L O T U S L A N D - Fiction / by D.M. Jerman

I was in my office rolling half and halfs. And I'm pretty sure it was a minute past from the tower bells, which tho' they had ceased, were still ringing in tonal echo over my animal brain while the frontal end burned in dull concentration. Fuck it- that's all animal brain.
Which is why I jumped so bad when the fone rang. An interloping tone. Letting it ring out 'til I sparked was a very cherry decision. I was all in the right when Molly produced her voice on the other end near my tepid rainbows almost growing stale-party nausea narratives of exhale. Until she called it was a night full of titles threatening to become writing. Normal dreams, Asterisk nightmares, sub-contracted semi-colon ego-trip chat manic mattress bench warmers. Like that. Terrible.
About to maybe beat-it-but-join-it, finally, when she threatened: "Don't make me hold your hand. I've just cleaned the loo and the ice-bucket is full and I'm a target for a problem night to get worse if I don't see you in thirty."
Yes ma'am, and thank you. Like that I was keys and lights out and off to the 24 hour for liquor and incense.

You won't find her in volume one. Molly is a cat made of sharks. An interior regatta on the lakefront of abstract yet make-out-withable beauty. There is no mirror but those of parked cars to check my nostrils. And that's a bad way to say I have a fear of boogs, but not a paranoia, praise be.
Goddamn. I was about to get out my typewriter too, and you know where that leads. Scotch. Obvs. Like a sapphire leads to diamonds, and so all rivers of time lead to Molly.
I had one of those check-yr-pocket moments on the way to her place too, where I had to double-take where she lived, and had she moved? Couldn't remember but probably not, and yes, thankfully, not. Still the illicit snugglebatch of a 20th floor condo (#2020) that I vaguely remembered from the 'comet' party. A pre-halloween confessional sexless bonding millennial dysfunctioning closet jerk of a suare to which I brought my typewriter. Pfft. Yeah. Fucking people living in the sky.
Not enough debauchery for a singularly sweet and inconspicuous destination by my standards. And by turns, Molly's standards too, for the most part. The clientele manifested monthly yoga passes and no cutting scars. I blame the Israeli she was dating at the time. You can never be too-nice if you're, well, too nice.

She came to the door in just a skirt. "When was the last time you read Anais Nin?" She chuckled and swung her margarita aside for my entrance. I held up the black plastic bag containing more goodies than I anticipated purchasing.
"I want to be her." She swooped a topless snatch of the sundries, spinning on a singular stockinged toe.
"I want to be Henry Miller. But I'll have to settle for Samuel Beckett instead." We didn't just crack smiles at each other then, we cracked full up like mental patients leaning into our own punch lines.
"Ah, Jeremy," She sighed and turned "I missed you. Come see the window."
The view was a favorite game I could tell, even after only being there once. Probably nothing changed. Still, I was jealous. Her closet was most likely bigger than my whole apartment.
When I ignored the double nipple reflection - two Mollys, four tits- and thought of the future, I could catch my breath. When you have to ask yourself if you're still high, then you probably are.

"Saw a car accident there today." She pointed at an indeterminate northeast locale below. Then nodding up at me in the pause as if I didn't believe her. "That's right. I always stand right where you're standing for about fifteen minutes each morning while I break off a piece of the hottest coffee I can possibly drink while watching an interminably slow rush hour."
"Must be nice to get some action for all that loyalty from time to time, right?" I could feel myself turning on the silly smarm and I liked it. She was such a spoiled brat booty-calling me. I couldn't wait to turn on her hi-fi and spank her ass while we danced off the Malort.

Once the surf rock was in swing and all our groovy bad dance moves took full effect, I closed my eyes and had a moment inside myself to enjoy the comedown. I made myself want for nothing. Not even the interpersonal body high that was Molly- free to be and for all four seasons. Molly. By her side was definitely where the party would stay tonight. And it was good to be back in Lotusland. That marvelous repeating scheme of states. A strata of pleasure bending out of the modern age and down toward all edges of life.

A few lights went off. Sirens pleaded pianissimo where the rock eddied.
Molly pulled a loose sweater on. I pulled her single stocking off. We touched foreheads and whispered. The clock struck again but it wasn't an hour worth noting.
"Little Birds." I said, bringing it back to the last I'd encountered Anais Nin. She nodded. It had been ages for me. Too long. Gripping her lemon tea she whispered "Collages. It's so good." I remembered that one too. The trip, all trips perhaps, down MA-mory lane ending like they began. Coffee and the library and never seeing the sunrise until graduation day.

