Burroughs (A Late-Night Quick Sketch)

At the foot of a bed, tears flow off the ledges of her cheeks, pouring out into large pools cratered in the already stained, beige-turned-brown carpeting. Fearing water-damage and seepage into the apartment below, Kora wishes she could stop crying. Such prayers, however, are answered only with deeper self-pity, causing her tears to rain down even harder. Meanwhile, a man dressed in a glowing neon three-piece suit is fumbling in the bathroom for a toilet to vomit in.

Knees on marble tiling and hands gripping the toilet’s rim as a steering wheel, live salmon proceed to wriggle out of the man’s mouth and into the bowl below. Yes, salmon-colored salmon are now flailing out into a porcelain bowl with not enough water to sustain a long and healthy lifestyle. More continue to come with no sign of stopping, overfilling the toilet and loosening the man’s grip until he finally collapses onto the cold marble floor. Convulsing, large salmon spew out of his gullet in a fountain-like formation. A rumble reverberates throughout the entire apartment and Kora still sobs.

The growing number of salmon necessitates an amendment of the usage of salmon as plural to the more numerously connoted salmons. Salmons roll out into the carpeting of Kora’s suite and stare at her in unblinking eyes with gaping mouths. Kora shields her eyes as they flop toward her puddles of tears for salvation. She pulls herself to the bed’s post, grabs the remote, and blasts CNN where the first human interaction ever to take place on a news channel is airing. Kora recalls collapsing into the arms of her sixth grade teacher, never understanding why.

She wakes to a voice telling her to leave, “And start west.”

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