He told me to wait here but I’ve never been very good at waiting.

My head gets all scrambled with thoughts. Bad ones, you know? The ones that make you feel like you’re falling, or like if you had nail clippers you’d clip something off that was never meant to come off. Or is that just me?

It’s probably just me.

I pull a cigarette from the pack I keep tucked in my bra, it’s all crooked and craggy. This always happens, but it’s the best place to store ‘em, so I suffer the consequences. I pop the old dart in my mouth and shift my weight. The curb under my ass is freezing; cement’s never a good idea in the desert. It gets hot as hell in the day then turns into a goddamn ice block after sundown. I yank my shorts as far down as they’ll go, but the attempt is useless; these things like to live right up my ass. Guess this is what I get for wanting to look good for him, not that he’d ever notice. Not that doing so is conducive for my own longevity either. Not that sitting out here right now, alone, in the dark, is conducive for anyone’s longevity.

I know what I’ve gotten myself into but there’s this part of me that just doesn’t believe in death. I can’t. Can anyone? Feels more like a theoretical punishment, like when one of Ma’s old boyfriends would threaten to shove a shotgun up my ass and blow my head off. It’s not like he woulda done it. See? Theoretical punishments. Death’s just an excuse for people trying of make sense outta shit they don’t understand. Kinda like ghosts.

The wind picks up.

It’s warm, like some invisible freak is licking me. Invisible Freaks. Ghost’s aren’t real, not in the way people think of ‘em. They’re not people who’ve died. What they really are is just another part of this big ol’ ploy, this game he’s playing—He doesn’t want you to know this, so bad stuff is probably gonna happen to me for telling. Bad stuff like nail clippers—

I take another puff of my cigarette cause it could be my last; I see his headlights up ahead. I know they’re his cause of the shape. Butterflies explode in my gut. I say butterflies, but they’re probably moths. Moths coming to the light. To his light. Time’s running out, so I better tell you before it’s too late. I know I said death’s theoretical, but that’s just cause the truth—the real thing—is so much worse.


I suck back one more puff, holding the nicotine in my rotting lungs as long as I can. The headlights draw nearer with each passing second. The tobacco leaks from between my lips. Okay, so here it is; the truth…

The car skids to a stop inches from my toes. The door opens. I drop my cigarette, but I don’t stomp it out cause I’m exceedingly optimistic. I see his boot drop to the earth below the car door.

Listen to me.

Quick! Ghosts? It’s kinda funny, in a way, cause—He rises into the night, his figure looming in the darkness—cause what you’re being haunted by—The gravel under his feet wail in protest as he makes his way towards me—is you. You’re being haunted by yourself. Ghosts are you. A version of you trying to warn yourself of what’s to come. To stop you somehow. To make it all go away. But—He stands above me. Silent. Cause he knows I know what he wants—but there’s nothing either versions of you can do. I learned that the hard way—I stand—guess that’s what got me into this foul little courtship in the first place.

I take his hand.

He grins at me—if you can call the shape his mouth makes a grin. If you can call that thing in the middle of his face a mouth. Exhaust from his car snakes up my nose making me feel high, but that’s probably just his touch. He drags me towards his car even though I told myself I’d go willingly. Even though I thought I didn’t believe in this bullshit. The door opens and I tumble inside. It’s all happening so fast. I wanna say more, I wanna do more, I wanna just stay. But I can’t. It’s too late, his car’s pulling away from the curb. The lights are gonna go out soon, so I need you to do me this favor; don’t believe those theoretical lies, don’t ignore your ghosts, and don’t, for the love of whatever God you pray to, get into his car.

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