"Challenge me,"
She said.

Well, you know, that is where we always get into trouble. Maybe we need to stop pushing that envelope so much. Maybe we need to open it instead, for a change.

Tom and I were sitting on lawn chairs drinking really cheap beer and listening to Nebraska, an album by Bruce Springsteen. We got nervous when he started talking about the chicken man. So we lifted the needle off the vinyl and went down to get some Kentucky Fried Chicken. There was a brief power outage. It lasted only three minutes. We never found out why.

They thought she might have a virus.

I suppose at one time or another we all have some sort of virus running around inside of us. They meant something else in reference to her particular story. They thought she was likely to never be able to relate to other people. They figured she was better off to stay in her room. There she stayed until her brother Stan suffocated her with a pillow. Yet I still wonder how I can challenge her.

"Remember me?"

Dead girls aren't supposed to tell tales. Or maybe that only applies to dead pirates. I'm not sure about the facts. I only read Bazooka Joe comics from gum wrappers and coffee table books. Everything else is rather annoying. You know it. I know it. We all know it. At some point we'll all admit that truth, but until then we have to go on pretending that we like reading high brow literary shit that is better used to prop up a short table leg to stop the table from rocking. Damn, that is a long sentence, isn't it?

Three misguided teenagers are standing on the corner, having escaped for the moment from their random foster homes. I pay attention to them, but not for very long. I have to challenge someone.

"Have you always been this good looking?"

I didn't know who was asking the question and who they were asking the question of, so I walked faster. I felt a bit mentally ill, and I had to get home and drink some liquor. It was on the schedule and I must stay on schedule. These ghosts that try to challenge me keep pestering me late in the night. I have to be properly prepared.

"Can I borrow your ass for fifteen minutes?"

I said yes. I probably regretted it later, but I can't remember. There is a lot of snow on the television. I don't remember how to change the channel.