18 years of age
Highschool senior at Jones High
12:00am – 12:40am
There was no way I was getting any sleep tonight, not after today.
No matter how much I cried, or screamed into my pillow, or ran on the treadmill I wasn’t going to get any sleep. I was just, in too much pain to sleep.
Was there anything I had said that made her leave me?
Was it anything I didn’t say?
It hadn’t even been noon and her stuff was gone. The apartment never felt so empty. She had taken almost everything. The candles, the blankets, the bathmat, the shower curtain, the silverware, the paintings, all of it was gone. The only things left were the TV, and the dog.
Her dog that now sat in my passenger seat.
His name was Bacon. He was a little 35 pound, three-year-old, red heeler whose fur coat flowed in the color scheme of uncooked bacon. He was sweet, smart, and always in favor of me in any situation where a need had to be filled. If he didn’t have any water, I filled the tank. If he ran out of food, I went out to buy it. If he needed to go potty, I was the one to take him out. And I loved him a lot, but it hurt. It hurt because he was the gift I had given to her.
That day I had hid him in the closet at my parent’s house when she came back from Texas. I had set it all up with a blindfold, seating her on my old twin mattress. I then swung the door open and he bounded into her arms. The tiny puppy screeching with happiness. And after, the kiss we had was an ignited fire so glorious I never could forget it. And I felt good, I had found my family and they were mine.
Till I stood in the apartment kitchen with tears in my eyes, asking who Wyatt was.
In that screaming match I had broke down into a sobbing mess for the first time in front of her. I had told her how much I loved and cared for her, how bad it hurt. I had begged her to never do it again and to lose all contact with him. She had cried and promised me that she would. She told me that she would always love me that night.
But it all meant nothing.
Because right now, at three in the morning on Christmas night she was at his apartment. She was sleeping in his bed, in his arms, and I was out here in the blizzard. Secretly I hoped to see her walking on the side of road. Hoping I would get to pull over and watch her get in. Have her sit there and sob to me, tell me she was wrong and that she would never leave me again. To hear her say she loved…
We were stopped at a light when a man, homeless, started walking up to the car. His hand in front of his face he motioned for me to roll down the passenger window. Instantly I felt fear grab me then as soon as the light went green my foot spoke for itself and slammed on the pedal. Tearing away I watched in my rearview as the guy spun in my direction waving and cursing. I wanted to help him, wanted to be nice, but I couldn’t be seen… not like this.
I reached out and pet Bacon, stroking his hackles down as we drove deeper into the night. In returned he leaned into the seat pinning my hand, then curled his paw over holding it down. At that, I gave my smirk of the night.
“You silly mutt.”
My gas light went on.
Shit, I didn’t know how much money was on my Debit Card. Immediately I pulled my hand away from Bacon, disappointing him, and reached into the center console but there was no cash. Of course, I had left my phone at home. I hadn’t wanted to be disturbed so I had thrown it onto the couch after putting on Bacon’s collar, now I was regretting it.
I saw the gas station, a big 7 Eleven, bright and open off to the right of the road. Its big neon signs shimmering as they reflected off the snowy curtains billowing past. They would have an ATM there for sure. So I pulled in, swung around, and landed at Pump #6.
“Want anything?” Bacon looked up, his ears perked.
“Slim Jim?” At that his mouth opened.
I smiled, “alright, I got you.”
With that I was out of the car, into the painfully cold wind. I gritted my teeth as the ice stung my cheeks and burned straight through my letterman jacket. Fuck fuck fuck, was all I kept thinking.
BING BONG! BING BONG!
The door alarm went off loudly as I rushed through the doors, breathing heavily like I just ran uphill. My head started swiveling as my eyes searched for the ATM. My feet moving forward I spotted the green letters pasted upon a clean white background.
