How the World Was Made

Sleep Deprivation

A monotonous bass line thunders through the tinted windows of a rust-colored Thunderbird parked in front of the building across the street. Down at the Laundromat last week I saw the big, curious eyes of a little girl peer through the back window of that T-bird. The bass line inside the car was so fierce it made the unused wash-machine I was leaning against buzz and shake.

The kid across the hall has parties long into the night. I bang on the door but he doesn't bother to answer anymore. The landlord says the kid's father is paying for the place because he can't handle him at home. Why should I pay because his father fucked up? One night I heard two drunk kids blubbering "I love you, man" to each other in the hallway. A bit later — fists, bottles breaking. In the morning there was a trail of blood smeared along the wall above the railing.

Yesterday, a girl came to the door with pamphlets about a place where the US government teaches torture-technique to soldiers from South America. "It's why bananas are cheap," she said. She looked cold, so I invited her in, gave her coffee with whiskey. I kept her talking because I wanted her to stay the night. She wasn't bad looking. I imagined her standing next to the bed, streetlight falling across her naked body. She knew what I was doing, but she was tired from walking door to door all day, so played along. An hour after she left the Thunderbird pulled up to the curb below the bedroom window.

Right next to the Laundromat someone was shot dead for seven dollars. The papers talked about the horror of being killed for so little money. That murder wasn't about money.

number 20 in the 2River Chapbook Series