Two in the morning we parked behind the Trader Joe’s and got poised to suss out some heavy shit. Lenny’s left hand was turning purple as he held it taut over the top of the Ball jar and I killed the lights and ignition and unbuckled my seat belt and sat back and watched him. So did Michelle whose head poked over the center console. “It’s almost got like a Guinness read,” she said of the jar and its contents, the electric wisps of light cascading upwards across a depthless black. I asked Lenny how the hell his hand felt but he did not respond. He didn’t move either, just held the jar out at arm’s length unblinkingly. I watched him for a while to be sure of this and no, he did not blink, not once. With the dashboard and stereo lights out, whatever it was he held in there with his naked palm was casting pale ripply flashes across his face and the rest of my grandma’s van’s interior. “What the fuck is called for here?” Michelle asked, running a finger along the rim of my ear. I could not say. Her breath smelled like vanilla. Part of me recognized how convenient a lid would be in this situation but for reasons I could not articulate. I could not think where we might have misplaced it or whether there’d even been one to begin with. By now Lenny’s hand had turned black and begun to sprout long translucent hairs the size and shape of icicles and I wheeled around to make some meaningful eye contact with Michelle. Her mascara was running in twin trails down her cheeks and dripping from her jawline. She was crying, which was okay, because she was always crying. This constant crying of hers was her most redeeming quality and the reason we were all so into her. She reminded us we could always feel worse. I watched her tell her tongue-ring compulsively across the insides of her teeth and finally said fuck it and elbowed Lenny real hard in the side of the head. The jar tumbled from his grasp and its contents went surging out all over the place like an escaped birthday balloon full of déjà vu and slobber. An instant before Michelle started laughing and pulling at my hair, I remembered where it was I’d left the lid.
Dan Tremaglio teaches creative writing and literature at Bellevue College where he is assistant editor for Belletrist Magazine. Recent work is in Cease Cows, Jellyfish Review, Tammy, and Skewed Lit.