They were in Florida at the time. Ocean, orange juice stands, rednecks, salt and sugar, lizards. She was coming down for a visit one week. The summer of ‘98 found them smoking and drinking, watchin the surf pounding away at the beach, lulling them to sleep until the sun rose and woke their asses up. Pop some X and go for a swim. Lay out the multicolored towels. Feelin the sun layin in the light. He was pushing into keys on the typewriter nights while she kicked back on the couch reading magz. They worked their fingers across the board so the letter arms wouldn’t rust, living off the pay and bonus from the last job. Rumbling around the intercoastal on the bike to take the steam off a hot humid day after the noon rains.
– Katya Mills. Excerpt from my new project, tentatively titled They The Firmament.
“Everyone but Aden thought little about the future and investing in it, and even he was beginning to get derailed. I was protective and discouraged him from going out with us, stay and do your studies. Sometimes I stayed back with him and we went to the library or a coffeehouse to work. These were special moments for us. Fetching machine made coffee late into the night, talking about medicine and the life of a surgeon, cutting people up, dreaming about our great future. When he got into a zone, I dismissed myself and took a detour over to the fiction section to find something by Burgess or Borges or Burrows or Bukowski. I thought, if god or the head librarian told me the funding was cut off for fiction and made me choose one letter of the alphabet which we could keep, sorted by authors last names, I would likely select B. Then I would jump off the Navy Pier wishing I might drown.” – Trouble’99 by Katya Mills
“The night hung heavy and winter would not wait. The days grew shorter and colder in Chicago. We haunted an apartment wedged between others on a long city block not far from Division, the four of us. The whole block seemed to shake every time a train passed by. Factory chimneys exhaling smoke, incessant sounds. What I loved about the city was how it’s so alive. There was all kinda weather coming through, winds blasting across Lake Michigan for days. Early snow subsided to rain, and all the kids on their way to school pushed gleefully through the puddles. Skyscrapers stood tall among the trees. The vertical life in Chicago in obvious contradiction to the system of streets and rails. All diversity of people caught up in all diversity of things, twenty four hours a day. Altogether it made for a life you would not wanna miss.”
– Katya Mills
There may be hope for me, I thought, rolling the smoke between my fingers. How different everything felt. The box, the stem, the lighter, the cig. I could sense the tobacco leaf inside the paper. Crunchy, resilient, it bounced back when you pressed it. I set fire to it and watched it burn and glow. I felt the smoke hit the lungs and exhaled at the top of my breath, I can breathe. Maybe I will last, after all, I thought, relaxing and getting used to myself again, taking drags. Aden looked worried, huh, I suppose they all did. I wish I could tell him…I still see things that turn me on. The barber shop cylinders have gone dark, the neon lights are lit, the end of the night far away, the dance floor naked and ugly without a dance. I paid the check and smiled.