Dry: i'm tired. i'm so tired. tired all the time. i want to disappear. but i wouldn't know how to by myself.
Ty: what do you think it is? the environment or you?
Dry: not sure if you can divide the two. growing up on these mean streets have made me numb.
Ty: i'm glad they didn't make you mean. no pot for me, thanks, i'm cutting back.
Dry: that's not weed, it's a plant i've been studying. see that huge Mendel book over there? i've been killing time with that.
Ty: coo. that's why you're in such good shape, lugging that thing around in your Dennis Rodman backpack.
Dry: make yourself at home, what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, especially the sixth Snickers.
Ty: true dat, one love, but please don't bring our esteemed leader into this.
Dry: i'm so tired i feel like dividing into two people, one to sleep so long it challenges Rip Van Winkle, and the other with the energy to escape our lot in life.
Ty: it's not over until it's over. oh, precious pooch!
a dog comes up to Dry gingerly and licks his face ferociously.
Dry: he's a hood dog, he knows to be careful, even with me. but once he sees ya, he sees ya for life.
Ty: what's his name?
Dry: there's a tradition in the African village where we're from. your first pet is unique, you don't name him, you wait until a special new person enters the family and you let that person name your animal. that strengthens the bond between everyone in the village.
Ty: old ways. i'm honored. let me get back to you on that.
the dog pokes his head away. he senses something terrible. it's a hot, sticky Halloween night. the jack-o'-lanterns lining the streets are already jacked.
Tudey: no man's gettin' my stuff till i'm ready. i am in control of my body. my self-worth, my agency, my identity.
Dry starts to cry.
Dry: Moms would be so proud. she's never home but she would be so proud of her offspring. i love her. i love my dog. i love my sister. this is all i've got, all i'll ever have.
Dry wipes away an inky tear from his cheek. he holds his head down in his private space.
Ty: you okay, blood?
Dry: a man should never cry unless it's in public. i wasn't crying, though, i was resting. i'm always tired.
Ty: get your fat ass off the couch and let's get some grub.
Dry: there's a Church's and a Wing Wizard up the block. you like chicken?
Ty: only if there are biscuits. it's not quite the same without fluffy biscuits.
Dry: fluff makes you soft. hardtack makes you hard. Moms prefers we go to Church's, sounds holier. everything else is the Devil's work she says. stick with me, kid, i'll show ya everything. Tudey, guard the house, okay? don't go trick-or-treating until Moms comes home. fuck this place at night. what are you supposed to be anyway? a princess angel spandex swimmer superheroine with a stick?
Tudey: a slut. and i'm holdin' a dildo. just playin', bro, i got this, i'll be careful. fam is bae.
the chicken shack is closed because it's Halloween night in Fancytown and a large section of the city is cordoned off with yellow tape and markers. protest lines are chalked over and erased again with sewer water. the night is heavy with gas emanating from the sewers mixing with the police's tear gas. large shouts, racial slurs, and explosive epithets cloud the clouds in the sky. a full blood moon illuminates the blood below. evil spirits are out and about tonight.
when the two get home, the small shack of a home is darker than usual. the entire neighborhood is pitch black, with only the lonely drone of the sewers to break the eerie silence. it's quiet but not placid. at any moment tension mounts and gets out of hand in this town.
Dry: well that sucks. i'm so famished i could die.
Ty: same old same old. let's get you inside, you don't look good.
Dry: thanks, bro, i got the door. i feel terrible. i need to do something here, man, i can't keep living like this. what do you recommend?
Ty: maybe we should cut back on the chicken. eat better. i dunno, exercise, isn't that what they say?
Dry: as long as you're not talkin' bout Lofton, i feel ya. i need to drink better. see, there's a reason to meet new people, they at least can provide new ways of looking at things. new ways.
Ty: when i was a kid, my moms would talk about the simple beauty of peeling an orange with your hands, biting down on the white skin, and letting the juices refresh your body and soul. eating an orange, it's as simple as that.
Dry: simple ways. did your moms and mine go to the same bingo? i heard dat same thing. i tried it once, doe, and it wasn't for me. the acids and putrid gases which came out of that peeled orange infected my eyes red and made my lips teary. i was thinking about something the other day, i haven't drunk milk since i was a child. that's what i need to do more of. i want to feel healthy again.
Dry takes out a large glass carafe of milk from the fridge. he sits down on the couch and slowly chugs it. his throat sways back and forth savoring the white creamy liquid. he closes his eyes and lets the milk fall down over his lips, down his chin to his shirt. he finishes the full bottle in one swig. his sigh of relief is the biggest sigh of his life.
Dry: what a relief from this world. i feel CLEAR, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
the streets are so hot they are glass. Ty notices something through the black window. the dog is already there.
Dry: i need to exercise. this is what i call ghetto yoga. simple ways. new ways. easy ways. ways of necessity. no fancy mats in Fancytown, simply place your head upside-down on a pillow on the floor and stay there five minutes. let all the blood rush to your head.
the dog barks. Ty is barking. Ty bum-rushes the dog and frenetically unhooks its jaw from the ghost's leg. the ghost is standing there in the middle of the sidewalk, illuminating the black area, the streetlamp is busted. the word "mangy mutt" is voiced vociferously, but it's unclear if it's directed at the dog or Tudey, who is beside the ghost in her high heels.
Ty: come on, Ty, come on, boy, let's get back inside. hurry, i don't want anybody to hurt you.
Dry's eyes widen from the blood to his head. Dry's eyes widen at the scene through the window in front of him. the ghost is talking to his sister. Dry rushes outside without opening the front door. he lunges at the ghost and separates Tudey with the same hand. the ghost's pimp hand blocks.
Ty sees the smoke and the loud bang but his wish is not granted, the neighborhood kids have long ago put away their firecrackers and gone home to count their candy. Dry is unceremoniously thrust back, his head is rushing with blood, gushing with blood.
there isn't the luxury of slow-motion though everything from this point does seem to take an eternity. Ty raises his fists into the air and begins to cry, the biggest cry of his life. his shadow enters the light, he begins to feel emotions he never knew were there, bubbling and seeping through the fossilized embedded layers of his being, spilling out through the sewer grates. a force not his pushes him from the back of his head, a motor propels him off his worn sneakers and lifts him up. he hovers in the sky and his outstretched arms become wings. he rushes to confront the white ghost. he falls on Dry but is too scared to look at Dry's face, he wants to be with him but doesn't want to see him. he's glad that he doesn't see Tudey there anymore. or is the streetlamp busted?
Dry lies on the streets forever.
TO BE CONTINUED...