(Author’s Note: This is the weird shit I dream about, and sometimes I remember to write it down. Apologies in advance for purple prose. It IS a dream, after all.)
The rainbow glitters line up perfectly, spelling out “Roy G Biv” in a single line across the bottle’s curved belly.
There are others too – invisible mylar shreds, microglitters that dance just out of reach –
He asks if it’s real. If he could drink it.
“You could,” says the green apron, “but I don’t recommend it.”
He asks again. He is eager for me to try this nuptial cocktail that has sat unopened and forgotten since the aprons here were bright red and covered with cheap flair.
I grimace – it is almost flavorless. I suck at my cheeks. I cannot tell if the vinegar tang is from the bottle or from my own mouth.
His eyes are wide in anticipation. I sip twice more, tasting the ghosts.
He looks irritated. “You should have loved it,” he says. “Gimme.”
He swigs it down, a greedy light in his eyes. “Delicious,” he says, then, to the green apron, “We’ll take it.”
The mylar chunks are caught in my teeth, Roy and his friends are already on the way to my stomach.
He would not want me, I think, if he knew the flavors I contained now. Or perhaps he would want me more.
I don’t want to find out which.
I excuse myself to the ladies’ room while he grunts the large bottle into the cart. It is as tall as our imaginary toddler.
Discount muffins and powdered cheese surround me as he disappears into the flourescent mist.
I once knew a boy who claimed to love all the music he’d ever heard. I never saw the love in his face, only the band logos pinned to his guitar’s case like helpless specimens. He did not listen, he consumed.
(There’s a story of another boy, a boy who wrote a letter to his favorite author. The author’s reply arrived in due course and the boy loved it so much he ate the entire letter. I sometimes wonder what became of that boy.)
The guitar case boy had eaten a lot of music, but it passed through him undigested, and he was still ravenous for something to fill his hollows.
I saw him satisfied only once, when we were at a dingy sandwich shop and he spilled his drink onto my hat. The laughter came out of him then, an unstoppable wave of joy. I took my ruined hat and left the relationship.
I’m in a book shop that changes each time I turn a corner. There are books I have only seen in my dreams – scripts for stories that are filed under non-fiction in some other universe. Rosalee’s spice jars sit next to the Doctor’s screwdrivers, and the door into Starlight is open, but only on sunny days. The books pile up in my basket, and as I’m waiting in line I hear a familiar voice.
“You forgot me,” he says.
I avert my eyes. He grabs my throat, forces me to look at him.
“How could you forget me?”
The coughing takes me, and he lets go. The shards of glitter pour out of my mouth and he jumps back, frightened. The answer is staining the carpet and making the air twinkle.
“The wine,” I say, shaking with the effort.
And suddenly the wine is flat cola, soaking into the pile of a Carrollesque top hat, and the husband is a boy laughing, and I pick up the guitar case and fling it open. It’s empty.
“I’m done,” I say.
“But it tastes so much better when you do it for me,” he sulks. “Please.” He grabs my wrist.
But he has already broken the skin with his crooked teeth, drawn blood like the richest wine, and as he drinks it down he begins to choke…