Nils Dahlgren works as a supervisor at Spencer’s Gifts and is currently majoring in creative writing at ASU. He is a good friend of Sailor Jerry’s and he has an older brother named Erik who says “Thank ya” about every five minutes. He can’t think of anything else to say about himself – he’s just another suburban writer trying to get an audience.
Moonlight infiltrated the blinds of Nick’s window. The white walls in the bedroom dimmed and brightened from moving clouds in the night sky. Rebecca lay naked in his bed facing him. He turned away staring at the discolored blinds. His penis surrendered over his left thigh. No condoms littered the night stand or the carpet. She had sex with him whenever he wanted it. He had sex with her even though her garish make up had been smeared off from fucking someone else. Her confession of Doug flew at his chest like a glass pipe. It had no tenacity, left no mark, just promptly rolled off and shattered into forgettable dust on the ground.
The finger tips of a soft hand danced over his right arm followed by a palm that rubbed at his bicep.
“You’re always just as strong in bed as you look,” said Rebecca. He said nothing and looked at the half empty bottle of Sailor Jerry on the dresser and two glasses containing the melted remnants of ice. “What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing,” he said.
“You’re lying here naked with me. You must be thinking of something.”
“Does it really matter?” He rolled over to face her. “Does it matter what I’m thinking about since we’re not actually together?”
She shook her head with narrow eyes rolling and snickered “I know we’re not together anymore, we’ve talked about this. But, I still care about you.”
“I’m sure you care about Doug, too. And Charlie. And Richard. And the rest of the numbers on your list.”
Her brown eyes pooled on her frozen face, that same kind of reaction she gets when she snorts a line, but this time, they aren’t blood shot. “You’re an asshole.”
“I just stuck my penis in you considering it’s been about three hours since Doug fucked you. You should thank me for not giving a shit.”
She shook her head with eyes squinted. “Fuck you, Nick!”
“Always a pleasure.”
She moved her purple hair from the side of her face to wipe a tear away.
“You’re kind of a whore, but I still love you. I always will,”. He hadn’t said her name since they broke up.
She grabbed her black pants and pulled them over the curve of her buttocks, then proceeded to gather the rest of her wardrobe.
“Do you want some water?” he offered.
She had just put her socks on and looked at him with disbelieving red eyes. How could he not feel shame? She thought. Throughout the three years together, she felt no authenticity in his love, just the cold touch of his words.
“No,” she croaked.
She slammed the front door on her way out. The apartment still smelled of the chronic she brought over, but their laughing had stopped echoing in its atmosphere.
Nick strutted to the kitchen in his holed boxer briefs. He filled a glass with water from the sink and drank it with audible swallows. Lumps rolled down the throat of his thin bird neck. Sailor Jerry burned through his nostrils as he exhaled and let the glass slip through a weakened grip and shatter on the floor. He would clean it up in the morning.
He pulled an oven pepperoni and mushroom pizza out of the freezer. Fast food was far out of his way for drunk munchies. His clumsy movements bumped into the gas oven hard, pushing it an inch closer to the wall. He stumbled back and recovered. After firing up the blue flames, he slid the frozen pizza on the center grill without waiting for it to heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On the back of the oven, the gas hose had corroded from the years of no replacement and tenants flooding the kitchen. After lunging into the oven with such force, a slit had faltered on the rusted hose no wider than the girth of a pencil.
He sloshed into the bedroom to get a cigarette from the softened pack of Pall Malls from his plaid pants.
The 120 square foot kitchen of his apartment filled with gas in less than a minute, breaching the living room, and then sneaking closer to his bedroom.
His face protruded the open doorway as he sucked at the butt of the lit cigarette. The explosion levitated him off his feet like a powerful kick to the chest. His eyes hard boiled and he became blind instantaneously.
When the flames entered his air ways, singeing nose hairs to charcoal and liquefying the inner flesh of his Sailor Jerry coated throat, he floated backwards in complete numbness.
A vision came over him. It was a memory of him and his older brother playing by a creek when they were kids. His brother bounced a dried branch toward him like it was a pretty woman saying in a melodic “Do you rememba me? D’ou rememba me? D’ou rememba me?” He laughed so hard that he choked and then grabbed the branch from him.
This was after they found the collection of playboy magazines in their dad’s footlocker. Nick stood behind his brother Salvador who flipped through the pages. He stopped at a red headed woman with a silk tan. She wore a cowboy straw hat. Her back prominently arched, lifting her breasts. Over her left shoulder was a rope. Nick took a step to get a closer look. His hands sweated under his Budweiser t-shirt.
The flames burned into his soft pallet. His hair was gone. He was still elevated, only a foot from the ground.
A reminiscence of Rebecca came to mind. Their first date was at his apartment. They watched American Werewolf in London on his couch. When they caught themselves both laughing hysterically at the scene of a British policeman getting decapitated by a wolf that erupted from the double doors of an adult theater, they leaned into each other and kissed for the first time.
She was heroine on a silver spoon. She catered to his desires with beautiful sacrifice. And here, the echo and images of Rebecca unfolded brightly and wilted into complete nothingness. “Do you rememba me? D’ou rememba me? D’ou rememba me?”