In a labyrinth, the sound of water dripping omnipresent
I lie on a moldy floor and stare up at wooden beams covered in spider webs. There are pipes all around me, twisting about each other like snakes, a septic smell oozing its way into my nostrils. There is a valve that keeps dripping. I put my hands on it and the drip turns into a spray. The water is black and acidic on my skin, yet I can't help trying to wash it off. Behind me, someone comes down the stairs, their steps ponderous and seething dread. A gigantic man in overalls appears, a pipe wrench in his hand. He asks if I fixed the leak. "I cannot," I tell him. He smiles a grin of rotten brown teeth.
On the open road
The big semi spits clouds of diesel and I lean back into my seat, my hand on the CB. There are miles and miles of nothingness before me, woods stretching over hillsides, hiding things that don't wish to be seen. My stomach has swelled up, pushing against the steering wheel, and something moves inside it, a creature formed of beef jerky, petrified sandwiches, and caffeinated beverages. I take a handful of amphetamines and dump them into my mouth. The horizon changes suddenly, the purple-crimson shades of the setting sun turning a deep neon blue. The CB turns to static, and I lose power, the dashboard flickering like a dying firefly. As the truck coasts to a stop, I see it moving over the trees, a hovering ellipse rotating rapidly. A squeal pierces my ears, and I am pulled from my seat through the window. As I move toward it, I see my life passing by, a mirage of truck stop tramps, alcoholism, and poor dietary choices.
In a house of ill-repute
I sit on the chaise lounge and unbutton my dinner jacket as the woman comes through the door. Her breasts bulge like melons from her corset, and I take a glass of sherry to my lips and drink. Bawdy music is playing downstairs, a Spaniard singing perverse ditties in his heathen tongue. She puts a stocking foot on my leg and asks what I'll be having. "The same as everyone else," I say, putting down my glass and seizing her in my arms. "You don't want what they're having," she says, tearing herself away from me and fleeing to the closet. I ask her why. "Because you're special," she replies, and a rustling is heard from inside. Something like a black and grey octopus arm slithers from beneath the door, and my heart beats faster, but I do not leave. "Do you still want what they are having?" she asks, the doors swinging open. "No," I reply, "I want something different."
A dive bar, in the boonies
We play behind the chicken wire as they throw their beer bottles against it, shards of glass flickering before my feet. "Sing something they know," says the drummer, an obese man I barely know. The guitarist is looking at me strangely, as though I have forgotten who or what I am. "Let's try a little tenderness," I say. The crowd angers further, but I shake my head, resolute in the song choice. "You assholes don't know what's good for you," I say as the band starts the song. They drag us out into the parking lot afterwards and wail on us with their large hillbilly fists. The drummer loses most of his teeth, his gaping grin a torrential pouring of blood. I don't make any noise while they crack my ribs and shatter my teeth. As the moon appears from behind the clouds, I mumble that they have one last chance. They decide not to take it.