The way the sky was now, a 2013 fiction chapbook by Ryder Collins

We were listening for the shattering

Creeping in on the parking lot, I’d said, What? You’d said, What? Mama whispered, Listen! Baby didn’t say nothing.

We got in; we got out. Smooth this time.

Now we were smooshed in the cab of a pickup truck and Daddy’s ghost leered over all of us.

I’m lying; Daddy was driving and driving dirty down dirt roads. We were passing a new whiskey bottle around, except for Baby who’d lost her Nuk. She’d never get another, but we didn’t have the hearts to tell her yet.

There was nothing to do but drive or join the black-masked anarchists smashing all the glass in the world.

We were trying to beat them to all the package stores in the world; we’d just scored one for the home team.

Mama said, They’re not called package stores in every state.

We all looked at her funny, even Baby. That’s when our Christian radio station—KROS, went all squiggly and the speaking in tongues.

You had one hand on my thigh and the other inching closer to my left breast, but Mama and Daddy didn’t seem to care. All the rules’d gone out the window and the anarchists were finishing them off with bats and rocks and baseballs and armadillos and toilets and lamps and animal bones and human skulls and Campbell’s soup cans and paintings of Campbell’s soup cans, hymnals, food processors, computers, baby dolls, babies, etc. Anything, basically, those fuckers felt like chucking.

We were gonna make goddamned sure we stayed out of their way. The whiskey went round again and you were squeezing on me and it almost felt good. I almost forgot for a sec.

Then we heard crashing coming from down the road.

Soon all that’d be left of the world would be frames, beaten, disjointed, broken, displaced.

Just like us.

Originally published in >kill author


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