My stomach feels like it weighs an extra 20 pounds and it's hard like cement.
My throat has that snotted-up feeling like something horrible might come up out of it any moment. I can feel it up through to my nose.
My feet are so cold.
I reach around to pull my blanket over them but there is no blanket. I feel my bare feet, dry and cold.
I open my eyes. A distant lamp pours stuffy light onto the floor in front of me. I'm laying on something. It's a long bench in a small room. The walls close on either side of it, but the fourth wall is missing. No. There's a transparent wall there with a pattern of holes along the top and bottom. The light hangs from the ceiling beyond the wall.
I put my feet on the floor.
It's cold and I snatch them back onto the bench. I try to stretch my stomach out and the pain feels like it's growing then dropping down low into my organs. I should just lay down.
I look up and see a blinking red LED on me from the ceiling. The space is too dark to spot a camera but there it is. I wave at it. Maybe someone will come by soon to explain where I am. It feels like the kind of place where that sort of thing happens. I close my eyes and try to not think about my stomach. I listen as hard as I can for any sounds. I can hear a few muffled noises. Like something rattling. Like a metal tray filled with glasses. Or maybe computer equipment. I must be in a hospital. That would explain why I feel like shit.
The air suddenly smells foul. I look to the holes in the glass wall. Is it glass? It doesn't look crystal clear like glass. Are those holes big enough to let in any smell? It must be really bad out there. It smells like an apartment that has too many animals in it. I feel myself shivering and I cross my arms over my chest, burying my fingers down under my arms. I wish I would have worn more clothes today. I think of my warm sweater with the snowflakes. I wanted give it to Lime for her birthday. It's silvery blue and white with long sleeves and a drawstring at the wrist so that you could still do things while wearing it, but let them fall long when skating. I remember imagining how graceful she would look wearing it. Her long arms may even fit them right, unlike my short stumpy ones. But then when she stopped calling me, I felt like I couldn't give it to her anymore. The window had closed. It would've been okay to give to her when we were seeing each other all the time, but making a trip to her place just to give it to her when she didn't ask me over... that just felt impossible. She would probably think I was trying to, like, tell her something with it and I didn't want her to get scared that I liked her too much. That I liked her more than she liked me. It hid in my dresser for months but the cold season came and I started wearing it. I would love to have it right now. But it's probably stuffed in the back of my dresser again. The police probably pulled it out when they were going through my things.
The laundry chute.
The dark room.
The child at the window.
The blue cloaked hand pulling back a patterned curtain.
That weird shower room.
This is a jail cell. I'm in a jail cell.
"Hello!" I yelp. My bare feet splatter on the ground as I jump over to the wall. I try to look down the hallway and I can't see much at all. I lean down to the holes in the wall near the floor. "Hello! Is someone over there? I don't know what I am doing here or anything!"
There must not be anyone next to me. I bang on the transparent wall with my palm but it doesn't make a sound. I can see it watering but it just wobbles in silence. I kick it hard with my foot. Again. And again. Silence.
I notice my breath has gotten quick. Why am I kicking this wall? They will come.
I wish I had these walls in my apartment. My apartment. I breathe. They probably found so much shit in my apartment to keep me here if they want to. But why would they want to? Anything I had could have been found in a raid on the Flea Market. I walk back to the bench and sit down. I push my hands over my head. My hair is still flecked with the oil from the tunnels. I sigh and take out my pigtails. The bands are looking ragged. I set them down on the bench. I run my fingers through my hair, scratching my scalp, loosening the places that the bands squeezed my hair across my head. I need to stop wearing my hair like that for so long. My scalp pulses as the blood flows back over my skull.
I'm in jail.
What the fuck?
I laugh out loud. I can feel the air heaving out of my chest but my voice doesn't echo. Apparently it's funny. Why am I not stressed about it? My stomach hurts. Maybe all the stress is there?
I should be upset. I should be afraid. Why am I not afraid?
It's okay. That's good. It's good that I'm able to keep calm.
What should I do?
I might as well do something helpful. What would a person do if they were arrested with no hope for protection from the police? Pray to a God I suppose. I don't have a God on hand for an occasion like this. I guess I wasn't prepared to get arrested.
