Tuesday, 19 April 2016

One Day One


Chelsea knew her cell phone was in here somewhere. Under her graphic novel, maybe? Nope. It vibrated again. Sounded like it was on something soft. Had she thrown it on the laundry pile vomiting—no, erupting—from that wicker hamper her guardians had given her so that she wouldn’t have some stinking laundry pile oozing over, consuming her bedroom floor? Nope. Or at least she hoped not.
Where’d she put her pants? She knew right away that’s where it was—the pocket of her black Levi’s corduroys that Eric’s mom, who was like exactly the same size as Chelsea, was going to throw out, was in the process of throwing out this one time when Chelsea was over there, like maybe two months ago, and that fit Chelsea perfectly, like so perfectly that when she got them and tried them on and looked in the mirror and turned around she was like, whose butt is that? That’s my butt? Damn that’s my butt. The picture she took and captioned “damn That’s my butt!?” had 347 likes on Instagram and, like, 400 and something responses on Facebook. She found the cords under the hoodie that Jayden loaned her last week. The cell phone was in the pocket.
max♥ :) :/ :( 2m ago
What’s up?
Every time she got a text from Max and saw how he’d written his name in her contacts, she rolled her eyes. I mean, she could change it, but it was pretty funny.
As she was punching in her passcode, he texted again.
max♥ :) :/ :( now
I mean you got any plan’s
She did have plans, but
Why should I tell you?
Before Max texted back
Whoa, okay, just relax
Chelsea was already thinking about which emoji to send him because she was feeling bad about being cheeky or whatever you want to call it, but also because she thought it would be fun to, to, to try and distill her plans down to pictures.
So, like, she was supposed to meet Kenny sometime around three and that would be a mushroom, but right now it wasn’t even noon and she’d even had some food already so all she needed to do was get dressed and she thought that maybe before that she’d watch something, one of her guardians’ old videotapes from when her guy guardian—I mean, what should he be called, dad guardian? Peter?—from when Peter was in film school or whatever and he collected all this, like arty cinema. So, like, a snail for taking it easy and there was definitely a videotape somewhere. Okay, okay, there.
Max texted
jks
and Chelsea was like, Alright. Hold on Max. Still, it was pretty funny that he was squirming. After the Shrooms, though? Well, the most surprising thing was who she was doing them with: Will. Workout Will. Will the Angry. Will the Good. Will who hadn’t ever even been drunk, who said he’d had alcohol once when he was, like, five and his grandfather let him taste it. Will read an article from a New Yorker magazine that his dad was going to throw out. It was an article about psilocybin by some food writer that he thought maybe she was supposed to have heard of. And it was about how, like, mushrooms brought dying people to a, like, place of peace or serenity or some other amazing place about their dying. Like helped them face the idea of their own death or some such.
Chelsea was looking for a character to represent Will and was stuck between— Actually she was just stuck.
Chels?
For some reason Max was dying, so she just picked a knife because the plan was to cut the mushrooms up and make little personal pita pizzas. The rocket ship was for getting high.
She sent the sequence.
Then sent
#plans
before she had a chance to regret not using the pizza emoji. She threw her phone on the bed, grabbed Jayden’s hoodie, Eric’s mom’s pants, some underwear, a bra and socks.
She found her towel and smelled it. The scent burst into the back of her throat and stuck there like a wet wad of dog hair. She dropped the towel, kicked it towards the laundry pile and went to the linen closet.
When she got back from her shower, she grabbed her phone.
max :) :/ :( 6m ago
I mean #soundslikefun
max :) :/ :( 9m ago
Any way, either scenario sounds like fun
max :) :/ :( 9m ago
…cause it matters to Christ how you do your homemade tattoos.
max :) :/ :( 10m ago
Or maybe you are meeting a giant snail to watch home movies from when you and the snail were…
max :) :/ :( 15m ago
Whoa, my phone auto corrected maché to have the accent aigu.
max :) :/ :( 15m ago
You are going to smoke weed and watch a movie. No, you are going to make a movie. A…
Chelsea unlocked the phone.
You are going to smoke weed and watch a movie? No, you are going to make a movie. A rant about mushrooms and how weird you think they are. They are super weird. And about how you watched Planet Earth and there was that part with the ants getting that fungus that makes them stupid then kills them. Or maybe you’ll tell a story about taking shrooms. And cutting yourself. Accidentally. You thought your arm was a sausage and you were just so hungry. Then you and your friend Max (me, not some other Max) are going to build a rocket ship out of cardboard and space helmets out of paper maché.

Whoa, my phone auto corrected maché to have the accent aigu.

Or maybe you are meeting a giant snail and the two of you are going to watch home movies from when you guys were little. You and the snail are family friends. Shit, though, the video is a VHS so maybe it’s from when your parents were little. Then the mushroom is for playing Super Mario Bros. for NES because that seems appropriately VHS-esque. You and the snail are going to give each other homemade tattoos of rocket ships using a knife for some reason. Chelsea, use a needle like everybody else for Christ’s sake.

