DEAD IN HIS SLEEP
By Andy Valentine
Spurloch see me coming down and say what kind of insects are they and I try and tell but all I manage is gargle and blood come up outta my lungs and my tongue feel like it swoll up like grapefruit so I float off the futon and spit blood on his bearskin rug. I try hardest I can possible to bite my own tongue through and spit the whole thing onto his rug and Spurloch stand up with the sixer in hand and start aimin’ the thing at me saying Boy keep that tongue in your head or the ghost of you’s gon’ fly round here ‘long with your brains. One’ll do you what they told me and I don’t believed em stupid me stupid me little city run-from-homer only half the brains I meant to have but sickness is sickness is sickness is sickness is sickness. Five more than do me make me sit up and shout ‘bout the heavenly ghost in the skylight and Spurloch hand trembling too from the three he’s had and sure ‘nuff he got his sixer straight in my eyes and the end reek of humans he never could shoot.
Pussy Spurloch. Pussy all he ever been. He tell me next day a thousand children screaming and yelling on field-trip to Heritage. They looking at skeltons dinosaurs reptiles and Spurloch get weird when he see how small he really is. Pussy I tell him you pussy and he tell me pussy you and awares me of sixers he got in his coat. We seventeen deep between us night at Hollard’s over from yesterday also makin’ us both pussy out. Be here in minutes Spurloch say but eyes in his head look like lying marbles. He worried. Spurloch’s contact say Heritage our place when we talk on the phone previous night. Bad, bad. I tell him then but pussy Spurloch do it anyway he scared of “no” and scared of the sickness the sickness the sickness. He’s losing his arm before getting the sickness. So Spurloch and me we stuck in Heritage a million screamers watchin’ the skeltons waitin’ for contact the sickness beginning. His scales starting get silver under all these lights. Purple leeches squirm in his eyesockets at least around them and under them and the look on his face say I look the same. But here come this Glory man glowing from out the hood of his coat and tell us he got what we need. Glory man give Spurloch a hand shake and say come back where I work if you need it. Follow him back to a room with velvet or satin curtain where a man on a calculator writing 55378008 then turn upside down. Funny man I laugh at his joke. Spurloch awares me of sixers he got with a look outta hell and tell me the Glory man need it up front.
6 Ave. tunnel like night in the daytime and here me and Spurloch sat on the train with stuff we scored in a Crown Royal bag he’s bringed from home. Purple bag like the leeches and Spurloch still got ‘em and I know I do too right under my eyes but the people on with us seem bored or at least boring and maybe they noticed but they didn’t say nothin’ just let us slide easy-pease on down the rails where we get off and walk for Spurloch’s place. Dog bark at us and Spurloch pull out his sixer. Dog back of chain-link-fence can’t get us easy but Pussy Spurloch got that itch and it mean we end up running like fast as we go since someone bound to notice a dead dog in daytime. They also got ears.
Standing outside since I can’t go inside Spurloch inside there picking up Malt. Malt-Cans to keep us from sickness or anti-sickness if this stuff we scored turn out too strong. Over-sickness maybe I guess. Spurloch come out with no brown paper but cans in his hoodie and off we go Spurloch faster than a sixer flash. I know he took ‘em he all outta money and sure ‘nuff here come that bitch with her voicehole yellin’ ‘bout screamin’ ‘bout things that we did but it was Spurloch not we and I make him awares but he make me awares of his sixer again and I’ll shut my hole if I want some this stuff. The sickness is in. His leeches gone black and his skin like a dead man’s but soon we get back and there’s joy to be had.
Remember the last time when things went poor and bearskin rugs got ruined with lung-blood. This time two maybe three at the most. I try and tell Spurloch but pussy he call me and throw back eight in his gob at one time and I’m sure today is the day is the day.
It’s the day. He got the blood too in his lungs and I got nothing just sweet empty bliss and I don’t have no sixer but Spurloch ain’t got control of his fingers so sixers got no place in our fun. But no place to live if Spurloch the Pussy go dying today. Smack on his back and smack on his back damn near make his teeth come out on that stained bearkin rug in his crazy apartment. Sixer fall out when I hit him too hard and I wrestle him down and into the kitchen where he sit on the floor while I commence to cook eggs. Straight on the ring no frying pan I can’t find one. Eggs sloppy sizzle on electric circles and eggs go down and after that he seem to settle. He got those weird marble eyes but now made of liquid with no sickness in them. I find him a blanket find also some rope and tie his wrists to the open door of the oven where I cooked eggs in a daze a daze I can feel it all coming back inside me. The sickness the sickness the sickness. The sickness again. Crown Royal bag is turned on its side and all spilled out like a dog once upon a time with its head all empty. Five again. Five again stupid me stupid me but that can wait for now Spurloch starting choking again and the kitchen floor look like soup with tomatoes. He got the anti-sickness over-sickness whatever you call it and beg me to call for his Sister in Maine.
Throw me the number.
He give me the number. She got this lisp like she slept too long it’s 3 in the daytime where I am and she just waking up to start her day. What he done she say and I tell her. I tell her all eight, one at a time, six-minute period down they went. She tell me Go fuck yourself and call up the service. Not an option is what I say but shit she say it’s now the option the only one left. Or call mom and dad. Mom and dad are dead is what Spurloch says when I hold the phone away from my face. He say they dead I tell the Maine Coon purring down the line with exasperated breaths. She say Fuck you one more time and hang up the phone.
Contact it’s the only option. Glory man from Heritage Museum. He sound like a ragdoll over the phone voice all scratchy like needles on sandpaper. I tell him Spurloch gonna be dead in his sleep but Contact, Glory man, he just go click and then this beeping now me and Spurloch back on square one. Blood and lung-butter coming out of Spurloch. Services services services now our only option but shit if he’ll let me. Spurloch spits and awares me of sixers he thinks he has inside his coat and I decide to let him die.
Next day he still alive all chained up to the oven door and sickness the sickness the sickness the sickness. Back and forward again we go forever. Back and forward with sixers or not. I love this man he is my savior.
Andy Valentine was born in England and now resides in the Pacific Northwest. His work has appeared in various print and online publications, including Old Growth Northwest's Poplorish Magazine, Oregon Voice Magazine, and The Shrug. He holds a degree in English from the University of Oregon.