You lived in a trailer park behind the bowling alley where you worked. Maybe twelve trailers total. All of them battered by the yearly hurricane season and barely holding together. About half had foil on the windows––including yours. You lived there with three guys who gave themselves tattoos and wore Danzig shirts and ate nothing but the hot dogs they sell at the bowling alley––because y’all worked there. Each of you chipped in for the deposit for the trailer and the monthly rent so y’all could have a place to drink and get high. Your neighbor ended up being your dealer. Weed, coke, xans, acid. All of it. Sometimes you traded leftover hot dogs for a gram or two of cheap brown weed. There was a notice of late payment on your front door after the first month, though you never saw your landlord. You weren’t sure if there even was one for the park. It was lawless country. There was a chair in the trailer. You didn’t bring it. Neither did anyone else. One day it was there. But the chair wasn’t for sitting. It was the stabbing chair. Whenever someone was angry or fucked up or felt like stabbing, they’d take one of the knives or swords displayed throughout the trailer and jab at the cushions. Or hack at the arm. One guy who used to cradle and praise his packets of ketchup went fucking wild one night while high on coke and valium. He took a katana and obliterated the chair. Screaming, hacking, swinging wild. When he wore himself out, the chair was a pile of stuffing, wood, fabric, and spring. Everyone cheered him on, poured malt liquor in his mouth, wiped the sweat from his face. You cheered along too. Then everyone went back to smoking blunts, chugging Lone Star and Jim Beam, and inhaling coke or crushed valium. Y’all stormed into the bowling alley, drunk and stoned, and brought back forty-seven hot dogs and about twelve pounds of mozzarella sticks. The trailer was soon filled with the smell of cheese and weiners and farts and the sound of sloppy mouths smacking. The chair killer ignored the food, spent the night trying to eat different pieces of the chair. Squirted his well-praised and cradled ketchup packets on the inedible cushion. He tried to swallow pieces whole, but kept gagging them back up with a squirt of red vomit. You never went after the chair. You sat in it once. It was a comfortable chair. The day after the chair massacre the landlord pounded at the door. Y’all acted like y’all weren’t there but he saw everyone through the window. He unlocked the door, barged in and froze. What y’all must’ve looked like to him––a bunch of burnt out devils high and grinning. He demanded to know who broke into his trailer and stole his favorite chair. No one fessed up. The look on his face made you feel depressed. Here’s this guy trying to live, and these unambitious gremlins ruined something he cherished. He hand delivered an eviction notice that day. But he never kicked you out. Y’all lived in the trailer for four more years. They were long years: days spent working at the bowling alley, working at getting fired, working at not working. Your landlord almost never came into your work and you almost never gave him a discount on already cheap food and even cheaper beer. He almost never bowled a game over a hundred. But goddamn did he try. Nights were spent getting high and forgetting everything. Most of the time you thought about how you didn’t belong there, but you never left. Because the lawlessness of the trailer was more tolerable than the expectations you faced in a house that held the memories of your childhood. And it was too fun to leave.
Tex Gresham’s experimental hybrid collection Heck, Texas was published by Atlatl Press. Tex has work in F(r)iction, Back Patio Press, Hobart, The Normal School, and BOOTH. Tex is on Twitter as @thatsqueakypig and online at www.squeakypig.com