On Franklin Street, Continental Kids are beautiful and happy. They wear torn black leggings and studded neck collars. They walk in pairs through the dark bar and order gin-and-tonics and vodka-and-teas. They drag their plastic glasses across the counter and carry them to black booths. When Sisters of Mercy pulses through the room, they tear past Irregulars who wear white shorts and who whimper as their tanned skin begins to rot when The Continental Kids slam past them.
The Continental Kids dance until their eyes roll back. They dance until their hamstrings rip. They dance until the mirrors crack. The Continental Kids laugh while they dance, and when it is four in the morning and the lights turn on, they drop their arms to their sides, hang their heads, and begin to die.
The Continental Kids drag themselves on their death-walk up Franklin. Victorian homes and oak trees shadow their pale skin as they sway toward their destiny. Their mouths hang open and their fingernails plunk on the sidewalk without notice.
Shall we? The Continental Kids say to one another in whispers.
We shall, they answer.
Holding hands, The Continental Kids make a left on Bryant Street. Clean cars line the street like caskets. The air is still. It is Sunday morning, the loneliest day in the whole wide world.
As they march in quiet, their dark clothes fall to the ground. Pink blouses and cropped Khakis take their place. Heart necklaces on cheap chains rest in the cavities between their clavicles. As they gasp for oxygen, the Continental Kids take one last look at each other and enter their respective cars.
Inside, they turn on the air conditioning and inhale. Their lungs remember and respond. For three seconds, they close their eyes, heads back. When the Continental Kids open their eyes, they see that in the sky, between the old buildings, there is a low glow, and if they can get home quick, and crawl into bed, they will be unaware of at least hundreds of dead minutes that stretch before them.
Thea Swanson holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University in Oregon. Her independently published novel,The Curious Solitude of Anise, received excellent reviews from Kirkus, Switchback and others. Thea’s stories can be found in Anemone Sidecar, Camera Obscura, Crab Creek Review, and many more.
Kyle Hemmings has artwork in The Stray Branch, Euphenism, Uppagus, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Black Market Lit, Red Bird Press, Snapping Twigs, and upcoming work in Convergence. He loves pre-punk garage bands of the 60s, Manga comics, and urban photography/art.