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FLOWERS WHEN YOU'RE DEAD PART I

[EXCERPT]

KAT MELLON


THE GREAT ESCAPE First off, writing this damn thing is one of the dumbest, most asinine things I’ve done yet. Give a demented monkey a keyboard and it’ll tap out a load of shit—give me a keyboard and I’ll do the same, though I’m willing to bet the monkey would still do it better than me. Here's the thing I just can't figure out: why am I even writing this? It's not like I've got anyone who'll give a damn enough to read it. I guess my thinking is that when I’m rotting six feet under one day, someone I've never met'll pick up this bundle and

make me matter again. That's a real stupid notion, though, because I’ll still be as dead as a potato-state spacker. This whole thing is real stupid, but here I am, still typing and everything. This heroin he's got taped under the desk is real tempting right now. REAL tempting. But you know what? I’m not gonna do it. That trip to the hospital did me in, I tell you. Too many nurses and water bags and needles. The smell is enough to drive you crazy, guaranteed. If I ever smell a latex glove again, I’ll know my time has come. They’ll stick me in a body bag, dump me in the morgue, and clean me up for a funeral—assuming that he would even bother to pay for one, of course. They'd probably just dump me in a trash can and be done with it. Anyway, I’m thinking about running away tonight. Getting away from this shithole of a house and going somewhere else. Anywhere else. I’d rather sleep in a box. People might actually leave me alone in there. Oh, I’ll keep a journal and all, I promise. I’ll print out this page and buy one of those cheap notebooks at the drugstore before I take off. But who cares? Like I said, I doubt anyone will read it. I can’t name a single friend or acquaintance, honestly. Well, there was Jakely, but he’s dead. If you love someone, they die. I swear. This chair is crappy. It’s puke yellow and creaks whenever you lean back in it. There're a bunch of beer stains on it too. I hate sitting in it or anything else in this house. Even the BED is crappy. My feet hang off the edge and it feels like I’m sleeping on a slab instead of a mattress. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I want to leave. I can nick some money from The Bastard and dye my hair and run away like the kid from The Outsiders. I’d even get the damn leather jacket and join some bikers and go rob some banks or something. Anything but being stuck here where I can’t even

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SLEEP, and it’s not just because of the bed. The Bastard brings women home almost every night and they're always too goddamn loud. I’ll stare up at the ceiling sometimes and when things are real bad, I always find the little Devil on my wall. I kid you not: one of the paint splotches looks like the Devil, tail and all. I’ll kind of miss him, actually. It's almost like being able to see into the future. If I look up and see him, I know trouble's outside the door. Anyway, if there were any time of day I would run away, it would be right now while he’s off at work. I don't know what he does for a living. We don’t talk much. He can say a lot without words. I have a bag to put my stuff in, in case you were wondering. It’s black with a strap and it zips up and everything. I don’t have much. I’m going to leave the last of the drugs in his drawer to thank him for not killing me after all these years, though. It’s the least I can do. He came pretty close a few times. Damn near died. I’ve got five shirts and a couple of jeans, so I’ll pack those. I’ve also got this hat with a little pom-pom on top. It’s black and white. I just put it on. Jakely gave it to me for Christmas before he died. I think he found it on the street one of those times The Bastard let him go outside. I don’t remember what I found for him. I sure wish I could, though. Oh, and I’ve got some pictures and stuff I’ll take with me too. One of my mom, believe it or not. I actually saw her a few years ago. She called The Bastard on the phone and wanted to make sure I was still alive and everything. I ended up waiting for her in some slummy café with him watching me from outside, making sure I didn't run away or anything. Anyway, we sat down at this dirty table and talked for about five minutes before some guy with a goatee made a move on her, and boy did she move quick. Made up some excuse and was gone with him, just like that. Left me with the goddamn bill and everything. I’m leaving. I’ve made up my mind. The bag is packed and all I have to do is print this out, nick the money, and hit the streets. I don’t know where I'll go, really. I don’t know where the good jobs are. I suppose I’ll just clamber off into the Wilderness like that Supertramp guy did and live off the land. My head’s been hurting all damn day. You know why? I fell down the stairs because I was trying to avoid him. I smashed straight into the wall. Right into it. I even left a dent. I hope he doesn’t notice because I’ll be up shit creek. I’ll be painting the wall with my blood. I’d be like one of those crazy hospital inmates finger-painting with

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things that should never be used to finger-paint. Stuff like that makes me nuts. Fingerpainting with shit. I mean, really. Can’t they find anything better? You know, like Crayola or Roseart? He’s going to be home in about twenty minutes. I’d better get the lead out before I get caught. Hell hath no fury like a Bastard scorned.

