I change towns. The nice thing about being disposable is that you can pop up and drift away from anywhere and everywhere. A legion of vaguely homeless, minimally paid drifters swapping places with each other like wrestlers in a tag-team.
I could be any of them. I am all of them.
New town, so I walk around, missing the old smells of urine, beer and cigarettes. Missing the familiar cracks in the sidewalk that my feet automatically knew to avoid. This town is smaller, half the roads are dirt and everything leads to the highway. I walk to get a sense of the place. I have specific needs. Such as:
Where can I get microwavable food?
Where can I get 2-for-1 dollar energy tea?
Where can I find a blood girl?
The most notable thing I find is a cemetery that composes quarter of the town’s total area.
For a moment, I stand at the black iron gates and think about being composed of graveyard. Would tombstones bulge out of my skin like tumors? Would my face be covered in dirt and moss? Would I cough constantly, on account of all the coffins?
That joke makes me gag, and a lady jogging by shoots me a look. She’s wearing very tight stretchy pants. This concerns me, because what if it was skin? What if someone peeled their backskin and stretched it over their knees, their thighs, their calves?
I try to summon the squiggly nightmare tentacles. I want them to burst out of my shoulders and turn into a pair of stretchy pants, but they ignore me.
I go into the graveyard. The sun is very hot and mean. It glares at me like a mobster. I can hear it saying:
“The fuck you want, huh?”
“Oh, it’s a fuckin’ wiseguy.”
“I’m walkin’ here!”
Everyone in New York is a mobster. You cannot convince me otherwise.
The tombstones are polished marble and granite. No broken tombs or ghoulies here. I read the graves, and imagine details about the names printed on them.
“Alfred D. Witcher. Avid fisherman. Divorced. Fuck it up. Super dead.”
“Curtis James Rosso. Husband, father, brother, wrapped-his-Camaro-around-a-tree-er.”
“LeeAnn Holmes. Librarian. Hit by jet plane. The sound the jet plane made was:
The air vibrates. I’ve spoken aloud. The earth in front of LeeAnn’s grave rumbles. The dirt churns and froths like soapy water. A dirty grey hand shoots out and begins pawing around. It has a wedding ring on.
“Oh,” I say. “Alright. Okay.” Gingerly, I try to step on the hand, shove it back in like, take the hint LeeAnn, fuck.
The hand twists over, manages to hook a finger in my shoe lace and rip the shoe off my foot. The sudden release sends me reeling, wacking my knee against another headstone.
There’s two hands now. Dead hands sprouting up like weeds.
“Hold on,” I tell LeeAnn. I scramble to my feet and run out of the cemetery and into the first yard I find that has someone outside. It’s the weekend in faux suburbia, everyone is out cutting grass and mutilating plants.
A tall, shirtless man with a sunken chest is painting his porch. I ask him for branch trimmer, because my relatives graves have some weeds taking root.
Luckily, Sunken Chest guy smells like he’s 17 beers deep, because he grins sleepily, disappears, and comes back with a wicked-looking pair of clippers. No safety guards, no plastic, just a big ass pair of scissors.
Gleefully, I take them and sprint away, holding the clippers high above my head like a goddamn battle flag.
LeeAnn has her elbows out and I can sort of see the top of her head. Low, gasping breathing is coming from it.
“LeeAnn, listen, I uh, this was an accident, so maybe just, lay back down?”
The hands ignore me.
I open the clippers and snap them at one of the wrists.
It doesn’t cut. The blades stick in her flesh. Her arms begin fighting, the one I’m cutting tugs at the clippers, and the other begins slapping and pinching any part of me it can reach.
I put one foot on the arm and use the leverage to pull. Something cracks, and I manage to twist the clippers and break the wrist off completely. It hangs limply while the stump waves itself around, all stupid and stump-like.
The other arm grabs onto my bottom lip .
“Ack! Agh!” I use the clippers as a bludgeon, smacking the hand off me. I get up and start stomping, my arms windmilling around me and sweat pouring down my face. I stomp like it’s a dance, a mating dance to the earthy gods of death, take me and my sweaty stomping!
The thought causes a wild peel of laughter to burst out of my throat. The flailing hands freeze. Then they begin burrowing themselves back into the dirt, as if I’ve embarrassed them.
I leave the cemetery in a good mood. The best mood. Even when I see a glossy, glittering headstone that says: “Omitted!” all happy-like.
It doesn’t bother me. New town is best town. Sure, undead LeeAnns and presumptuous headstones were a bit much, but-,
My breath doesn’t smell like ink.
No one has tried to take my blood.
I am free to be the hand-stomping degenerate I’ve always known I could be.