According to the cat clock it was three minutes past six o’clock. Sunlight leaked through the window and puddled across the linoleum. The sick woman boiled skim milk on the stove then added oatmeal to it and stirred in cinnamon and brown sugar.

The news was no good. The sick woman with wild black hair muted the television and ate oatmeal from a paper bowl with a plastic spoon. She wasn’t thinking about saving the planet or herself. More sloppy mistakes would be made, she was sure of it, and someday after making countless mistakes she would die and one or two people might mourn but her corpse would definitely look bad in the coffin unless her corpse was cremated which she hoped it would be. Since two or three years of age the sick woman had known and was reminded often that there are no guarantees.

Across town there was a man named Gilbert. Gilbert did not love the sick woman but he enjoyed fucking her in a mediocre lukewarm vanilla kind of way when the mood struck. He knew the woman was sick and this made him feel better about himself because he was sane, healthy, able to function in 21st century America. Gilbert was an auto mechanic. He owned a small house and a big pick-up truck. Also, Gilbert had a beautiful black dog named Ted Nugent. There wasn’t anything wrong with Gilbert. Sometimes he jacked off to clown pornography but he knew goddamn well that everyone jacks off to something.

The sick woman put green food coloring and a dead cockroach in her bowl of oatmeal and took pictures of it with her digital camera. Then she threw the oatmeal in the red trash can in the kitchen and got in the shower. The water was so hot it made her skin bright pink. The body wash smelled like apricot bubblegum. The sick woman’s armpits and legs were hairy but she didn’t feel like shaving them.

Her nose dripped snot so the sick woman swallowed three allergy pills and got in bed. She could hear children screaming and birds chirping but she fell asleep still damp from the shower and dreamed of a shiny apple red guitar. It was electric. The sick woman was playing the guitar like some kind of alien god. She was naked and everyone in the bowling alley was hollering her name.

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