Stories

Fever – Renny Ramone

Nine cardboard boxes stacked on my Mother’s doorstep. She sent them here knowing I’d have no other place to go, at least nowhere with a decent shower head. I knew what was inside the boxes; I knew exactly what was inside those fucking boxes. That’s why I didn’t bother shifting the transmission into park. I wasn’t ready for any of this shit so I let my foot off the break and continued down the crescent driveway that trailed my Mother’s private door to and from the public street. I didn’t want to be in my Mother’s house alone in the privacy of those boxes; I wanted to be rolling down the road towards nowhere or anywhere at all. Not today, not after the night I had. I wanted to shower, I truly did, I was quite uncomfortable resting within the confines of my own skin which itched like my need to escape myself and the reality of my new life. Inside those nine boxes was stuff, my fucking stuff, the stuff I decided to buy. This stuff was supposed to make me the person I wanted to be. I worked, sometimes hard, sometimes while suffering, sometimes without noticing at all, but I worked somewhere and some time to buy that stuff. Inside those boxes was me, cut up into bits and pieces of time and money that were bartered for the proliferation of my identity through the means of commodities produced for a consumer based society that preyed on the insecurities of my individual conscience which always irrationally yearned to be recognized as apart from everything else. It never happened, or maybe it hasn’t happened yet. All I know is that I’m thirty godless years old and inside those forsaken fucking boxes lies me, and I’m not exactly ready to confront who that is. I’ve become Schrödinger’s cat. The chances of finding the person I knew myself as alive or dead inside those boxes were mathematically equivalent and indeed both were occurring in some dimension somewhere at some time.

 

            So I kept driving. There had to be someone in Miami willing to drink at this time… hell, by the time we sat down it’d be noon. The cardboard coffins weren’t going anywhere, but I had to. Anywhere but right there right now, that must have been how she felt.

 

            I wanted to die, there was no questioning the desire. It was as if I could see the next thirty years and exactly how they’d play out. Every waking moment made me feel like Alex tied down to a seat in a movie theater with clamps on his eyelids forced to watch the horrible images assuming his consciousness and blurring his reality. I wanted so badly to fast forward through the next thirty years because I already knew how my movie ended and I was tired of watching it. I looked at the arm holding the steering wheel and saw the man rolling a boulder up a hill that would never hold a boulder and remembered the arm was mine and why I had scarred it with that particular image. Sisyphus wasn’t frightened by futility, but I was. It reminded me that if I could just roll that boulder up the hill one more time I’d be a hero. I also thought girls would like me more with painted skin. My eyes turned away from my tattoos and looked up at the bits of light that penetrated the dense canopy. Old Cutler road in Coral Gables might be the most beautiful street in the world, I wouldn’t know. I continued to drive without incident but suddenly I couldn’t see the world. I saw black and white images moving at twenty-four frames per second as if they were experienced in my waking life. I knew the film immediately; it had affected me at a young age. A woman was raped. There were four witnesses and each of them told a completely different story about the same incident. I must have been fifteen years old; that film changed the way I understood the world and confirmed a sneaking suspicion I had always held, that it was all bullshit and there was no such thing as the truth. Looking up at the canopy must have triggered the opening images of that film. It was absurd, but it was true.

 

            When I woke up the car was fucked and my hands were covered in blood.