ben ohmart

Mike had just seen Gus because he'd been staring at the tv for 85 minutes. The house looked something like the inside of a Cracker Jack box and the lumpy piles covered with thick dust that weren't clothes were some people he'd let stay from the last spring break, or the last 1 he could remember. The goldfish were dead long ago but the smell didn't matter since they always kept the cover on. Someone at the flat had a fetish against plates being licked by dogs after the humans got through with them (some childhood trauma suffered repeatedly) so they were always clean and Mike got out the frying pan to heat up while he flopped his porkchops in the flour sack and brooded over the donkey that could kick hundred yard field goals.

A farming commune of only the finest, wealthiest young people who had nothing better to do than eat the dirt off the raw vegetables they gathered from their naturalistic labors. The sky pulled in lungfulls of fresh air, the nearest house was 3 or 5 miles down the dirt path, and the neighbors were nice enough to let them share the mailing address so they could still get their penpal letters, their zines that must Not be glossy - glossy zines, thrown right out, corporate rubbish! - and catalogs of underground clubs that always seemed to be printed on tree-free paper, the fact exclaimed in bold print large enough to consume an entire page of publication.

But no one vegetarian had said anything about the meat in the refrigerator, Mike had a suspicion that it was because few besides himself were still alive. The thought tried to haunt him as he went around from animal to animal, checking the lame pigs, smelling the vile shit-entrenched hay of the horses, checking them all for the ability to play some type of professional sport.

Mike remembered how it was only he who ever plucked the sensitive carrots from the earth's crust, any shopping he'd done got no financial or verbal support from any of the rest of the crew so that they never even asked for anything, and he thought 1 at least would've queried for toilet paper of a different ply. The cow he was currently observing held certain aspirations in ice hockey, it was true, but the more he experimented, never really fully on the game anymore with thoughts of lazy roomies hardly dancing like sugarplums through his head, the more the cow simply seemed to be Eating the hockey stick from want of food than covering Mike's raw moves, showing those first few wins as damnable luck only.

The sun was setting and the young man with hard black hair and the kind of aloof black eyes you could light matches with realized he'd accomplished nothing with this day. The smell of earth was an ordinary sensation and perhaps a few bits of veggies would've made a difference to the rich boy's ego on any other separate occasion but the truth was, he'd had it. Maybe the real reason it'd been so great before was because the people had helped. There was a unity of challenge, a thought of seriousness and purpose drifting through the house that had no central air, but it was all gone and all pictures of Gus kicking field goals was gone for good too. Furious, the screen door came off in his hand and it was only 1 more reason to be mad at these people, he'd have to fix it himself.

Tv was still flickering, same channel but a sappy music like The Love Boat made a mockery of every curse he wanted to fling. Mike changed his shoes so the shit wouldn't spread all over the carpet, and went to the first chair to fling away the dust balls. He turned on a light to try to get it right. Dirty clothes. The couch. Dirty clothes. He had to stop. Then. Who was doing the dishes?