Page 15

   Death? Goddamn, man. You talk about it like it’s a thing. It’s dissolution.
   I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this tirade.
   You’ll be no more, she says.
   Okay, okay, I say.
   It’s not a fucking parade.
   Fuck’s sake, I just asked.
   Got it. Message received.
   Sure, you try living with a god. Thin-skinned motherfuckers. And overbearing. And so, so very prone to cursing. If we had a thesaurus…
   So I’m going out then, I say.
   Yes, you are going out.
   And if you do die, she says. We’re through.
   Fine by fucking me, I say.
   I look her up and down.
   In the words of the prophet, what have you done for me lately?
   Get the fuck out of here.

   And so I’m out in the snow again. Fuck really knows why. I’m just supposed to keep coming out here and acting like everything’s normal. But it’s not. For one thing, there are no other people left. Except for one or two guys. And maybe that kid. I’ll go and see him, I reckon. It’s too cold for just walking around.
   Except, I don’t like that kid much. I don’t know how to describe people much. I don’t know what goes on inside them. But I want to call him pious, except there is no religion here, no system of belief.
   Which isn’t even a little bit ironic. As soon as your god is made flesh, they’re diminished. They aren’t supposed to be visible. You aren’t supposed to meet them at all. You can intuit, you can narrate, you can make up visions and all sorts of holistic shit, but if you find one of them half-dead bobbing in frigid lake water, they aren’t all that anymore.

   Honestly, I need to get away from here as soon as I can.


Page 2

   Damn snow. If there’s any rhythm to walking over this stuff, it’s just in how consistently wearying my progress is. The road is smooth with icy powder, and slick in places, but not firm. And not deep either. It squeaks and crackles and set me back an inch or two every step. I watch my feet more than the horizon.
   Fuck it. I stop.
   There’s a high white overcast. The air is sharp and clear. Beautiful in a frozen, fucked up, empty way. My kind of environment. I watch my breath billow, and shift my pack. Breathe. Road breathing is three in, two out. It makes plumes like a factory chimney. I wonder about everything I lose breathing like that – heat, moisture – I should be thirsty but I’m not.
   I don’t know that I should keep going.