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LATEX AND BLOOD I did it. I’m ON THE ROAD! Well, technically I’m sitting outside the back door, but that’s beside the point, really. What counts is that I’m outside of the house. It’s hard to believe that I’m leaving. I mean, I’ve lived here my whole damn life. What the hell am I supposed to do NOW? I doubt I’ll find a job. They won’t need any creepy-looking teenagers. Hell, I’d scare off all their business. They’d pay me to leave. I’ve got this black shaggy hair that The Bastard’s always hated. It makes me look real shady and demented. I would've cut it, but he never gave me any scissors or anything. I haven't used scissors since I was a little kid. Anyway, I don’t think of myself as the tortured soul type like they talk about on the TV. I think I'm more of a leave-me-alone-and-shut-the-fuck-up type, but that's just what happens when you never talk to anyone. Anyway, I have these weird jagged incisors, so they'll all probably think I’m a vampire and try to stab me through the heart or something. The truth is that I hate blood, especially the smell. Latex gloves and blood have got to be the worst smells on this earth. I think I mentioned that before. I’m writing on the back of the page I printed out. My handwriting is kinda crappy. I don’t know why, but it just is. Too loopy. My ball-point pen keeps on quitting, so I’ll have to get a new one. Its got bite marks all over it. I chew on it when I’m nervous. Like now, for instance. I’ve been chewing on it for fifteen goddamn minutes waiting for a good excuse to leave. I think I’ll chew on the pen some more and wait. The Bastard is pulling in the driveway. I’ve just decided that I’m leaving forever. I’m sick of him and that stupid Jeep. I want the hell out of here before I go so crazy that I dump my blood in a latex glove and drink it.

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WHY LIE? Ok. I made it out all right. I just grabbed my bag and walked. Boy, I walked. I walked for ages. Well, it seemed like it was ages, but it was probably only a couple of minutes. I’m funny that way. So, I waited for the bus and that’s where I am now. I've never been on a bus before. You want to know the worst part? I forgot to nick the goddamn money before I left. I gave the bus driver most of what I had. I don’t even have enough money to buy a stupid muffin for dinner. It seems like I always forget the important things. Like that thing I gave Jakely. It scares me, to be honest. I don’t want to lose my mind. Boy, this place is a shithole. I thought downtown would be full of glamour and pretty stuff, but it really isn’t. I'm betting it's full of porn and drugs and sex, and I can only stand the second one. The other two scare me. I don’t like to think about these things. Pretty soon, I can forget all about them because I’m getting the hell out of here. Maybe I’ll be a cowboy out West, if they even have those anymore. I’ll probably just be shlucking dung at some old Farmer’s place. But that’s ok. As long as I get my own damn shack to live in. I remember when me and Jakely rode the city bus together. I think we went to visit his aunt across town. Hell, maybe HE did and only TOLD me about it. Stuff from the TV mixes with my memories sometimes. Anyway, she had this little house with a picket fence and all these little flowers, and everything inside the house was all cute and covered in flowers too. She had a cat. I’ve always liked the idea of animals. They can’t tell you what to do and they’ll always listen. The Bastard wouldn’t let me get a pet, ever. Not even one of those roly-polys I used to find in the house. I don’t think Jakely’s aunt had any of those in her house. The cat must have eaten them. I don’t think Jakely ever had a pet either. Maybe he would’ve lived if he'd had one. I always told him he should get a pet mouse, but he wasn't interested. He said, well maybe YOU should get one if you want one so damn much. I told him I couldn’t because of The Bastard and all. It got quiet after that. He knew me better than anyone. Maybe I should get a pet. Then I wouldn’t be so lonely all the time. But really, I can't bear to have another mouse after what happened to the wild one I found in my room. I’ve always liked reptiles, but I don’t like the idea of taking one out and talking

