Rusty razor blades, pock marked with orange decay. Safety razor caked in hair and old foam residue. Mirror, splattered with busted zit juice and spit flecks, like Pollack, but more organic. A man called Umberto, standing there, scratching up and down his face, with the grain of his day old beard, then against the grain. Eyes dilated from lack of adequate light and amphetamines. Cracks in the grout of the yellowed tile from which roaches and silverfish emerge. Can of off-brand shaving cream, bought with convenience and lack of available funds in mind. The meth beginning to wear off. The need to score soon. Got to shave first. Always got to shave first.
Pick up the razor; turn on the water faucet shaped like an X, but with rounded edges, like comic book’s font, but covered in blood, roach shit. Mud colored filth leaks out slow, so slow, then all at once. Explosion of hot water. Pants are soaked. Looks like Umberto pissed himself. Shame.
Get control of the water. That’s it. Begins to run smooth enough to work with, but too hot to handle. Umberto scalds his hands, but it’s no worse than grabbing a hot pipe or broken light bulb after applying a butane torch lighter. Wash off the razor, the beard hair and old foam speckling it has to be scrubbed off. Got to be hygienic. Live with the pain. That’s it.
Now that the razor is clean enough, he dabs his face with an absolution. The sores burn with the heat, but the pain is nice. Reminder that you’re alive. Goes to squirt a dab of shaving cream on his hand. Feel the bugs begin to crawl under his skin. Not again. Not again. Got to scratch, but hands are clean, face ready and willing. Ignore the urge.
Dab the shaving cream, but when he applies pressure to the can, he hesitates. Something is off. He wants to ignore it, but can’t. Where was this stuff made? China, go figure. You get what you paid for. Got to shave and definitely not raw dogging it with this razor.
Depresses the button to apply shaving cream to his hand, slow spurts of goo come out and then it flows like a river. The cream is like cold semen on his hands, same color, same texture. The can won’t stop ejaculating. He throws the can in the shit encrusted toilet, continues to cum with force. They don’t make them like they used to, Umberto laments.
Rubs the cold gel all on his face. Got to get clean, got to. Hot date tonight. Got to score. Got to. Nicks the razor against the sore right above his left nostril. Blood spurts, adding to the postmodern effect of the mirror. Shit. No TP. Grabs his white undershirt and applies to stop the flow. All he wanted was to shave. Got to get clean, got to score, got to look good, got to. Won’t. Never will. Never be truly clean again.
— Jeremy Scott is from Albany, Georgia. He’s @possiblyarhino on Twitter. His debut novella, Marginalia, will be published by Alien Buddha Press. His other work has been published or is forthcoming in All Guts No Glory Zine, Angel Rust Magazine, BOMBFIRE, Fifth Wheel Press’s flux digital anthology, Versification Zine, and others.