Sunshine – Gwen Hilton
November 9, 2023
You don’t think about how it feels to observe a hostage situation until you’ve been in one and you don’t think about how your only exposure to hostage situations previously was as an observer, voyeur, nuisance, gadfly, before that. I could still feel the woman’s fingers in my asshole when I saw the crowd. She had her hand inside me because even after I flew across the nation in handcuffs, after I ate Bojangles for the first time, after I was woken up naked in the middle of the night, after all of that there might have been something dangerous to me and others stuffed deep inside my gently used seventeen-year-old asshole. Then I realized she was right to look inside me for something sinister because the boy who crashed his parent’s Lambo, and Ferrari, and Maserati, and got his own custom build BMW, had shoved two very stinky pencil shaped disposable vapes up his tight, HGH-toned, fifteen-year-old-Miami-sunkissed asshole. Miami didn’t see the hostage situation. We came back around the mountain a week later to pick the boy up. Sometimes we’d come back around the mountain every two weeks. We came back down the mountain right after the hostage situation because I had an asthma attack on the first hike. They told me to push through. When that boy was going to kill the nurse, time stopped, but when they wanted me to die for the dirt? When you’re observing the hostage situation it feels like you’re a part of it. He didn’t have a gun. I don’t even know if he had a knife. What I saw. What did I see? What I saw was two bodies emerging from the shadows of what I’d later realized was the laundry room. My clothes would stick to me for weeks and smell like my sweat and piss after I held shit in for days. The clothes needed multiple washes, but the staff overloaded the washers and dryers. In the end they cooked the wet clothes before we went into the woods for another two weeks. We smelled like decay. I was fresh during the hostage situation. I could feel her in my asshole and I put my thumb in the elastic waistband of my loose plastic sweatpants. Did she think I was small? Did she think that’s why I was here? The boy was big enough to hold the woman. He had her in that classic pose. Her knees were bent and she was being pulled over the front of his body, a near perfect human shield with the rest of her captor shrouded in inky black. He had his arm around her neck. The weak should fear the strong. People talked slowly. People asked him to think. I don’t know how he had her hostage. Was it just brute strength? It wouldn’t be so hard to kill one woman before wilderness facility staff overtook you. They’re built for endurance, not strength. In North Carolina you do a lot of rafting. Or they did. Not many boulderers. Their disposition wasn’t the kind to hold a kid down and hurt him. They knew they had to sleep outside with him after. Shifts were one week on, one week off. Did he have a knife? Did they forget to check his asshole? Was I treated so nice by that heavy chested heavyset doctor because of him? It was the first time a southern woman was inside me. How long did he have her hostage? How did that woman reach inside me knowing one of her staff was captive? The boy left the facility with the police. The boy went to a psychiatric hospital with walls and central air. The boy got hot meals and he didn’t have to pack the food back into a fifty pound bag. He had a bed. He had a shower. Someone watches you use the bathroom the first few times, but the bathroom is clean. The boy didn’t eat space cheese. The boy didn’t learn restraint trying to make the one salami last a week. The boy never had to hear the other boys talk about how they wish they had allergies so they could eat almond butter or sun butter or just something else anything but peanut butter my mouth tastes like dirt and peanut butter my breath smells like shit I smell like shit everything is beige and creamy spreading across me how am I supposed to shit in a bucket and shower outside how am I supposed to be clean how am I supposed to be? I never took anyone hostage. I never hurt the other campers. You don’t do these things because you know you have to go big to leave. What comes after? Well, I’m still a minor. Sometimes the kids would run, but when I went they got creative in encouraging us to stop. These are the woods where they filmed The Hunger Games. Do you want the locals searching the woods they know like the backs of their hands for you? We share this space. They know to look for you. They’ll let you in the restaurant even when you stink, feed you the meal you ran for, and then you’re back with us longer. We have to tell people you did that. You’re in our care. You can’t run like that. So I didn’t take anyone hostage when I could. I didn’t snap the Sargento heir’s leg the tenth time he talked about being born in the same hospital on the same day as Prince before breaking out into a Chance the Rapper impression. I didn’t do anything when he said he regretted playing but not finishing The Last of Us before he got sent here. He spent all this time in the digital woods to wind up in the woods. He didn’t even know what happened. He just needed a joint to calm down. I was there when it came out. It was the first time I thought about how life moves on without me. Another time I was trying to find the Yeezus CD in new releases. I got out just in time to go to Lollapalooza. I was afraid of the sound of the Dodge Charger when we left. I was afraid of the sound of the world. I heard two songs in 47 days. I heard the adagio for strings recorded for Sunshine and the counselor played “Sunshine” by Atmosphere. I didn’t go to Lollapalooza and that was the first sign that a college education had been pissed away just for me to not change.
