Nathan Tyree

The Light of Infinite Stars

This buck toothed kid keeps trying to show me his Nazi memorabilia. He’s got this whole weird collection: buttons, plates, shirts, a dagger, and weird pamphlets about how Jews run the world bank. He keeps pulling more and more of the stuff out of a big green duffel bag at his feet. The look in his milky eyes suggests that this is a sexual thing; it’s called fetishism. He rubs a greasy palm across his pimple spotted cheek and says This button came off an SS uniform. Somehow I doubt that. I don’t want to look at the stuff. It makes my skin creep a little.We’re sitting in Bud’s basement waiting for him to roll a joint. Bud’s got no dexterity at all and he keeps crushing the damn things before he can get them sealed. The Nazi kid was already there when me and Sherri showed up. We were just supposed to get a nickel bag and split, but Bud always insists that you burn one with him before he’ll do business. I’m not real comfortable with the situation. I always catch him eyeing my tits and I start to get nervous about being stoned around him. I don’t really think he’d try anything, but you really can’t be too careful.

The walls are covered with posters for metal bands that I’ve mostly never heard of. It’s all skulls and half naked girls with big hair. It can be a little overwhelming, really. Sherri keeps looking around like she expects something to happen. The Nazi kid is shoving a swastika arm band under my nose and I look away hoping he will get the hint. It doesn’t work.

Bud has finally managed to complete the relatively simple task of rolling a joint. He props it in his mouth and lights it with a brass Zippo. He pulls deeply and then holds his breath. Here he exhales passing it my way. I take a delicate puff and don’t hold too long. Sherri takes it next and inhales deeply. The Nazi kid waves it off. I don’t smoke, he says.

I look at Sherri and try to catch her attention with my eyes. I hadn’t noticed before, but she’s sitting very close to Bud. I see for the first time that he has his hand resting on her knee.

Maybe we should scoot I say with an upward inflection as if it were a question.

Sherri leans in toward Bud, causing his hand to slide up her thigh a little. Let’s stay a little longer, she says.

I gotta go, I say. Maybe it’s paranoia. I don’t know. All I know is that I need to be out of this room. So I stand and walk up the stairs. As I hit the cool night air I can hear someone calling to me from behind. Outside I am in the light of infinite stars. Crickets sing a holy song just for me. An owl calls out and for an instant it sounds like a secret prayer. At the street I start to run.

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