by Peter Jurmu
Emotional mapmaking. Keiko's face swollen from a severe allergic reaction to something at the laundromat. Scalped voice. Are you finished yet? Can we go?
We cabbed to the northernmost slice of downtown beach, hung our clothes from the lifeguard tower, and headbutted as many waves as we could until our foreheads visored along our brains that we needed to stop.
Keiko's face back to normal, voice regular, as if pleasure. Enslaved to a satisfaction current. In a bookstore, giving me a deep papercut and saying How's that? Now needing to buy that book, my blood on several pages. Handing it to someone at a stoplight, saying it was a favorite, so much so it demanded to be given away. Later neither of us could remember anything about that person.
She still kept her gun somewhere. I had thrown mine, unloaded, into a trash compactor and emptied the bullets. Despair had not yet happened, I did not need its tools curious. We spackled the hole over her stove and covered that with a painting of a tiny red apple. She wanted her emotions replaced with a car battery and I wanted her emotions and we did not yet know how to accomplish this exchange.