Bad Trip by Meg Tuite

We always had dogs and cats roaming around our house. One was named Elsa, a Great Dane, who was clueless as a weather man. One specific night I was tripping and having a rough one, feeling too much, and all of it was battling around inside me, so I left whatever bar I was at and made my way home. The first thing on entering the house after thinking something was chasing me was to calm myself and open the door quietly. I couldn’t turn on the hall light because Mom’s room was second door on the left. In that way that distortion explodes all through your cells, Elsa came running at me with her tail whacking everything in her path and all six feet of her jumped on me and pinned my shoulders. I groped to my right and caught the edge of the credenza that was lined row by row with trophies. The upper half merely posed on top of the bottom half as though she was a midriff. There was barely anything holding her in place. The dog was some beast that had followed me home and her tail was a weapon to snatch me up and carry me off. Kidnapped and cordoned off by the rope that was attacking me, I fought it while holding tight to what I thought was the door, pulled it toward me, and out of nowhere came the pelting of pounding fists that beat me with offensive metal knuckles, knocking me to the floor and pinning me with some fucking bouncer.

Lights blasted on in last call. Mom was looking down at me. Her hands covered her mouth.

“Baby,” she said. “Are you okay?”

I had a credenza on top of me with broken trophies surrounding my body. Glistening metal elbows and heads and tennis rackets shifted and creeped around me. Mom’s nightgown glowed through rounded orbits. She was a snowman of a woman. Her stomach, her boobs, her head.

“Dad moved out?”

“Yes,” she said. “Honey, can you get up?”

Covered by wood, the trees forested the blanks of me.

Elsa put her face on mine and licked me.

I pushed the credenza up and off. The hallway was trodden.

“Can I sleep with you?” I asked.

Mom said, “Yes.”

The dark was all-encompassing. The dark was wilderness of winds blazing through my eyes.

The dark was filled with childhood.

I lied next to Mom. I was safe there. I could feel the waves of love that wallowed through her room. She had thread her non-knowledge of desire into my being.

I listened to Mom breathe. The ceiling stared back at me.

We lay in the dark. The world was unbroken.

Mom sat up in the bed.

“Are you doing drugs?” she asked.

“What?” I answered.

“Honey, you’re breathing out loud like a Chihuahua in heat.”

Meg Tuite is a five-time Glimmer Train finalist and a Gertrude Stein award finalist; author of Domestic Apparition, Bound By Blue, and Bare Bulbs Swinging, as well as five chapbooks of short fiction, flash, and poetic prose; senior editor at Connotation Press and (b)OINK lit zine; and editor of eight anthologies. She teaches at Santa Fe Community College.

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