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It’s June, and my psychiatrist says I shouldn’t go to Alaska. 

He’s in his club chair and looking at his snake plants. 

I’m on the blue couch and looking at my hands. 

* * *

I’m looking out the window now. 

My psychiatrist says I should stay right where I am.

"We don't want another Hawaii," he counsels.

But he does concede that the stars at night would be beautiful in Alaska. 

* * *

I don’t listen to my psychiatrist. 

I spend four thousand dollars on camping equipment. 

I grab my baby brother. 

We go to Alaska. 

* * *

Turns out there's twenty-four-hour daylight during the summer months in Alaska. 

There are no beautiful stars at night. 

My psychiatrist is a liar. 


Self Defense 

Zack was total destruction, demonic possession. If you were alone in a room with Zack you would scream for the authorities. You would wet your pants. 

Zack was mostly crystal meth and angel dust (such a vicious combination). Zack was drug rehab after drug rehab, mental hospital after mental hospital, et cetera after et cetera. 

Zack was adopted. Zack was born during an Ohio storm. Nobody knew what lived in Zack’s DNA. 

Zack’s mother got Zack’s sister, and Zack’s father got Zack when Zack’s parents divorced. (What a perfect divorce––everything split exactly down the middle.) 

Zack was my friend’s father’s best friend’s brother’s son. There was never a boy loved so much by his father as Zack. 

I don’t know if Zack wanted to get better. I never met Zack. I’ve never met my friend’s father. 

This story goes down in Florida.  

* * *

One night, Zack, naked, wasted, grabbed a machete. 

That night, he carjacked an elderly woman with his machete, naked. 

Several terrible weeks went by and Zack’s condition remained completely unchanged. 

Finally, Zack entered his father’s bedroom with a gun in his hand and announced, “Tonight’s the night you die.” 

His father, who’d been reading in bed, reached for the gun under the pillow and blew Zack away.

Zack’s father would've done anything for Zack. He would’ve French kissed his own son if it meant bringing him back from the motherfucking depths of insanity. 

* * *

And so the funeral was a bleak affair. 

Zack had lived a horrible life. 

After the funeral, Zack’s father asked my friend’s father if he was hungry for soup. 

“Zack made the most terrific soup last week,” he said. 


image: Cecilia Bell