"There's a sticky spot on your foot," I pressed into her size 5 instep. A single mark of red polish left on the big toe near the distal end.
"I'm tracking from the kitchen. Don't know what got spilled."
"Margarita?" I posited "And I love that we're whispering."
"I have to until we put another record on." She fidgeted and smiled and cocked her face so her hair came down and waved just perfectly over half of it. I felt no urge to leave.
"I'm not sorry I haven't called you in a while, Jeremy. But I am a little sorry too. I had to get rid of Rossi." She said, reading my thoughts.
"Rossi was a blank cheque you could cash any time. I don't blame you for that."
"Yeah, but, it gets boring after awhile, you know." She started to use her voice again and it sounded like windchimes drunk on molasses. My legs shifted like a Freudian slip.
"Let's not talk about Rossi. When was the last time you saw Clive?" Her brother, a writer like us. Back and forth to LA. A place neither Molly or I had any interest in visiting.
"A few weeks. But I don't want to talk about him either." We chuffed. "What he's always ever wanted was an honoris causa from UCLA and to find a woman with a series of bad habits to share it all with, and he's discovered minor success in the latter. The struggle, Jeremy. It's the struggle that keeps us interesting."
I nodded with an eyebrow up. "That. And when the last time was that you read Anais Nin." She grinned into her tea and I continued. "If some people can't stay cool because their keys are hanging off the end of the moon, then so be it. At least they can see them. You and me, Molly. We worry about when we cease to be able to hear jazz, if ever. And if the dictionary of the future is just packed with emojii."
This last part didn't make her laugh as much as I wished it would. But she and Clive were simply a year and change apart, and the cross around his neck did not only extend to academia.
"What are you writing about these days?" She inquired innocently enough, but the question let the air out of the balloon filled with whatever energy I had left. My attention's easy focus no more held quorum.
"Molly, I'm just an idiot." I admitted. "I've written and I write and neither gesture defines me except when I am doing it and to know that I've done. I don't miss school." The confession was bringing me back. I took her other foot to rub it. Some sort of action was required. She opened her mouth but I cut her off. "I don't wish I had your life, but I like knowing you. That there are complex and beautiful flowers like Mollys in the world who care to have me around from time to time. Anymore, I consider the wake up call to stay hidden until it sees fit to reveal itself."
I was getting awfully philosophical, but it was night, and all the heat and beauty around were begging to be let out to dreamland's pastures.
This sort of reverence belonged to the late hours, and that's where it most often stayed. Leave Lotusland to the waking world.

"You're growing up." She started. Breaking the long and dreamy silence. "Must be nice. I don't envy your life either, and I'm glad we've never tried to be serious. Honestly I would bore a visionary like you. I don't flatter you by saying this at all. The weight of the world shifts shoulders, but some shoulders are tougher than others."
I kissed her foot and put the unpolished big toe in my mouth. A little gasp, but no pull back. I wanted to suck longer than I should have, but didn't. I'm a gentleman.
"How would you like to die?"
Molly, oh Molly. So ripe and persistent. Out with something else again like god's cure for insecurity or boredom. I started to answer without thinking.
"I don't know. Probably in traffic, or spectacularly somehow. But quick. A bus. A train. Scotch is too slow. You?"
In that moment I looked over and watched her shift her gaze elsewhere to think and realized we have the same eye color. A milky hazel that turns sea-green in the sun.
"I'm with you on the spectacular thing. But it's gotta be for a cause. Like, I would want to go down in a worldwide cataclysm. A battle that wages across seasons and claims countless lives, but still manages to not have occurred in vain. You know? Is that too much to ask?" Her laugh is infectious.
I feel the desperate bubble that is my heart expand wistfully in my chest while I watch her throw her head back. And she keeps laughing because it feels good. Punch drunk tumescence of spirit manipulating my better judgement.

And it's then that I want more drugs, and don't want them. And I almost have to say my name out loud, or do something dumb to solidify this night in my memory, because I've decided right now that I want it there. I want tonight to be forever retrievable in the annals of my reaped reality. My multiplied paradise magic rolodex of what can be relied upon to make me intensely happy.
Not long after this exchange, the stubborn hours shift again and we adopt for recreating with lust instead of talk, but not before I ask for one more thing to indulge my chatty foreplay.
"Can I see the tattoo?"
"... Ok... why?"
"Why are you suddenly suspicious?"
"I'm not, I. Just..."
And she shrugs like a lazy mermaid in her sweater, thinking. Turning the request into something she can submit her gorgeous will to. And when she peels to the skin and that mark I feel my breath change and all else gets dark, and somehow the music has started up again, but different this time. New and better and noted. Unwasted and completely welcome.