by Simon Jacobs
art by Leslie June
We're in the jungle this time.
Here, in this latest environment in our history of running away, the heat mixes rain and sweat.
"It fucking rains all the time here," you say, and I want to kiss you hard until the sun comes out or the rain stops, whichever happens last.
We feel so tiny amongst such prehistoric plantlife.
"I hate the fucking jungle."
The jungle answers you with jungle sounds. You grab my sleeve and pull me tight against your legs, which are bent and pulled tight to your chest. We are wet and together. The giant leaf under which we huddle drips fat rainwater at our feet.
I hug you close even though it's all your fault. Your hair has never been this color.
I reach into my pocket and offer you the ring.
And you throw it back in my face.
The jungle rains down its vengeance. It may rain for years.
Now we're adrift at sea.
You're lying on your back on our plank. You've stripped down to your underwear. Eyes closed, arms by your sides, your hair a fan. You're almost naked and burning. You were always too pale to tan.
We're both wasted and thin at this point. We've been drifting for who knows how long.
There's so much space here for things to drop into and disappear forever. Like you've already done with my ring.
The heat is a dry heat.
I cup my hands in the water and sprinkle some on your belly.
You scream and your body crinkles. "What the actual fuck?!"
"I was just trying to cool you down," I say.
"Well don't just splash me. Jesus. Have some tact. Shit."
I smile dumbly and as you straighten back out I kick your clothes off the edge of the raft.
I take my shirt off and lie down next to you. I bunch it up and tuck it under your head for a pillow.
It seems absurd, to be trapped inside a volcano. But here we are.
Everything has burned or melted or been thrown away during the crash. We are both naked and our heads are shaved.
The lava makes us glow. I can see all of your tattoos.
"This place is gonna blow."
Sure enough, the inside of the earth grumbles and shakes. Debris falls around us, but it's just the little stuff.
I tell you that; in so many words, not to sweat it.
"Are you kidding? One direct hit could kill either one of us."
I take you by your bony shoulders. We rub our shaved heads together and feel the bristle of each other, and it feels very safe, but we could be having sex.
I open my palm to find the one thing that survived.
You grab my hand like for comfort. I show you the ring.
You throw it into the lava. You say, "How could you even think of that right now?"
The falling debris grows to boulder size and smashes all around us.
A house in the suburbs is not as safe as we think.
There are so many places to hide weapons.
You're at the fridge for a midnight snack, dressed in your pajamas. The light spills out around you.
Your hair is getting to just the length where I can grab it between my fingers.
"Is there anything in here besides exotic cheese?"
I nose in about your neck. I kiss your cheek and wrap my arms around your front. "There might be some pita in the freezer."
We stick out too much in our new neighborhood, but at least here there is air conditioning.
We won't last long before we're discovered.
You glance from the fridge towards the knife block on the counter, out of habit more than anything else.
I carry it in my pocket always now, just waiting.
"I'm sick of foreign food."
I'm tired of it too. I'm exhausted.
A loud crack, from outside.
The windows explode. I yank you to the ground as glass flies across the kitchen, I dig into my pocket.
Just give me your fucking hand.
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.
Simon Jacobs is a young writer from Ohio. He curates the Safety Pin Review, a wearable medium for work under 30 words, and nurses bad vibes in the corners of simonajacobs.blogspot.com.
Leslie June is an underwater photographer, writer, blogger, Photoshop instructor, graphic designer and fitness coach. She loves to swim with her camera.
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