New York Tyrant

Cocaine Barbara Plays Whack-a-Mole with Her Heart
by Anaïs Duplan

Kelly Schirmann

Much to her surprise, Barbara in the city. Teaching some children about poetry. "What is there to know?" she says, poised on all fours on the desk at the front of the room, "What is there to know about Donne? You tell me." Cocaine Barbara belching chicken bones all over the room. Everyone aces the class, ascends the ranks, becomes the lecturer at here-or-there. So, Barbara in her eighties, still in the city, living with Michael in some god-awful hole, making eyes at rats, licking and being licked. And one night, I mean it all goes kablooey I mean you couldn't even see through it I mean the smell of chicken bones everywhere, too. Michael sick to his stomach, sick down his legs with the feeling. The whole room a hole in the ground getting deeper. She stands up and she says, "Michael, now you listen to me, I've got a feeling to say" and Michael says, "What's that?" and I mean, his eyes are bloodshot, leaking out everywhere, the floor's like a Tarkovsky film, it's covered in water I mean the roof's caving in, the lions are chirpin' outside the window and she looks at him and she says, "Now don't you go playing with my heart, Michael—I've got the feeling and I've got it tonight." Michael says, "Now who's that now?" Barbara looks him in the eye and she dies three times. Third time she comes back she's new again. New shoes, new pussy, everything. They go out that night, she and Michael, and Michael gets caught at some streetlight and Barbara, she frees herself, right then and there, goes to heaven in a dog's body.

1 comment

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