ROADSIDE MELTDOWN AFTER ULTRAPLEX WEEKEND by Rebecca Gransden

Loose teeth in the hot tub. Sun on bug splatter eruptions. Bodies pile in dreamy aftermath.

A bearded chubby man is in the summer house, performative human berserker, rewatching footage of a winter streaker. Somewhere inside the main house schoolgirls dance around a fish tank.

Hairy boom licker in a sunlit bedroom, sweating to his parents’ bootleg. Too shy to risk playing his untitled demo, because it’s flammable. Twin motor lips frozen wrongly. Heavy. Smasher. Forever.

Monster spinster reclines on a duck egg blue deckchair and sucks on a bombsicle. Sweetener for evil. The largest prescription sunglasses you’ve ever seen.  She’s the only one who vomited, and she led the cheering. Everyone loves her from a distance, she’s the queen.

Cults hang out at the end of the garden, burning plastic masks on a portable barbecue grill. Their pity party becomes a panic picnic. Water pistols filled with cough syrup spray green over string vests.

The runner is punished for his monohole, poked ribs with rolled up magazines, his face the cover star. He was famous until he felt. He sits on a broken rocking horse beside a fence, looking defeated in a Hawaiian shirt. A coughing fit sees a sticky tooth sprint from his grinning mouth.

A few try-hard students take the ultimate trip to sunburn and feel the drip jam. Gangs are carrying boxes. Bottomless helium damage. Extra bubbles cast shadows over the bare skin of a sleeping minx. The host moves across carpet like he’s got worms and writes acne angst in stardust. Algae on the taps. His milky heart bursts apart and all his yesterdays end up yours.

We spraypaint the road on our way out. The sun sets and a dark glow descends. The girls compare all the times their boyfriends have tried to smother them. Kim wins.

The late evening air stinks of petrol and smoke, like someone is burning the last flowers on the planet. It’s difficult not to sing when walking the road and waiting for a ride.

There’s always someone who claims they can remember before they were born. Imagine the pulse and the seed, unreleased.

Roadside under the moody gloom of darkening equinox skies.

Warm, eating melted Starburst in the beautiful night. Standing over a decaying python.


Rebecca Gransden lives on an island. She is published at Tangerine Press, Burning House Press, Muskeg, Ligeia, and Silent Auctions, among others. Her books are anemogram., Rusticles, and Sea of Glass.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

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