• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 05
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Simone is in hysterics

Simone’s on the grass, pissing herself. She is rolling around in side-splitting hysterics. Her denim skirt slithers up her pin thin legs (which are nearly translucent with the pale).

I wonder how Simone manages to have such a good time, so consistently. Simone is the type of girl that finds everything frighteningly funny. Her perfect mouth is permanently ready to split into a smile the size of hefty orange segment. Manic laughter invariably follows. The expression “peals of laughter” swims into my brain.

“Simone looks like her skin might peel off with laughter,” I say to myself in my head, as though I am a dictionary providing myself with definitions, just for the hell of it. “Hahahahahah,” says Simone. “Ha,” I say, trying one out for myself. Ha. I test it on my tongue. I sound like I am broke (broke as in malfunctioning, though I am also the financial kind of broke). I can’t remember the last time I laughed. At a funeral, two years ago I remember. My Uncle Darren’s. When I peered into the casket and saw him caked in foundation three shades too dark for him my metaphorical marbles fell out of my pockets and rolled away from me at speed. He looked, frankly, ridiculous. Laughter crawled up my throat and out my mouth like hot sick. My mother turned to the crusty funeral home congregation and hissed, “She has autism.” Which is a lie. Or at least is not an established fact.

Simone and I are down at the lake. The water is glassy and dull today. Like a shite mirror. She is laughing like she’s on a horrific acid trip. I read about a woman who took mushrooms and killed herself fourteen years later, because she was still high and couldn’t hack it. We are fifteen and Marcus from the year above us is standing over Simone clutching his duck (which today, is wearing a tiny toupee). Marcus does have autism.


Simone is in hysterics

“He is whip smart,” my mother always says when we drive past him on the road, walking his duck. Or walking with his duck (he doesn’t generally let it down on the ground). I’m fairly sure my mother has decided this just by looking at Marcus. She has watched too many movies where Robin Williams plays or parents the tortured misunderstood genius and she has lumped him into this bracket on a whim. I consider pointing out that not all people with autism are geniuses. But she is an inherently negative person so I let her have her moment of generosity.

“What are you laughing at?” Marcus demands of Simone. As she continues to writhe I can see her trying to form breathless words to answer him.

“It… It… The duck… it………… looks like Donald… Trump.”

Marcus looks at Simone like he wishes she was dead.

“That’s the fucking point,” says Marcus, with derision. He winks at me. I accidentally wink back.