Teenage Cosmonaut Suicide Love Song and Time Dilation Club
by William Squirrell
I thought I was somebody: somebody in Orangeville, 1984. But I wasn't. I was nobody. I wasn't anybody at all until Trick walked through the cafeteria doors: black hair an electric storm of back-combed annihilation, lashes dripping with mascara, cherry lipstick dark with rot, shimmering turquoise shirt, popped collar pinned at the throat by a stab of gold, hounds tooth print pants, red Docs.
The hubbub drained away and Craig Robb said: "What the hell are you?"
Trick looked past him, to where I sat at my usual place, looked right into my eyes.
"I'm the spark that sets the world ablaze."
"You used to be cool," Sheila Reid's blue eyeliner was a hot mess. "You used to be so nice. You used to be so sweet."
"You used to be cool," Trick laughed when I repeated the conversation. "You used to be so nice."
I had stolen Mrs. Reid's car again, and acquired a fifth of vodka and some smokes. We were parked out on Old Man's Road, where the railroad left town. You could occasionally capture broadcasts from across the border there; listen to music from London, from Berlin, Manchester, music from the other side of the sun.
"You used to be so sweet," sneered Trick. "You used to be sugar on my tongue."
"It was never like that," I said. "Not really."
"Don't lie," Trick said. "It's so boring to lie."
We kissed and a train came roaring and rattling out of the darkness, filling the car with a blast of white light, everything shook and shimmied and melted into air.
"I know you loved Trick," Sheila said after the funeral. "I understand."
"You understand nothing," I said and blew cigarette smoke into her face.
Trick had been rotating slightly when I found the body hanging under the garage door opener. The note safety-pinned to the ruffle of the shirt said: "No thanks, not for me. Love, Trick."
"I understand," said Sheila and I laughed at the thought she could.