I looked into those eyes. Those blue eyes. Those blue eyes that weren't my brown eyes.
“Shit.” I said and pulled each contact lens and stuck them into the plastic, liquid-filled case on the tank of the toilet.
I yanked a few sheets of toilet paper from the roll and wadded it and wiped the mascara away, smearing it like war paint down my cheeks. I wet the paper under the faucet and washed the rest clean.
I opened the medicine cabinet and grabbed my glasses and slid them onto my face. The brown frames matched the brown eyes perfectly.
I pulled back my dyed, jet-back hair and tied it into a pony-tail.
I leaned in close and examined my skin. I noticed the mousy, puktastic brown roots were beginning to show and I was starting to break out a bit on my forehead.
I sighed and took my toothbrush and toothpaste from the Elvis mug on the sink and brushed my teeth. The King checked me out with that sultry pout that made the knees wobble and the panties take flight and I smiled back and moved the brush over my teeth, careful to massage the gums in small circles to avoid gingivitis. I saw the Inspicorp Inspirational Toothpaste tube on the edge of the sink and looked at Bulbereno, the happy cartoon lightbulb mascot. I stared into those goofy, starry eyes and spit the foamy, minty stuff into the drain. I ran the sink and leaned my head down like a little girl at a water fountain and took a mouthful of water and swished it and spit.
I unzipped my black hoodie and dropped my skirt and faded Ramones t-shirt and put on my nightly sleepwear; a white, v-neck t-shirt and a pair of Matthew's old boxer shorts. They were comfy and reminded me of a bunch of nice things, so I kept them and I wore them to snooze.
I reached under the bed and pulled out my sketch pad, hopped onto to the mattress and flipped through the pages to find an empty one. So many sheets were covered with half-finished drawings and scribbled out ideas and nonsensical shapes and doodles. It looked like a five year old had run rampant.
I settled on an empty page and took a pencil from the coffee can on the nightstand next to the bed and crossed my legs Indian-style. I noticed my legs needed a shave and immediately felt aggravated. There were and are few things in the world that I despise more than shaving. Female bullshit, man. Shave the legs, pluck the brows, plug the bleeding baby maker. Drives me up a fucking wall.
I sketched the same picture I drew or attempted to draw every night. The little boy in the shirt and tie with the oversized head. I didn't have a name for the boy yet but as soon as I drew him, I fell in love. He was adorable and pathetic and sad and great. I felt like he could be the star of his own children's books. I wanted to write them and illustrate them and sell them in stores and wanted children everywhere to love him as much as I did. I saw bittersweet tales and wonderful sadness for the boy. Weirdness and darkness and beauty and everything. I saw children sleeping in bed sheets covered in my drawings and I wanted a cartoon show and a movie and keychains and stickers on the backs of cars. There was something about the look in the boy's eyes. They were black holes, just two dark spots. I always drew him the same way. He was always stiffly standing and staring straight ahead with a look of confused despair. He always wore a shirt and tie and his head was always too big for his little body. I couldn't draw him any other way. I didn't want to. He was perfect the way he was. But I never wrote any words for him. I had ideas for his adventures but I never got them down.
He was always there, alone, stuck in the same spot, surrounded by blankness, in a world without a story.
Or maybe a world without a storyteller.
I had just begun his body when the phone rang.
I knew what the ringing was for and I felt the blood pressure boil.
It rang again and the tea kettle screamed and the blotchy redness hit my cheeks and I tossed the pad across the room.
And it rang again.
“Mother fucker, man!”
And it rang a few more times.
I climbed off the bed and grabbed the receiver.
“Yeah?” I said and listened. And they told me what I already knew. “Again?”
And I listened further and nibbled my thumbnail.
“This kid is gonna be fucking--" I started and they blocked me with the way, “Yeah, I know—” I said. “I know. Okay.” I looked at the drawing of the boy on the floor. I looked into those black eyes and into that desperate face and sighed.
“Okay…I'll call him.”
I hung up the phone and kept my hand resting on the receiver and took a big deep breath. “Oh, Franky-boy...” I said and lifted and dialed.
I waited a few rings and heard his usual frantic answer.
