At 4am I wake sweating and stinking in my sheets on the floor by my bed.
I feel drunk. I feel drugged. I must be drugged.
So down to the diner for food—but what food is this, this
grease-based, sugary fat, globular, doughy, half raw bacterial mush?
Two old women at the booth in the corner, both sitting on one side, squeezed,
their backs against the wall, their arms vanished beneath a delirious-red table where
their plates of face grease and mugs of caffeinated mud water steam.
Staring at me are their soulless eyes in their faces which
gleam from the bare light bulb above their heads,
like in interrogation, like on a movie set, like trapped on a ufo probing deck.
But I eat. Yes, I eat.
And the ventilator above my head goes,
Humbaba, humbaba, humbaba…
8am and at the bus stop, waiting, smoking one after another after another.
Next to me, smoking too, double amputee Lewis,
the stump tips like two sideways vaginas suspended above the
plastic foot-pedals of his charity issued wheelchair.
Cars breathe by and by; trucks and buses groan.
Diesel monoxide in lung-blood rivulets between drags of cigarette.
Some people sit at bus stops with nowhere to go, and I say, Go back to your church cot.
Go back to your old corduroy couch, your sick mother’s house.
Let me wait for this bus in peace…
…I dream of a hideous beast in the trees, guarding the gods…
There droops Lewis, asleep, drool gathering in his collarbone pit like a volcano culdera of
I slept too—the earth turned quite a bit.
Syrup-sugar sweat beading on my brow, tickling the small of my back.
Three hours passed, passed? as if they ran on diesel, on gasoline, on two little feet.
As if they looked back and saw me and Lewis, asleep at the stop, and said,
Whoa, whoa, whoa, we passed them.
I cough to wake Lewis; I get up to leave—say, won’t be going where I was going today…
And hours tick on—walk, see, nowhere to go.
There, across the street, an amorphous man on a string led by a humanoid dog.
Dog shits, man bends, bag over his hand like a condom, his rashy crack winks at the sky
and a collective cringe shudders down the afternoon avenue….
4pm, another futureless day partly in my pocket, like lint.
I try to read my palm, but can’t read past the incision scars under which
malignant tumors once lived—can’t read the crossroads there.
Above me is a sign—an image—white-toothed Ray J. Roy, Defense Attorney,
and his fucking up-thumb the size of an arm.
The center of the world is here, under Ray J. Roy, and existence shimmies outward in
honeycomb scabs of bailbond shops, nail salons, spouse-abuse domiciles, places to eat…
And at 6pm, another dimly lit evening starts at the Everywhere Bar & Lounge…
Bret LeBeau is originally from New Orleans. He currently lives in Colombia, SC with his wife and son where he makes a living as a ghostwriter. In 2016 he received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Memphis.