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to it. I mean, would a lizard ever really look like it’s listening when you’re talking to it? I'd think they'd just kinda sit there, all dumb and oblivious. At least a dog LOOKS at you when you tell it your life’s story. They sit there and wag their tails and lick your face and act like they CARE. Why can’t PEOPLE be like that? I don’t mean the facelicking and the tail-wagging, but the whole caring part. People are like lizards that way. They don’t listen. They just nod and then bite you when you’re done talking about how much everyone’s been an ass to you lately. Then again, I wouldn't know. I don't talk to people. Now, I don't know if this next thing about the bus actually happened or not, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. Like I said, I mix stuff up real bad sometimes. So I’m gonna have to get off the bus soon. I’ve been riding for half an hour and the driver’s looking at me in the mirror like I’m bothering him or something. Really, I’m just sitting here and minding my own business and everything. I guess I SHOULD get off eventually, but where? I wish I could tell him to keep on driving out West. I’d make an I.O.U. for the fare and pay him back someday after I got my job shlucking dung for an old farmer by my little shack. But I know that he wants me to get off because he stops and comes over and says, “Hey kid, what’s the problem?” So I tell him: “I don’t know where I’m going.” “Then why the hell are you on this bus?” “I don’t know.” “Then get off! I can’t just drive you around all day for nothin’.” I think for a minute. “Hey, can you drive me out West?” I ask him, all polite and everything. “I want to be a dung shlucker.” I can tell that this doesn’t warm him over because he looks at me funny and goes, “Shlucking dung out West? Kid, are you crazy? I don’t go further West than ________Street, and people don’t shluck dung much anymore, anyways. Society’s run by McDonalds and Walmart. ” That sets me off. The only job I could have, and now I can’t have it, not even that little goddamn straw shack I wanted out on the farm. So I ask him, what is there if there’re no farmers to work for? “Well, kid, you oughta go there and find out yourself. Catch a bus and head on out.”

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“But if you can’t take me out further than _______Street, how the hell am I supposed to get there?” “I hate ‘ta tell you this kid, but get off my bus. I don’t have time to argue. I have people to pick up and I need that seat.” So I dump myself out of the bus, bag and all. People like that are a dime a dozen. I’d be halfway to Texas by now if he would just shut up and goddamn DRIVE me there. Like I said, I’d pay him good and everything. The street I’m on is dirty. There’s a bum lying on the ground with a WHY LIE? NEED BEER sign propped up against his side. God, I could use a drink too. So I go over and nudge the guy with my foot. He wakes up all fast and his eyes pop open like he hadn’t even been asleep. Well, I take a look at that and then I think fuck the beer and I run off. Stuff like that is just too creepy for me. It’s getting kind of dark now, so I need to find a place to crash for a while. I doubt I’ll sleep much, but at least my legs will be all right in the morning for when I head out West and all. I’m not too sure if I want to go, though. Thinking about it, it seems pretty dumb. I’m starting to feel like I want to die because I know I can’t go anywhere, but I can’t kill myself yet because if I did, I’d have to die out here and rot until the goddamn rats picked me apart and I’d be haunting the streets of downtown for the rest of forever until Satan came down from my wall and stabbed me through the heart with a knife made out of latex. Thinking about that makes me feel real queasy. I just remembered that I haven’t eaten. I’d better go get some food somewhere with my dollar and twenty-nine cents. That’ll be a start.

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JOURNAL I didn’t buy any food because I remembered that I had to buy the goddamn

journal. It’s black, the same shade as my hair. One hundred and seventy pages exactly. And you know what? I’m going to fill every single one of them. Too bad you don’t get paid for that. I could get a job where you just write—vomit on and on about anything that comes to mind and get money for it. I could do that for AGES. It’s what I’m DOING, for christssake. Imagine if I got PAID for it. Then I’d just stop eating and drinking and even MOVING and just write the bullshit of my soul out in some stupid notebook until I drain myself of every single thought I've ever had. Now THAT’S a dream job. Better than that goddamn straw shack. The reason I want a straw shack, you see, is because of the movies. Those uncivilized people, that’s what they live in. They're all alone in their little communities, not bothered by hardly anyone; and if they are, they’re shot dead before they know what hit them. It would be a community of one and one only. I would call it the village of FuckYou. It sounds like some Chinese proverb. I don’t know why, but it just does. I’m starting to get tired. I mean, I’m ALWAYS tired, but this is the kind of tired where you can’t even keep your eyes open and standing would be a feat in and of itself. I think I might pass out, actually. So I sit on a bench and close my eyes for a little bit. It’s times like these that I’d like a beer or a cigarette or something. Something to live for, you know. Kinda keeps you going. Huh. Just woke up and the pen is still in my hand. It’s real dark now. I guess I'll spend the night on this bench. I’ll wrap my bag in my arms and lay on the journal in case someone tries to steal it.

