This Will Be the Prime of You Unless You Round Up

Ryan Ridge

And what of the abstract fairy in charge of costume changes?—from which plane is it that you impart your designer wisdom and usher us into this realm looking like we just stepped off of television?

"Come here," she said. "We have light in our lungs. We speak into each other's cheeks. Would you like to buy a puppy?"

"You're the only one who understands how much it hurts," I said and hit her.

The street sewn with Christmas lights, carolers serenading parking meters. Runoff from the local abattoir drips into the sewer. There is blood in everyone's brains. "Teach me the meaning of the meaning," she said, but I could not.

There is a certain strangeness in the past months. I get my haircut everyday because of how fast it grows. The barber is not afraid. I go to his shop. I sit in his chair. I say: "Are you afraid?"

"No," he says, sharpening his scissors. "Unless by afraid you mean lonely."

Now comes more days not worth mentioning. Not everyone can have a white coat and a gospel to preach. I stay indoors. The trees get punished by the wind. My neighbor tells me about string theory, but I don't understand.

"You don't?" he says.

"No," I say.

He says: "This will be the prime of you unless you round up."

"Touché," I say and hit him hard in the stomach.

He doubles over.

I take a vacation.

Once arrived at the lip of a volcano, I wait and wait. Nothing. Then, for lack of a better word, I go home, except now I'm wearing a Bermuda shirt and look 2/3's cooked.

Ryan Ridge shares a birthday with Johnny Carson and Weird Al. He has work in or coming from PANK, Juked, > kill author, elimae, Wigleaf, Titular, and others. He edits the fiction and nonfiction at Faultline Journal of Art & Literature.