Death by Sour Patch Kids by Cassandra Daugette
I have a death wish—death by Sour Patch Kids. That’s why I’m at the gas station fingering a bag of them. I need to have them, but I only have four dollars left for the week and three of that needs to go to socks from Goodwill. If they even have socks this time.
The Sour Patch Kids are $1.39.
I should walk across town, through the mud, I tell myself. I should go to the discount store five miles up the road. They’ll be cheaper there. I’ve nothing better to do.
I should, but I need these now, the whole bag in my mouth.
Only after the exchange of my cash for treasure does the attendant tell me, in the bargain bin, this same box can be found for $0.59. I scream inside and call her a cunt out loud which I immediately regret because cunts aren’t bad things. They’re just things between legs like dicks and assholes, so I revise. I call her lazy, inept, and, of course, tired. Because, she looks tired, and I’m tired; perhaps she is in me as I’m in her and we are just two people stuck in our inescapable place.
Walking down the street, bag in hand, I have visions of home on the range, of ranches and nature walks. Of that time I made out with Garret after he said I was pretty.
I’m grizzly now in my overweight, boobless form. My ankles are sloshing in the puddles and I consider that I might be pregnant.
I don’t consider where I’m sleeping tonight, or if I’d go for abortion or adoption. I just consider for a moment how right now my name is Sweet Cheeks to everyone I know. Even by that boy who said I showed him love.
I consider that I can’t be Sweet Cheeks anymore; I have to be Go ask your mother.
When a car drives by, I’m a show. The splash that breaks me from these thoughts catches me in a cold shiver, and the horn that follows as I stumble almost makes me hiss. I stop myself. I’m still human in some parts.
In the hollow I built myself, where the overpass collides with overgrown vines, I’m warm at last. The mattress I stole from a dumpster down the road is damp and moldy but better than the cold concrete. The rain doesn’t fall here.
I open my bag of Sour Patch Kids and eat them so fast my tongue turns raw. I will have that feeling for days. I know this, but every time I eat them, it’s the same. I rub my belly with satisfaction and leave my palm there, resting.
Cassandra Daugette is a content director at a marketing agency during the day, and a hopeless recluse when the moon comes out. She has previously been published in Journey.
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