David Kuhnlein 日 30/04/2020 · admin No comments


The stink of Lysol and mouth foam peculiar to most mental patients, followed by what might have been kindly referred to as Genghis Khan eyes, sat in my car, unhinging its hair. She’d grown everyone around her into a cyst without circumference. Her moons waned in me. Our collective urge to self-destruct flattered suburban crackheads. All the interstices of pain she came to cultivate stood polluted through a lust not given lightly. Barren from poking at herself too long: “I’ve been bullied by many endoscopies,” she mocked. These disassembled memories spent like antibodies, petite sufferings left uncured. Her mouth moved strangely, like the injustice of the creature it obeyed. “What do I have to do? Walk around in high heels all day just to get a couple pain killers? Any time I see these quacks they treat me like I’ve just crawled out from the dirt, a fucking junkie. And they’re still selling love and light like an unendowed alchemist.” We passed the house of a sister scared of her punk-like shadow. The mother’s house was off limits. We squeezed every last muscle relaxer from her armoire. “Open the glove box,” I said, “I geocached a souvenir from my sister’s suicide.” She flipped it open and the weight of the gun lugged against the plastic with a thunk.

Each trip to the ward was an opportunity to develop her ailments. Phrases wagged around through that Polaroid of a mind, aphorisms from some evil, New Age, bio-hacking rhetoric. She tried to hypnotize herself into action, to collect the raining stalactites of painkillers, plunk them into the palms of those in need. “There’s a Robin Hood for every sick and lifeless schmuck. For those who can’t do laundry without Tylenol-4, or walk the dog without a Soma.” Those drugs had a cult of their own side effects. But a couple addicts later and all the people with intractable pain swallowed the sharp end of the stick, unyielding the chronic and persistent edge, bone against sharpened bone. The sky filled out scripts and held them over our head. Stinky babies, lawless, no muscular definition, rolls of fat abounding – this was what gravity had done to everyone. Nothing existed outside of its cave. “If you need to warm up, I just peed myself,” she said. I debased her fundamentalist hysteria with an electric blanket.

Watching Jack Kevorkian on Netflix, the cutie popped her last painkiller, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this, begging for weak codeine, its anaphoric drone.” She started sleep-talking about messy stints in jail. There were people unworthy of love. There were almost no people worthy of love. Opioids fixed that. To live without a clock on the wall, in the heart of your personal Hollywood, pardoned by quacks. I decided to help her. White caps and orange bottles scattered across the lawn. I saw her springing on rooftops, slinging a Santa sack filled to the brim with Dilaudid. Such a menace, balancing the DEA’s reticule. I chanted a mantra about becoming wood, relearned facial expressions in the mirror, better than a lie detector. Shell casings splashed the hospital floor. I scrubbed my prints from the gun for an hour. I returned to her, hands and knees, trembling in her blue, florescent glow. My dreamy death witch, hari-kari Krishna.

David Kuhnlein lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan. His writing appeared or is forthcoming in BathHouse, Rogue Agent, Abandoned Library, and elsewhere. He co-edited a gothic romance/ murder-mystery novel his grandma wrote in 1979, set in her home country — Trinidad. Learn more @olasgrandesnovel.