Florida is a basketcase. I got a hotel room somewhere in the interior. The hotel was a landlocked party-barge. The primeval forest anchored it. The concierge? A jaundiced, small man. His hair was mostly gone. When I demanded clean sheets he accused me of soiling my first set. “I shouldn’t have to sleep on clods of dirt,” I argued. He sarcastically offered to call the Knight’s Inn up the road. As if there was a road. As if there was another living soul for miles.
That night the concierge entered my room. He sang me a lullaby. He poured a fistful of grenadine onto my crotch. I demanded that he leave. He asked about my gold skin. I explained, “The gold is my royal affliction.” He had no further questions. He climbed into bed with me. He tamped down some dirt and said, “Night, night.”
I dreamed of the sea. The barge was buoyant and loaded with coeds. I dreamed of bygone days. The concierge smiled at me from the upper deck, raised a pink, sparkling drink in my direction. Bygone but no better. My skin was soft and free of gold. I smiled back.
When I woke, the barge was burning. The concierge had dragged me from my room, rolled me down the gangplank. He roused me with a weak kiss. He turned to go back inside. I gasped, “No.” He responded, “The Captain always goes down with the ship.” There were so many inaccuracies in that statement. I didn’t know where to start. I waved him off. He climbed back up the gangplank. I saw his body burn, a black smudge against a wall of flames.
William VanDenBerg is the author of Lake of Earth (Caketrain Press, 2013). "Clods" is part of a series called MILK TEETH. Previous installments have appeared in Alice Blue Review and The Fanzine. He lives with his wife in Denver.