Writer in Residence · 10/12/2012

Intruders

At the next house, you drink an entire half-gallon of milk straight out of the carton, then immediately throw up all over the moonlit kitchen tiles.

I can’t help laughing. “What were you thinking?” I say, rubbing your shoulders.

You wipe your mouth with your hand. “I was thirsty. Let’s see what’s upstairs.”

We roll around together on their bed for a while, but we don’t do anything nasty. When we’re finished, we head back downstairs and pick up the stuff from the cupboards that we left on the counter. We leave through the front door with our arms full of recyclable bags.

In the car, you dig a pilfered spoon into a jar of peanut butter and suck at it while I drive.

“Are you sure you should be eating so soon after you got sick?”

“It’s calorie-rich,” you say. “Plus, I found this. I earned it.”

It’s spring, and the breeze blows white and pink blossoms from the trees into the road.

I haul ass around the corners, although it’s not like anyone’s chasing us.

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Ten miles away, I pull off to the side of the road, and we break in again. There’s a shaggy gray cat waiting inside the door that we don’t expect, but it’s just a cat and doesn’t bother us. You scratch it behind the ears and nudge it away from the broken glass.

I explore the living room while you rummage through the kitchen. I find a half-smoked cigar and take a seat in a leather armchair to light up. Across the room, a sliver of refrigerator light. Your voice: “Score! Sandwich meat!”

I puff on my half-cigar. The walls are covered with bookcases, hardbacks. These people are rich.

You yell from the kitchen: “You want a deli sandwich? They have a fucking breadbox.”

I decide I need to see their upstairs. On the way up, mounted on the wall, a catalogue of their successes. A king-size bed in the bedroom, big enough for six people. I lie down on it and can’t reach any side.

A glare on the window. Downstairs, I hear you scream.

I race to the top of the stairs. You’re standing at the bottom, holding one hand in the other out in front of you. Blood escapes between your fingers. “I cut myself with the breadknife.”

Light washes through the empty windowpanes of the front door, swoops into the kitchen. Headlights.

We hurtle through the door and onto the lawn. Their SUV waits in the driveway for the garage door to open. Under one arm, I have the cat, and you with both hands pressed to your chest.

Heads down, we race to the car. I brush the cherry blossoms off the windshield and toss the cat into the backseat. I offer you a shirt we found somewhere else. “For your arm.”

We shove off without switching on the lights. I take four sharp turns in a row while you wrap the shirt like a tourniquet, until we’re in a new neighborhood and I turn the lights back on.

You reach behind us to pet the cat, but he’s lost among all the bags back there. You come back with a handful of chocolate chips instead. You bite the bag open and pour a mound into my palm. I swallow them all at once, but we’re still starving.

The car feels like it’s driving through mush.

Pink blossoms dance ceaselessly across the windshield. We feel so frail.

We keep our eyes peeled for the houses without lights on inside.

They hit the ground like thunder.

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Simon Jacobs is a young writer from Ohio with a penchant for b & e. He curates the Safety Pin Review, a wearable medium for work under 30 words, and ties heavy objects to balloons at simonajacobs.blogspot.com.

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posted by Stefanie Freele