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I Don’t Know Who Used To Live Here, But No One Lives Here Now

Story by Isaac Boone Davis (Read author interview) March 27, 2012

art by Carly Schnur

Here are the things you can steal from a Burger King. You can order a burger, come back an hour later and tell them they made it wrong. They got to give you a new one as long as you got your receipt. If they give you trouble tell them you’re allergic to saline. Tell them saline is what killed your mom. Tell them saline makes your heart beat backwards. Cry if you got to. They’ll give you another even if they know you’re lying. Saline’s the shit they got in pickles. Also, you can steal toilet paper.

Sela taught me that. Sela taught me that at Starbucks you can steal the CDs they got and return them later for cash. At Auto Zone you can get $400 from the dopeman for those nitrous kits they keep on the bottom shelf. At Wal-Mart, the security won’t chase you past the parking lot. When Sela swoops its like she’s gone before she’s here. She’s faster with a DVD player under each arm than those security guards are in a car. Sela is eighteen and she will never be thirty, and that’s okay because I love her. Since I met Sela I don’t pay for food and I eat every day. Sela knows my real name is Daphine but she calls me Jody because that was her sister’s name. To Sela the whole world is for free and looking the other way. We’ve ganked guitars, tools and necklaces. We steal from the rich and we give to ourselves and except for that time at the mall, we never get caught. In April Sela’s aunt is coming back and then we’re going to move with her to California. Her family’s got a restaurant there and we’re going to be waitresses. Until then, we’re gonna do what we got to do and do it together. Like Sela says, “til the dirt.”

We stay in this empty-ass apartment we found about a month ago. I don’t know who used to live here but no one lives here now. And from the looks of things no one’s lived here in a long time because there are dead bugs in the window and all the metal has been stripped. At night it gets so cold Sela and I share a sleeping bag. I keep thinking the Super or the police are going to come through the door but no one ever does. One night a mouse bit my toe and I bled right through til morning. That’s what made me so slow that day at the mall. That’s what Sela said anyway, but she wasn’t even mad. “Mistakes happen.”

Sela didn’t come home last night. I tried not to worry, but I do. This morning when I leave, I see Daniel, the boy who lives downstairs.

“Hey,” I say.

“Hey,” Daniel likes me. He’s fat but he has sweet eyes. When his Mom is at work he lets me use their shower. “What up with you?” he asks.

“You already know,” I tell him.

“Hey, I was wondering—” but then a car is honking and even though she doesn’t drive I know its Sela. She’s in a big red Cutlass parked halfway up the sidewalk.

Daniel goes “Oh shit, ” but I barely hear him. Sela’s got the window rolled down and she’s laughing, waving both her hands.

“Girl, ” I scream, “Where’d you get a car?” I start running towards her.

“Um, bye,” says Daniel.

“Hurry up, Jody!” Sela’s got her arms over the steering wheel. She’s laughing so hard her face is hitting the horn.

“Where you get a car at, Sela?”

“You asking too many questions, girl. Come on!” I’m across the grass and into the parking lot. I can smell the rubber burning from the tires. I’m almost there.

“Sela,” I say.

“Come on Jody, hurry up! Run faster, Jody. Run faster!”

About the Author

Isaac Boone Davis is a writer living and working throughout the United States of America.

About the Artist

More information about Carly Schnur can be found at her web site: www.carlygoestospace.com.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-Five of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Five

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