I’m in the basement of the Sharon house. I feel mostly like my present self but the house is as it was when I was a teenager. Same gray carpet, same broken fireplace (really just a raccoon and bird prison). I have a Dixie cup full of cheap lukewarm beer. I’m giving a friend or a lover or someone in between a tour of the house. Their presence is anonymous and barely perceptible. I leave to get something, or to go to the bathroom. I’m not sure because that part is blank, like a cut in a film, I only know that I left and came back. When I return there are clusters of worms writhing within the fibers of the filthy carpet. Some are still wet and healthy and others are quickly beginning to dry out. I consult my friend/ lover.
“What happened?” I ask.
“I think they’re attracted to the beer,” they respond pointing to my cup.
I peer down into the bottom of my beer to find a meaty cluster of worms. Together, all clumped, they are about the size of a small mouse.
I return to a dingy apartment somewhere in my hometown. The walls are yellowed from cigarette smoke, multiple fumigations, and weary sighs. I lie down on a mattress that may or may not be infested with bedbugs. Gazing into the hypnotizing swirls of the ceiling fan I make out the silhouette of a centipede, giant and red like the ones here in Hawai’i. It’s body is too close to the fan blades, potential catapults. I jump up and try to exit the room as quickly as I can, aware of the poison in my intruder’s mandibles. I get caught in the threshold. The space in between is always the setting of my demise. I feel something on my heel. Not a sharp pain but a presence, a weight, and a shot of adrenaline. I brush the presence off. Still no pain. Maybe it missed me. Moments later my heel is weeping uncontrollably, painlessly. No blood but gushing seepage, clear fluids. I call my cousin that I never talk to, simply to notify someone of what is happening. She picks up and I am immediately embarrassed for having called her. I say “Hey! Just wanted to say hi and see how you’re doing.” I can hear her anxiety and discomfort in her breathing. I hang up.
I’m alone in a pool that’s jutted right up against the sidewalk. People are walking by. I’m not sure if I should say hello or not. I don’t live in this neighborhood, but I seem to be staying here for what seems like a vey long time. It’s mostly young couples passing through, wrapped up in their own conversations. I turn my back to the sidewalk. I submerge myself in the water, not really swimming but standing then floating then standing, creating spirals all around me. Hyperaware of passersby, it sort of feel like I’m performing leisure. In my periphery I notice a man walking by with a cage. By the time I get to the other side of the pool he has set the cage down and walked away. The bars are wide, wide enough to allow the black cat inside to leisurely slink out and away. I follow the cat, mimicking its slow languid movements. This creature has transcended time. I want to find out how. It leaps to a low hanging roof. I follow. In the gutter lies a giant centipede about seven inches long and an inch and a half wide. Suddenly there is P. She instructs me to catch the centipede and place it in the wide-barred cage.