dissolution

KNOW THAT I KNOW

In offbeat on December 9, 2009 at 2:48 pm

By Gawd the cards will fall
if I damned want them to:
Ask anyone.
Bourbon violins spool
Corrupted bitched thoughts.
How much is there to ask,
When the eyes of the masters peer dead from
walls,
When jimmy dean’s dick is on my shelf.
The cards will fall if my mind allows them to,
If it gets drunk enough,
Alone.
Know that.
Lonely orchestras scream,
As I gamble away my last thoughts,
the only ones I got,
The only ones that mean,
a thing,
while inside me
the acid tears my guts apart,
with a
whimsical fuck, a wayward penis.
Know that I know, and it all with a
Ruptured heart that begs for pussy,
Elegant, intelligent:
Without a hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

VIOLENCE IS TOO FAMILIAR  By R C Miller

Ethnic rioting inside a frozen turkey covered with shadow theater.
Submerge in hot water and make me drink.
You know how these things usually end;
Test my darkness, poke the fork.

Unless you oil me, tools won’t necessarily comply.
Raw meat appreciates a large meal much larger, beware
The blindfold labeled “calming spray.”
Baby milks pleasure secrets from my fangs.

Animals wearing collars are better socialized and adapt faster.
Tonight, their air unhinders well-endowed pollution.
Candied treats give you measure, deluded terrorism gets you recovered.
And androids clinking just before sunrise ill-devise

Vacuum sealed packs of semiautomatic killing sprees
Where the ventriloquist has confirmed
Clones of us loving a gas chamber, offenders for fright.
Something, creating something, or

Fixing something, they
Want us to tell them meaningful shit.
And maybe we should go on about pain and loss, but
Say instead I fuck your tits.

“RAMPAGE”

In offbeat on November 6, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Edmonton. The three of them sat parked up by a small estate. Two six-storey blocks.

-Are you sure this is where da fucker lives? Grilla asked.

-I’m sure man, believe me, D nodded. How can you forget a shithole like this…

They stepped out of the car. Up and down, not a soul.

-Look at this place, D said. Shanktown my fuckin arse. Niggas are frightened of their own streets man – He took out his nine, slamming the clip home – But they’re gonna be frightened of something else soon bwai.

-I know they are, Grilla grinned, showing the machete beneath his jacket – Rocks the only one not laughing…

-Yo, Rocks, D said, opening the boot and pulling out a nail-embedded cricket bat. Take this. Now be careful with dat ting, y’hear – sniggering…

They headed across the car park and up the stairwell towards the top floor, D hyping himself up all the way, -I’m gonna do this nigga man… he’s gonna fuckin cry… At the top floor they headed along the balcony to the last flat… Right… D rapping hard on the door, then sure enough the sound of footsteps… -Okay, ssh, someone’s coming…

The door opened a crack, a light-skinned black girl saying, -Yeah, what do you want?

They stormed past her into the flat, D kicking open doors, aiming his nine left and right… But nobody. Only empty rooms… Grilla had the girl in a bear-hug, the girl screaming and cussing. D put the gun in his belt, headed towards her. He grabbed her by the hair. -Listen here, WHERE DA FUCK IS HE! – Ahh, get off my hair, you piece of shit!!! – FUCK YOU, MAN, I’LL PULL YOUR HAIR RIGHT OFF!! – the girl screaming HELP!!! HELP!!! – D fuming, pure vexed now…

-Right, you bitch, I’ll show you… D dragged her into the bedroom, slapped her so she flew onto the bed. Shocked, she clutched her bruise, eyes seething… -When my man gets back you’re gonna die for this, boy, fucking die…

-OH AM I NOW, YOU FUCKIN HO? – he grabbed her by the neck and pressed the gun against her face – Now I’m arxin you one last time, WHERE’S YOUR MAN AT?

-Okay, okay, he’s not here. I don’t know where, but he’s coming back later, midnight maybe, that’s all I know.

He pushed her away and she landed back on her elbows. He was looking down on her, the both of them breathing hard… Suddenly he started unzipping his pants… -You’re gonna suck my dick, bitch…

-No, please… the girl backing away…

-Take it easy man, Grill urged, we’ll come back later, she don’t know where he is.

