What does a girl have to do to get a drink around here? She says to no one in particular, since no one is listening. She switches tricks. Pushes up her bra and swings her skin-and-bone hips. She types it. I need a drink. There is a pause. Then a catch. There is always a catch. Prove you’re not a robot. The screen is blue. The screen is smug. The screen curses at her in all caps. PS-FU2. It blinks. She taps out the letters and swallows hard. She is dying of thirst every day since the world turned a dim, eerie blue. Twenty-one million and two drinks found, says the screen. She can almost see the cigarette dangling from its bottom lip. She can smell the smoke and booze. Almost. If it had a heart, hell, if it had eyes that looked back she would probably let this bodyless bartender take her home. Have his way with her. But he is nowhere. He has no home to go to and nothing to give when he gets there. She fixed\s her own drink, comes back to the blue screen and wishes for something a little bit stiffer. She tries to think of something quicker than the dying of the lilac vine. Bigger than the sound of half a million people not in the streets, not speaking, not hugging, punching, laughing, howling at the dead and singing to the living. Brighter than the megapixel fish flashing ads for dinner that comes to your door so you don’t have to step foot outside. So you don’t need to wipe your feet clean, shake off a cold night or lick the margarita salt of sweat from your own lips. God forbid a girl should have to live. Everyone lives large in jars, clutching Apples without the red skin that will never be bitten, or Windows that nobody bothers to wash since they only look in, never out like last year’s app or yesterday’s pumps or popcorn and beer at a ballgame or plug nickels tossed into fountains by lovers still wishing for something they could sink their imperfect teeth into besides blue. Because everything’s blue. The red pickup, blue. The brown boys, blue. The pink prom dress, blue. The impossible green of Ireland; the bridal white flesh of coconut, wedding dress, first snow; the last unsullied honeymoon under the yellow sun, blue. Even the blues get the blues on this moonless square planet. Blue heart, blue lips. She is screaming. She smashes the screen and the blue eye, at long last, blinks shut. Stunned, the big earth outside her small room goes for broke. Goes backwards, toward breathing. Goes quietly, brilliantly black.
– With gratitude to Oyl Miller, who said “…whole intellects underscored and wiped
clean in the total recall 24/7 365 assault all under the gaze of once brilliant eyes.”