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“As they confuse m as if their behavio I find their remar again, trying to make Chris look like a body that’s been lying there for a long time. Matt yells up at me. “Are you ready?” I stand there nodding. Like an actor. He’d explained in the car that I’m supposed to stumble down the hill drunk and discover the body, but how I do it is my own affair. It’s still pouring. I look down the muddy path, very steep and slippery, the rocks embedded like landmines all the way down. From below, Matt looks up through the camera and yells action. I start down, scared I’ll slip and break something while I’m busy acting. OK, I’m acting, I realize, but the box inhibits movement, making it difficult to maneuver if I should actually slip. My customary agility is gone—stripped from me by this young fanatic. I try to feel the way I used to feel when I was really wasted. The long walk home, slowly, like climbing. Nearby traffic that sounds distant. My shadow under the street lamps leading me from one end of the sidewalk to the other. Cops driving by, slowly. I wave the bottle with my upper body as if I’m staggering, my legs splayed out, the sides of my feet planted on stones for support, slipping occasionally, then recovering on a rock, but trying to look as if I’m stumbling. All that. But none of it has the spontaneous luck of the drunk, who may or may not make it without falling, but who’d be propelled forward 30

by drink. My performance is flawed by props and sobriety. I get to the bottom, swaying, looking around, Matt still filming. I have to keep pausing to remember what it feels like to be drunk. So I’m stalling—the stumbling staller. There’s broken glass everywhere, and I’m straddling the railroad tracks, facing the big graffiti illustrations, with my back to the camera, remembering. You arrive home. Stairs. You get your key out but can’t get it in the door, can’t imagine how you ever did, and you keep trying, needing to piss, finally falling through the open doorway ten minutes later, and into the bathroom, somewhat more lucid by then. I turn toward the camera in a slow rotation, then back around, looking up at the pictures, as if imagining things in some kind of delirium, the faces alive and talking to me, the colors, blue, pink, etc., presumably swirling about. But I soon get tired of that, and it only remains to throw the bottle at one of the faces on the wall and move toward the body. After a moment, I remember to stumble around. I stumble over here, and I stumble over there. I let myself list from side to side. Each time I take a step, I start to fall in that direction. The process is slow and ponderous, the camera humming. I begin to realize that it sometimes takes a great deal of effort to do something stupid. Before getting to the body I try to clear my head of the fact that there’s a body there, so that when I see it, I’ll be

Profile for Katya Cummins

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Profile for nichelit
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