Kaan jumped the fence, clearing it without snagging her jeans. She ran across the damp, sloppy ground, grass growing and rotting, in its own earth. Old white trainers hitting the dirt, Kaan ran toward the sinking house in front of her. Already, she could hear music, across the way. The empty windows with hanging shutters, were all alit, for Aspen’s birthday party.
Kaan jogged a little slower, swinging the handle of whiskey, as she walked toward the abandoned house. There was no mailbox; the path’s flagstones had been shifted out of their places long ago. The lawn had been taken back by nature. The door hung ajar. Light streamed out from within.
Inside, around a long table, a dinner party was in full progress, in the rundown kitchen, with the chipped counters. Several bottles of wine, wooden boards stacked with cheese and black olives were heaped for the taking. The kitchen was packed, and the party spilled into the living room, with the sunken floor, rotting rug and dismantled sofa.
Aspen stood by the fridge – which hadn’t been plugged in during this decade – with Dallas, visiting from out of town. The latter had been a Kiwi for a semester and was regaling the awestruck Aspen with tales of Lord of the Rings rolling hills and eating raw kangaroo in Queensland.
In a wife beater and a biker jacket, Kaan was out of place among the yuppie elite, ironically squatting in this ancient clapboard house for a night. She unscrewed the Fireball and took a gulp from the bottle.
Aspen had somehow sidled up behind her. Furthermore, Aspen had somehow escaped Dallas’s story, an even more incredible feat.
“Ah no, I just thought Bern would be here,” Kaan answered.
“You know Bern is always late,” Aspen said, “Probably got lost on the way here.”
“It is out of the way, don’t you think?”
“No, not out of the way enough,” Aspen replied, taking the whiskey and downed a swig herself.
Confused, Kaan said nothing. Aspen disappeared into the crowd, still holding the bottle.
The tiny boom box on the mantelpiece pumped out its tunes, with the ridiculous background hiss of feedback.
After wandering through the stuffy kitchen, nibbling very strong cheese, with blue spots, Kaan finally made it back outside, and lit a cigarette.
The air was damp, and the lighter kept going out. Just beyond the shadow of the forgotten house, Dallas was already standing there, taking in the moonlight.
Kaan shuffled over and sat down on a misshapen rock. “I left someone back in New York,” Dallas said. Mist rose out of the marsh and floated out to the ocean.
Jefferson Airplane, “Somebody to Love”
Cosmastly, “BLACK HAVEN BUTCHER”
Cosmastly, “BLOWING RACK$”
INXS, “Need You Tonight”
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