Andy Loves You, by Christina Louise Smith


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Andy Loves You, by Christina Louise Smith


You and Andy sit at a table with some remnants of fried rice stuck to its surface. The vinyl seat is still warm when he lowers himself into it. You know it comforts him to know that it has been so recently vacated by another, the non-stop thrum of life radiating through the seat of his slacks. Everywhere, noise, a cafeteria din. You are in your mauve velvet jacket that is much too big for your tilting frame. You glare at him through the smile so often mistaken as kindness with an intensity that strips the iron from blood, leaves a flaccid sack of plasma, expressionless and too tired to inflect. As you pick at your warm lamb bruleé, the latest McDonald’s creation, Andy instructs you in the art of cruelty. You can't be mean without feeling guilty, you say, looking sideways at the table beside you. He says, First, stop thinking in those terms. Think of it as a heart-lamination. You must prevent the conflict from occurring, Andy says. Here is how you do it. You learn to say no so you don't have to be angry, reacting to others when things fail. You anticipate your limits. This is kindness, he says, and softly pats at some wisps of his hair that cast a distracting shadow on the table. A tall hard man from Angola, skin so brilliant he looks cast of silver, sees Andy and flashes his bone white teeth at him. A miracle of human genetics, this man is a hologram—you almost can’t bring your eyes into focus. Andy waves. Your glare shifts to the man. Andy says, he will be my best yet, and he is only fifteen. You grin like a terrier, your own bone-whites so delicate in your fine slim jaw. You don't know yet know that you are alive, burning like a sore, resilient and eternal.

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Christina Louise Smith is a writer and graphic designer in Tucson, AZ. Currently, she has a graduate teaching assisantship and is pursuing her M.A. in Literature at the University of Arizona, where she also received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing. She likes to show off the latest book cover she designed for Heather Cousins’ intriguing first full-length collection of poetry, Something in the Potato Room from Kore Press (11/09), where Christina was Managing Editor until December 2009. Her poems will appear in the February 25, 2010 edition of Backroom Live, featuring guest editor Barbara Cully. When she is not busy writing, reading, or working, she’s been known to fry up an overabundance of chorizo tacos, an act she recently proclaimed to be the only thing in the entire world that makes her truly happy—although she loves to wander, scavenge, and wave to strangers.

This is the first of five stories by Christina, written at our request, to accompany the radio plays we did for Powhaus Productions' POP!: A Celebration of the Cultural Contribution of Andy Warhol and His Factory, at the Rialto Theater, Feb 26, 2010. The stories and the radio plays are unrelated, only presented simultaneously.

"Andy Hangs a Picture"