Sunday, May 8, 2011


Sarah, much like the apes, had come a long way. At least, she thinks that's what Kubrick was trying to say. She wasn’t quite sure. She might never be sure, she thought, but, having just taken two hits of acid, supposed that now was a good a time as ever to figure it out. The original assumption was that we're still not much better than the first versions of ourselves. But she decided she could be wrong. She usually was about these kinds of things. She continued to sit cross-legged on the ground, waiting for the drugs to kick in, determined to come to some kind of conclusion.

On the cold wooden floor of her living room next to her cat she listened to the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack on her mother's old record player and envisioned each scene from the movie using only the orchestra’s cues. She was in the middle of emptying out her apartment when she found the acid (preparing herself to move in with her half-sister one city over, a city very close, essentially, while at the same time being worlds away from the house where she now stayed, here, in a college town, where to exist in a state of perpetual adolescence was absolutely acceptable) in a Ziploc bag and decided to take it. Two strips. They had to be at least a year old, she remembered, having purchased them at a music festival where she camped out for five days, but it was one of those places where being uninhibited allowed for you to do other people's drugs for free, and so she was able to save them. Her mouth filled with the taste of pine. She had used the bag for not just acid, but nuggets of pot as well.

Sarah closed her eyes and began to count backwards from random numbers. Forty-seven. Sixty-two. She closed her eyes and listened. Music. An Orchestra. This was the scene where the monkey's first discovered how to use tools. An epiphany, she thought. A revelation.

Sarah opened her eyes. Tall heaps of trash were piled all around her. Coffee pots without machines to steam the grounds, lamp shades without lamps, broken ironing boards and boxes full of books she'd read only once and hated. Clothes without hangers, hangers with no clothes, notebooks and papers and essays and notes, all of it having defined her in someway at some point in time. Wait a minute, she thinks. This was the scene where the monkeys first saw the slab. It loomed high above them, much like her garbage did now. It sounded like locusts were coming. It frightened her. Her breath became shallow and spastic. She tried taking deep breaths through her nose to calm down, but it only reminded her that the house smelled like a forest fire.

Two weeks ago, Sarah almost burnt down her house. A kitchen fire. After throwing a handful of pasta into a pot of boiling water, she went to to smoke a joint while she waited. Feeling lightheaded, she decided to lie down, and when she woke up, she woke up to the mouth of a fireman's wrapped around her own, pushing hot air into her, inflating her, like a balloon animal or a blow-up sex doll.

The firemen and the police asked her questions. She told them she inhaled too much smoke trying to put out the fire. She wandered into her bedroom and fainted. No one seemed to believe her. But No one could prove otherwise. Was this where they first launched into space?

Coming in to rescue her, the firemen had punched a hole through the front window to get in through the front door. She imagines they must have looked like astronauts in their suits, wading slowly through what for them must have felt like a dangerous new planet. On the window there was now a murky, plastic sheet. Sarah hated it. What scene was this? What am I even listening to? Sarah wondered. Was the music speeding up or slowing down? Was the acid kicking in? Taking it was a good idea, she decided. She started to feel sick.

She hadn't replaced her stove because she was leaving, and so subsequently couldn't cook anything. She had sustained herself by eating through everything in the fridge – including a jar of minced garlic – but the only thing left now was a bag of Krab Delight and a shriveled red pepper. The Krab Delight was making her nauseous and the pepper was no longer safe to eat. There was no money to buy food because there wasn’t a job. There was no job because there was no desire to work. There was no desire to work because there was no desire to do anything with the degree that was just earned. Sarah didn't want to be a sociologist; she wanted to be a sculptor. But she couldn’t afford any clay, and she couldn’t afford any food, and she was running out of things to sell, with one week left to go before she moved in with her sister. Maybe she could sell the cat, she thought. She didn’t like him all that much anyway.

Three months ago Sarah rescued the cat from being stuck up a tree. It had remained ungrateful. Initially she kept the cat because it hobbled, its rear left leg much larger than the others, a trait she found endearing, but now she had no idea why she kept the cat. The cat did not like her. He scratched her when she tried to pet it and hissed at her when she walked by. The only time the cat was non-threatening was when it was eating, and there was nothing left to feed the cat but Krab Delight, which was making him sick. She’d fed him Krab Delight all week and now his hair was falling out. The cat might have fared better in the tree, she thought. It tried to run away when she first brought it home -- still did, even -- but Sarah felt that because she’d invested so much time in the cat she should keep it, and so she trapped it inside by screening in the bottom half of the front door. She was determined to have the cat show her gratitude.

The cat lifted his large leg to lick himself, tufts of fur coming loose on his tongue, his mouth smacking open and closed. Sarah became concerned when the cat's leg shrunk back to a normal size. Seeming to notice Sarah's watching him, the cat squinted his eyes and hissed at her, an echo that vibrated somewhere within her. The cat made to his feet and galloped on his uneven legs towards the front door, but was thrown backwards when he bounced headfirst into the screen. He hobbled through the living room, shedding as he went, a testament to his slowly dying. He disappeared behind a pile of garbage. The record spun but made no sound. Silence. The scene where HAL wouldn’t open the bay doors. Maybe taking the acid wasn't such a good idea after all, Sarah thought.

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