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A fiction story I did a while back that I wanted to host again on my blog.

Their lived lives existed like captured dust in a digital catacomb. That picture of my boys, Damian and Daren, in fatigues surrounded by sand, had come to swallow my existence, a sort of in-between space where to say I was alive was accurate, but only technically.

The doldrums were permeated every few minutes by the gentle rapping at my front door.

They always had a dish with them, covered in aluminum foil, on a paper plate, in a plastic bowl or a baking pan; Mr. Tibon had even coupled a dessert with his finest china, insistent that I not fret about returning it.

My kitchen counters, table, floor, couches, carpets, and bedrooms overflowed with all manner of desserts: banana pudding, apple cakes cut into squares, strawberry cheesecake, pineapple upside-down cake, lemon bars, double-chocolate brownies, pound cake, pumpkin-walnut pie, gingerbread and snickerdoodle cookies, and there was something unrecognizable in the corner of the guest bedroom that seemed to have congealed with the wall.

As if gluttony would be the hot butter knife to free the restraints of death’s glow. Heh, glow, right, it felt that way. That death had singled me out to experience this torment especially for some past sins, to feel the heat fillet my innards.

The darkness of that time had become its own form of gluttony. It had reserved its spot next to the lemon cakes and the cookies.

The boy, since he seemed much younger than Damian and Daren, didn’t bring food when he told me they had died in a helicopter crash.

He had said it was a painless death, an explosion on impact kind of thing. As if it being painful or painless mattered in the grand scheme of God’s Fucked Up Plan.

I was given the dog tags, as if that was some consolation prize.

I ate. Everything. My hands were coated in sugar, chocolate, custard; under my fingernails resided lemon, blueberry and strawberry residue. The aluminum foil went down, too, with a thick chocolate shake from Mrs. Hana.

When I tried to bite into a piece of that obnoxious Mr. Tibon’s fine china, my teeth cracked; one of my incisors plopped out of my mouth. I swallowed that, too.

Then I moved to that fungus-infused unknown dessert traversing the guest bedroom wall. I shoveled the globs I could detach from the plaster and into my mouth. It stuck on my tongue, so I used Mr. Tibon’s fine china to shovel it down.

I feared the day when the door’s shadow would stand empty.

I prayed to the God of a Fucked Up World to return the young boy and to have him say it was a mistake, that Damian and Daren were alive. Not burned.

My deluded fantasy never happened.

Or maybe, eventually, somehow, I’d eat myself into the grief grave.

Yeah, that never happened, either.

Like drinking curdled milk, I had to swallow down Damian and Daren’s mission. I still remembered the little boy’s farewell.

“Allahu Akbar.”

Dead Americans, he assured me. Their mangled helicopter and their stolen dog tags. The kingdom. Virgins. Blah, blah.

I ate bits and pieces of walnut that still looked fresh sitting aloof in my vomit.

God was great, alright.

 

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