"What time'd you get in last night? It was late."
"Not too. Did I wake you?"
"No." Jenna pours boiling water from a pan into her coffee cup and stirs. The brown foam of instant coffee rises to the top. She sets the pan back on the stove and turns off the burner. "I wish you would've come to bed, though."
"I can't sleep."
"You could sleep if you tried," she says. This is what she always says, and maybe she's right, but I've tried that, lying in bed and just closing my eyes, forcing myself not to move, not to think, but I would just lie there all night, and nothing would happen. Besides, it's been a while since this has happened. If I just didn't think about it, didn't dwell on it, it would pass. But last night was no good. I got home and knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. The whole drive home, I had two more hits from my flask, drained the bottle dry, and I could feel that I was drunk, but it didn't slow me down, make me tired the way it usually does. I was awake, could have driven all night, could have driven north and been in Canada already, be north of Regina by now, maybe. But instead I came home and watched TV and thought about the girl, and the look in her eyes when she was standing up there on stage after she hit him, naked and alone, with everyone yelling at her, pointing at her. I thought of that mostly all night, off and on.
"I've gotta go to my mom's after work today, so you be okay for dinner?"
"I'll figure out something," I say. "Did I tell you I got work tomorrow? Fifty bucks."
"Out at this guy's ranch."
"What's his name?"
"I don't know, I never met him." I get up and head into the living room. "It got set up with some other guys. Sonny called me, asked me if I wanted in."
"We need to go to Great Falls one of these weekends, they gotta run some tests on Mom, and plus we need to do some shopping," she says, grabbing her keys from the kitchen counter. I hear some kid going past on his bike, and Junkyard starts barking at him. "If you're just gonna be here today, would you mind maybe picking up a little bit? It's really starting to look trashy in here."
"Okay," I say. I don't really have any plans, either. Now that I've got work for tomorrow, that takes the pressure off a little bit. Fifty bucks isn't much, but maybe if I do a good job it'll turn into more, and then Jenna'll stop bugging me about money, and then maybe, too, we can start buying some things that we've been waiting for, things for around the house and stuff.
Jenna leaves, and Junkyard barks at the car as it pulls away. I hear Max bang his screen door across the street, and Junkyard keeps on barking. Finally I go out the side door and holler at him to stop. When I come back inside, I go to the fridge to get out the bottle of vodka in there. Inside the fridge, all the shelves are gone, and all the food is gone, and the only thing inside the fridge is her, the dancer, her eyes cold and dead, her arms twisted up around her body, her legs huddled up against her body. She's naked, but she's turned away from me, her back to me, her head twisted around. Her lips are blue.
It's just my mind, I know that. Three days without sleep and I'm seeing things. So I just keep holding the door open, staring at her, and I just wait for it to dissolve, for my vision to set itself straight, and I pray that she doesn't start to move, that her eyes don't shift to look into mine. On her back, I can see her tattoo, the sideways figure eight, and as I stare at it, I can see now what it is: a snake, twisted around itself, eating its own tail.
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