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COMING UNDONE When I wake up, it's real light outside and people are walking around again. Some of them are staring at me kinda funny, so I pull myself up and straighten out. I must have gotten more sleep than I had in AGES. I look around, but then I realize: where the HELL am I? There’s a bunch of shops for tourists, a flower place, and a Walk-In-Wills. I have to laugh at that. It’s not like I have anything to leave or anyone to leave it TO, for that matter. And the flowers. Who the fuck needs flowers? They die, just like everything else. Give it to someone and it dies. What kind of a message is THAT? Flowers are real goddamn stupid. I start walking down the street so I can try and figure out where I am. What's REALLY killing me are the families that walk by, especially the ones with a little boy. I always dreamed about having a family because Jakely used to talk about his all the time. He'd tell me all about going to museums and the fair and how his real Dad died when he was little but that his step-dad's a nice guy too. He didn't always like me, to be honest. He slept on the other side of the room for a long time and didn't talk to me because he thought I was in on it. I start to get this real awful feeling as I get further down the block, so I pull the hood of my jacket up over my head and crouch down against a wall. I hang my head down and start humming a tune by a band whose name I can't remember. Named after some kind of food. So I look up and all of a sudden there's a damn cop walking toward me, so I put my head down again. I’m shaking because I don't want him to take me back to the house. ANYTHING but that. I peek up through my hood and the cop is walking away, whistling a tune. It sounds real familiar. I wrap my arms around my knees like I always do when I get scared. My heart's hammering like a bitch, just dying to rip out of my goddamn chest. I want to kill myself sometimes. I’ll never be able to escape, will I? Every goddamn thing I see reminds me of him. Even being a dung shlucker would remind me of him because I would see him in every single piece of shit I shlucked, but I’d see me too, and I’d probably just drive the shovel through my chest so that I wouldn’t have to see either of us.

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The cop is really bugging me. He's walking around like he owns the place. He's a lot like The Bastard in that way. Anyway, I figure that I should leave before the cop comes back, so I get up and start walking as straight as I can. I forgot to mention it, but I did take a few of the drugs with me. I couldn’t just leave ALL of them, you know? I had to have a touch of weed to keep me from thinking about how thirsty I am. The guy starts whistling that tune again. I recognize it now. It's that stupid thing The Bastard whistles when he gets home from work. I turn around to look at him and then I know I’m dead. The Bastard IS the cop. A damn cop, the kind of guy who was supposed to have come and saved me. I couldn’t even move. I knew I ought to have run, but I just COULDN’T. It was all starting to make sense and it made me want to goddamn DIE. I could hardly believe it. A COP. If I had a pocketknife with me, I would've slit his throat right then and there. I wanted revenge, for HIS blood to run all over HIS face. But as he gets closer, I freeze and then I'm tearing up. I hate him, but I could never KILL him. Just like he never killed me. So the tears start coming and then I can’t even goddamn SEE. I wipe them just in time to see him help a little kid and his mother cross the street because there's a big puddle of water on the side of the road from yesterday and all. I'm gonna do what I've always wanted to do. I've got nothing to lose because I'm already dead. At least I'll go out with dignity. “HEY, DAD!" He turns around. When he sees me, his eyes are like a bull’s. He's even got his hand near his gun. “FUCK YOU!" Then I run. I just turn and run. Then I run and run and run until I start coughing up a load of phlegm from all the cigarettes and then I have to stop because I can't go any farther. I collapse on a bench because my side is cramping up real bad. I always thought saying that would make everything better, but it sure as hell didn't. He didn’t even look hurt, not even a little. I'd wanted to yell that at him for years, though. It was my little fantasy; to run the hell out of the house, scream those words at him, and leave for good. Leave him alone to entertain himself without getting

me involved.

