The Fae Folk Are Particularly Unhelpful At Pit Stops

06.06.18. I’m writing this in a roadside Subway in Squamish where, legend has it, if you tip just right they’ll let you into the aether through the STAFF-ONLY back door. They say the door spills transcendence like moonlight from the fourth dimension, which pools on the cracked concrete of the parking lot. Legend has it, it’ll fill the furrows of your knuckles like rubber cement, seal the scabs that still haven’t healed from last week, when you socked your own subconscious in the jaw. But I don’t have exact change, and the cashier’s eyelashes are growing into fangs, lengthening & sharpening & crusting over like lichen on rock. It feels like a threat of sorts. So I’m keeping my head down, eyes fixed on the open face of my sandwich. Tomato on white. The tomato slices bleed into the barely toasted bread, staining it the faintest shade of orange-pink, pornstar martini with vodka overpoured, diluted sunset, faded remnants of a wish made at a crossroad decades ago. I don’t know why I got tomato on white. The gaps in the soggy red slices yawn and yawn and threaten to swallow me whole, and their edges are run ragged like my heart’s chambers, thick with knotted & over-oxygenated veins, but four times smaller and twice as bloody.

06.09.18. I’m sitting by a riverbank in Red Deer and the stream is trying to hide her laughter lines. Her furrowed forehead ripples over a handful of pebbles and blurs the reflected leaves ever-so-slightly, perfect passive subject, wistful mirror-muse. The man at my elbow mutters Sublime and clacks his paintbrushes like fingernails, like talons, like beetles’ beaks, so much menacing keratin. I can’t dissolve him or wash him away, not least because it wouldn’t be fair to tip my toxicity into the river’s mouth. The man at my elbow died a hundred and nineteen years ago and, still, he clings to my skin like ketchup on a souvenir t-shirt, scrubbed at again and again with sweat and steel wool, refusing to budge.

06.12.18. The ancient Egyptian gods superimposed the afterlife on reality, pinned it parallel to the Nile, and when you died, if you died, if you had the exact change, you flipped into the metaphysical with a snap of Ra’s cosmic fingers, like night shift on an iPhone X. I am explaining this excitedly to a sprite as he fills his minivan at a gas station in Mistinikon. He grunts, chugs moonlight from a plastic milk jug, turns away. We both know I will drive until the highway hits the horizon and trickles, diluted, into the stratosphere, but I will never leave this body, never pump myself from this too-tight heart, never scour my too-human skin with steel wool until it ruptures and bloodies and I drip into the Duat.

The Fae Folk Are Particularly Unhelpful At Pit Stops was originally published in The Yale Herald on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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