The Distractions

IMG_3225The bright shiny things parade through my apartment. They skip around on stiletto heals, head to toe in sequin ball gowns. They twirl in a coordinated dance that burns a trail of glitter into my eyes. Their faces are painted with color bars. Their eyes hide behind technicolor rainbows. Their smiles reside behind florescent swatches. They twirl their fingers through heads full of tinsel.

I put my hands to my temples to frame my field of vision, but something flickers across my fingertips.

The bright shiny things wear crowns of birthday candles. They snap lighters across their legs. They ignite the lint down their stockings, spread the flames up their velvet gloves. They wave sparklers beneath the drapes, and leave black splotches on the carpet. They breath fire and kiss beneath the smoke detector.

I close my eyes to hear myself think, but their song echoes in my eardrums.

They play pots and pans with wooden spoons. They kick the trash to keep the beat. They shake salt and pepper shakers. They hit drawers against the refrigerator. With tongs, they tap the coffeepot. With whisks, they do drum rolls down the colanders. They put the cutting board to the tiles. They crash lids together, stomp on light bulbs, bash the oven door with meat tenderizers. In lieu of a strobe light, they put silverware in the microwave.

I open my eyes to see the blank page. It’s covered in a field of ballpoint spirals. I flip it. Every line of the next pages is simply crossed out. I flip it. Each hole in the notebook has a fuse coming out of it. Ink explosions that blot out the words. At last, I happen upon a blank page.

The bright shiny things pass by in a conga line. They’ve duct taped squeaky toys to the soles of their feet. The head of the train makes her presence known with an air horn.

I tear the page out, rip it in half, crumple the pieces, and drive them into my ears.

The bright shiny things sit on both sides of me. They sandwich me in. They clear their throats with every breath. They cough when they speak, spit when they whisper. They stink of a department store, drenched in weapon’s grade perfume. My eyes tear up as they lean in close.

I reach for my laptop. One of them sets a police siren atop it, because you know, that goes there now. I cast it aside and flip the screen open. One of them spray paints my screen black, while the other shoots silly string into the keyboard. A third reaches around to drip hot wax into the trackpad. I try to survey the damage, only to have streamers shot into my eyes.

They are immune to Advil. They are impervious to meditation. They are unphased by whale song. Yoga has no effect on them.

It would take an army of leeches, crawling through a forrest of massage fingers, acupuncture pins, and electroshock nodes to get them out of my system. It would take a smog cloud of insecticide, burning sage, and nerve gas to expel them. It would take an exorcist with a bullhorn, taped to a megaphone to cast them out. It would take a riot cop with a cattle prod, taped to the nuzzle of firehouse to blow them away. It would take a billboard of an eviction notice, a spider web of police tape, and a tapestry of barbwire to keep them from coming back.

I reach for the notebook. One of the bright shiny distractions hands me a bowling ball. Surprised, I fall forward and drop it through the coffee table. My notebook slides into the splinters. One of them drops a lit match into the gap. The pages catch fire.

To my right, the bright shiny thing nods, satisfied. They say, “There, I fixed it.”

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