Boneless – Shawn Zylberberg – Medium

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Shawn Zylberberg
Boneless Shawn Zylberberg Medium


I did it for the money. If that’s a problem, you should stop reading this shit and eat some pretzels. It went like this: Two days ago I saw a truck under the Kensington bridge on my way home from Eddy’s. As I passed it, I heard the hot ticks coming from the hood. You know, when you turn the car off after a long ride. It looked empty and unlocked, so I made visors out of my hands and looked inside. Four white balls stared at me. I heard them say come in, but it was muffled enough to raise some doubts. It sounds stupid: getting into a car with strangers. But I was broke as shit and most of my cash came from strangers who needed favors. Pick up this, drop off that, watch my baby while I shoot this smack, get three Dr. Pepper’s, stroke my dick under this broken lamp post. It was 5am under the bridge that day, and it was cold and sad. I opened the door and saw two guys wearing headsets. The kid behind the wheel looked like a “Jack” with anger management, while the other had an ugly mustache and nostrils big enough to fit both my thumbs. In other words, they were harmless.

“What y’all want?” I asked, as if I was in charge of anything.

“Get in the car, it’s freezing.” Jack said.

They scooted over and put a headset over my ears before I could shut the door. The black foam was cold, but the voice behind it was warm. I know it sounds weird, but you gotta hear me out. It was an angel on the other side. I couldn’t see where the headphone jack was plugged into. The wires fed into the glove compartment, but I wasn’t gonna open it in a stranger’s car. Glove compartments are opened with bloody gloves in this city. So I listened. And it was…

I felt alone in the car, but these feelings wouldn’t have stirred if these two strangers weren’t next to me, listening to the same shit. My ribs were opening and my throat got tight. You know, when you wanna cry but you holdin’ it in like a fart? Except I held it for the same reason I say, “sorry” more than I say “love”: I’m scared of what happens if this wall collapses. The bridge above us shook as rush hour approached. I looked down at my feet and saw mini bricks floating down onto my shoes. They melted over my frozen toes, like whispering snowflakes on a hot sidewalk. Gone. I pressed the headset into my ears until the angel’s voice became muffled and slow. My throat released and tears blurred my vision. Headlights turned to one light. Moving suns on the road. I might’ve be tripping. I might’ve not been tripping. If I was, I wouldn’t feel this sad. Not until after. Fuck. I looked to my left to see if these guys were okay, but all I saw were two skeletons with headsets on. They both turned to me.

“I lost my keys. Can you start the car Robby?” They asked simultaneously.

I couldn’t talk.

“Start the car Robby.” They said.

I couldn’t speak.

“The key is in the glove compartment Robby.”

I’m not.

“It’s easy.”

The mini bricks turned to black drops of blood that rained onto my…

My jaw dropped like a nutcracker. My eye sockets were empty and black, but I could still see. My cheek bones felt like half-finished golf balls without the ridges. I deflated and my clothes landed softly onto my bones. I tried grabbing my stomach, but my fleshless fingers slashed through the air in my rib cage. The top row of my teeth fell and clattered onto the bowl of my pelvis. The angel cried into my headset and her hot tears ran down the inside of my skull.

I opened the glove compartment, but it was too late. My flesh was back. The car engine was on. And the two kids were telling me to get the fuck out.

“What about the money?” I asked.

“What about the money?” They said.

I saw they still had their headsets on, and as I left them under the bridge that day, I could still hear the angel’s cries in my head. Or was it laughter? I’m not sure. I’m just fucking tired.



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