Johnny America


It was Ex­tra­or­di­nar­i­ly Human


I walked in and there they were, ex­act­ly as I’d left them: sit­ting on the couch, watch­ing Ex­treme Makeover Home Edi­tion. It was an all-day marathon. I slammed the door a lit­tle too hard. “Hi!” Cat sang at me. I looked in, giv­ing a wave to her and her slouchy boyfriend. He raised his eyes just slight­ly, enough to ac­knowl­edge my pres­ence, then re­fo­cused on the tele­vi­sion. Ap­par­ent­ly they hadn’t moved in the six hours since I’d left. The win­dows were closed and the cur­tains drawn. The whole apart­ment was smoky, and two cig­a­rettes burned in a glass ashtray.

I went in my room and shut the door. “There’s food!” Cat yelled. I soft­ened a lit­tle, though I rarely want­ed to in­dulge in her odd gas­tro­nom­ic ex­per­i­ments (mashed pota­toes with wasabi peas, for in­stance). From the tv, a fam­i­ly screamed as their new home was re­vealed. Breath­ing seemed in­or­di­nate­ly dif­fi­cult, with the smoke and an­oth­er in­def­i­nite musty scent that I imag­ined to be their hor­ri­ble, thrashy sex. The night was be­low freez­ing, but I opened all the win­dows any­way. Cold fresh air blew in and I climbed in­to bed. Shiv­er­ing and hid­ing my head, I dreamt some com­fort far away.

Filed under Fiction on April 11th, 2005

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