Fiction · 01/06/2016

Some For Myself

Sonny,” she says. “What was I thinking?” she says. “Thinking you don’t know until you know,” she says. “That’s what I was thinking,” she says. “It’s here now, Sonny,” she says. She points to the box and packing material on the floor. “See for yourself,” she says. I step in. “Maybe not for everyone, if that’s what you mean,” she says. I ask her if this is what it’s coming down to now.

“What it’s coming down to?” she says.

I have her flaxseed, her other usual things.

I see the cord on the floor next to the box and packing. It comes from the thing on the table in front of her, which goes to the other thing on the table in front of her. There are wires, a cap of some kind, which is where the wires go. There is a tube of some kind, too. On the floor around her, little nests of L’oreal Excellence Age Perfect — mature hair, layered tones.

“That old clippers,” she says. “Still works,” she says. She rubs her de-L’oreal’d head, pushes the clippers aside, touches it on the table in front of her. “Plug’s there on the floor,” she says. She squeezes what’s in the tube in her one hand into the other hand. She sets the tube on the table, rubs them together.

A liberal application.

“Better contact, Sonny,” she says. “Don’t worry,” she says. “I read up,” she says. “Like with the flaxseed,” she says. “Did you get the flaxseed?” she says.

“I got the flaxseed,” I say.

“That’s a good boy, Sonny,” she says. “You know how you sometimes forget the flaxseed,” she says, fooling with the dials, checking the connections, nothing doing anything without power. She says she is just getting the feel of it. “Maybe you need the flaxseed, too,” she says. “Either way,” she says. “Just make it how I like it,” she says. “The way it goes down,” she says. “You’d like it, too,” she says. “The way it goes down easy,” she says. “You would,” she says. “Why wouldn’t you?” she says. “Go ahead,” she says. “Make some for yourself, too,” she says. “Fixed income, but I can share,” she says. “You won’t know how it helps until you know how it helps, Sonny,” she says. “Maybe buy your own then after that,” she says. “Pay me back when you can,” she says. “Maybe pay me back a little extra for the interest,” she says. “Fixed income like I said,” she says. “You do what you want with the interest,” she says. “But for now,” she says. “Plug me in,” she says, touching it. She looks at me. She looks across the table at something, though nothing is there. She touches it some more.

“Latest technology,” she says. “And extra features,” she says. “This one’s the one,” she says. “Sounds,” she says. “Signals,” she says. “Waves,” she says. “Waves and sounds,” she says. “These needles here, Sonny,” she says. “Real time for what’s really going on,” she says. She taps the yellow tinted plastic covers where the needles are. She read up. “I read up,” she says. “Now listen, Sonny,” she says. “I thought about this,” she says. “One way or the other,” she says. “A little direction,” she says, wiping her hands on her legs, rubbing away the excess. “Moisturizes, too, Sonny,” she says and pulls it on, the cap and tangle of wires. The cap is wired to the thing in front of her on the table. A cord runs out of it onto the floor.

I move through the room with her bag of usual things. She turns the dials. “Spit works too,” she says. “But this is better,” she says pointing at the tube she put on the table. “Better contact,” she says. “I am always so dry,” she says, spittle around the corners of her mouth as she talks. “I’m serious,” she says. “Plug it in,” she says. “Don’t keep me waiting,” she says.

I see she has been busy.

“You’ve been busy,” I say.

Pictures are all face down on the shelves or on the floor, turned to the wall. “Oh those,” she says, pulling at the cord, shaking it at me. “Interference,” she says. “Maybe plug me in now and stand back a ways,” she says. “Interference like I said,” she says. “Put those down now,” she says. I set the bag down on the counter in the kitchen. I see her through the pass-through.

I pull out the flaxseed. I set the flaxseed on the counter. I pull out a bowl for the flaxseed.

I go back into the other room. I grab the plug end of the cord off the floor.

“No UL sticker,” I say.

“Sonny,” she says. “You and your big government,” she says. “You’ll thank me in the end,” she says. “It’s got your name on it,” she says. “You’ll be thankful,” she says. “When I am gone, this is yours,” she says. “Now get the plug,” she says, looking at the dials.

I plug it in.

I put the rest of it away in the cupboards.

I put flaxseed in a pan. I add water. I heat it up on the stove. I stir it until it is the usual slurry. I see the back of her through the pass-through, her wire-capped head, her hands on the dials, eyes fixed on the needles. She turns the dials. She makes some sounds. I listen without listening. I look into it. I spoon it up. I see how it sticks together in its mucous-boiled state. I stir it some more, get lost in it, the thought.

I come out of it and look through the pass-through. I’ve made it the way she likes it. This is the way it goes down, the way she said, the way it goes down easy. I spoon it into the bowl on the counter. The lights flicker, then flicker again, then go out for good. It is a near dark kind of dark. I see the form of her, her hands, and how they hold on. I give it several stirs in the bowl and have some for myself.

+++

Jonathan Johnson’s work has appeared in a variety of journals, including NOON, Corium Magazine, NANO Fiction and The Weird Fiction Review. He makes his way in California.