The International Writers Magazine: Bottle Fiction

Down to the Attic
M. Joseph Hunt

here are two types of people in this world. Both have a story to tell but only one is willing to tell it. The ones that put these words on paper are low-life's, real slobs. They hang out with slackers, addicts, and tell the whole world they sleep with queens in castles from Malibu to Morocco. All the while their story is written and revised in backs of buses, the middle seat on 727's, and through the darkest avenues of the Sunshine state and all points west of Crooklyn, USA a few stops away from the Bronx Zoo.

My story is just like that. But no queens, no whores, no pretty prosaic views on English lit and classical jazz. I don't do parties. I eat in bars and drink in basements. It's not recommended. When you drink in basements, you piss in the corner and pass out in a ball, cold and alone. It's a world I call Shit Paradise.
My bus stopped down the street and I walked home, I was in Texas for only nine days. I spend more time in the bathtub with the newest issue of Playground News and a stiff drink than I did in that state of BBQ and denim. Once, a culture of kings and Mexicans, now an endless clay terrain run by oil men in pinstripe suits discussing war, football, and war some more. I must go back. I barely knew it and it shows.
But I am back in California now, looking longingly at the ocean wondering when my tide will come in to take me back out. I hate the beach. It makes everything seem so goddamn far away, Watching the ships float by, out through the Golden Gate, it's all a fucking tease. A state filled with view lawns and sunset piers, mountaintops and motorcycle diaries. It's all a big circus for the kiddies. Take a drink, it'll be over soon. A guilty pleasure made for starlets and sinners.
Welcome to the basement. Drink up you lost Souls. The party is just beginning and I hope you brought your broomsticks and your pillbox. The party will last as long as you want it to. There is no road map or breadcrumbs to lead you back. It's over whenever you say it is. The bridge is that way. Please leave your wallets behind. Wait. Smell that rose, it may be your last. Those are rats in the corner, do not feed them. The basement is getting crowded now. You aren't alone in Shit Paradise. Don't look so surprised. It's your party. There is no string on the balloons because we didn't want you doing anything crazy. We've got you on suicide watch you sad sacks of shit.

No shoe laces or bed sheets. The clocks will stop soon. One waffle cone and one cigarette. Are you capable of performing the necessary functions required of those seated in the emergency exit row?
One by one, and smallest go first -- by order of sir name -- starting from Zed.

M. Joseph Hunt May 2006

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