I am a soft slime-thing, small and ceaselessly oozing. All of me glistens while party lights bounce off my rubbery rounded boils. I am the lurking lard-like mass tiptoeing the room’s edge, leaving a moist trail of blotchy, diseased puss still seeping out from my hand-picked scabs.

The stereo plays a popular, only slightly-overrated song, moving the hips of everyone in the room. They’re all having fun. You’re having fun. Even I’m having fun: wobbling around strangers like this, an endless supply of second glances. I don’t mind stares like you do, being the party’s most poignant and putrid guest lends me that tasty delusion of popularity.

A party small enough for everyone to see but big enough that it feels like a crowd is watching, an audience for my heaving shoulders as I lurch forward. Dumbly shifting around the crowd like a hippopotamus trying to fit in with a flock of flamingos. My lively corpse awkwardly impairing it’s own movement, slippery appendages never intended for a living thing, or at least not a moving thing, certainly not a dancing thing. Things like me, infections like me, aren’t intended to do anything more than maintain a malignant gaze. I was made to sit and stare, to curse and crave you and all your mobile kind. I am made for just this guileful hate, made to resent all living people like that failed brain tumor ripped from its purpose by some invidious doctor.

So why am I here? Why am I crawling along the baseboards, matching my trail with the out-of-season Christmas lights? You invited me. You. You invited me here to console you. To remind you. To take you home when the music changes. I’m your scapegoat; invited only to provide your Monday morning excuse for your perpetual ineptitude. Here only because you insisted on dragging this undead elephant to the room.

Don’t act like you don’t know me, didn’t know I’d be here. Don’t pretend you don’t see me. You all see me; see it. You all look away; look back.

Strangers can watch as I bumble about, they sip adult punch and laugh at themselves while occasionally looking back my way. Can’t keep their eyes off the thing. You can’t keep your mind off the thing. My rancid cologne keeps interrupting your conversation. You’ll notice soon enough that you’re the only one standing in my path, my puss.

There. You loiter in the center of the dance floor. As the music gets good you’ll sway a bit. I watch you do this over and over again, each time you begin, just to end. Dancing without dancing at all, I watch as you waste your freedom. I watch as you move without having moved, I simmer as you fail to indulge in your humanity, in your arms and legs and lips. I boil as nothing seeps from you there, as you sway. Nothing drips down your legs as you talk, nothing pools at your feet and stains your shoes with a bitter red bite as it does for me. No, no. You’re not some soft slime-thing, you’re some soft human-thing. Some swaying shape of a girl fitting in with a crowd. Acting like the rest of them, only glancing occasionally at the undead elephant man.

My lid loosens while I creep, while I follow my own slime back to my own slime. Same, same, same. I watch you still wasting. I listen as the next song fakes a melody. I ooze as others awe.

Still you sway, still you refuse to look my way. You pretend you don’t know me, know it. Like some childhood friend who grew up too strange to speak to, you ignore me like something past, something no longer yours. Silly girl, silly girl. Swaying like the rest of them won’t save you. And you know it, you know it as well as I know you, as well as lunacy knows a bedroom wall. You act like you don’t see me, hoping everyone else hasn’t yet noticed. Don’t kid yourself: they see me, they see you. And what’s worse, they see me seeing you.

At first they wondered who invited me but stupid as they are, anyone can see the longing seeping from my pours. Even the blind can see a desperate man’s stare. Can’t hide from what knows you as well as these frat boys know unsafe sex. Can’t hide from a memory not yet suppressed.

Can’t hide from what’s in your head.

I glisten from the rooms edge, out sparkling the lights. While everyone can see me it’s only you that can smell me, it’s only you that can feel me. Their soles don’t stick to my slime, you just noticed yours do. You just realized you sway because you can’t dance like the others. You just realized you’re trapped, paralyzed by what you’re pretending isn’t here.

You’ve been kidnapped by your guest. You’re a hostage to this unspeaking lard-like mass, this resentful tumor, this lonely shape of a thing. Silly girl, silly girl. Why’d you bring me? Why’d you come if you knew I would follow? How’d you convince yourself this time would be different?

You sway, you panic. I lurk, I lust. The music plays and people dance as though they know the elephant in the room will leave eventually. They know how to make it seperate enough to show how much they want it gone. Stupid as they are they know how to shame a thing without saying a word. Creatures just as spiteful as me, just as pretty as you; you’re hiding from a monster in a crowd of monsters. And they know you’re not the same as them, you’re the wrong kind of creature and you brought the wrong kind of poison with you.

Feel that? They all know something you don’t. They’re all separate from you, they’re all dancing while you sway, using their physicality while you waste yours. You soft shell of a girl, you ghost of a girl.

Petty imposter, were you even an invited guest? Aren’t you alone on that dance floor? You’re nuisance that let its nausea follow. Come kid, come claim my corpse and we’ll go home. We’ll retreat before they get angry and ask you to make me leave, to take me with you on your way out the door.

Silly girl, you’re getting sicker by the minute, my rancid stank can’t be ignored. I’m your soft slime-thing, small and ceaselessly oozing. I am your sparkling puddle of piss pooling at your trembling feet. I’m your rubbery rolling skin; untouchable. I’m the wart on the tip of your nose, everyone sees me, everyone hates me, everyone is waiting for you to take care of me. I disgust them and I disgust you. You want to stay so badly, you want me gone so badly, do something you lazy whore. Make me leave, take a match to the tip of your nose. Make me leave. How hard can it be, not like there’s really a monster as ugly as me scaling the room’s walls just to taunt you. You hate me but I’m only here because you brought me, come on kid, you’re not powerless over your panic. You want to be pretty? Stop letting yourself be swallowed up in your self-pity. Stop imagining you’re different from everyone else.

Finally, you give in to yourself. You turn to face me.

You cease to sway, you’re standing in my sickness. You’re stuck in my disease. Like dirty fingers picking a scab you at last acknowledge the itch. You look to my cobblestone spine, my lurching listlessness. You see the ugly you’re trapped in. You at long last give into the nagging in your head letting the strangers send you home. For just a moment you stand there on the dance floor, a pretty young girl, desperately fighting your made-up monster. It’s here in this instant that I lose you for just a moment. A second where you become aware that all of this is silly, that there’s no wart on the end of your nose. A single frame in your head flashes by with the image of what you and I really are: a child awake and alone, afraid of nothing.

Flash frame, temporary revelation.

Collect yourself and take my hand silly shell of a girl, you’ve put up more of a fight than you should have. You’ve infected this party long enough, time to stop wasting the space on this dance floor. You’re not they’re kind of monster, you’re not anyone’s kind of monster. You belong at home with me, safe and surrounded by your anxious vomit. Protected by your putrid, pussing self-pity, nothing to hurt you but yourself. At home where there’s nothing more dangerous than your consciousness. Come on kid, they hate you almost as you hate yourself. They’re tired of my soggy trail, my oozing boils, they know it’s just your morose illness. They’re tired of your disease weighing the air down, making it so hard to hold a guiltless smile.

Strangers watch as you quietly slow your sway. Someone sees your hands shaking a bit, someone takes note as you tiptoe out the door before the party really gets started. Like endorsing your own dementia, you let your hysteria take you home. Hand-in-hand we leave the party, they watch the door close behind us; self-mutilation they see but do not recognize. Oblivious strangers keep sipping as that little awkward girl goes home early, nothing out of the ordinary.

June 6

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