“Sweet.” I whispered under my breath walking past the corner to the money machine in the far back corner. I then yanked out my Stormtrooper wallet and punched in the card. The process began with the outline of predetermined questions, “would you like a receipt with your transaction” “would you like to see your balance on the screen or on receipt” “Thank you, would you like to make another transaction?”.
“144.44” I read off the little thin sheet.
Great, not only am I left with her dog but she doesn’t even leave me anything to pay rent, I fight from screaming my head off, figures.
“Well, fuck it.” I say turning and grabbing the first large overpriced bag of doritos I see, secretly hoping my mom would help me pay the upcoming bill for the sixth time. I then grab the slim jim, a bag of beef jerky for myself, then a snickers bar, and finally…
“Supa Cola?” I say staring at the neatly lined row of purple colored soda cans. Each can designed with yellow and pink stripes to accent the letters, and the size a little bit bigger than a MONSTER energy drink. I tilt my head and reluctantly open the frigde to reach inside and grab the closest cola. Inspecting the new product, I notice the strange similarities of layout to designs from Coke and Pepsi with smaller differences in font and wording. It read…
WANNA BE SUPA? DRINK SUPA COLA AND
EXPERIENCE YOUR LIMITS!
Only available at…
And on a printed sticker melded to the can…
North Warefree and Mirkle
Colorado Springs, CO
I keep looking at it finding it strange at how captivated I am by this drink. Before I can listen to my gut any further I’m slapping the drink of the counter in front of the cashier. The cashier, a six foot something three hundred pound Mexican, gives the drink a look and smiles.
“Ah! Interested enough to give it a try huh? These have been selling like mad tonight, and it looks like…” He leans to his left looking back at the fridge’s,” yep! You got the last one.” He returns to the register, not once dropping his smile.
“I didn’t…” I turn my head to look, and sure enough the row was empty,” I… I could of swore.”
I could of swore…
“Just hope you don’t love it, cause its only sold at this location, tonight only.” He informs me. Lighting me up with that big salesman smile, signifying he either loves his job too much or is completely crushed by it. Or he’s just on drugs.
“Alright bud, that’ll be 27.96.”
“Can I also get 20 on Pump 6.”
He then pauses, looking at me then at the card in my outstretched hand. Then the tiny head on his big body stiffens and the smile somehow gets bigger.
“Its on the house.” He says.
“What? All of it?”
“All of it.”
“Well… thanks man… thank you so much.”
I nod and gather my things going towards the door.
“Merry Christmas. And enjoy the soda.” I give him a final look then turn and within seconds I’m back into the freezing wind. As I pushed towards the car, I remember feeling strange about the soda. It felt heavy in my arms, a little too heavy. But by the time I filled the tank to $34.45, gave the dog his treat, snacked on my own treat, and started the car my mind forgot all about it.
I sat heavy in the driver’s seat next to a ravaging Bacon as he devoured the thin sliver of meat. I then turned the car on, put her in drive, and pulled my blackened gray Buick back out onto the road. The song on the radio changed to that new Taylor Swift single, but before it could go to that “look what you made me do” crap I switched it over to a heavy metal station. And after a while my head started to bob to the practically foreign music.
After a moment on the road, I reached into the gas station bag and pulled up the Supa Cola where I cracked the tab and took a drink. The cold spice suddenly ignited my taste buds making me lift my chin and grit my teeth.
“Ahh.” It was like the best coke I’d ever had, only with a bit more crackle and the after taste which left me wanting more. I started gulping it down while jamming to the tunes, letting myself enjoy the night for a few seconds.
Maybe tonight wouldn’t be awful after all.
I started to accelerate the vehicle.
Maybe, I was better off. She was out there with some bummy hockey player who had god knows how many side pieces. And I had the dog and the Tv, the couch, the bed, the place all to myself. Plus, I would never have to deal with her shit parents ever again.
The snow whipped past now, blurring away.
Wouldn’t have to ignore their distasteful looks at the dinner table. Or how they always called me “he” and “him”. I would never have to feel uncomfortable knowing her father hated me because I was black. And I would never have to see her scream at me. Never have her slam a door in my face or throw something across the room.
