The previous two weeks were filled with nightmares of school years and everything terrible that was ever included in the reality of homework, presentations, and relations. No doubt, all because I had lingered too long with one uninvited dream and then gotten stuck on the general idea long enough to summon a whole lot of them. When I wasn’t awake, I was fumbling with my locker combination, trying to find my classes, taking tests while trying to glance over someone else’s shoulder, and dealing with absolute fucktards.

“Maybe you feel guilty,” Brad suggested, “that you aren’t through with school.”

And I thought, once in a while.

One week to process a phone call regarding Mandi. The girl who walked with me along campus to tell me about the current rave scene and its trendy drug preferences and later, introduced me to the drag racing circuit on Flint’s Industrial Ave, has gone and done something with her life that my brain tries to push backwards every time I think about it.

We were on a search for the golden heroes, to fight with and defend.

A sense of family, belonging. A club where you had respect and protection. The concept was so enticing that I chased after it with her, for a few years… until things got complicated and insanity started to sound less cool. When the Cadillac broke down, she just took off on foot and I would not have what it took to follow her.

She moved away from her real family, got beat into a gang and bragged about the old english-style tattoo put on the back of her neck, to represent this. I never thought she would accept that as a way of survival…and I thought she knew that wasn’t love. Hearing all of this coming through a phone receiver had me questioning my consciousness.

“Yeah, J calls from Japan. I guess he can’t get the women to fuck him like they did over here. I don’t think he knows the language at all, which doesn’t help. I told him to mail me a sword but I’m afraid to send him the money because I know he’ll spend it on himself.”

“That little fucker still getting ahold of you?” she asked.

“Yeah, he must be lonely, if he’s still calling after all this time. I hadn’t gone out to see him during the entire year before he left. And now, you know, I was like ‘gimmie your number’ as if I’d fucking call over to Japan. Yeah, I’m gonna do that! Just to make him feel like I cared, you know?”

“HAHA! That’s crazy. Hey, I have another call. Can I call you back?”

“Well I really oughta get goin, it’s a 2 hr drive to Detroit with construction. Can I get your phone number?”

It wasn’t until I was nearly done marking the numbers over my directions, when I suddenly realized I was probably never going to dial it. The timing had been so ugly that I knew she’d caught it and not said anything. It was a sore moment.

Later on, where it’s easy to leave the bad outside city lines, there was a birthday party for Zack. The world was clearly made for him as he stood up on my bowling alley, wanting to follow me as I threw the ball. I had to go out of my way to miss his head and ended up with a gutter ball that also ripped my thumb nail short enough to begin bleeding. We dished offerings of cake and pizza before watching someone else open presents that weren’t for us – they, of course, all belonged to Zachery. God had turned five.

Brad wasn’t feeling like going anywhere after the party but the thought of such domestic overkill was leaving me in a state of panic. So, we went out.

On a hot, muggy day, I found myself standing before a chintzy carnival ride designed to spin your cage around as the device itself ran its own, larger route. The Zipper was accompanied by a blown out speaker playing bad popular music, perhaps damaged by the constant drizzle that failed to cool the air.We had a real carnie, with tatts and everything. 4 tickets a person, a dollar a ticket, all in its glorious absurdity. This would be entirely my idea, as I’d seen the rides poking over the buildings on our way back from the bowling alley.

“If I’m going to go to Cedar Point with you, you have to ride this with me,” I reasoned. Within moments we were locked in and getting tossed around, violently. It was designed so there were times when your cage was falling straight to the ground, sometimes having tossed you backwards to sail head-first. Did I mention that we had both just scarfed our leftover seafood platters?

Mr.Badass Quad-riding Rollercoaster fiend, Completely. Freaked. Out. I have never heard such screams and cries coming from a male, before. His low, monotone voice reached new octaves as his legs shook uncontrollably. In between keeping myself from slamming my face into the cage in front of me and dealing with the constant spinning, I seriously worried if he would be okay.

When it was all over, a few people noticed that Brad looked unusually glad to be alive, and he had to tell them that he was a rollercoaster person. Walking through the games, a woman with darts asked if he would pop a balloon for his girlfriend but he declined.

“Ohh. You aren’t mad at her, are ya?”
“No. Well. Maybe a little.

Both of us with motion sickness, we crashed and didn’t move or say much of anything for several hours.