Writing & Writers

“We Have Lost the Power to Make Each Other Laugh”


Fall. Glimmer. Sparkle & Fade.


How could someone is easily hurt be attracted to someone who feels nothing for the world? Three cigarettes gone with the fourth burning slowly. I hear the carrion rotting upon the doorstep. The birds of prey gnashing at the flesh. Chrysanthemum sleeps on the couch, naked. The tuft of pubic hair peaking from the thin sheet.

“The wine is stale,” Anderson says. Body gleaming with a passionate sweat.

“I love myself more when my thoughts are silent,” I say, not meaning anything. “I love being in control of the situations I find myself.”

And I have no regard for others. Not for Chrysanthemum. Not for Anderson.

“What do you feel, Mackie?” the therapist asked. Slender creature. Might’ve been a beauty in her day.

“I feel adjacent from myself. Feel absent from the situation.”

There is no storyline. Nothing is told linear. I pick up the information as I go along. One moment, Anderson is in midthrust, the next, I’m choking the orgasm out of Chrysanthemum. The next, I’m in a field watching the wind blow over the grass. Steady, Mackie. Steady. Just focus on her eyes.

We rode in the back of the town car, her head resting on my shoulder. Following the span of the plowed fields, moving with us like a fan closing upon itself, I saw three staggering wetbacks hitchhiking back toward the city.

Anderson holds me in his arms. His warmth forced the sweat from my back, beading it up and through. Chrysanthemum cuddle in close to me, facing me.

“We’re miserable because we make ourselves that way,” Anderson says. The clock ticks the seconds. “You’re making yourself this way.”

“We’ve lost it,” I say. “Lost the power to make each other laugh.”

“You’re the only thing I like about me,” Chrysanthemum mummered in her sleep.

Road sign read last exit to Boroughs. Chapin City still in the horizon.

“Just say it,” Anderson said. “Just say it, Mackie, and I’ll drive this car right off the street.”

Sometimes you forget the history of your life. You fuse the fact from the fiction.

Chrysanthemum opens her eyes and smiles. “Let’s do it.”

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