graffiti

by dm gillis

A thing never really comes to life until its existence is disproven.

It was new graffiti behind the store. A short line of small neat characters. I lit a joint, and passed it to Jenny.

“Most boring graffiti I’ve ever read,” she said, suppressing a cough. “No anger, no profundity.”

That was Jenny. An eighteen year old punk forensic philosopher in combat boots, working in a second-hand vinyl shop.

To me it looked textbook. But it was new. Graffiti can be some mysterious shit, inoculating surfaces, growing like mushrooms.

And its newness was good. We needed something to fixate on. We’d be back in the store soon, pretending we were straight, with our fresh Visine eyes, hoping we didn’t have laughing fits when the punters rolled in.

I took another toke.

“It was foggy last night,” Jenny said, “right?”

“Yeah.”

“And that lamp over the door works?”

“(Cough!) Of course.”

“Then someone stood here in the fog, illuminated by that shitty sixty watt bulb, and wrote that.”

She was changing her mind about the message on the wall.

“The fog,” she continued, “was floating by on a feeble breeze. In that moment, he was alone in the world, and that’s what he wrote, the whole world absent.” She took another hard toke.

“There’s more to it, though,” Jenny said. “There’re fractals radiating out. A childhood, a mother who hated the men she obsessed over, a tiny room, a sink with a drain that lead straight down into hell. He could hear screams of the damned. He sleeps in a body bag. He eats stray cats.”

“You’re stoned,” I said.

“Immaculate.”

Later that day, Jenny sold a very rare 45 rpm of AC/DCs Can I Sit Next to You, Girl / Rockin’ in the Parlour, Polydor Records / 2069 051, and asked the customer why men wearing deck shoes always look like serial killers, and pretended to like Metal.

He stood there a moment, in his deck shoes, and glared at her. Then looked over his shoulder at me.

I shrugged and said, “A thing never really comes to life until its existence is disproven.” It was the best I could come up with.

He left.

“He’s never coming back,” Jenny said, and knew then that hers was a perfect world.

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