Jasper wondered why his egg was still in the pan. He stared at it, wrinkled his forehead and opened his eyes as wide as possible, trying to remember. Gazing into the gooey yellow center of his breakfast he willed memory of the last few minutes to play like a movie in his brain. It didn't work. He ran his hand over his balding head a few times, trying to stimulate his wasted gray matter, and then crossed his arms over his chest with his elbows on the table.
He looked at the egg. It couldn't have been more than a few minutes because the pan was still too hot to touch.
He jumped up, hitching his jeans as he sprinted to the kitchen to check the oven. Off. He looked up at the ceiling and almost thanked God before wondering if dead would really be worse.
He looked and looked at the egg until he lost his appetite. It seemed to be looking back.
The floor was gritty with spilled sugar under his feet. He spotted the spoon under the empty chair across from him and drank his cooling coffee bitter, as punishment for blacking out again.
He couldn't even look at the egg anymore, so he closed his eyes.
Some things he could remember with reality-shaking color and clarity. Like diamonds, but better, he clutched these memories close and used them when he needed to forget his forgetting. He didn't even have to wish for photographs to make these visions feel real.
Betty, when they first came to the city and decided to be clowns. They didn't need much money to eat. Things like food and a place to sleep didn't seem to matter so much, as long as they were together and could make out in the park for hours if they wanted. She looked so cute in her make up, the happy clown, retro vaudevillian clowns with silent film faces and a beautiful Charlie Chaplin waddle. He held her parasol and followed her lead, waiting for her to stop short to play up some schtick, triggering his expertly hilarious falls and mock injuries.
He liked to take her with her make up on, in bathrooms and alleys. She made her mouth into a perfect O, gazed at him with Betty Boop doe eyes, and made absolutely no sound. It was partly for necessity--no one wanted to go to jail in clown make up--but mostly she did it because he liked it.
Darla, who called what she did performance art. Playing the piano badly while naked except for ridiculous stiletto's and a mane of blue-black hair, she came in shrieking, head banging seizures. Over and over again she came on stage until her stool was slick and the men in the audience were intimidated by her lack of need for a phallic object.
Darla kept the dope tucked inside her piano. She called it "Fine China," and laughed before explaining the joke every time. "It's fine, like...fine art, man. I'm an artist. God! Don't you get it?"
Her tits bounced when she yelled at him naked.
Betty again, paranoid in the taxi. Her eyes were wide and everywhere at once, watching. He didn't know what she was looking for. The cops? A pimp? A way out? She chain smoked and never ashed her cigarette. Her jaw was tight and she chewed the inside of her bottom lip. Her fingers fluttered. Coke. It had to be coke. It was morning but she was dressed for a party. Where did she sleep last night? He hadn't seen her for weeks. He barely recognized her. She was so loud, so nervous.
He wanted to save her. He wanted to get her out. He talked about rehab. He talked about mountains. He talked about school. He talked about…He couldn't remember.
She stared at him and her mouth formed a perfect O. Her eyes were empty and she laughed like a nervous bird before exiting the Taxi at the next stoplight. Her skirt was rumpled up over her bare ass. She didn't notice as she walked away. She had yellow-blue bruises there.
Jasper opened his eyes. The egg was still watching him. He picked it up in his fist. It was cold now. How long had he been remembering? He looked at the egg in his hand. He squished it between his fingers and watched it fall to pieces on the table.
How long had he been inside? The last thing he really remembered was school. He hated it. He wanted to love it, but it didn't hold his interest. He never remembered anything. He hated failing. He couldn't quite recall, but he was pretty sure it hadn't turned out well.
He checked his arms for bad decisions, fresh tracks. Clear. He couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. His head hurt.
Why was there egg everywhere? Jasper couldn't remember.
BIO: Katie Moore is a mother, writer, and wife ... in that order. Sorry, husband. She is completely unfit for "real" work, as all she ever does is scribble. She is a delighted editor for http://www.downdirtyword.com, where words are god. Find her online at The Girl Circus http://www.thegirlcircus.com, or drop her an email at:at