-I don’t give a shit! D grabbing her by the hair and pulling her towards him, -It’s the principle now innit. I don’t like the attitude of this ho… Gun against her head; girl crying – Now get on dat ting!… And yo, you two! Avert dose eyes man. I want some privacy… I’m getting me some lovin’ here innit…

Grill tutted, walked out of the room; Rocks following. They headed into the kitchen/living room… -He’s going too far in there, Rocks said, this is crazy…

-Nu’in I can fuckin’ do, Grill shrugged. Still thinks he’s fourteen or something, that he can just go round groping whatever he wants… but if the guy gets his kicks that way…

Rocks went to the window, looked out into the night; Grill was rummaging through the fridge and cupboards selecting food. Rocks turned to him: -We’re not gonna come good out of this you know, I’ve got a feeling…

-Chill, Grill laughed, That bitch in there is well used to that kinda shit. Probably fuckin enjoys it. She’s with Shanx, ain’t she? Guy’s been done for all sorts. Ain’t exactly Mr nice in that department, you know what I’m saying… Grilla brought his spoils over to the seat and settled down in front of the TV.

In the background Rocks could hear the girl moaning and pleading. He started pacing up and down. He was thinking of that line-up years back that got them into trouble. It happened in the basement of some flats at Frampton, two girls D had said were up for it, into having it rough and that, but what did D know. It was crazy down there, all dim-lit and about twenty guys and so much noise it was hard to tell if the girls even wanted it or not. A bit of base was going round too, everyone revved up, and Rocks was stupid in those days and with all the madness went with the flow. Next day Rocks, D and a few others were pulled in and didn’t see the street for two months until the girls dropped the charges. Fucked up man. Back in the day there was loads of that shit going on. Still was, but these days Rocks didn’t get involved. But D was different. Didn’t think like that.

Rocks stopped pacing. It sounded like the girl was getting knocked about… -Grill, man, what the fuck’s going on in there?

-Up to him innit, Grill shrugged, chomping away, eyes glued to the screen, then – Rah, look at dis man! – He was watching a documentary on drug-busts: cops ramming a door, flying in… I know dose flats! he pointed, That’s Pembury man, I used to live up dat way!

Rocks wasn’t listening, -I’m going in there. I’m going to pull him off her. We don’t even know who she is…

-Tsss, Grilla tutted, She’s one of Shanx’s bitches innit, chill… then: Whoa, look at this – several men spread up against the wall, sniffer dogs on the prowl, stashes of drugs galore…

A minute later in walks D, tucking himself in… -Right Rocks, he pointed, you’re next, get in there and fuck that bitch – He headed straight for the fridge, pulled out a bottle of Supermalt… -Me, I need some refreshment after dat shit… Bitch gives good, man. Every which way, serious. Then he looked at Rocks, -Go on then, what you waiting for, you big pussy. Get in dere an slam that bitch… and yo, here – tossing him a pack of rubbers – Don’t want to be leaving no mess behind, you get me… He turned to Grill – She fuckin loved it, man, serious. Wants a ballin from da both of you…

-Look D, Rocks said, the guy’s not here okay, let’s just get the fuck out of here.

D put down his drink and slowly walked towards him… -You know, I’m gettin stressed with you man…

Rocks tutted, turned away, but D wasn’t finished… -Nah serious, you’re starting to fuckin vex me for real… D took the gun from his belt, hefting it in his hand… -Now I’m fuckin done wid your shit tonight – He pointed it straight at him… Get da fuck in dere.

-Don’t point that thing at me man…

D walked closer, -I’ll do more than point it, believe me…

Rocks saw his eyes, that stare…

Fuck it: Tss… he turned and walked towards the bedroom… D starting to snigger behind him… -And yo, Rocks, he said, putting the gun back in his belt, She’s waiting for you blud. Serious, I ain’t jokin. You’re gonna get a shock when you see her, cuz… laughing away.

He walked in and the girl suddenly stood up, awkwardly standing there in stockings and suspenders. Her face was heavily bruised, trembling in fear… -Fucking hell, Rocks said, what’s he done to you?.. God… he sat down on a chair, -Listen, cover all that up, I’m not touching you…

-But he said I’ve got to fuck you or he’ll kill me, she insisted. He said he knows where my mum lives, and my children are round there. He’ll kill them…

-Listen, don’t worry about him… He put his head in his hands… God, this ain’t my beef, man… I don’t even want to be here…

-But…

-Look, just cover up. I don’t need to see all that… She put on a bathrobe. Then she started breaking down… -You’re not going to kill him are you?