“Hello, Franky-boy!” I said with feigned enthusiasm, “What's up?”
And I listened to the poor nonsense that poured from the poor junkie's mouth like pathetic pouring puke. It was the same spiel every time. The same words. The same speech. Begging begging begging. Pleading pleading pleading. “I need a new one. I need a new one. I need a new one.”
“Already?” I said as if surprised, “But I just gave you one yester... Yes, I know…” I listened to more insane, neurotic rambling. He was too twitchy and too fried and I was seriously worried about him. Franky-boy just couldn't get enough.
“You know what you gotta do, baby-boy,” I said and proceeded to explain to him the way. I explained the way over and over to Frank but nothing sank in with him. He never listened. He never cared. He never changed. He was like a hamster on a wheel; running and running and running and never getting anywhere. There was part of me that wanted to take the son of a bitch and just flush him. But he was sick. He was diseased. He was addicted and I was the one who made him that way.
"FINE FINE FINE!" I said. And I hung up.
I opened the closet and took down the supply box from the top shelf and dropped it on the floor. The words BONNIE'S SEEDS AND SHIT were written on the side in thick, black, magic marker covering the face of Bulbereno.
I reached into the box and took out a plastic bag and a bottle that looked like it would hold prescription medication.
On the bag was the word APPLICATOR. I tore the bag open and removed two plastic pieces that looked like halves of a large, Three Musketeers-sized, plastic ball-point pen and laid them on the floor. One half had a button on the end and the other half was tapered at the tip.
I popped the lid of the bottle and shook a few see-through, green gel-caps into my palm.
I grabbed the half of the Three Musketeer-pen with the button and looked into its open, circular end. Inside was a thin, cylindrical shaft running thorough its center. I dropped the gel-caps into the shaft, grabbed the other half and screwed the two pieces together.
I held the completed applicator in my hand like I was about to drive a stake into a vampire's heart and stabbed the air several times.
“Rock and roll,” I said and grabbed my bag from the bed.
I dug through the mess and found my small, black, leather zip-case that looked like something an old great-uncle would keep cigars in. I unzipped and opened it. Inside was a used applicator, its tip covered in dried, smeared blood. I carefully grabbed it between my thumb and index finger and tossed it in the trash.
I slid the new applicator into the case, zipped and dropped it into a brown, lunch bag. I snatched a black marker from the coffee can on the nightstand and quickly wrote “FRANK FISHER” on the bag. For some reason the boys were more responsive when the seeds looked more lurid. It had to look like a dope deal. I didn't really know why but that's what the Inspicorp research dweebs told me to do, so that's what I did. I doped it up.
And it was game face time.
I lowered the needle onto the record. The crackle and pop and hiss sounded like hail hitting the roof.
The beat began and so did the good stuff as Roy Orbison sang the words:
Darkness falls and she will take me by the hand
Take me to some twilight land
Where all but love is grey
Where I can't find my way
Without her as my guide
Night falls I'm cast beneath her spell
Daylight comes our heaven turned to hell
Am I left to burn and burn eternally
She's a mystery to me
I closed my eyes and swayed to the sound of Roy's voice. It cut into me like surgical steel. The quiver and romance and darkness. It was beautiful. And I stepped into the bathroom.
I lost the glasses and went for the contacts. I took the case from the toilet tank but the liquid within each semi-spherical shell splashed like water in a wave pool and sent one of the contacts flipping and sailing through the air and into the murky depths of the toilet bowl below.
“MOTHER FUCKER!” I screamed as I stared at the little blue disc floating and teasing and tormenting me from the poop depository and I actually contemplated the unthinkable.
Do I scoop it and rinse?
I pondered this insanity for a surprisingly significant amount of time.
And I popped the left contact in and closed my right eye, then my left and stared at my blurry reflection.
“Just adds to the mystery, don't it, baby-boy?” I said with an enticing grin and let my fake jet-black hair down and shook it out and mussed it.
I winked again and mimed like I was flipping a light switch in the air.
And Roy kept repeating:
She's a mystery girl
She's a mystery girl
She's a mystery girl
She's a mystery girl
She's a mystery girl
She's a mystery girl...