Like Black Gloves on a White Moon Night

We couldn't decide on a name. The mirror's silver was wearing dust and Nona pointed out our haziness and suggested Focus. Trev said he had to take a piss so maybe we should call ourselves Zippers and off he went, another pinball machine ding ding.

We'd done this before. In the car we argued who paid for what, whose turn it was to go without meat the next meal. Dance, dance, dance, baby, some other day I'll beat a drum for you was what Nona kept singing, thinking herself invincible. When I said she should sing some other day I'll beat a drum on you she said nobody not ever not anywhere had ever really liked me, that even my dog's affection had been bought off.

We drove around looking for signs, which was nothing different from all the other years we'd been alive and in distant cities and without instruments in the back of the piss yellow minivan with plates that read TORMI. Trev kept sunflower seeds and graham crackers beneath the driver's seat and would reach right between your legs while you drove if he was hankering. A Good Snack Choice! he'd shout, head at your knee. It's what was on the graham cracker box.

If you watch late-night TV you can still believe. Just names! Less work to think of a bag that's got seven little zippered compartments inside, each germ-proof and satin-lined, than to think to call it The Clutch-All. The Clutch-All! Like magicians, like folks confronted with butter for the first time going ahhhh, ohhhh.

The Shellys, Nona said, because none of us have enough Shelly in our life. The Shut Ups, Trev said. We nodded. So clever. I slammed a door just to hear the noise, but then Nona brightened and said The Slams! The Closed Doors! The Mechanical Clicking Shuts! and Trev again said The Shut Ups.

Recorder in the guitar case, accordion in a plastic bag. Someone gave Trev a tambourine and he asked if it was for soup but kept it anyway. These were how we carried things, and what we did with them was also what we didn't with them. First I'd kissed Nona, then Trev kissed her, and maybe that's really all there was to the whole thing. Trev and I never kissed.

Somedays only letters and numbers. E88! A410! 3SF9! Please leave now, the man said at Walgreens after we'd jittered and giggled up three aisles, spouting code. 11KNP! We shouted at him, meaning fascist, meaning all we wanted was a few bottles of fingernail polish to sniff and some Mars bars to eat. 666666666666666! Trev shouted, and the way he looked at us you could tell the Walgreens man had kids at home.

The Snowball Fight! Nona shouted in Le Seur. We'd been there never ever before. Stop signs like they were organic, things growing wild. Trev packed a snowball and hit one of the stop signs and Nona looked devastated. No, she said, quiet and for real: The Snowball Fight. Trev packed another, hit another sign. By the time I'd spotted the swingset and started walking away, Nona was crying and Trev was throwing snowballs straight up, letting them crash onto his soft, blonde hair. On the swings I could hear much, but not Nona's crying, not Trev's headbutted snowballs.

We'd count: 1-2-3, no no, 1-2-1-2--wait. Wait. 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-bang! This one's called Like a Horse Eating Radishes, Trev said, started slapping his face with one hand and with the other waved it like a backup singer in an old soul act. Nona sang something about somedays teardrops, somedays rivers. I was in the very very back and when she said teardrops I heard cleardrops. It's what's called: filling-in-what-you-shouldn't. I looked it up.

Nona said it was movie day and I thought: finally. Popcorn popcorn me then Nona then Trev. Trev and I ended up touching hands halfway across the back of Nona's chair. Stop it, he said, and I shook my head and he whispered The Shooks! and Nona laughed at something. We played once in every town we came to, played everything we carried. If they could've looked down and seen the three of us sitting there, that sexy woman and man on the screen, they'd have seen we were doing what we were made to do just the same as they were.

About the author:

Whitfield Corduroy has, in four years, lost a total of three sleeping bags in at least two states, and he dreams of car alarms that sing like candy.