-Who?

-Cobra… I know he’s done bad things and that, but he’s the father of my kids. He’s all I got. We’d probably starve without him…

-You mean Shanx? Rocks said confused.

-No. Cobra… Levi Johnson innit…

-Who?.. This is Shanx’s place ain’t it?..

The girl’s face started to change… -Shanx lives at the top of the next block… She was standing up now, eyes pure evil… Are you telling me you got the wrong fucking flat?..

Rocks was on his feet, putting his hands up, -Now whoa, listen, I don’t know shit. This ain’t got nothing to do with me…

-Are you telling me I’ve been put through all this for NOTHING!… She sprang for him.

In the living room D and Grill were smoking rock, laughing at the sound of action from the bedroom… -Listen to dat, D nodding. I’m impressed man. You know, maybe I’m wrong about that dude… Grill taking the pipe, chuckling along…

A few more tokes and suddenly Rocks flew in looking distressed to the max, -You two, let’s get the fuck out of here right now!! – all scratches down his face and a bloody lip… -Look at you man, D whooped, you two been playin tigers in dere or su’in?…

-I’m not fucking about, WE GOTTA GO!

-What you chattin about, dog? Grill’s having his go next innit… and yo listen up, she better be bendin over good, cos if da Grillaman gets on top he’s gonna be fucking a corpse, ain’t dat right Grill! – slapping his own knees guffawing. Then he stopped, slowly turned to Grill… Grill might be all gentle giant watching his back like a brother, but overstep the mark, man, and he can turn… But all was good because the G-man was lost in a TV motorway chase, eyes crack-crazy…

Rocks grabbed him – You’ve brought us to the wrong fucking flat, you prick, the wrong place! – Easy, man! D whacking his arms away, What you chattin about? – This ain’t Shanx’s place. It’s some guy called Cobra’s… Levi Johnson or something…

D froze. -What the fuck you talking about?

-…I’ve just had to tie that crazy bitch up in bedsheets back there, gag her and everything. She flipped…

D looked left and right in a panic… -The fucking Cobra?

Rocks stopped, -What, you know him? Who is this guy?

D ignored him – LET’S GO! – tugging Grill away from the screen… – Hey, I’m watching this, man… FUCK IT, WE’RE MOVIN, NOW! – The three of them hurrying out of the flat.

Down the dim-lit stairwell Rocks was still asking who the fuck the guy was, when D suddenly turned to him, a fear in his eyes Rocks hadn’t seen before… -Are you telling me you never heard of him? – I don’t think so, no – D turned away: -Well I don’t want to talk about it then – They headed across the estate – Let’s just get in the car and fucking move… Rocks got behind the wheel this time, the other two in no fit state; Grilla in his own world, mumbling rhymes, not even knowing what the hell was going on.

Rocks sped towards the gates. Waiting to pull out onto the road, a group of youngers formed out of the dark, scarfed and hooded, staring Rocks in the eye… Rocks pulled away and watched them in the rearview, one of them gunning them down with his hand… watchouts… little snitches that would get them stabbed, shot… the fear coming on strong. He slammed the wheel, turned to D – YOU FUCKIN IDIOT, MAN!

D was rambling to himself, eyes fixed ahead… -I don’t understand it… Cobra?… maybe I got the wrong floor…

-You got the wrong fucking block you prick!

In the back Grill started laughing, -What you two cats fretting about?… yo, bluds, I think we should go for more food you know. I got the munchies big time…

-SHUT YOUR MOUTH, YOU FAT FUCK! D snapped. YOU AND YOUR FUCKIN FOOD, MAN, I’LL RIP THE THROAT OUTTA YOU!

Whoa… D had crossed the line; but Grill was too shocked to register it, just said, almost hurt, -Rah, what’s bugging you, man?

D shook his head, was in a right state… -We fucked up, that’s what… Fucked up fuckin major innit… more than major… That was the Cobra’s place back dere!… one of the Cobra’s bitches innit!… Then he was rambling to himself again… I never knew that face still lived up these ends… I thought he moved away time ago… thought he was maybe dead… He turned to Rocks and G, voice cracking… I don’t think you two realize the kind of damage we’ve done here man…

Rocks pulled the car over with a screech and grabbed him – I TOLD YOU I HAD A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS TONIGHT! I FUCKING TOLD YOU MAN!… NOW YOU’VE FUCKED WITH SOMEONE MAJOR AND WE’RE GONNA DIE!

