Above my desk is a tarot card I mysteriously found in my kitchen a few months ago. It was from an incomplete deck, which I have been told is bad luck. I took the card anyway because I liked the look of it, which is just as good a reason as any other.

On it, an enormous blond-haired angel blows a horn while pale, naked humans rise from their coffins to greet the sound with outstretched arms. They’re so excited, I imagine, because wherever they’re going is probably a whole heck of a lot better than being stuffed inside a god damn coffin.

I look at this card at least once a day and say aloud to absolutely no one at all (no friends): “Hurry the hell up already.”

When is judgement day? I wonder. Is it today?

So I sit here at my desk and wait. I have no wooden box to spring from, not yet, but I will meet the wail of the trumpet just the same. I do not know anything of the process after that, but I will say to the creature in charge of my fate, if it will hear me, “Do what you will, but know this, sir: mostly it was bad, but I really did try my best.”

Daddy took the truck this morning
And with it my bag of 3D Doritos®
Which I had purchased
From some shit-ass dump-hole gas station
Just outside
Denton, Texas.

I fuckin’ loved that truck
With the broken taillight
And the twisted frame
From all those wild fuckin’ nights
When we’d take it to the river
Ridin’ over rusted oil drums
And big-ass stupid rocks.

Regina and I had fucked
Right there in the bed of that
God damn stupid machine—
Me telling her,
“Babe I think I fuckin’ love you”
And her throwing up
A loaded baked potato
All over my favorite
Flannel shirt.

Some nights I would ride it wild
Playin’ that music real loud
Through the cornfields
And down windy-ass roads
Talkin’ shit on my CB radio
Fartin’ into the seats
Never thinkin’ ’bout no “where” or “why”—

But the truck is gone now,
Daddy drove that bitch away
All four wheels
And the seats and windows too
And with it my bag of 3D Doritos®
Which were so crunchy
And so full of life.


None of us are going to heaven. They’re going to hose off whatever’s left and it’s down the drain we go—to that starless place where no moonlight glows.


My partner was pacing the hall while I did pull-ups in the bathroom doorframe. I was thinking about Satan and a girl I used to love. The subjects were unrelated. I flipped between them effortlessly: Satan here, the girl there. I felt bad for Satan. I hardly cared about the girl.

An hour earlier we had loaded our bodies with miserable chemicals and I knew that soon enough we would be twisted, slobbering freaks. Already the blue Christmas lights strung up on the ceiling were vibrating and swirling in my head. It wouldn’t be long until we were a couple of psychos with nothing to lose. And then things would get really ugly—and they were ugly already.

Satan, the poor bastard. He was all I could think about. Everything else dropped out of my mind. I eased my feet onto the hardwood floor and put on my purple cardigan. I took a mug from the cabinet and stood by the stove, waiting for the kettle to scream out like a toothless whore. I needed a hot beverage in me if I was going to make it through the night. For an instant I considered dumping it all over my balls. Probably would’ve felt better than anything else that’s happened to the damn things.

“Are you depressed?” said Detective Sunset, still pacing. He didn’t look at me. “You seem a little depressed is all.”

“Terribly,” I said.

“About the duck?”

“The duck’s got me down.”

“Yeah.” Sunset took a cigarette from his pocket and placed it between his lips. I thought about those lips for a half-second. God, when was the last time some unsuspecting woman had touched those things with hers? Years, I reckoned. Dark years. Darker than the Grim Reaper’s dick, even. The thoughts turned to vapor and Sunset started mumbling in Latin.

“You really gotta get off that stuff. The cigarettes, I mean. Our insides are rotten enough, man. No need to light them on fire.”

“I need this. It’s all I’ve got.”

I wasn’t going to argue with him there. If this creep wanted to smoke himself stupid, then who was I to stand in the way? Jesus. I imagined someone threatening to take away my little iota of happiness. Happiness . . . the word made my skeleton rattle. What the fuck was happiness? Maybe I had none of it. No, I definitely didn’t. It had eluded me for years. And now it was my enemy. Fuck happiness. It was just a nice thing that the squares liked to pretend actually existed. It was that faraway dream—that hidden box in the attic. Open it up and you get a bucket of vampire turds. Happiness. For god’s sake, what a miserable joke that stuff was.

I cleared my throat. I went on: “What are we going to do about this duck?”

“Where’s the body?” He was looking at his shoes. Maybe the stuff was ramping up big time now. Maybe those shoes looked pretty fucking crazy to him. A joke came to mind and I almost said it aloud: Lemme get some of whatever he’s having. But I had had what he was having. Shit, I’d had twice as much—and I’m not just talking about the lysergic cocktail we’d swallowed down. Three times as much. Yes, I’ve had three times as much. Years of bad spookiness. Years of unanswered prayers. This kid probably still felt things.

Opening my mouth and smoothing out the cobwebs, I said, “They burned the body this morning.”

Sunset spun his head around and laser-focused on my skull so intensely I thought he might burn a hole through my god damn forehead. His hair was wild and behind the cigarette I could see his yellow teeth grinding together. “They burned it?”

“Burned it till there was nothing left.” I was watching the kettle and absentmindedly groping my own testicles. God, they felt fantastic.

(Continued )