Panting … I fumble for the telephone. My lower back aches. The clothes VV wears are mismatched. Sweat over his dried body. He opens the bathroom door. He paces. Other people are sleeping. He inhales. He showers in total darkness. These unstructured scenes. This non-appearance of voltage … of eroticism. I find the telephone. I cut off the light. I am living here. Two years I have been living here. Near the Tidwell area. I can’t help but write about the future. Future us. Future us. I hate you. I hate future us. I stifle my nausea. VV coughs. He’s not afraid to cough. I am afraid to cough. My back aches. VV paces again. We are underwater … a sudden rapid pulse. Bruising. I am in the darkness again. Human waste hits the floorboards. I have been waiting a long time for VV to arrive. My body trembles. It is a horrible feeling. A small-town kid with a thin layer of clothes on his body. My head hurts. Radioactive slugs on the skin. An empty silence … an eerie dream. My skin shimmers. I’m dressed in normal-guy clothes … a grey world … some pale skin. White dots as my thoughts disappear. Bedroom at the end of a long hallway … a huge bed. Bodies … blood … black holes … a nuclear reactor. The wind blows. A strange mixture of coldness. The air is frozen. I am a random person in the entire world. VV is a beautiful young man. He tells me he is a beautiful young woman. My back aches. His back aches. My legs flail … they fall apart. My teeth chatter. No more thoughts. A sudden loss of thought. My own heartbreaks. A silent scream. A man screams. My own vomit. I am dizzy. My eyes hurt. My wide eyes. Texas is an attractive place. Some cool temperature. The dead world. Bodies. Cold air. My body is numb. My arms wrap around VV. My head hits the warmth. His hands wrap around me. VV is a young man with blonde hair … grey skin … a wide smile. My whole body shakes. My lungs are dry. Police officers at the front door. A deep desire to invite them in. Their own flesh. Their flesh. My great pleasure. The dirty parts of the apartment. Houston in the shadows … the winter months of Houston. This is a different town. VV tells me he wants to return home. His hands touch me. The incessant rattle of the Washburn Tunnel. Silence. A familiar voice. Sharp metallic blades inserted into bones. My eyes burn. VV is alcoholic drunk. He doesn’t work … the whole city is unemployed. Toxic waste in the Houston Ship Canal. Cold whispers in the bedsheets. The dark recesses of Houston. Burnt-out buildings … my mouth hangs open. Breeze passes by. The cool sunlight. Bus stops. My fingers fall onto VV’s body. We spend Thanksgiving in Chicago. An old man in a black shirt. I take a deep breath. The elevator shakes. I regain balance. The elevator descends. The elevator door doesn’t open. Cold breeze throughout Houston. My eyes burn. Dark shadows everywhere. Tears flow over the entire scene. Drug paraphernalia. Dust climbing up the bedroom curtains.

Shane Jesse Christmass is the author of the novels Xerox Over Manhattan (Apocalypse Party, 2019), Belfie Hell (Inside The Castle, 2018), Yeezus In Furs (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018), Napalm Recipe: Volume One (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017), Police Force As A Corrupt Breeze (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2016) and Acid Shottas (The Ledatape Organisation, 2014).

He was a member of the band Mattress Grave and is a current member in Snake Milker.

An archive of his writing/artwork/music can be found at https://linktr.ee/sjxsjc

*Image credit: Stephen Shore, New York, New York, July 1972, printed 2005.