-That’s true you know, Grill soon added. Fuck with a cat like Cobra and you’re gettin dead.

D was near-blubbing like a pussy… -I didn’t know blud… I didn’t know…

Rocks looked at him in disgust. Guy was fucking pathetic.

For minutes they sat parked by the road in silence, the atmosphere filled with dread…

Then D suddenly put his finger up… -I got a solution to this… he turned to Rocks: There’s only one thing we can do.

-What?

-We go back there and finish the bitch.

-What are you talking about?

-Go back and fucking merk her innit – D back in gear now, thinking fast – I should have done it back then. She’s tied up and gagged, yeah? We go back and waste her and no-one will know shit… even the cops will think it’s a burglary gone-wrong or something. We’ll make it look like that.

-Forget it man, Rocks shaking his head. We’ve been spotted by every fucker and his dog back there… there’s no way out of this…

-There is, I’m telling you. Those tinys at the gates were just strangers, man. They don’t know us from shit. We could be anyone…

-D’s right, Grill added, his face hunched between the seats… Let’s do the bitch. It’s the only way. That Cobra guy owns everything, fucking runs the place man. He finds out about this and he’ll hunt us to the ends of the earth. We gotta clean our tracks back there.

Rocks thought about it… He was still trying to recall who exactly the guy was… when suddenly it came to him… -Jesus, are we talking about the guy also known as Satan?

-Dat’s da guy! Grilla said.

Rocks buried his face on the wheel… Jesus man, no… you just didn’t fuck with a face like that. In fact, you prayed you’d never cross his path…

Throughout his presence in the black North London underworld, Levi Johnson had acquired a myriad of street-names with the ability to send the shivers up even the most hardened of gangstas… “Cobra”, “Ju-Ju Man”, “Doctor Death”, “Satan”… the list was endless. So far-fetched were the tales of his exploits that some people refused to believe this bogeyman gangsta even existed. Others said he’d been killed or incarcerated. Those more in the know insisted he was unkillable, a presence who these days operated from the shadows like a don, yet still made regular visits to the rumoured forty or fifty baby-mothers he had scattered around his old stomping grounds of Tottenham, Edmonton and Wood Green…

Rocks was fearing the worst… D, meanwhile, was enduring a mental horror-show of his own. He already had the misfortune of meeting the Cobra in the flesh two years back, and the incident had stayed with him. In fact, so disturbing had it been that sometimes he’d still wake up screaming like a baby. D had once dissed someone who knew someone else and somehow the complaint had led all the way to the fucking Cobra. But D of course didn’t know that. One night walking down Well Street a car pulled up and three niggas jumped him. They worked him severe with baseball bats then bundled him into the boot. Off they went. He’d been on the skunk all day, his mind all over the place, and the whole thing seemed like a bad dream.

They dragged him up to a flat somewhere, told him he’d cussed the Cobra and was going to pay the price. They led him into a room – a coffin laid out like a wake, except there was no body. He prayed it was some kind of joke. Then in walked Cobra, caressing a fucking snake. D was struggling now, the goons holding him tight. Cobra placed the snake inside the coffin. Then begging and pleading D was lifted off his feet. In he went. Down went the lid.

It was the worst experience of his life. He screamed himself hoarse, believed he was visiting hell. When they let him out he was panting and shaking and all he could see was Cobra and his men laughing all around him. Cobra walked up and slapped him round the face, and again they laid into him, and dragged him down to the boot. Later a passing squad car discovered him curled-up and convulsing on a Hackney backstreet, and he ended up in hospital for a while. He even spent a few weeks in the loony bin, but said nothing, told nobody. Back on road he was pretty fucked-up for a while, the flashbacks triggering violence – sometimes to even just strangers who had looked at him.

One guy he even shot in the face. Just saw him looking then, bam, dropped him point-blank with a .38. Good job the guy was still in a coma or maybe he’d be in the pen now doing fucking life… But anyway, along the way he’d heard Cobra was history, not on the scene anymore, maybe dead, maybe retired, but whatever, the guy wasn’t around…

WRONG.

D found himself slamming the dashboard. -What are we doing just sitting here, man! Let’s get the fuck back there and waste that bitch!

