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AFTER THE FLOOD

Come one, come all, if ye have dollars to spare, to our Grand Hotel of furs and pearls and opium teas, don’t mind the pools on the floor! And yet do not slip for you might crack your skull, crack your teeth, crack your chin on the diamond tiles, we are all accustomed to blood. I’ve mopped gallons of rubies, sometimes I deliver bags to the hospital next door. I pick through what’s left of them, I don’t tell my boss. I don’t want to be a scavenger, a leech, a thief, I am not. I wasn’t always this way, but neither was my world. Anyway they are dead and wasted and you’re no better than I am. I am guilty of nothing.

Our guests spill through the door onto the dining room floor to bloat themselves on Sunday specials: whale sashimi and imported ostrich eggs. We milk washed up treasures here, gone to the bones.

The silken tablecloths, soiled thick with wine and coffee and gummy egg yolks, they are never disturbed between breakfast and lunch, and anyway everyone has their own goddamn table, why shouldn’t the bastards dine on their own filth? There’s that fat one with his fat little dogs, all pleased with himself, never worked a day in his goddamn life and that one in the fox-tails at the next table over, don’t even get me started, reeks of pussy and perfume and hali-fuckin-tosis.

And these are our idols? Our so-called celebrities, the haves and one percenters and stinking well heeled loaded silk stockings? Eating off stained dishes and tablecloths with the sun shining in on their dimpled faces through large broken windows. I clean their toilets! Their toilets still filled with muck and scum and pissstains like yours and mine and ours!

“I’m allergic to whale,” says a weasely man near the hole, the hole where all the suckers go after the floods. I feel sorry for him, poor guy, worst seat in the house, smells real foul like rust and mold and butthole. But I think he’s sleeping with halitosis so maybe he doesn’t mind one bit, maybe he even likes it, sick guy he is.

Halitosis shrieks bloody murder wagging her finger at the hole. More screams, teacups shatter by feet frozen stuck facedown on the floor. No one gets up. A swollen blue-green torso glistens draping out from the dark, out of the hole. Eyes pulled open like a trout, wet seaweed hair dragging on the floor.

“Someone do something!” I guess Weasel is a doctor. Like my blood bags. I help him lift her, here’s a chair. Hold wrist, no thump. She’s dead. But the chest seems to move up and down, up and down. Light as a feather I tell him. Smoke and mirrors, he says back, but puts ear to mouth. She’s breathing. The fat one with the dogs runs over, dogs follow, casts his coat round her naked shoulders.

I think she might be some sort of angel, I want to keep her. Her eyelashes are long and wet and glued to her eyelids, she’s beautiful. I want to keep her, I want to keep her safe and give her a towel. But for now Weasel helps me with her feet and we carry her, her thick green hair plastered on my chest, to the hospital next door.

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