“Wicked” by Megan Newcomer

Preface

There is something so elegant about destruction. In every moment of devastation there is a single breath, held in. That single breath beats on the walls of your lungs to escape, but somehow we all cope much better if we don’t exhale. If we resist exhaling, the pain is beautiful, frozen time. After the first destruction, it had become an addiction—a tolerance perhaps. Crawling on the floor with dark bags under my eyes, I want to be destroyed all over again. I don’t want a happy ending. I want a story to tell.

***

My mom got me a shiny little frog trinket, lime green with sparkles, about as small as a quarter. He came with a tag that read, “One day your prince will come; that’s what they say. But ‘ya gotta kiss a lot of frogs as they pass along the way! So a little luck’s a good thing, and that’s what this frog will do. Just carry him wherever you go and your prince will come to you!”

Thirteen years ago, my dad screened a frog out of the pool and held it up to my face, “look” he said, “it’s alright, he’s dead.” I leaned in eyeing the blubbery beast carefully. And WAM! the frog jumped to my neck and slid down my body. I screamed like a person might scream if their limbs are being ripped apart.

“I hate frogs,” I sort of joked.

“You need it,” my own mother said.

Frog One: He lied and screamed.
Frog Two: He cheated.
Frog Three: He smelled like a soiled bag of weed.
Frog Four: He just wanted to fuck.
Frog Five: He met me a weird time in my life.
Frog Six: He didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend.
Frog Seven: We never wanted each other at the same time.
Frog Eight: He sold cocaine.
Frog Nine: He is not yet my frog. My favorite number is nine.

***

His ear cradled a fresh cigarette, caressed by his curls. Red blazed eyes seduced me with its vibrant brown pulsing beneath his cap. He looked around the room, for no one, rather to inhale in his surroundings. His bag rested on his back the whole hour. Every twenty minutes he would stand abruptly, leave the room, and enter ten minutes later.

My eyes followed him. When he looked in my direction, my heart raced a little faster than it is supposed to. I’d look away. He’d come back into the room smelling of sweet bitter smoke. My mom would hate him. I smiled. I longed to be in his presence. His gaze passed me, so I approached him.

He told me like you would tell a doctor: these are my problems. He has a smoker’s cough and he’s only twenty-three. He takes prescription pills like candy. He has issue after issue after issue. And the more he talked the more I wanted those issues to be my own. I watched his lips move, slowly without any rush. I couldn’t help bite my own lip. He leaned forward onto the table (in our newly occupied room), hunched over and lit a cigarette, exhaling out the window. The cigarette flirted between his lips as he continued. He didn’t look at me while he was talking, only at his laptop as he instantaneously typed. Why don’t I have any issues? The latter is false. Why don’t I have any of his issues?

I don’t want to admit where we met. I don’t want to admit why we continued to meet. That would ruin the fun. I’ll tell you a secret. How we met was irrelevant and frankly pathetic. Once the ties were broken and my breath was already captured—that—that is where the story is simultaneously beginning and end.

***

How realistic is a dream? If I daydream, is my dream fiction or not? It really happened. So nonfiction. However, a movie was really acted and happened. But it’s fiction. What is truly fiction? An idea? Is an idea that is unconsciously thought an act of fiction or nonfiction?  What makes an idea false? Can you record it as nonfiction? I’ll play it safe.

My mother advised me to grow a pair and make the move. I don’t remember how I got there, the details have seemed to escape through my pores and wipe my conscious of any memory. It happened like a snap. SNAP. Thrown onto a table, him pushing my back against the wall. SNAP. Shirts on the ground. His lips warm. SNAP. His breath burning, his body sweating on mine. SNAP.

The mattress had no frame. My bra hung from the TV. The blankets were nowhere to be found. Light peaked in through the curtain. We felt the steam rising from our skin, both of us lying on our backs. Our minds naked as our bodies. Fuck. What time is it? He leaned over. Not to me, to his night stand, wiggled a cigarette out of the pack and lit it. I grew bubbly inside, like a child who just received a new toy. A space separated the two of us and that space was so insanely crucial to the health of my well-being. That space between us was the ventilation, the escape. He just smoked his cigarette and I fell for him all over. He turned his head and smiled biting his lip. Round two.

lightning

I wish I could communicate the dysfunctionality of my love life. Words don’t do it justice and I don’t think that I myself have quite understood why I make the choices I make.  I broke up with the love of my entire childhood life because he lied to me about a little weed, and a few acid highs. Acid. I broke up with him because he lied to me about acid. Yes, I bailed him out of jail of few times, and he screamed at me every weekend. But that was just a phase. That shit I got over. The acid, I couldn’t get over. Then, one year, four months, and sixteen days later, I fall to my knees for a man trying to match the lifestyle of Hunter S. Thompson. How the fuck do I break up with someone for experimenting with drugs to entering the lifestyle of someone who wants to tip over the edge of all reality.

Cigarettes perfume me. Weed bores me. Acid intrigues me. Cocaine scares me. Frog Nine was excited to show me into his room. Ralph Steadman was all over his walls.

“I know him” I said, where do I know him from? Frog One asked me to buy him a shirt for Christmas with Steadman’s work, that’s how I knew. Steadman did the artwork from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I never read it, but I got to admit, I’m kind of wanting to now.

Frog Nine lights up at my approval of artwork. “I love Steadman and Thompson” he said. “Thompson used to drop acid multiple times a day. I tried that and—” he just shook his head. I said, “stick to cigarettes.” He laughed and nodded.

I received an email from my boss three minutes before I left to go to his house asking me to complete a project by 6:00 a.m. It was midnight and he had work in less than four hours, but we spend the night enjoying not being typical loners. I sat in the stairwell while he smoked his cigarettes every twenty minutes and told me not to worry about Frog Eight. He said he’d take care of it for me.

“I don’t know why you are so nice to me or care about me” he said. “Few people have taken the time to get to know me.” I just smiled back. I saw the corner of his lips perk as he took another inhale.

We went to Taco Bell. Taco Bell, because in the life of Megan Newcomer there is no romance, there is only Taco Bell. He thanked the cashier perhaps fifteen times for his tacos until I dragged him out of the store, both of us laughing. Though he was baked and I was sober. Another dysfunctional element to every love interest in my life. Aren’t they all twisted? But we couldn’t stop laughing. From what? I can’t remember. But I remember the tears streaming out of my eyes and my lungs fighting for air. His smile made me smile.

I went home and googled “Hunter S. Thompson.” You could say I spent four hours and twelve minutes with Thompson, until the sun started to peak through my blinds and my alarms shook me back to reality. I skipped work. I dreamt of Frog Nine with the mind of Hunter S. Thompson and I fell asleep amused.

***

Drag me screaming
to the depths

of your inner destruction. I
will live there consumed

by your shattered pieces. Grace
my lips but don’t ever plant

the kiss. Amuse me, I like
to be amused, ignore

my presence so I obsess.
Resist me so I can

crave you. Don’t
love me. I want to
want you. Wicked.

Epilogue

Frog One: He lied and screamed.
Frog Two: He cheated.
Frog Three: He smelled like a soiled bag of weed.
Frog Four: He just wanted to fuck.
Frog Five: He met me a weird time in my life.
Frog Six: He didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend.
Frog Seven: We never wanted each other at the same time.
Frog Eight: He sold cocaine.
Frog Nine: Didn’t want me.

“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee . . . to music and warm bodies and contraceptives . . . to the ‘good life,’ whatever it is and whatever it may be.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

Exhale.


meganMegan Newcomer is a soon-to-be graduate from Salisbury University. She is interested in exploring hybrid essays, which you will see here.

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