Originally written for Funhouse Magazine
With a speedball like Levi’s you felt you could do almost anything, you could even change cars on the train like the hobos. Misha was right behind him and behind Misha was Trevi, the straggler.
During doses their bodies would do small dances between the flickers of the train lights. Trevi was particularly tired today, he’d taken more than the others. The 3 punks were sitting next to each other on the right side of the train. Levi to the right, Misha to the left, Trevi in the middle. Trevi lay with his arms under Misha’s right thigh and head on his brother’s lap, a triangle. Levi was sitting up straight with one arm over the subway rail, his other hand above Misha’s head, caressing a halo of frizz.
Even in their sleep, their limbs tingled and convulsed. The 3 punks took turns staying awake except Trevi never really slept, he just let his mind wander off as he looked upward from Misha’s leg. He found a crinkled-blue strand of hair. “Your hair looks like pubes,” he said to Misha, laughing, or maybe didn’t say it but thought it, and he smiled as the thudding of the train became more and more insulated, sounding like a faraway drum beat, a song with a shape he knew. He would write it down if only he could remember to when he woke up.
Misha’s throat was dry. “My throat is dry, Levi,” she seemed to say. But her voice was muffled. Was she speaking at all? Trevi wished he could get her some water, but he could already feel the front of his mind closing. He was paralyzed. He’d spent the rest of their money on the last dimebag. It meant Levi would have to get off the train for another round.
Misha and Levi made other shapes in the dark. First they made a long rectangle, but their elbows and noses and knees would distort it, like a tumor. They made other shapes with no names. As Levi was kissing Misha, Trevi remembered it was his turn to dose. He stood up. “P-P-P-Peggy Sue!” he sang to the chugging of the train tracks.
Misha wore all black except for her hair, which was black too but with a blue shimmer when the subway lights hit where the dye was cast, like midnight. She couldn’t remember where they’d said they’d get off, but somewhere in the shop off Monroe there was a necklace she’d left behind. Monroe is an MTA stop in Bushwick Brooklyn, or a CTA stop in Downtown Chicago—the Monroe Street Christian Church of Los Angeles. Highland Park is a city in Los Angeles and Chicago. The question of which city was only a concept, a place inside them. They were, at once, nowhere and everywhere.
They heard a thump. Misha saw a figure appear next to her. It was a hobo. His facial features looked overgrown, like a large, drooping flower. She could hear sounds roiling from his intestines. It sounded like what you would think it would sound like around a decaying corpse.
Levi took a large whiff, blowing through the rest of the bag. “Let’s change trains again.”
Speedballing through stucco and marble and citywide windows, Trevi knew they’d need more.
It was the longest they’d been on the train.
He tried to wake his brother. Misha took Trevi’s head off her lap and kneeled before him. Trevi didn’t want her to get up. If he thought it hard enough he could send his thoughts through her thighs and she’d take him back in.
Levi shook him again. He wouldn’t wake. But he was, with a slightest smile, in her thighs. Misha was a punk. She was beautiful.
The train screamed “P-p-p-peggy Sue!”
Levi was on the floor crying.
“We’ll get off on the next one,” Misha said.