I stand in the middle of the street, knowing no cars will come. I’m wearing the same clothes I’ve worn for a week, knowing that no neighbors will shame me. I stare overhead, my jaw hanging loose, like someone who’s been walking and starving for a week, or maybe someone who’s been given evidence of a god.
My arms hang at my sides, limp. I could shrug, I could turn up the palms and shrug, but what would be the point. Running around in circles, swearing my head off, would have exactly the same efficacy to change anything as standing here, mute and enervated. So I choose the path of least resistance: I simply stand there, in the street, in the daylight, staring upward into the face of my delirious god.
I think she was doing housework today. I hear her singing songs I don’t recognize. Not pop songs, not today’s pop songs from this nation. Maybe popular songs from another country, ten or twenty years ago. I know nothing about these things, but it feels right. And in this environment, where my eyes and ears and brain have been working overtime, constantly, to seize upon and organize any clues as to what the fuck my life is going to be like, I have to trust my instincts. For one thing, there’s no one else to contradict me: if I say that song sounds like a treacly Spanish ballad of the early ’90s, there is literally fucking no one around at all to tell me no.
There’s the god, the effectual god who keeps me and watches over me, but she doesn’t listen. If I scream it at her, if I ask her a question, no matter how clearly, she will not answer. She’ll hear me, oh yes, but she will bend at the waist and bunch her fists preciously beneath her chin and emit that locomotive-emergency-brakes squeal through two broad rows of every last tooth in her head. Then she’ll stare at me for another couple of moments, in case I do anything else interesting, and then she goes and fucks off with whatever her life is made of.
Today she’s cleaning her house. She has a literal feather duster, the kind I thought were proven ineffective, and she’s singing foreign pop songs to herself, and once in a while she glances over at me. Hopefully, I want to say. She dusts the tops of a row of books, and then she turns to me with huge eyes, inquiring eyebrows, and a giddy half-grin, half-gape. It really looks like one of two expressions: either she expects me to be impressed and delighted with whatever she’s doing, or she’s on the edge of her seat to witness some amazing thing she expects out of me.
Neither of these are accurate: she is dusting her apartment, and I’m trying to learn how to force myself into catatonia.
Am I hungry? I think so. Sometimes she forgets to feed me, and by that I mean she forgets to lift the lid on this transparent dome and sprinkle food particles all over the neighborhood’s street. It is only marginally less disgusting and humiliating for me to eat off of this street, it being a texturized resin and absolutely clean and free of any automotive wheels or emissions. And thankfully there are no neighbors to peek furtively through their drapes and judge me as I scoop chunks of scrambled eggs and bacon off the pavement and shove them into my mouth.
Sometimes she forgets this. She can go a whole day, hovering around me, waiting for me to perform some precious trick. Or dancing to the radio, shaking that tremendous, broad behind at my dome, shimmying it threateningly over the rooftops, peeping at me as if I’m going to join her in the festival. Then she gets bored and goes away, doing God knows what, and that’s all there is until the sun comes up again. Am I starving? Tough titty! I can go back inside and lie down on the unfurnished floor of the dining room and measure my breath until I pass out. Or I can stretch out in the front yard, or I can lie in the street. It is literally all the same: no one to disturb me, same light quality everywhere, same air quality. It’s just me and me alone in this fucking museum of a neighborhood.
I did get egg and bacon today. There was too much of it, so the rest is a lukewarm, congealing mass that will decay and stink inside of a week, and it won’t occur to her to clean it out until it becomes so fetid, she can detect it outside of the dome. Never mind it turning unholy colors, never mind me pointing at it and screaming and clutching my throat. She just laughs and stares at me as if I were the greatest thing in the world.
There is also three large spinach leaves in the front yard of the neighbor’s house. That’s good fiber, the stuff that makes me leave dark green logs behind that neighbor’s house. If she ever kidnaps another person and makes him live there, he’s going to be pissed. But same thing with the feces: it’s not a real problem until it affects her slightly. Then it’s time to clean the neighborhood.
She has a good system for it. Here, I’ll show you, she’s about to clean it out now. See? She’s reaching down with long, tanned arms, and that thudding noise is a series of eight clips being released in sequence. I don’t run out now, because even though the dome isn’t locked, it’s far too heavy for me to lift and sneak under. She’s walking away, those planetary buttocks grinding against each other in the distance, and now she’s back with some kind of multicleanser, a roll of paper towels, and a sponge. That sponge will take care of the nubbly plastic yards, the tough plastic streets, and any mark I could make on the walls of these houses. But see, she only sets these next to the dome. She’s got something special for me, and since I’m demonstrating this all to you, I’ll show you why.
Here she comes with that brown bottle and that white cloth, yes. And she lifts up the dome, and I sprint as hard as I can opposite her, the other side of the neighborhood, the other side of the table. The atmosphere sucks in and compresses and almost knocks me off my feet, as she whips the immense concave dome away, in order to get at me before I clear the table. Down comes that white cloth, and I can barely feel the cool liquid it’s sopped with before everything goes black.
And now I awake, wearing the same clothes, lain more or less carefully upon the empty-ass bedroom on the second floor of what she’s designated as my house. The sun is going down, I can see, the scenery outside her picture window is dimmer than it was when I was eating my meal off the street. She’s nowhere around, but if I go outside… yes, the dome has been replaced and latched down.
Down. I look down. I’m wearing the same shirt I’ve been wearing for a week, two weeks, a month? Who knows. But now, ha ha, I discover my pants are missing. I don’t walk around naked, in this town where nothing matters, I always wear the doll’s shirt and the doll’s pants, even if they’re the same shirt and pants that get matted with eggs and greasy with bacon and crusty with my sweat and salt. And cum, yes, I jack off in the privacy of my home, I need to. My legs get twitchy and I can’t sleep. And staring at that tremendous round butt for days… I mean, I hate her, I hate this insane and thoughtless god, but who can look at that exaggerated sexuality and not be affected?
But my pants are missing. I take a little heart in the fact that my sensibilities are being killed off. It took me a few minutes of walking around to realize I was partially nude. No, that’s good news. Soon I’ll be dead to the world and it won’t matter if she feeds me or waits for me to dance, because I will not be here. Not in my head, anyway. I’ll be gone, and she can do with my useless, irrelevant body as she wishes.
It looks like she has, already. I walk back to my bedroom, and the pants are missing. They’re nowhere in my house. The insane god took my pants off while I was passed out, and… well, I don’t know. Either they’re somewhere in this neighborhood, hidden like cat treats to intellectually engage a pet, or they’re outside the dome. Lost in her bed sheets, or lying on the floor beneath the table on which my neighborhood rests. I have no idea where, if she took me out while I was unconscious and used me.
My heart sinks as I leave my house and look at the neighbor’s place, the one I’ve been shitting behind, and trudge over to begin roaming its rooms. I need my pants, I do, but I hate the thought that I’m going along with some infantile game she’s dreamed up. I don’t want to encourage anything she does, see. I want her to know that I resent every last cell in her demented body, and I will kill myself at the first opportunity to escape this insipid hell.
I mean, I won’t, but I want her to know that I will. I’ve got nothing else.