Full Credits

Stats & Data

June 24, 2011

I found the opening to CP's new novel, Sweat.

It's night. It's always night. It's night again and I'm calling the suicide hotline.

My cigarette's tip glowers in the dim light of my apartment. The phone is still ringing. I ash into a week-old mug of coffee. The mold in my coffee cup is creeping up from the primordial sludge, inching green and slow. No one asked it to. No one wants it there. And now I'm dumping ashes on it.

We humans, we're all that green sludge mold.

Someone picks up. A girl. Everything will be okay, she tells me, she says, just stay calm.

I say to her, have you ever felt a man's hand touch your vagina? Silence. I take a drag on my cigarette.

She says, sir, this is a suicide hotline, and I say, I know. I say, I'm killing myself.

Don't do that, she says. I ask her how old she is, she doesn't respond. I say, there is a gun sitting in front of me and I need to know how old she is.

There is a gun sitting in front of me, but I'm not about to kill myself. The bullets in this gun are little alarm clocks. Each one wakes people up from the dead. Not the real dead, but the dead that we humans are, trudging through this capitalist pig sty world we created. Each bullet--bang! bang!--each one says, you, fat man--you, business man, wake up. Smell the week-old coffee.

She tells me she's 19. Poor thing. Just 19. I say, what the fuck do 19 year olds know about shit and she says it's not worth it.

Not worth it. Huh. What are you wearing?

She tells me I'm being inappropriate. She says, she's getting her manager.

I could tell you about the managers in the world. But you already know.

I say, listen. Here's how I won't kill myself. She asks me how. I say, I'm going to come right down there, and I'm going to make love to you. I'm not going to fuck you, I'm going to make love to you.

She breathes on the other end of the phone. She says, you're not really killing yourself, are you.

I say, all of us, we're all dying. Nothing we can do but help it along.

I say, I'll be there in ten minutes.