Rocks could see no alternative. D was right, they had to do this. He started up the engine, put the car into gear. They were heading back there….

***

From a distance, they sat staring over at the blocks, no-one having quite the courage to get out of the car; the aura of the Cobra everywhere now…

D suddenly took out the jacked bag of rock from earlier, started preparing himself a pipe… – What the fuck are you doing? Rocks said… – Havin a smoke, what the fuck’s it look like?… – No way, if you’re all fucked-up you’re gonna mess this up further!.. – Listen! I need alertness for this shit okay… – Me too blud, Grill added from the back, This is the fuckin Cobra we’re dealin wid here man…

They got cracking for a while, Rocks shaking his head when offered. The two of them were passing the pipe back and forth, Rocks using all his will not to grab it, take a hit for himself. But no way. Someone had to stay sane for this shit…

-So how we gonna finish this bitch anyway? Grill said after a while.

-Slice her throat, D replied. Do it quickly innit. Only way. Leave it to me. I don’t fucking care.

-But what if she’s not alone now? Rocks added… What if He’s there?

-She said he weren’t comin till midnight, I remember dat… but if anyone else has turned up, lak friends an dat, they’ll have my nine to deal with – D checking the ammo…

They watched a posse of souljas strut by on the street, four or five of them, eyes staring straight in… Rocks breathed deeply, -Shit man…

-Chill blad, D laughed, crack-confident now. Just fucking jokers, man… then he said: I see them ever again though, I’ll cut their fuckin eyes out…

They waited until all was clear. The street silent, dead. Then… Go. They got out of the car, hooded and scarfed. Headed into the estate. No lookouts, nothing. Good. They headed up the stairs towards the flat…

Halfway along the top balcony a figure suddenly stepped out of the flat wielding a Mac-10 – Shit!!! – D raised his nine, tried popping off shots, the guy darting inwards, but the damn thing was jammed… The guy re-emerged and now stood there laughing. In a panic they looked behind them… same shit: three guys, weapons pointing, sneers cracking into smiles. The Cobra’s men.

One of the thugs spoke into an earpiece, -We got ’em, boss. Then he stepped forward, Stay the fuck where you are!

Grill panicked, whipped out his machete and lunged towards him with a growl… BANG! – the blade was shot clean from his grip, flying out into the open air – What da? Grill looking at his empty hand and swallowing… The goon walked toward him and whipped him across the mouth… -Now up against the wall, all three of you! Handcuffs were snapped onto their wrists. They were marched into the flat.

In the living room after taking beats they were tied to chairs. Then suddenly all went silent. Somebody was entering the room. The goons stepped back, soldiers erect to attention. D, Grill and Rocks felt a collective sense of hell. Before them in leather coat and shades was the Cobra.

He looked each up and down, breathing hard through his nose as if to contain his anger. He removed his shades. All three shrank at the sight. Cobra was blind in one eye; in its place was a gleaming sphere of gold; the other adorned in an icy blue lens, staring so hard you could see the whites all round.

It was thought that Cobra lost his eye in a stabbing incident in his youth. Legend had it that the teenage perpetrator disappeared off the streets, his body never found but his severed heart sent gift-wrapped to his stricken mother, a woman who spent the rest of her days in a state of madness; some say literally cursed by demons. D was visibly shaking, scared to make eye contact. Cobra stepped forward, grabbed him by the jaw to face him… -You?… So we meet again, bwai – the grip nearly breaking his face.

D started pleading, but the Cobra put a finger to his lips and told him to hush…

-You come in here… you bone one of my women?

-We never knew she was connected to you, D begged, honest. We got the wrong flat, I swear on God’s life, I swear it…

Cobra nodded to one of his men to go get the girl. Seconds later there she was, restrained in a firm grip… -I’ll kill him!! I’ll kill him!!

-Which one a dem bone you? Cobra asked.

-Him!! That’s the bastard!! she pointed, lunging for D, I’ll tear his fucking eyes out!!

Cobra nodded. The girl was swiftly ejected.

For a full minute he paced to and fro, staring them down in murderous contemplation. Finally his glare settled on D.

-Strip ‘im, he said.

