Bret Shepard

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PLAY AT BEING PEOPLE

In a fogged-up mirror is a glint of metal dripping fluid from its end point. A woman flicks the middle of the metal. She is wearing the metal as lingerie. You’re a monster, she says. You’re becoming a monster. And then the lights flicker rapidly like eyes blinking when an eyelash gets lost behind the lid. If you look over to the light switch, a set of fingers is visible. You might think it’s a trick, but it isn’t. Those fingers have nothing to do with the light source’s instability. A little higher than the fingers is a set of eyes, your eyes. And you see yourself watching her as she transforms into something different, something she calls a monster. Soon the distance between you and her reduces to the point of obscurity. There is no you. There is no her, only a conglomerate body. It, which was once she and you, has become the monster you always knew existed somewhere in this house.

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PLAY AT BEING PEOPLE

One morning, at such a time that it could still be considered night, she calls an ambulance. Western medicine, she tells herself, answers my skin. The medicine strewn on the table enlivens the room. It animates the empty space. Whether it’s night or morning only matters if you visualize her body in that room. As she drops each pill into glasses of water, the pills bloom into varieties of birds. The diazepam becomes a blue jay. Some starlings appear. Then a crow. Two cardinals in the place of morphine pills. Myth enters the body. She cancels the ambulance. Life still exists in doses of moments. The birds come together in the center of the room, hover around her nakedness, and then lift her body closer and closer to the ceiling fan made of rotating clouds.

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PLAY AT BEING PEOPLE

Where it rains, the potential to pour exists. When dogs eat grass farmers can predict that rain will come soon. Unscientific, yet this offers the opportunity to expect when things will get really shitty.

Late one morning, your car will get lifted by a helicopter and dropped in a nearby field, right onto some unsuspecting couple in love. The couple was only trying to have a picnic. Now they’re smashed underneath your four-door sedan. And there is no going back. The police will identify your car then take you in for questioning and rough up your psyche a little. You have no defense. A helicopter came and stole my car. No one will ever believe in you. It doesn’t help that you knew the couple, that you sent angry e-mails to one of them for a few months a few months ago. Those facts will mean everything when authorities can’t find the helicopter you claim is responsible. Locals will be interviewed. One farmer will even say he saw something flying overhead that morning. But no one ever believes farmers.

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