by Kyle Hemmings
At Club Fu-Utero, a flash of mixed lights collide and rain from ceiling to every club rat in spandex tights or body-hugging snake dress. The dancers spontaneously combust and spin their evil twin until a duo is nothing but a shifting truth until morning. Zin, in the middle of doing a Twitter Wine synch of steps and loose hips, places her hands over her eyes, becomes stiff as another straight up. I ask what’s wrong. She says a space ship is exploding. Aliens are spilling to the floor. Infiltration? I mouth-jerk. So dangerous when dumb, she howls, swings her head as if it could come detached.
Zin suffers from unexplained headaches. She claims that aliens have been invading her mind, controlling her free form dance steps. The headaches are the result of her body’s resistance to invading shape-shifters. Sometimes, I almost believe her and I keep our loving schizophrenia to myself. Zin jokes that she wears black leather at night because it attracts aliens. That’s how she tries to catch them. But if they’re inside you, I say, then you’re the one who is caught. A host, game-girl. Then, she says, practicing the Jamaican Thief before a mirror, I will pre-game and puke them out by last call. The both of us are really authentic 3/4 of the time.
Upstairs at the club, a girl with blue spiked hair and in a red side tie halter dress is lying in an S-shape on the floor. Fragments of glass reflect rushes of color. Small streams of blood trickle from her legs, making irregular patterns on the floor. Hovering over her, a last-call Lothario keeps repeating You okay, honey? What happened? she keeps asking. You slipped, he says. My head hurts, she says. Zin, grabbing my elbow, says that something inside her made her bleed. Not again, I say. My head is pounding too, she says. Guided by the city’s glossy lights and distant voices without definite shape, we head home.
Whenever I’m inside Zin, I feel that I am part of her and that we are part of this Om and when I pull out (dis-lodge?) I am short-circuited again, an alien unto himself, and Zin is too lonely to reach me. I keep myself quarantined in a room for days, until I am my normal self again, but the bitchy brooding half will return with bad teeth and sticky tongue, burnt fingertips from too many electrical shocks. How, I keep thinking, can I be two people in one?
ZIN’S EXPLANATION: Everyone harbors an alien. For example, her father, who raised Zin alone after her mother died (mysteriously absconded?). Perhaps out of a single dad’s frustration, he began to change colors at night. His ears grew pointy (Zin’s words), and his breath fetid. He stopped cutting his fingernails for days. Zin still points out the tiny scars on the backs of her calves. I wonder if they are the same spots where the blue-haired girl’s legs bled. I ask Zin what color did your father change into at night? Transparent, she said. That’s the color of true aliens. The color of camouflage. Fuck, they cause nosebleeds too.
ZIN’S PLAN: She’s gonna walk the streets at night with a gamma ray Fuji2 gun and purify every contaminated denizen of “metastatic alienation” (her goof). She rephrases it as “alien replication.” How do you know they’ve been alienated? I ask. I know because they’re walking alone and there’s tiny traces of blood on their hands. It comes through alpha-clear on my Fuji2 magnifier. Plus, she says, performing a faux-pirouette that almost lands her on her ass, they always look straight at you for a second or two, in a very ferocious weird kind of way, sucking you in. Like they want to tell you their life story while you pay the tab for their cheesecake and three coffees. They want to make you feel like you’re the no-good bitch-culprit who caused every messed up scheme in their fucked-up lives. When they return to their original selves, they won’t remember you. Not even the ten bucks you spent.
Months pass. Zin’s headaches are becoming more intense. She is a headache unto herself. Whenever I suggest seeing a doctor, she says Fuck you. You don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s the difference between us. You’re so practical and I’m so MagiKal. (Zin’s sp.) I’m going to wait this alien out. I’m going to flush it with herbal concoctions. You’ll see. You’ll see, Dr. House. Dr. Mouse.
At Fu-Utero there’s an unofficial dance contest. We’ve been chosen to be one of the couples. The place is dark, packed, and rainbow-scented. A drag queen in a metallic animal club dress and with broad shoulders, looks down her nose at Zin, probably because Zin is so cute and spunky doing versions of the Hot Rice and the Straight Right. While we dance, Zin’s eyes occasionally roll up and back. Let’s quit, I say. No, she says, I want to win. A headache won’t kill me. We wind up winning second place. Squirming through the crowd, I notice the same drag queen looking away. She didn’t even get an honorable mention. Outside, Zin zigzags toward a back alley. She says she’s going to puke.
Over the course of three hours, Zin explains it like this. The doctors have told her that she has an inoperable tumor in her head. How much time? It varies from one doc to another, but not by much. A couple of months. I try to look on the bright side. It’s more than enough time to invent a new dance, I say. Zin smiles. I squint hard at my Re-box with big floppy loops.
After the aliens have taken Zin away, I sit in a corner of my room. One part of me is still dancing with Zin. The other part is right here, right here, feet heavy as hell.
Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Elimae, Smokelong Quarterly, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Blaze Vox, Matchbook, and elsewhere. His latest collection of poetry/prose is Future Wars from Another New Calligraphy. He loves 50s Sci-Fi movies, manga comics, and pre-punk garage bands of the 60s.