-No Cobe, please – the thugs stepping forward – I never meant it, man, honest. I swear on my mother’s life…

-I’ll kill your fuckin mudda, how bout dat? – The goons tearing the garms off him…

-Get de iron, Cobra said, taking off his coat and rolling his shirtsleeves – Heat it up. I’m gonna teach dis fucker some respect…

You can keep the Asylum Years

In offbeat on October 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm


Parasitic

The Beat Pix

Ian said goodbye and eventually left and Damien had the living room to himself. He felt a draught and looked up and Karen, his soon to be ex-girlfriend, was at the door, with her empty cardboard boxes and large suitcase.

Like I told you last night “I’m moving out” said Karen, and she picked up her boxes made her way into the flat.

“Do you need any help?”

“No”

“Make sure you don’t take any of my things, especially my DVDs”

“Whatever…”

Damien left Karen in the bedroom and went out to the living room. Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night hummed from the stereo whilst Karen packed her bags and collected her belongings. After a short while Damien passed caring if she took one of his albums or books. She probably bought them anyway.

“This is a ridiculous situation!” Said Damien whilst trying to keep an eye on what Karen was packing

She’s the one moving out, he thought, but Damien felt like the uninvited guest the one that should apologise or something.

Its funny how when you first meet a girl she likes you for who you are! It’s over time they try and beat the old you out of your system and install the man they want. You’ve only got to watch a chick flick and it’s the man that’s the love rat it’s the man that’s emotionally challenged. It’s funny how a woman can change your taste in music or when you actually get a chance to listen to some music.

When Damien first met Karen they’d spent hours making compilation tapes and listening to anything from Joy Division to The Smiths. Then over time it went to easy listening compilation CDs and some ginger bloke from…

“You can keep the Simply fucking Red CD!!”

It was only last week during a meal with “her” new work friends that Karen introduced Damien and went onto telling them that…

“…he’s an underground-writer, not a proper writer of course but someone with an unusual hobby along with a few BEATNIK friends who also write for no particular reason on a web site that hardly anybody visits”.

Damien tried to explain that “writing for no particular reason is the only way to create…as once you’re writing for someone else or you work to an unnecessary deadline… you might as well end it”. Nobody listened. They recommended books mentioned on SKY arts and the Richard and Judy book club. Matt recommended that Damien enrolled onto a writing course. Karen also amused the group with Damien’s unsuccessful career as a drummer for a band called “The Strangely Brown Incident” They thought the name was kind of cute, that was up until one of them asked…

“What exactly is a strangely brown incident?”

Damien replied “…it’s when you’ve unknowingly shat yourself stupid and avoid embarrassment by passing it off as a strangely brown incident; we’re pretty big on Google”.

The silence was incredibly heavy. Trying to move the conversation on Damien told them a little more about the band but none of them were interested and not exactly impressed that cartoonist Eric Reynolds designed the sleeve for their demo single called “wipe it clean” or even slightly interested that the Seattle based indie label Sub pop were actually going to offer them a contract and tour with Mudhoney.

Karen walked back into the living room with an overflowing cardboard box and checked her phone.

Damien couldn’t help but notice this and asked “Who are you expecting a call or text from, it wouldn’t happen to be from Matt would it?”

“And would that be a problem?” She replied in a matter of fact way

Damien actually wanted to ask her to sit down and think about what she was doing only because he was wondering how he was gonna get to work as Karen was taking the car. Considering this woman completely changed Damien’s life, he was gonna miss her. Was I or am I in love with her? He thought or was I conditioned into loving her…something similar to that imprisoned girl from Austria was towards her father?

Its weird how Damien’s flat now looked anaemic with only his pitiful possessions scattered around the room. Damien couldn’t help but think that it’s really cool listening to the Ghosts of Saturday Night and the way it reverberated around the room.

“I wish I learnt how to play the piano”. He said out aloud

Out of the blue the annoying polyphonic Cold Play ring tone blasted from Karen’s phone. She cheerfully answered and strolled into the kitchen and closed the door. Leaning against the door Damien could hear the low murmur of her voice over Potters Field.

Strolling back to the stereo Damien thought how men need a soundtrack to whatever they are emotionally struggling with. Holding a CD case he was sure the Tom Waits CD belonged to Karen, either way

“I’m keeping this one!

Eventually Karen re-appeared and without a word picked up her suitcase and embarrassingly bright red backpack and left. Before the beat of dust she stirred settled, Damien’s phone beeped and it’s a text from Karen

You can keep the Asylum Years

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