Todd Colby


The grill is lifted a bit at one end and rolled a few feet across the yard. Pale insects scurry about in the ruts left behind. Before wrapping the wound with a bandage, Gatorade is poured over it. The plastic suicide kit contains some needles, a razorblade, and several black pills with white skulls on them. Memories of licking aspirin tablets. The metallic mint taste of envelope glue. A loud pop is heard and suddenly a row of gigantic klieg lights illuminate the once dark parking lot. A half-dozen or so locals have stopped by to watch the spectacle of lights. A man in a pale green golf shirt arrives and several people begin snapping pictures of him sashaying across the parking lot. After an hour or so everyone packs up and leaves.

A small pond in the middle of a field covered by a huge sheet of tin foil. It sparkles and glares under the headlights of a car pulling up out of the darkness.

In town there is an overly emotional gift giving sequence where people shriek with delight and embrace one another whenever a package is ripped open and its contents displayed. One man receives a box of red soil in an amber tinted glass box. He becomes so ecstatic when he opens the gift that blood comes out of his nose. He feels the blood on his lip and discreetly wipes it away with a greasy napkin. A short while later they find the man collapsed next to the grill. Charred T-bone steaks give off a thick smoke. The dirt at the bottom of the inflatable baby pool is stirred up by the cop's black oxfords. He curses the placement of the pool and makes his way towards the side of the house. A red bow skids across the driveway and lodges next to a rusty sprinkler. A piece of cellophane from a snack cake flutters on an old wooden picnic table. The man bleeding from his nose lies next to the smoking grill. Under the tree, next to the pond, a white dog lies panting.

While getting a mandatory physical at the police academy they had asked him a rather peculiar question to which he answered no less peculiarly:

"Not much has ever come out of me, but when it did it was brown, tan, red, and occasionally clear and colorless. I must not forget varying hues of yellow. Very few primary colors come out of me. White is not a color, per se, but it has come out of me in a lot of different shades over the years. My body was born in a sun chariot covered with tin foil."

By the time the cop found him, some of the blood around his mouth was dry and flaky.

Months later pictures of the man in the pale green golf shirt appeared in a clothing catalogue but no one could tell that he was standing in a parking lot.

All the taboos have been broken with varying degrees of success. Yet we are still moved when we hear a thorny little lullaby. Ditto for tomorrow. It made life easier the first few months. After a year or so it got just plain rugged.

A white dog lies panting under a tree.

In the car a group of boys play heavy metal music and thrash about, slamming their backs against the seat and snapping their heads forward to the beat. The sky looks milky under the pale moonlight. The car's headlights shine in the dog's eyes and they glow ominously back at the car but the boys don't notice because they're lost in the music. Pink dolphin of dog rises between its legs.

As the ambulance pulled away with the man's body inside, the guests sullenly shuffled about, absently picking up gifts that had made them deliriously happy only a few hours before.

The boy behind the wheel of the car has to buff it with a chamois to keep the original copper hue. He also uses a special waxy copper cleaning solution, an old rag for detail areas, and a high velocity spraying hose. He refers to these items as his "arsenal."

The boys in the car are smoking pot and yelling over the loud music. One can hear repeated references to "city" and "pussy." There is a gunshot and suddenly one of the boys emerges from the rear passenger door and staggers towards the pond. Black silhouette of the boy with the copper car's headlights illuminating him from behind.

A few miles away there are some people just getting up and others just going to bed. A box of red dirt next to a grill. A boy and a girl lay in the high grass next to the pond. They are unaware of the dampness of the ground or the green insects scurrying around an open can of beer. She is rubbing his cock and he is moaning. Her shirt is off though he never says her name. His name is Chuck because she says it loud enough that the white dog's ears perk up from across the pond.

Because the gunshot wound has pierced a major artery near the boy's heart, he is having trouble navigating his way towards the pond. He doesn't hear a girl yell "Chuck!"

The sound of the gunshot is muffled enough by the loud music and the closed windows that the couple in the tall grass don't hear it. A boy staggers to the pond and lands face first against the tin foil covering the water. The weight of his body rips the foil and he begins to sink into the pond.

The copper car's headlights illuminate the white dog. "I'm coming, look at me!" exclaims the boy in the tall grass. The music in the car stops. Crickets. The dog barks. A cop gets in his cruiser, reaches under the seat, sighs, and takes a swig of red cough syrup directly from the bottle. The copper-hued car starts with a roar and speeds away, spitting gravel and dust in its wake. Startled by the commotion, the girl rushes to put her shirt back on. The dog licks between its legs in the darkness.