I gotta turn that fucking news off. I don’t know who put it on. We watch games, man. No sports on, no fights, no customer requests, no TV. That TV doesn’t face the job. Now what do you see when you see that? It’s so sad, right? Little girl got killed. Oh my god another little girl is a victim of this city’s violence. This city has a violence problem. That little girl was a killer man. That little girl killed my friends. That little girl got my other friends killed. That little girl got my friend’s family killed. That little girl got my friends with their drawers down. Do you know what that does to a man? Now she’s the face of something. I can’t tell anyone. Because if you admit to knowing anything they take you down too. It’s not something you can know. Unless, well you know. No one can tell anyone. That little girl was a killer because of things we couldn’t talk about long ago. We can’t let our girls die like this. We can’t keep killing our girls like this. How many more black women do we have to kill before this changes? She’s a little fucking hussy, man. She’s a punk. Bitches come in here and they see me. They pick me up. They see that one eight seven tattoo and know what they’re doing. They bring me around and I find out this bitch’s son is an asshole. He know what I’m doing. Now he hates people like me. All because of his momma. Wanna be me and he hates me. And what these little girls don’t realize is you can fuck around and you can play hard, but you’re gonna get raped. You’re gonna get raped a lot faster than everyone else. People do it for a lot of reasons. But they’ll do it to you first. That little girl is an assassin. She was an assassin. Things aren’t as black and white as you think. She killed a lot of people, man. Fake rappers fake gangsters act like hard adults. I was doing this shit at 12. I was doing this shit at 13. My momma hated me and I put a roof over her head. I didn’t have games to play. I didn’t have other options. It’s not something you do for fun. It’s never something you do for fun. You do it then you keep doing it. I got my heart broken once by some little bitch and now I’m just a guy that women will remember. All I do is work and pound kitty. I put a roof over my mom’s head now. She loves me. I keep her safe. I don’t play games like you. Talking about all that stupid Japanese shit with Jesus. I didn’t play games and I never sold just enough drugs to get an XBOX. This little fucking menace used to walk out in the sunshine like ain’t no one knew what she was doing. And no one could do anything. Punk bitch. Because you can’t do that when you know it. If you knew who she was before she was dead you can’t do that. How do you handle that? When I fuck these bitches they know what that one eight seven means, but they don’t get it. They don’t get it at all. They don’t get what it’s like and what they think it’s like is wrong. Wrong people, wrong eyes. I knew in five minutes of talking to you, and you’re smart, that there was a lot of shit you don’t know. That’s how I put you onto “Charlene.” You think “Contagious” is funny, but I fucked to it. And don’t talk about the down low. You don’t know shit. That’s how people like you get raped. Were you? Fruity little boy. Punk bitch. I bet. Acting like I never met Tee Ess. So yeah you think it’s so sad she’s dead, right? And what about my buddies? And what about my pain? And now that I’m not handling it how you want, what about us? Is it different now? With the bitches it is. That’s why I won’t love again. And with you, maybe not now, but it’ll come. And you’ll say no, but it’ll come. And I like working with you and it’ll come. My friend dead with his dick out and you’re trying to play R. Kelly. You just don’t get this. You want to tell me you get it. Not you, like you people, you like you. You know. Is it sad now? Now that you know. Ain’t nobody gonna make sure her killings are solved now. And if they do, someone younger than her is waiting in the wings. So is it sad that the killer got killed? You tell me. Don’t. Work the register. Ladies coming in.