I said if that’s the way it is then you know what that’s enough already.
Image from Flickr user Emanuele Toscano.
By Miles Klee
Brought to you by the Guernica/PEN Flash Series
The way it is, our life ends tomorrow. You know this. Today it’s raining. Well. That day just days before that day, it snowed out of a sun-blind sky.
What does that mean? Come on, you know it sounds good. Sounds good, I’m saying, I said. I said if that’s the way it is then you know what that’s enough already. I don’t want to be fighting you or walking with you past other fights, that’s an overly common pastime. I don’t see any gain to it. A fight doesn’t hotly compress my thought so I can get on with life. Not that there’s any rush, mind.
I hate when it’s just rained and everything in the city shines. You knew it wouldn’t last, the rain, you said—and that’s just it, you’re a know-it-all. You have to actually know it all. My father always called me one, and now I know what he meant. You know the hotel on this block? Let’s go.
Money burns a hole in my heart. I love you and none of this other shit. The hotel showers are enormous. Let’s switch places with other people, make them pretend to be us. Don’t you ever just need a break. I think it really may rain again. I think if I popped you a bunch of snakes would wriggle out.
Well go on then, you can say something, I think. I’m giving you permission, I said, knowing exactly how much it would irk you. So we kill each other tomorrow—nothing passionate there. We should do some kind of warm-up. Snatch a purse, maybe rob a bank. Assault a couple of passers-by. For the very crime of passage, of course.
It used to be hard to get place to place, I said that day, or meant to. You know. (Words about clouds or even birds might do quite nicely here.) Yesterday, or it might well have been the day before, I read about a planet with rings two hundred times the size of Saturn’s. I realized I had no fucking clue how big the rings of Saturn are. It’s not as if I can tell you anything about space.
Something else I’m sure I’ve read, sure I’ve read about, is of a city exterminator saying rats of age and experience are really basically literate. I imagined, then, a literate rat, reading up on rats like himself. “So that’s what I’ve been doing,” the rat would realize. I don’t know where I read this and I have never been able to find the quote again. It’s altogether possible I dreamed it. I hate my dreams, they’re far too realistic, mornings I have to ascertain how much of them is true.
I’d rather not think about rats, reading. Let’s please not make a scene, please. We both know you’ll burn yourself cold. Forget we ever tried to talk.
Miles Klee is an editor at The Daily Dot as well as the author of a story collection, True False (OR Books 2015), and a novel Ivyland (OR Books 2012), the latter likened to “J.G. Ballard zapped with a thousand volts of electricity” by The Wall Street Journal. His essays, satire, and short fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, The Millions, 3:AM, The Collagist, The White Review, The Awl, and elsewhere.