Vigil by Amelia Gray


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Vigil by Amelia Gray


She held the tray of nuggets on her lap but their heat stung her skin, so she moved one of the cushions from the chair to rest between the tray and her naked thigh. It was a woolen cushion and itchy, but better than the heat of the plastic tray, which dug a sharp line into her right breast and also held fifty nuggets like polyps with a heat that echoed the October sun, lap-heat pulling her body's energy below her waist, a feeling that was only pleasant in a context which hadn't yet arrived because the man wasn't yet awake, though she saw in the light afforded by the cracked shade that his back was shifting slightly and she could see he was breathing. With one intake of air it seemed like he was about to turn towards her but he continued to not do that while she ate one nugget and another, first eating them warm and plain and then dipping them into the honey mustard sauce she had chosen, resting the adorned nugget on her tongue, sweet-salt, then dipping two at a time and putting them both into her mouth, the nuggets crushing together, their fried skin softened hours before, when he first moved his jaw like he was going to say a word but said nothing instead. The nuggets were cooling and the tray's plastic edge was burrowing now into her right breast but she had become aware enough of her own noise to know that if she shifted the woolen cushion on her lap, the sound would register to her and therefore would register to him, because they were connected. He needed his sleep and she was busy eating nuggets, putting five and six and eight in her mouth, forcing the ninth, until the skin stretched tight across her cheeks and chewing became an act of cycling processed meat, a naked silent device of mastication, a tube producing no waste, only product, mouthmade lube, fully stupid, watching the hotel sink's plastic cups sheathed in cellophane, same protecting same, because they were connected, she chewing thick salivary, she desiring water with a basic level of desire, as a restrained creature might feel desire for the material scraped from the edges of its enclosure, some cold pile, and she gasped at swallowing the tenplex nugget whole, then unwedged the cup of honey mustard from its wedge and held it to her lips and tasted its gelatine fluid, sweet like a sweet, like what congealed in the cupholder between her and the man in his car, that gunked fluid coating her mouth and the back of her throat with a sweet sludge making her gag and clap the palm of her hand over her mouth like how she saw families do on TV when they won a contest like when they got surprised by a camera crew and a man in a suit offering them some stupid thing.

Amelia Gray is the author of AM/PM (Featherproof Books) and Museum of the Weird (FC2). [She also wrote the interstitial pieces for Spork Issue 9.1]