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March 9, 2020 Fiction

Seven Synchronized Scenes

Laurel Shimasaki

Seven Synchronized Scenes photo


Halfway to hell a couple stops for a picnic on irradiated grass. They drink bottled wine with cork floating in it. After each sip, bits of cork bob up and down their throats. Glug. There’s no water. A city wide boil advisory is still out. Brain eating amoebas were detected in the tap.



Flesh eating bacteria vacation in the gulf. A diver thinks what the hell. He performs a headfirst cannonball and struts out the sea like he won Olympic gold. Water droplets coating his skin rebound the sun. A new crucifix tattoo coruscates on his shoulder. It’s healing nicely, but it’s not healed enough. This is how our bacilli enter.



A woman has been watching the whole time. She is pale and thin, her skin translucent. It’s cool. No it’s gorgeous, it’s a feat of design, like when Nintendo came out with a clear Game Boy and you could see each wire that made this thing possible. She loved the clear Game Boy but her veins freak her out, criss-crossing so close to the surface. A latticework delivering blood. Certain spiders have venom that can turn blood to jelly in as short as twenty seconds.



Scientists harvest and test in labs. They seek therapeutic uses for poison. One success is Capoten, a hypertension medication made out of Jararaca venom. People fear vipers but Capoten is an ACE inhibitor so don’t raise your blood pressure thinking about looming snakes.



Another type of ACE is adverse childhood experiences. There’s a test you take to rate your childhood. If you get a high score, you’re at risk for everything from addiction to cancer. Some people say: get over it. We all have ACE’s. Childhood isn’t supposed to be good, the point is to prime you for the horrors of life. Sure, dad.



Across the nation, teenagers are taught that LSD stores itself forever in a person’s spinal cord. Like a vampire, the drug permanently takes up home in your body if you let it in. Because LSD lives in your spine you’re at risk for a flashback whenever you crack your back. Criiiick. Their understanding is so literal. These same people think somatic trauma is bullshit. As if the unwanted hands on your waist and breathing on your neck can’t etch itself into your nerve endings. It can, it can. But nobody will teach you about that. Hopefully you won’t have to find out. She daydreams about the inspirational Japanese termite colonies that are doing just fine without men, thanks for asking.



Two sisters inherit the family farm. Unsure what to do with all the twisters, the younger one comes up with a plan that’ll transform the stables into an Airbnb. They market to millennials seeking to trade money for experience. Grow your own tornado. Tornados fresh off the vine. Bacon, lettuce, tornado sandwich. Cherry tornadoes popping in your mouth like biting into an eyeball. Tornado ketchup. Tornado sauce.

image: Aaron Burch