ULTRAVIOLET by Derek Fisher

I like to get to work one hour early and sit in the dark with curtains drawn but Kleeve won’t pay me for the extra hour so I have to eat it

surprise migraine smiles my way with the rain pounding so I cup my ears to cut out the sound

neon is their business and since the sun went out business is-a-booming

dreams in fuchsia dreams in rose dreams in ultra dreams in magenta

I have used meter-long glass tubes to settle debts twice both times swiped from the quote unquote office both times drew blood one time got my money back

both times inadvertently sliced my hands

I have a rule which is until the clock strikes 8:30 do not open the window do not let the glowing- humming frenzy of the florescent city pollute the shop

frames of cyan frames of cobalt frames of midnight frames of oh shit it’s really pouring

used to open at 9:00 but if we tried to open at 9:00 nowadays we would have a shitstorm pounding at the door and glass would break a riot would form people would get hurt

badly

probably me

don’t want to get blood on Kleeve’s floor that would be bad for business

could be worse Cherry my ex works at the solar panel factory

glows of eminence glows of cyber grape glows of heliotrope glows of eggplant

inside and outside

over and over

work with a migraine freezing soaked no problem I am a trained machine I am indestructible I will sell your neon tubes to the sign-makers of this giant city I will generate money hand over fist

for my boss

last week the fastest I got home from work was two hours and twelve minutes even though I only live twelve kilometers away the night trains have been grindingly slow and packed and flooded and full of hell

and there have been jumpers

lots

it’s a 24-minute walk to the night train at the best of times when it isn’t pouring

I only own three pairs of shoes and they are all drenched to the bone so that I am 100% of the time walking on porridge

rays of emerald rays of parakeet rays of shamrock rays of chartreuse

walking on porridge on soaked concrete nights

the title of my memoir

I would really appreciate a day off

I cannot afford a day off

the right combo of lime-lawn floods into the darkness of the shop and hugs the space around my eyes like electric goggles and elicits profound nostalgia that sends me to the cottage my mom rented in the woods back when I was little before there was only city

yesterday I got blood on my shirt on the train when some Jammer with an LED face got cracked by an old lady with a cane because she wanted his seat so I removed my noise-cancellers to avoid getting them gore-splattered because they are the only valuable thing I own and in the exposed moment I heard someone say the sun might have permanently gone out

like a bulb

god should have bought from us when he lit the stars

neon galaxies nebulas like signs of underground brothels solar systems like frenzied intersections a milky-way of marmalade fire

imagine

I told Cherry about my work sitch and she offered to sell me her teeth

she knows I could probably get triple the price for them on the bm

she’s more desperate than me since getting laid off from the solar panel factory

so

the quote unquote office is six by six feet with a chair meant for a toddler and a three-legged plastic desk and a computer that doesn’t turn on and every molecule of extra space occupied by piles of halogen tubes and thankfully there’s no windows so moving forward I will sit in here during my pre-hour of silent darkness why didn’t I think of this earlier

maybe the constant exposure is lowering my IQ

getting home from work late then eating whatever junk I have left if I have any then watching my three wallscreens for an hour then sleeping three or four hours where my dreams are formless invasions of color and drone

on those nights when I dream

then up again first thing at the crack of blackened dawn and back to the shop to do it all again

the glow outside my 300 sq feet is more intense than inside the shop and I don’t own curtains

or a curtain rod

who owns a curtain rod

skyscraper-sized projections of digital popstars have found a home right outside my 300 sq feet

singing in the rain

I should become a Jammer and make millions hacking security systems and fry my brain and die young

but I won’t

I tried calling mom the last three days but it didn’t ring just stayed silent and maybe since the rains started and the day’s vanished the long-distance lines have been down

I hope she’s okay

migraines have been getting bad so I asked Kleeve for a day off and instantly regretted asking

to my relief he said no

I’ve fantasized about Kleeve’s wife in the quote unquote office

haven’t fantasized about anything lately

except the sun

even despite the lack of sleep and the fevered non-dreams I still get to work early

for that special hour

the lineup outside the shop already snaking around the block

even this early even though we don’t open for an hour

I will enjoy my hour of silence

they have seen me come in and pound at the door screaming let me in goddammit I got places to be and neon to install

quote unquote office it is

can just barely make out the pounding on the doors on the walls from in here

fortress of vibrating cathode tubes

chamber of calm

I am a machine

and I will accept your money

in an hour

or so


Derek Fisher is a writer from Toronto. His writing has appeared in Atlas and Alice, Ripples in Space, HASH Journal, The Write Launch, Library of the Internet Void, and more. To see more of his work, visit derekafisher.com

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

Read Next: ON THE TOILET MAKING UNWINNABLE DEALS WITH GOD by Garth Miró