Emphysema and Bastard
Her name is Emphysema. She wears glasses. Her hair is long and she keeps it in cornrows. She rarely smiles, the neutral state of her lips is a smirk. She likes to read, stays up reading late into the night. Claims her brain only works in the early hours of the morning. She writes. And writes. And writes. Short stories, short short stories. Vignettes. She never finishes anything. Not for a long time. Not a poem, not a story. This frustrates her. No alcohol. No cigarettes. Tea and coffee only. Her stomach gets acidic, and she drinks a lot of water. She burps and tries not to turn to the television. She has a compulsive personality. Short attention span nowadays. Dogs constantly barking outside. She got used to it. It’s hot this night, she wants to go out somewhere far.
It was supposed to rain, the news said it’s going to rain. Instead the heat’s been intense for days. She hates the heat. She imagines she’s a rain-child. A rain child is someone who is born on a rainy day. She was born in July, and in July it usually rains where she was born. She likes to look at the raindrops falling from the tips of the leaves of the trees and the grasses and the plants during and after the rain. She likes the smell of the rain, the smell before and during and after the rain. Rain children wilt under the heat. They must maintain a certain level of temperature, beyond which their souls will no longer function so well. This causes a psychic blockage, which is an artistic blockage, which is the reason why she cannot write anything this night.
On her table, in front of her laptop, behind the laptop screen, is sleeping Bastard. Bastard is six months old. She found him one rainy day underneath an upturned cardboard box just meow-meowing all alone. One day back in high school, she was elected President of the English Club. She said no, I would like to protest my nomination. The teacher said no, your classmates have spoken. She sat down and frowned and when she finally won to an overwhelming majority against another candidate, she was called on to preside the class election of officers of the English Club by the teacher. She said no ma’am, I would like to resign my post. The teacher is getting annoyed now, asked why. She said, ma’am I hate responsibilities. Then, the teacher replied, you should have not come to this school. And that was the end of the matter. She stood up and presided over the election of the rest of the officers of the English Club. She remembered her answer to the teacher that day she found Bastard. ‘I hate responsibilities.’ And the next though in her head is ‘fuck,’ as she picked up Bastard, wrapped him in her handkerchief, and placed him inside her purse.
Bastard is curled around his favorite toy, a tiny golden teddy bear. She got it for him a day after finding him. Bastard grips the bear with his paws. He is sprawled on top of the table belly-up. His fur is white with silver-grey stripes. Bastard sleeps a lot during the day. He sleeps a lot during the night too. He likes to eat raw fish. His favorite activity is chasing after rats in the apartment. Lately he developed the habit of biting her. To remedy this, she has taken to spraying him with a spray bottle.