A Good Year For Gemini: Scribbles on The Toilet Paper Roll in V For Vendetta

Andrew Tran

a college dropout takes an order
at a drive-thru window on a humid day,
looking at his customer, until she mumbles
and drives away, but she shouldn’t feel
so special; that’s the fifth time he’s won
a staring contest, and he’s stepping away
from the register, and wrapping
his headphones around his neck,
resting his elbows
on the countertop; he cups his face,
he is in nostalgia.
across the room is a cherry-blotched
faced kid, strapped into a baby Bjorn,
and she’s munching on fries
from a Happy Meal and her ketchup
splatters onto the Captain America
T-Shirt; this, causes a frown
a mother tilts her head up, laughing
at a text from her lover, her manicured
finger wipes off some ketchup,
but the stain is permanent.

somewhere, on another planet, a child
infected by disease, carries an machine gun
behind his back and a machete on his hip.
he worships John Wayne and tokes
an ounce of Opium before supper every night.
this is the same child, who a few years ago,
was sent twenty dollars and a coloring book
by mail from a single-mother with a baby Bjorn,
who wanted to feel like a good person.
he wrote back to his pen pal always,
after target practice and one day,
he asked for a pocket bible and a box
of glow-in the-dark crayons.
a week later he received a letter
in the mail, saying there is no
God, no Virgin Mary; scripture
is polluted by modified words.
only the lines made sense.
P.S. she said: no colors shine
in the dark; and, besides, we only
discern with our cones and rods.
the boy crumpled the letter into a ball
and tried to flush it in a porta potty,
but just stayed there, and when
he was famished, not from lack of food,
but lack from the lack of the familiar,
he went outside to the field of wheat
took the machine gun, and shot,
put it under his chin, and pulled
the trigger; but, the gun jammed
and he stood there, with shit steaming
his trousers, the smell was catharsis.

today, the college dropout passes out
on his basement futon after making $9.50 an hour
he forgot the dreams he invented during childhood
his mother died in child labor, at her funeral,
behind the cemetery, his father shot himself
in the eye, right in the pupil, so that he
wouldn’t have to see her ghost vanish
every night, and really only half of his brain
was blown away, from a lobotomy
that had already taken most of it last spring.
the dropout slides underneath a wool blanket
and turns up the volume on MTV: 16 and pregnant
is on; rich girls are crying because they’ve built a life
by accident and their country boyfriends don’t
know what to do and one boyfriend got a job
at the local auto shop when years before,
he played second–string quarterback
on the varsity squad, raced phantoms
with his Honda Civic, after practice.
now he sweats elbow-grease and drinks Jack
Daniels before happy hour.

on a field of wheat, the boy
smokes a Spanish cigarette
and takes a piss in a watering hole,
and as he stands and pees he is reading
an advice column and the horoscope
points back to a Gemini.
Andrew Tran is a writer from Virginia. He likes to blog: https://saigoncoffeeshop453.blogspot.com