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from Harvester by Tom Mohler

Past Midnight

Another delirious night spent glued to the boob tube. I’m pretty sure Annie went to bed hours ago. I vaguely recall the sound of light sobs lost in a clattering of dishes and the slamming of our bedroom door, but I can’t be sure— nothing seems real anymore. The Late Night Show with Dale Winters just ended. He was interviewing some fashion mogul who said that the key to her success was that ‘she really appreciates beautiful things.’ That, and she bagged a super wealthy financier husband in Venice a few years back who funds all of her business ventures. Dale congratulated her on her new line of fragrances, and then proceeded to announce that everyone in the audience would be receiving a collector set of the shit that’s valued at over five hundred dollars a pop. The crowd roared in a wild frenzy, applause filling the studio as the credits began to roll. 

I pick up the bottle of Ambien off the table beside me and dump the contents into my hand. Only six left. I toss them into my mouth and reach for the bottle of Davy that I’d tucked in between the cushion and armrest last night, but its not there. Fucking Annie must have tossed it when she was straightening up the place. She’s always bitching about the mess of bottles left laying around. Dammit, fucking dammit! 

I get up out of my chair, half yelling, half mumbling, “Did you pitch the bottle I was saving, you stupid ass?” My incoherency combined with a mouth full of pills doesn’t make great for communication with others. There’s no reply from anywhere but I almost immediately continue, “Don’t throw my fucking shit away, Annie. I’ve told you before. How many times have I told you?” My burst of resentful anger seems to subside as quickly as it came and more words sort of just fall out of my mouth, hollow and helpless, “I’m sorry. I just, I don’t know… sorry.”

The taste of Ambien dissolving on my tongue becomes irksome as I make my way into the kitchen, so I turn on the faucet and take a gulp of water to wash them down. As the still flowing water spirals down the drain, it looks like a maelstrom wanting to suck me in— a mouth leading only into oblivion. It’s fascinating really, water. Every molecule in that stream, billions upon billions of them, flowing with no real purpose other than simply existing for us to consume or drain away. Their seemingly pointless existence is the key to our very own. If they didn’t exist, then neither would we. What does that mean? I stare at the pouring faucet for some time, utterly perplexed by the conundrum I’ve just discovered for myself, but then remember why I came in here in the first place: Davy Crockett, my old friend— lost but not forgotten.

I dump the trash can over onto the floor and begin digging through the discarded remnants of our consumerism. Wrappers, old tissues, empty cans and jugs of this and that, the dinner I didn’t eat. At the bottom of it all, covered in viscous juices that smell of death, I find him. I pick up the bottle and wipe it off on my shirt. The frontiersman on the label looks up at me, shooting me a wink and a smile, as I cradle the half-full seven-fifty like it were a newborn babe. “Annabelle wanted you gone, my friend, but I’ve come to save you— and you, me.” I ...






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