I hear my muffled voice laugh again. I used to wonder if I believed in a God when I was young. I used to search for a God that made sense. One that didn't have some weird bullshit attached to it that I couldn't agree with or suspend my disbelief for the sake of belief. But there is so much misinformation out there to sift through. I used to think the only trustworthy authority was in academia but academics are too attached to theory and so deep into giving credit to their own worldview and various frames that their idea of discovery fails to speak in a way that's helpful.
I needed a practical approach that was more familiar to my own experience. And all these white Magic Workers take names from cultures they're siphoning from and not actually a part of. And the more they quote academic or historical work, the less I find them helpful. But the people who are respected and have credibility are famous, and maybe that credibility is just thanks to all their clout. Maybe that works for some people, but I grew up in a city with a long cultural history of putting the interest of fame before sincerity. And even if the content is sincere, it’s still molded for their audience.
Do you have to know the name of the God to pray to them? I don't know the names of spirits and we still help each other. But maybe spirits don't have names. Gods definitely have names. And one thing I know for sure is that saying their name is a powerful act.
Sometimes I feel like everyone is secretly not believing in any God and just pretending to be just to avoid the fact that maybe they should come up with a better reason for living. Or that they are just pretending because they want there to be a God that’s watching them and taking care of them to make up for the fact that their family never did. Or worse, they want God to exist so that they don't really have to worry about taking care of others. The whole thing stinks of avoiding responsibility and I've never felt okay about it.
It feels like no matter how far back in time you look, people were hoping that one day, we would all leave it behind and grow up. To be responsible for our own fates and ethics and taking care of each other. I remember thinking the same thing when I was young. That some day, we could all just be honest about it.
My legs are stuck to the bench. I have to peel my skin away from it every time I want to move. I feel like I'm leaving traces of my legs behind. I guess I'm not going to pray. What else would someone do in my situation? Get my story straight? It's kind of hard when I don't know why I'm here. They could have caught me for any number of things. Maybe someone from the rave followed Lime and me home? Does that mean she got arrested too? No. That seems impossible. Maybe that failed delivery. Maybe something to do with that guy in the Valley. I just don't see why any of those things would have made them want to arrest me. Everyone says it's information crimes that get runners arrested. And I didn't move any information. I know I didn't do anything to put me here. I find myself yawning over and over. I lay back down on the bench. I might as well sleep until they want to talk to me. That should kill some time.
The guy that had the cassette tape delivered lived in a nice place. He had one of those Sun beds. I wonder if they slowly turn on to wake you up in the morning. I wonder if anyone can ever sleep with him in his bed or if he has to sleep in it alone to work right. I wonder if his cat sleeps in it. The cat at my apartment likes to sleep in the places where the sun shines into my room. I always wonder why it doesn't just lay outside in the sun. Maybe there're fewer things bothering it when it's inside my room. Why doesn't loud music bother it? I can play the loudest, noisiest music and my neighbors will complain long before that cat opens its eyes. That one person with the...
I think the door at his apartment didn't have a camera? It's strange that he would have a shower stall so close to the door. Does he need to clean something off before he comes home? Like how those workers had to clean that oil off their suits when they come out of the tunnels? I wonder what...
The car had a triangle on it. A triangle has 3 sides and is stronger than a square, even though we build things with squares and the number 4 means stability in number magic. But some people say that...
Portishead. I wonder if he listens to other bands like that. The singer sounded like a sad ghost echoing through an empty hall. The thumping sounds of the band were like a soundtrack that only we, the viewer, heard. It made it seem like an opera. Maybe it was an opera. That must be why I didn't have it in my archives. I wouldn't have kept any opera recordings that old. I don't even think they had opera back then. Unless they were still performing First Wave Opera. How depressing...
The strange part on side B. That must have been a spoken section. Maybe it was the MC speaking after the intermission. It must have been...
I don't actually remember how old the tape was, maybe it was one of the last ones made and it caught the beginning of Second Wave Opera. Or it could have been before its time...
No I don't know what it said...
I got the software to talk to spirits...
That was so long ago...