Tag Archives: Stories & Scenes

High School Klansman

“Does this make you feel racist?” she said, dipping the tip of her mocha finger in the tar-colored head of my diet soda. The foam already looked contaminated, like an eddy in a dirty river.

“No,” I said. “Of course it doesn’t.”

“How about this?” she said, and licked the length of her finger like a malicious porn star. Then she stuck it down to the knuckle in my glass and swirled it, making a dark whirlpool. Did I want to drink it then? Could I? I thought that the taste might have changed from the addition of her spittle. Was it because she was black that I suddenly wanted a fresh cup?

“You’re a jerk,” I said.

“You’re a Klansman,” she said.

“Look,” I said. “Look how thirsty I am. I’m so thirsty for this soda.” I lifted the glass to my lips and sipped from below the foam she had swirled.

“Tell me,” she said, while she wiped her wet finger on her jeans, “Am I your only brown friend? Am I what you might call a ‘token’? Just admit it if I am. It doesn’t even matter anymore. You can keep inviting me over and showing me off to your lily-white parents, trying to prove to them that you’re more enlightened than they ever were. You can keep pretending like you’re attracted to my older brothers, even though they’re darker than me and they probably scare the shit out of you. You can even keep writing your stupid English essays about how multicultural you are, about how you love Chinua Achebe. You can keep getting A’s on your papers, while I get B’s because I want to write about Robert E. Lee. Just fucking admit it though. Just admit that you think I taste different. That you think my skin feels different. That you don’t want to use my toothbrush if you forget yours when you spend the night. That you’d rather have the bad breath. Just acknowledge that I am black and you are white and that means something. Why don’t you ever see me? I stuck my finger in your drink. If anyone else did that, you would smack them.”

“You took me by surprise, that’s all. I mean Jen, we have made out before. Racists don’t make out with black people.”

“You were so wasted, Sienna. I had to remind you the next day what we did. And believe me, it was nasty. I would not do it again.” I did sort of remember our kiss. We were at a Halloween party and she tasted like pumpkin pie. I had been eating from a box of Fruit Roll-Ups that I found in Brian’s parents’ pantry. There were still bits of what looked like green plastic stuck between my teeth. The senior boys had egged us on, then they all turned away once my tongue was in her mouth. But I kissed her, and I knew what I was doing, and no white boy had asked me out since.

The soda really did taste bad now. I wondered if the dishwasher hadn’t rinsed all the soap out of the glass. I just sipped it anyway. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Some of her greasy lip gloss was on the rim and I drank around it.

“I really like you, okay? You’re my best friend. And when it’s just the two of us alone together, I forget you’re black. It’s just that I always find myself thinking about your blackness when we’re around other people or your family or something.”

“So the ideal is to forget that I’m black? It’s not to accept it – it’s just to forget it? That’s what you’re going for?”

“We should all be ignorant of color.”

“You know what I just became ignorant of? Your phone number, where you live, where you sit in the cafeteria, and what your name is. Later sister.”

I Seem to Be out of Drugs: A Phone Conversation

Hi baby. How are you?

I’m lousy. I think I’m out of drugs.

What do you mean?

Last week I forgot to take my pills for three days in a row, and now I’m feeling it deep in my brain.

Oh. Do you think it made a difference? Sometimes I don’t take my pills for weeks at a time on purpose.

Does that make you feel crazy?

I always feel crazy.

I can’t tell if I feel lousy because the drugs are out of my system right now or because I forgot. Maybe I just hate myself because I forgot. Now I’m punishing my brain by making it feel bad.

If that’s true, then it will work the opposite way. Think happy thoughts. Think about…um.

I lay in bed this morning and dreamt about aborted fetuses of friends, all grown up. They looked like race dogs except in their faces.

I have been trying to clean my apartment. I stare at the mess and the crap for an hour and then I turn on Montel. Then I sleep until 8 pm and then I call you.

I think it has to do with this heat. This heat just saps the drugs right out of my system. The happiness sweats away.

I know. I stay inside. I have to stay inside anyway or other people will smell me. I am ripe in the summer.

How long before I feel like myself again? Three weeks? I can’t wait that long. I’ll kill myself. Everything looks different. In the middle of the night, I can’t remember who my boyfriend is sleeping beside me, and I think of running away.

When my brother was in the hospital, he tried to kill his roommate once. He got his own room out of it though.

I want my own room. I want to hibernate there until the drugs are back in place. I miss the drugs. The drugs were making it all work. I feel like I’m just a prescription form waiting to be filled.

Have you tried talking to your therapist?

I accidentally missed my appointment and now I owe her $100 for nothing and it’s embarrassing.

Yesterday I spent half of my rent money from the government on colored pens and pencils.

I spent my last $20 on Mexican food. I couldn’t stop eating it. I could focus on the chips and not my own supply. I could dip them.

Last time I went to the doctor, he told me I lost nine pounds.

That’s great. That’s what I’ve gained in a week. Every night I say no more ice cream and then I discover ice cream for the first time and I hate it for making me feel better.

Coffee and cigarettes make me feel better.

Those are expensive habits.

Maybe, but I know a barrista and I smoke Kools.

At college I found an old man at an auto parts store who sold me local cigarettes for $10 a carton.

Sometimes I just smoke butts that I find lying on the sidewalk.

Sometimes I throw out the cookies and then dig them out of the trash can later.

What time is it?

I don’t know.

Do you want to come over? You can’t come inside because there’s no floor left but you can meet me at the frozen yogurt place.

I can’t. I’m sick. And I don’t have any money to buy stuff with and it will just make me more depressed because I can’t eat anything. I’m just going to stay here and count the minutes. Maybe make some macaroni and cheese.

Put on some music. That helps me.

Music makes me cry.

I’m reading a good book.

What is it?

It’s about shame.

Can I borrow it? Actually – nevermind. I am already reading something.


An erotica novel. I found it at the bottom of a stack.

Is it sexy?

I guess. If you’re into sex.

Only with myself.

I gotta go. That dog is barking next door again and I can’t stand it.

Okay. I hope you feel better.

Thanks. I love you.

I love you too.