Gina is a handful of hard tripping rocks. Tonight she is an organ grinder on the dance floor, made of linoleum and spent drinks. What if she follows the tender hands and hard heels? Faking it is effortless. And now we are all hardened by grease lights and drinks slipping, dance and scream, "Tomorrow is for Jackals," but we don't really care what that means. The night is directly ahead of us.

Gina is a power trip. She is smoking and horning white clouds and chatting metaphysics and casual band acquaintances. "This man is my cousin," she says, "He is in a band that you will love." We cover our eyes with vodka and remember to forgive everything in the morning, but in the night the heat eats at our ankles and we shift uneasy. I'd like to tear off Gina's clothes, or maybe not, but it is late and if I leave alone again this will be three, and it's hard to shake off those numbers. Someone asks me if I listen to some band or know some writer. I shake my head and feel old and bored and nod and look out the glass door. Gina is outside, staring at the pool, swaying a little, blue light everywhere.

Gina is crying, but nobody buys it. Some people pass a pipe around and Gina gets her tears in it and people shake their heads. The people go inside. It is only Gina and I and the pool of beer cans or shrapnel. She asks my hands if she's OK or tripping or sad. And everyone is depressed and so it doesn't matter about anybody, right. This all seems easy and laughable. I get another drink and flap around and pounce on Gina, and she says, "O shit," and all her insides tumble out like Operation, little white bits on the patio. I say sorry and rub her shoulders and her hair shifts and hits my shirt. If I drive her home she will have sex with me.

Gina is not having sex with me, and this is OK. She is asleep in the seat next to me and I can see two of her and the woods are in the road. The car makes bee noises and I worry that it's going to snow, but it just rains and leaves long streaks on my windshield. This is OK. I am arguing with myself. What is the definition of "hammered?" Maybe girls like her are only tolerable drunk and lonely. This should not be making me sweat.

Gina's house is big and far up the side of the mountain, so we know she has money. Her parents own a yuppie sandwich store. Her dad sweats alfalfa and wheat grass and innumerable bullshit, it makes me think of that parrot in Aladdin. Her dad thought I looked like a sloucher and gave me a protein shake "on the house." I thought it would be funny to burn his house down.

Gina is tripping balls and I think she forgot to tell me things and is speaking words I can't understand. She is so angry and her fists are more painful than normal. I pull the car over and hold her down. I hope no cops come. She was much prettier asleep. The night is cold and I open the door and push her out. I drive away. I see Gina painted red, cold looking, and then not at all.

Gina is not easily forgotten. I drive back to get her. She looks sad and cold and when she gets in we are silent. She starts smoking without asking. "Does your stereo play music?" "Yeah, why wouldn't it." "I don't know, some just don't." We don't turn on the radio but we reach an understanding. My head is starting to hurt.

Gina and I are not friends.

Gina does not love money and she asks how I know where she lives. I put my hands up and scrunch my shoulders. Her eyes remind me that I am not having sex, but I still hope she will touch my thigh and put her tongue in my mouth, but really she probably wants to press charges. Her house is an old hole where money goes to die, slowly.

Gina is not a handful of drugs; therefore, she is no fun.

About the author:

Alex Burford lives and writes in a giant eagle's nest in Ashland, Oregon. He has been published at Listenlight, NOÖ Journal, and has work forthcoming in Lamination Colony, Cannot Exist, and Robot Melon. In his leisure hours he cracks eggs and co-edits PinchPinchPress ( and blogs at