Crumbs and Coffee Stains
Bonnie’s been away for hours.
She’s been somewhere. I’ve been nowhere. I’ve heard noises. I’ve heard things. I’ve heard whispers. I’ve heard nothing. I’ve heard something.
She’s forced me. She’s forced me to write. She’s forced me to think. She’s forced me to drink coffee. My hands. My arms. My chest. It’s been too much. Too strong. She’s trying to kill me.
I’m literally chained to the desk.
The desk is too small. My back hurts. My lower back hurts. My lower back is killing me. But she wants me to work. She wants me to try. So I try. I type. I type. I type hard.
THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. This is the sound the keys make. This is the sound my fingers make. My fingers are being creative. But I’m not. I’m not there when they’re there. I’m not here when they’re here. I’m only here when she’s here. But she’s not here. She’s not here and I need her here. I need her here now.
She’s denying me again. I haven’t felt it inside me for weeks. Weeks feel like months, feel like years, feel like decades, feel like centuries. She says, “You’ll be clean as the kitchen floor , baby-boy.” But the kitchen floor isn’t clean at all. Nothing’s clean. Everything is covered in filth. Everything is covered in crumbs and coffee stains.
I’m crumbs and coffee stains and I’m covering everything.
I feel like something is coming. I feel like something is building. I have to go to the bathroom but I can’t. I can’t drag the desk. I can’t be free until Bonnie frees me. I’m in pain. I’m alone. I’m scared.
Days are ticking by and I lose track of time. The ticks. The tocks. The nothing. The nothing. I can’t tell the difference between Mondays and Sundays and Tuesdays and Fridays. I can’t tell the difference between twelve and eight and nine and ten. When happiness comes, sadness clobbers it and I just want to feel her hands. And her hands make it feel okay. And her hands make it feel real. And her hands make my smile hurt. And her hands make my heart work. And I don’t know where I am but I’m here when she’s here. I’m there when she’s there.
If I could leave the desk I’d find her. But she’s locked me down. She says that this is where I belong. She says this is where I stay until she says I can go. “When you’re free, you’ll be free, Franky-boy.” That’s what she says. That’s what she says when I question her. That’s what she says to make me feel better.
So I type.
I don’t think. I don’t try. I don’t mull. I type. As each word appears on the screen it vanishes from my mind. But these are not my words. They’re passing through the conduit. Bonnie is in control. I’m the vessel through which she speaks. She may not always intend for this to be the case, but it is. I’m the vessel. And this vessel is sinking.
But I type. I type and I wait.
The letters are spilling like blood from a severed cliche. They smear as I try to clean them. They stain the screen as I try to wipe them. Letters turn to words turn to sentences turn to something. Something that’s telling me that something is building. Something is building in me. Something is building around me. Something that’s gonna crush me. I need her here as my shelter. I need her here as my shield. But she’s not with me. She’s left me. She’s left me alone. She’s left me alone and I’m alone. I feel alone. I feel scared. I feel trapped. “When you’re free, you’ll be free, Franky-boy.” She says it over and over and over again. She says it to me and it comforts me but I don’t listen. I don’t listen to what she says. I don’t listen to anything except the pounding of my head. The pulsing of my wound. The craving that tears at my insides screaming, “I NEED A NEW ONE!”
“No more new ones.” That’s what she says. “Clean as the kitchen floor.” That’s what she says.
Crumbs and coffee stains. That’s what I say.
And I hear the front door.
My heart can’t take the pounding as I listen to her approach. It nearly explodes as she enters the room. And it damn-near stops as she slips a black hood over my head.
“Bonnie, what are you—”
“Shut the fuck up!” she yells.
I hear the jingling keys and unlocking locks as the chains are removed and the cuffs are secured around my wrists. She grabs me by the armpit and yanks me from the chair. “Come on!” she says impatiently.
She drags me down the hall, through the kitchen, out the front door, across the grass and tosses me into the backseat of an awaiting car. The exhaust stink and rattling, clunky engine tells me it’s my death box. She slams the door, hops in the driver seat and off we go.
“Where are you taking me?” I ask.
“Nowhere,” she says.
“Cuz that’s where you need to go.”
“I think I’m getting a little confused.“
She bangs the car around a 90 degree turn, screeching the tires. I can feel the backend fishtail as I slide and bash my head into the door.
“Jesus Christ, Bonnie!” I yelp, as she whips the little crapper 180 and floors it in the opposite direction.
“I said, shut up!” she yells, “Keep quiet till we get there!”
I hear her grunt and cut the wheel as we pop another 180.
“I said shut up!” she shouts as she pounds her foot onto the gas. The spinning tires reek of burning rubber as we take off at speeds far exceeding anything my death box has ever experienced.
And I decide to keep my mouth shut.
We finally arrive at our mysterious destination after what felt like a spin on the tilt-a-whirl from hell. The engine cuts, Bonnie jumps out, the door opens and she grabs me by the scruff of my neck and pulls me onto the ground.
“On your feet!” she commands.
I’m barely standing before she’s pushing me forward. She steps in front of me and grabs me by my shirt.
"Watch your step!” she says and tugs me up a flight of stairs. I nearly fall to my face but Bonnie keeps my balance as she pulls me up and holds me still.
“Wait,” she says. I hear her dig through a bag and remove something. I hear a strange sound, like the tissssssssss of an aerosol can and feel the front of the hood soak with liquid. Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed by the smell of lavender.
“What are you doing, Bonnie?” I ask between coughs.
I hear a giggle as she grabs a handful of shirt and pulls me through a door. We enter a room and Bonnie forces me down. I feel sharp pain as my knees slam into what feels like linoleum. Bonnie plops in front of me and I hear her light her Zippo. I feel a growing warmth through the hood. And after another giggle, Bonnie gets to her feet and walks away. And the warmth goes with her.
And I wait.
As the silence grows, I wait.
As the loneliness builds, I wait.
As the neurosis and paranoia fill the room, I wait.
I wait until the hood is pulled away…
And I’m in my own kitchen.
“What the fuck?” I mutter.
I hear Bonnie snicker behind me. “You were blind, my boy, and I made you see.”
I quickly turn to see Bonnie holding a lopsided birthday cake with 26 lit candles stuck in top. I slowly look to her face and notice a bit of chocolate icing on her cheek. She smiles a smile that feels like a shovel to my face and says, “Happy birthday, baby-boy. How’s 26 feel?”
I’m silent as I realize that I’ve forgotten my own birthday once again.
“It’s okay, Franky-boy,” she says, “I can remember for both of us.”
And she rests the cake on the floor. She rests it on top of the crumbs and coffee stains and takes my face in her hands.