New Chrystal

There were so many of them running across the field. So many. We hid in the drainage tunnel under the road. They had dogs. That was us, in the darkness, looking from one tunnel exit to the other and back for hours, hearing voices and barks echo down the curved metal walls. I don’t know how long we were down there for. A day? Two days? It smelled like death in there. I even drank some of the water. You ate rats. Remember that? That must have been day two. I watched you turn from from buttoned-down hostess into this hideous creature smeared with rat blood. Coming out of there our clothes stank so bad. We lived out in the desert for a few more days after that. We made a little oven out of some corrugated metal and slept in it at night when it was cool enough.

I started wishing I’d eaten those rats too. I’d hallucinate these rabbits hopping giant hops across the scrubby desert. Almost like they were flying, silhouetted against the sun. We should catch some of them rabbits, I told you. You gave me this face. What the fuck are you talking about?

The RABBITS! We should catch some and eat them! Instead of rats!

Where are you fucking seeing rabbits? That’s when I stared at you and realized the heat and starvation was getting the better of me. Because the rabbits were everywhere, crawling and hopping all over the place. So when the Captain showed up I didn’t believe in him either. If he hadn’t shown up there is no doubt in my mind that we’d both have eventually charred to death in that oven.

Instead we were back on the highway, stowed in a container his truck was pulling. We both got a set of woman’s clothes -mine were way too tight. Yours looked good that way. The captain took us all the way to Massachusetts, tossing us bags of fast food now and then and we gradually got our strength back. He dropped us off by a strip club in Revere and we both got jobs there. I got the better job- mopping up the place at the end of the night.

We crashed in a closet in the back of the place until we had enough money for an apartment. When we got a little more money and had guns again we hit the road.


After all these years I can’t believe you never got busted. I’ve been in and out so many times it’s just about normal now. But you never got busted once. When I went straight you still had about another five years in you. Seeing you now in that parking lot with your kids and your Mercedes SUV I wonder what it would take to bring back the old Chrystal, the one I knew when we were teenagers. The one who scared the fuck out of me on more than one occasion. Where did that girl go?

Now I lie on my hammock and drink coffee and read the news on my phone. If I woke up in the middle of the night screaming I’d tell my kids I’d just had a bad dream. I told my son Robbie, Don’t ever play with guns. Of course, kids never listen. Now I got no kids to speak of.

But tell me about this new leaf you turned over. I’d just love to hear a happy ending to all this, I really would.




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