I drank the cola down tossing the can in the back seat.
I would never have to hear her cry again.
My foot hit the brakes as I saw the headlights coming from the right side, but the car kept going. It started spinning at the left side and I couldn’t correct it before the truck slammed into the rear right tire. The car then snapped out and lifted up, and when it came down all there were… was sounds.
BANG BANG BANG
I heard Bacon yelp and barely saw his body get sucked out of the back window.
Then there was complete silence save for the howling win and echo of engine oil drips. My body felt completely numb. My eyes heavy and barely able to crack open I tried to focus on the colors which seemed shifted, everything but the puddle of blood above me was red. Then the yellow and orange struck as the flames ignited. I reached slowly with my left hand, unclipping my seatbelt and falling forward onto my right hand. I shifted my weight, rolling to my left shoulder and beginning to scoot backward.
I heard the glass crunching, but I didn’t feel it.
Coming out of the car I was hit with snow straight in my eyes. But as I tried to wipe them out, they just clung harder to the slick blood rushing down my forehead. The snow was everywhere, turning to slush on my hands, my face, and my clothes. Turning my face away I resorted to being on all fours and when I looked up… I froze.
Bacon was lying on his side in the middle of the road.
And he wasn’t moving…
I stood up on shaky, possibly broken legs and pushed toward him. My body swaying as the wind and snow fought to push me over. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t talk. All I could do was keep moving.
Get to the dog.
Get to the god damn dog.
My knees dropped beside him, my hands lifting his limp head for the ocean of crimson puddle. I felt instantly, I felt the cold, and I felt empty. I hugged him.
“No no no, no no no.” I repeated over and over again. My head shook and my body convulsed as I held my friend. My friend whose spirit I felt rise into my chest, up my shoulders, down my arms, and into the bony fingers in my cold hands.
“Jesus Christ.” I looked to my left and there was the man, middle aged, looking a little drunk. His hands reached up and retrieved the old trucker hat which he then lowered to his chest.
He tried to speak.
I started to sob.
“It was her dog.” I said, “It was her dog.”
I started repeating it. Growing louder and more hateful with every spoken word. She’ll never come back to me for this. She’ll tell everyone! Everybody will say she was right to leave. She’ll scream at me.
“It was her dog! It was HER… DOG!” I held Bacon tighter, felt his fur in my hands and the muscles in his neck. The man was stepping back, his eyes widened and staring at Bacon. Staring at my boy, my baby boy whom I had almost single handedly raised. He stared with terror, his face almost illuminating off some light, and I had to get him to look away. I had to get him to hear me, to understand. So I held Bacon’s head under my chin and leaned my head out looking dead into the man’s eyes.
“YOU KILLED HIM!”
Purple exploded from my hands in a flash of light. I had to look away and fell backwards grasping at my face. My vision coming back slowly as the iris burns faded out. The man had fallen on his ass too, his hat blowing off the road with the wind.
Bacon shifted, then slowly and awkwardly stood.
He shook for a second like he did after a bath and then, covered in snow and blood, ran over and licked my face.
“B… Bacon?” I pet him, my mind not comprehending the situation.
Then when I noticed it… I tore my hand away.
I stared at my hand as if it were an alien as the bones reverberated a neon purple and pink glow under the skin. As if someone were putting a bright light on the other side and forcing the light through. The hand started to dim starting with the flesh around the bone, losing first the pink resorting to the deep purple. And then, soon after, it faded away completely and my hand was normal again, “What the… fuck?” Was all I could say.
Bacon licked my hand, completely unconcerned with what happened. But I couldn’t believe it, and neither could the truck driver as he stood and moved two steps closer.
“Are you… Are you okay?” Was all he could ask.
I sat for awhile at that.
Trying to understand.
Then I pet Bacon again, holding my best friend never wanting to let go.
And for the first time that night.