…cause it matters to Christ how you do your homemade tattoos.

Any way, either scenario sounds like fun

I mean #soundslikefun
As she was typing out her reply, Max texted again.
Alright, I guess the conversations over.
Conversation’s. Conversation is.
Chelsea deleted her text about Will coming over. That was Will’s business. Besides, Max clearly liked her and Chelsea, honestly, was into Will, but had no idea what the rest of her day would be like and if things did not go well with Will then what was the point of discouraging Max, at least discouraging Max right now.
#tellyouaboutitlater
#you’rekillingme

How her day went was like this:
Chelsea got herself an almost full deck of Premium Plus crackers, a side plate, a knife and a tub of cream cheese and sat down to watch Peter’s copy of My Own Private Idaho, which Peter insisted that she would love. Only the VCR started making these two noises, both of them rhythmic, one a grind and one a squeal. Then there was the pop and whirr of the machine trying to eject the tape. And the pop and whirr again and again. When she got to the VCR, cream cheese and cracker nearly overwhelming her mouth with its sticky bulk, cracker dust spraying with each exhale, the cassette was in mid-eject and bucking on beat with the pop and whirr. She couldn’t get her fingers in the VCR to help anything, so she unplugged the machine to at least make the noise stop.
Chelsea decided to stream the movie on Peter’s iPad, but got distracted by Facebook until 2:55 p.m. It was after 3 by the time she left the house and she was texting Kenny to assure him she was coming and Kenny texted back
Kenneth George now
Coming where?
They had a little back and forth and it became clear that he’d forgotten they were supposed to meet and he didn’t have any mushrooms right now anyway, sorry.
Chelsea stood there in the middle of the street, staring at her phone. A guy frosted in sawdust and stinking of cigarettes and work, snarled, “Fucking iPhones; everybody’s in love,” as he walked by. It snapped Chelsea out of her stunned disappointment. She sat down on the stoop of an apartment between storefronts. She texted Will. She had to text Will.
It’s probably for the best.
Ken’s an idiot.
I’m not sure I’m ready.
Chelsea bit her lower lip and looked up at sun before typing and sending
Still wanna come over anyway.
Her heart hurried until Will replied
That’d be great.
and
Yes.
and
Sure.
Peter was making dinner and Chelsea was sitting in the kitchen debating whether or not she should mention what had happened with My Own Private Idaho when Will arrived. After Peter introduced himself and said he wished he’d known that Will was coming over, Peter invited Will to dinner. When Will explained that he was vegan, Peter looked at the meat sauce he’d just set to simmer and said, “Uh, do you want just noodles or something? Or, I’ve got mushrooms. I could make a cream sauce.” Will politely declined before Chelsea had a chance to tell Peter that cream sauce wasn’t vegan either. Peter said it was nice to meet Will and asked Chelsea to be sure to say next time Will was coming over.
After Chelsea convinced Will that Peter or Erica, who had just gotten home, weren’t going to barge into her room, Chelsea and Will started making out. One thing led to another and eventually Chelsea rolled over and fished a condom out of her bedside table. Will asked, “What are you doing?” She held the square package up so he could see her rip it open. “I— No,” Will said. “I’m flattered, but no. I’m not ready.”
Chelsea was let down, but she was also frustrated that she’d wasted a condom.
Will saw some flicker of those feelings and said, “I’m sorry.”
She threw the condom towards her desk and it landed on a pile of books before sliding off onto a dusty portfolio filled with drawings from an art class she’d taken years ago.
“I’m sorry,” Will said again.
Chelsea lay flat on her back. He rolled towards her and eventually—without letting her touch him once—he got her off twice and somehow she was more eager than ever and she said she could go fetch that condom, but he said, “We can do this again sometime. I’m still just— I don’t think I’m ready.”
They got dressed and went downstairs. In the front hall, Will put on his shoes.
Chelsea followed him to the front porch, where she draped her arms over Will’s shoulders and French kissed him before he turned and walked away.
She was getting into bed, feeling both more relaxed and more alive than she had in a long time—since at least Eric, or maybe not even, maybe since Jayden—when her cell phone buzzed.
max :) :/ :( 2m ago
Text me when you’re done. I want to hear all about it.
max :) :/ :( 15m ago
And I know you’re tripping right now, cause you told me about the shrooms earlier. Not telepathy.
max :) :/ :( 16m ago
Sorry, you’re probably tripping right now. It’s Max. Not some light being.
max :) :/ :( 21m ago
Will like shrooms or what?
max :) :/ :( 21m ago
How are you guys doing?
Chelsea picked up her phone and unlocked it. She thought about replying to Max. She looked through the emoji. She considered various hands, or texting just the eggplant. Or the heart. Then she selected the rocket, but put her phone down instead of sending it. Chelsea turned out the light, the cell phone screen casting a blue glow towards her ceiling before fading to a dimmer blue then going dark entirely.
Toronto, April 2016

Emoji sequence: Matt Silva, writer, moviemaker, Lee’s former student
Story: Lee Sheppard

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