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So here I am, all alone on a bench in the middle of downtown. I don’t know what to do. If I had a gun of my own, I would blow my brains out here and now. I know I have to keep running if I don't want him to catch me, but where the hell to? I’m just going to walk. Walk, walk, walk. Maybe I’ll get somewhere nicer for once.

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WHY? I just stopped in an alley. I’m freezing. I walked all damn day, past all those people I’ve never seen before and who I’ll never see again. I’m a nobody. They all looked at me funny. After a while, I just kept my head down. The concrete is better for looking at anyways. I’m also real hungry. Like I said, I never really stopped walking. I just kept going like I was in a trance or something. I mean, I just can’t believe that he’s a COP. I can’t. It makes me so depressed that I want to die. Maybe I could meet Jakely up in Heaven. Most likely they’ll send me to Hell for all of the bad things I’ve done, though I can’t say I did any of them willingly. Well, maybe the drugs, but I don’t know. He liked me better drugged up. It’s around dinnertime right now but I don’t have any money. As gross as this sounds, I’m thinking about digging though the trash. I mean, I’m starving. My stomach feels like it’s going to eat itself. I’m also getting these huge blisters on my feet from these stupid shoes I grew out of a long time ago. It’s dark and I’m getting scared again. I don’t like the dark.

Why am I here? What did I do to deserve this? I’ve been asking myself those questions for my entire goddamn life and I still don’t have any answers. And you know what? I don’t think I ever will.

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WEEEEEEEEED Heyy. I bak. Its great Im not hunrgy anymre. Im fabulus. Damn spiffy. Dance with me, Jakley. Take me to danc with you and all thos starss and shit up there in heaven, all the little pussy clouds and shit up there just waitn for me. Give me my wings, God. Im ready for em. I’ve been waiting a long tiem for some justice, fucker. Jakely’s dead, and you didn’t come bak for me. Why did you leave me hheere? Just kill me alredy. Take me out of my misry and let me smile for te first time in my fucking life

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DREAM I had this dream where The Bastard came after me. He had a knife and he threw me on the ground and pinned me and held it to my throat and said that if I yelled he’d kill me. Then he stuck a heroin needle into my arm and everything went all fuzzy, and then I was walking with Jakely at the park and we saw a girl and she came up to me and smiled and I froze, and then suddenly Jakely fell over dead and the girl smiled wider and held up the knife, and then blood started coming out of her mouth and she was dead too, and my dad was back and I somehow grabbed Jakely’s body and ran away, but then we were in his room and he was alive again and we were talking about the Christmas present I gave him and he had it in his hand but I couldn’t see it, then later he got up and went outside and I heard a scream and he’s laying in a pool of blood and some woman is crying over his dead body and then I’m screaming and screaming and screaming, and then when I wake up and open my eyes I scream for REAL because some blond-haired fuck is right up in my face looking at me. “Whoa, man," the guy says, and his hands are up in the air and everything. "You ok?” “Go away." I back up against the wall of the alley real quick to get away from him. “I guess you're coming down from something,” the guy tells me, as if I don't know already. He extends his hand toward me, but I look away. “Hey, don't be spooked. I want to help you." “I don’t want your help.” I hate people. I HATE them. I'm only half awake and this guy is really ticking me off. Worst of all, he's SMILING. “It’s like déjà vu, you know," the guy says. "Once upon a time, I was just like you. Well, sort of. I guess I didn't end up high in an alley.” I still don't want to look at him. Crazy guy and his stupid words. I can't trust anyone out here. “Yeah?” “But then I grew up and got my shit together.” Then the guy gets up and tells me he’ll be back. I thought that maybe he stole my journal, but it’s still here, so here I am writing this. He’d better not come back. I want to be left alone. I didn’t get much sleep and I feel lousy. Coming down off a high

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is a bitch, though I must admit it did feel nice for a little bit. I didn’t even remember where I was or what I was doing.

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Flowers When You're Dead (Excerpt)  

An excerpt of FWYD by Kat Mellon.

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