Let me tell you what I remember. Gloria screaming like a bitch, “Daddy’s bike! Daddy’s bike!”
Me laying in the riverbottom, looking up at a tree. The tree had leaves and some of the leaves were shining. The shining leaves were in the shape of a mountain lion.
Gloria and I tromping through the river bottom, stomping in puddles that reflected the moon. The puddles disappeared and the puddles were grass that could not reflect anything.
We had a big trash bag full of weed. It must have belonged to Gloria. It was between us as we sat in the sand and smoked. Green bubbles floated past, and I grabbed one. It had tentacles on all sides, and I kissed each tip as Gloria shrieked with delight.
We did it, too. The smell of our crotches mingled with the fecund smell of rotting vegetation in the midst of the foggy bog. Sex was not a big thing to Gloria. The dank funk stayed with me for days to come.
There was more smoking then, and it brought a new round of hallucinations. Gloria became old and then got so young that I felt uncomfortable. There was a moment of silence, and I wondered if she thought that maybe I was a serial killer, and I was afraid to look at her. We were there on rocks chilled to the bone at the end of the darkness and I snuck a peek as she snuck a peek and we were both thinking the same shit and we both knew it and we laughed so hard.
Little by little I wanted to be away from her. I thought of Crystal and the warm comfort that she was. Gloria was cold and hard like the rocks. The weed was harsh to my throat and I wondered if Gloria wanted to be away from me.
“I’ve gotta piss.” I got up and meandered into the bamboo. I stood there with my cock hanging out in the cold predawn. Fuck it. I headed out.
There was a sense of exhilaration as I jog-walked out of the river bottom toward the college. I decided that Gloria was an evil presence, and that I was feeling better as I put space between us.
The feeling of relief was inundated by guilt in short order. I thought of her sitting in the cold, dark riverbed waiting for the return of the man.
I was hungry and thirsty and weak. I hadn’t the wherewithal to acquire the needed elements. I lurched along and was the shadow I cast, wrapped in a long coat the daddy used to own. I slipped onto campus and retrieved the beloved blue bike. It was a chilly ride home.
All was quiet there. Crystal was silent in the bedroom as I showered. Each drop of water was a needle on my skin. Each drop did some kind of cleansing operation in and of itself. I stayed in the shower a long time, marveling at the combined effort of all the drops, and fearing the looming encounter with Crystal. I wondered if Gloria was having a better time. I toweled off and slipped under the covers next to Crystal’s backside. I breathed.
Soft, turd shaped missiles floated from her mouth. They moved like blimps up over her body and bombed onto my ribcage. They might hurt later, not now. Sleep was a fantasy.