We’re in upper country, you can tell by the shattered smiles. Eyes like hummingbirds desperate for nectar hidden in license plates. The casino is visible from three exits away, huge and stupid as a sequel, but we’re broken down and like it that way. The lot here is liquid black and crawling with lizards itchy to transact. Pink boots stomping over burrito wrappers and Chinese VCDs. Kids back home snorting sugar and dangling rats by their tails. Kids working the fryer so they can afford waifu’s operation. A wishlist so long, you don’t ever have to stop scrolling. A microwave that never goes off, no matter how we beg. Our skin has scaled away, insides leaking like ancient batteries. Scrape it with a razor and offer it to your white lighter. Only then will the shadowpeople edge into the frame, beckoning to follow them back to the testing site. A giant pyramid deep below the earth’s crust naked to the third eye. Finally, we will know who is responsible for this engineered misery. They have been waiting for this moment too, a voice cracks over the intercom. The widest grin, free of the burden of teeth. Yellow eyes welling with relief. Pull the trigger and watch the light bulb go off. 

Nick Greer is a writer from Berkeley. He is the publisher of Goodnight, Sweet Prince, an online zine about side characters in movies and other media. For more, see nick-greer.com.

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