I feel it when I’m asleep. Sometimes when I’m awake, too. Those damn magnetic fields. My girlfriend, Raylene, says I should relax. I tell her it’s hard to relax when you’re in Demolition. It makes you jumpy. Especially when you’re on the thirteenth floor. Raylene says that when I get back on my feet I should try out for the Devil’s stunt team. Says I’m a natural for the Devil’s stunt team. Besides, she says, they’ve got the best uniforms and you never have to pay for your time at the shooting range. I’ll probably have to have plastic surgery first—maybe change my finger prints, too. But I’ve been practicing. Practicing painting pictures of lava. Mostly red and orange, with a little black here and there. I’m pretty good, even if it’s hard to get the volcanoes just right. You’d think that would be the easy part? What are volcanoes, anyway? Just exploding mountains. No big deal. But when the volcano painting isn’t going too good, I like to get in the car and go for a drive. Doesn’t matter where I go. Sometimes, I drive all night. Roll the windows down, listen to the wind. It sounds like nails hissing through wood. Have you ever noticed that? Maybe that’s just me? I don’t know. I like to drive out into the desert, way past Pahrump; watch the sun come up. Did you know there’s no word for ‘smile’ in Latin? I read that in a book, once. Those poor Romans. At least they had swimming pools. The trouble with the desert is that it’s running out of easy-to-kill prey. They say the planet is getting warmer, and it’s affecting the wildlife. I love wildlife. They’re not really that different from you and me. Not really. The snakes and the bugs, they just live their lives. Just do snake and bug things. They even sleep at night. Hey, I hope nothing terrible happens. That would be a shame. The snakes and the bugs. Coyotes too. All gone. They’re just like us. They don’t like heat. Not really. Not even in the desert. The snakes and bugs and coyotes. At least there aren’t any volcanoes. Not yet. But you never know. I might drive out there one day, and there’ll be nothing but lava; the wildlife all burnt-up. You never know for sure. They say everything is getting hotter. With all this damn radiation, there’s no telling. But don’t worry. Not about the coyotes, anyway. Coyotes are smart. They’ve got brains. Not like bugs and snakes. They think like us. At night, you can read their minds; you can tell what they’re thinking. Sometimes even before they’re thinking it. If anything happens to the coyotes, I’ll let you know. Ditto, the volcanoes.
Appeared in Pink X-Ray