Paranoia

When I drive to Phoenix I don’t drive fast, so it takes me two hours to get there. During the 2 hours, I picture crashing. Sometimes the car just flips over. Other times, it spins into other cars. Once, I rolled onto the train tracks and I couldn’t unfasten the seat belt in time.

Death-by-train vs. death-by-forgetting-to-check-the-rearview: who would win?

It doesn’t matter—I lose. I imagine ex-lovers talking to each other at the funeral—I have no idea what they’d say. The Dawn Pendergast Memorial Scholarship. Yeah, I go that far; the scholarship, the teenage girl that would win it, someone keeping my computer (that’s you Jimmy), my clothes (Misty, take what you want), books (theory and fiction go to C, poetry to whoever doesn’t already have it).

I’ve seen several dead bodies, but never touched one.

I tell Michael that I deserve it—no one deserves death more than me. I eat $.59 frozen dinners, hotdogs, Ramen, Fruit Roll-ups. I drink Diet Coke. I’m a two-and-half-packer. I don’t exercise, clean my cuts, wash my face, or brush my teeth. I forget to pay bills for months. I have numerous outstanding parking tickets. My license expired. My cat is not fixed and quite feral. I don’t read half the books I buy. I use people. I crave quick, passive sex. I don’t go to class. I don’t sleep at night. I pop painkillers like I don’t need a liver. And I can’t say I care about any of it. Except maybe the books. I hope I live long enough to read all the books that I bought.

My grandmother shed a single tear before she quietly died. My mother watched the body turn grey.

I know I’m normal—maybe even a little better than normal. Because death, you see, doesn’t want just anyone. It sizes you up, sticks to a little tongue compressor in your mouth to see if you’re ready. Of course I’m not ready. For fuck’s sake, I’ve got at least ten good years left, I yell. Death turns a death-ear.

I think paranoia’s the most obnoxious form of egotism. I die and I die and I die and every time it’s tragic. I hold my little life close to my chest. I pet it. Take it, pissing and shitting, everywhere.

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