving away from me. A wretched silence grips my brain. I want to cover my ears but my hands stay helpless at my side. I feel locked down in the middle of this dense bathroom in a basement, and this is where I am going to die. The thought of death makes my heart race, and I am certain it is going to sputter out. I am damp, helpless, and I am repulsive. The only way to come to terms with the fact that my life will end crumpled up in a disgusting heap on a bathroom floor is to tell myself that I cannot be repulsive, because I am nothing. This thought makes me feel lighter, and I allow my muscles to loosen. I realize my eyes are squeezed shut, so I open them.

It's as if I've traveled through a black hole and come out on the other side. I am on a bathroom floor. There is no noise. The ridiculousness of the situation consumes me, and I am laughing. I am laughing a heaving laugh that is not mine. I am standing. The knocking is gone. I emerge from the bathroom and no one is on the couch. I open the fridge and crack a beer, then set it down. How long was I in the bathroom? I need to pee. Where is everyone. Who is Hillary. The air down here is thick.

Open the door. The basement is quiet and my footsteps are loud. I feel a strong urge to stop making so much noise. I hold onto the railing and try to make light steps but my feet feel big, and they crash onto the metal stairs sending an echoing vibration around the concrete walls. I realize I'm holding my breath. I exhale heavily and feel my entire body deflate. My ears are quiet and the upstairs world is bright with flourescent lights. I feel the lights buzz but hear nothing, until I open the second door of the building and float into a crowd of wide-eyed people, all talking at the same time, their voices meshing together in a booming cloud on the stoop.

I sit down. I try to pick out one conversation. I hear the words but I don't care about them. They are not meant for me. I am alone. I am on the far side of the stoop, on the bottom step. There is something in my hand. A beer, unopened. I crack the can and set it down. People are still talking, still moving around me. I decide that I hate them. I think I say it out loud. I need to leave.

The street is wet. It fizzes under me. I let the dank air settle onto my skin. It is night, but clouds hang close, illuminated. Street lamps blanket dirty buildings with yellow light. Everything is vivid. Trees pop like cutouts against brick backdrops. Every corner is alive but the sound is dead. The inside world had been wildly chaotic. But here there is an uneasy, beautiful calm. Unusual for the city. I cross an empty street. A buzzing silence. There are no people, no cars, no life. Where is Andrew. be continued (probably not)...

Views: 25

Comment by pendragon on May 30, 2009 at 3:10pm
Howdy Kat.Ballou
Greetings from Not-Europe
Yes, I remember being there, alas though it was long ago. That was so well written. Enjoy your youth but don’t neglect the exit strategy.
Comment by Kat.Ballou on May 30, 2009 at 3:30pm
@ Pen--thanks :) I'll be needing that exit sometime soon, but someone keeps telling me to keep in mind the nearest exit may be behind me.
Comment by Kat.Ballou on May 30, 2009 at 4:36pm
@ motc- suckit
Comment by BlancheNoE on May 30, 2009 at 11:37pm
You are a writer. Jus' sayin'.
First my congratulations, then my condolences.
Comment by photo2010 on May 31, 2009 at 1:41am
This made me uncomfortable. Great writing.
Comment by Trimaddog on May 31, 2009 at 8:16am
I read the whole thing and I am always amazed at the talent you possess.I always look forward to stumbling across your creations. I feel what you are writing and it takes me to someplace new!
Comment by rottingcorpse23 on May 31, 2009 at 2:56pm
totally agree with what photo 2010 said......i think what made that so uncomfortable for me to read is that i've actually been there and felt exactly like that........i'd love to read more......


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