"Die on the Ferris Wheel at Bonnaroo on Bath Salts
While Death Grips Plays a U2 Cover" by Blake Middleton
Around 2 p.m. on October 21, 2015, Jordan and Eric sat at a picnic table near the library of a medium-sized college in Jacksonville, Florida, where they were both seniors. "I bought some Adderall today," said Jordan.
"I stole one of my roommate’s Vyvanse this morning," said Eric. "I like Adderall more.”
“When I'm outside in nice weather on Adderall I feel good.”
“Me too,” said Eric.
No one said anything for a minute.
“I wanna be a bohemian after I graduate,” said Jordan.
"When I think of bohemians, uh, I think of either hippies or crustpunks," said Eric. "Where are crustpunks on the political spectrum?"
"Crust punks are off the spectrum," said Jordan. "Above Bernie Sanders."
"Do they subscribe to Anarchy?"
"They subscribe to not washing their penises.”
"I like washing my penis," said Eric. "I'll be a bohemian but I wanna wash my penis."
"You can wash your penis.”
"Okay," said Eric. "I'll be a bohemian."
"I just figure like, while I'm young…I'm not going to die, I think. I can be poor and not starve. And then, later on, when I want to put my bohemian days behind me, I'll go teach English in South Korea, or something, and maybe I can die there."
"Die by sneaking into North Korea…What is it called? The 38th lateral or something? The 38th parallel?"
"I should be a border guard in North Korea," said Jordan.
"I'm almost positive you have to be North Korean."
"I'm going to pick whatever career I'm most likely to die from the quickest,” said Jordan. “Wanna get drunk tonight?"
"I'm sick. The doctor said my nodes were fucked."
"Drink a Cisco. You'll feel better."
Olivia walked up to the table. She sat next to Jordan.
"Hi," said Jordan.
"What's up?" said Eric. "How's the library?"
"It's okay,” said Olivia. She opened her purse. She pulled out a pack of American Spirits, lit one.
"Didn't you buy that pack yesterday?" said Eric.
"Aubrey and Nikki kept bumming them last night."
"They did the same thing to me yesterday," said Eric. "I came home with like, four cigarettes."
"Why wasn't I there?" said Olivia.
"I don't know. Aubrey wanted me to come over and talk about unionizing."
"Unionizing Chicken Grill?" said Jordan.
"Yeah," said Eric. "I don't know why she thought I would want to start a union.” He looked down at his shirt. “I wonder what this yellow shit on my shirt is."
"Just drink one Cisco. It's not going to kill you," said Jordan.
No one said anything for a minute.
"My parents are trying to get me to see Donald Trump with them on Saturday,” said Jordan. “They’re insane. They think this shit is funny. It’s at the same strip mall where Noah got his Kanye West tattoo. The one with the Andrew Jackson statue."
"Noah has a Kanye tattoo?" said Olivia. "What is it? Where is it?"
"It just says Kanye West like, on his thigh…in Disney font."
"Are you gonna get a lot of bohemian tattoos?" said Eric to Jordan.
"Um…maybe a couple."
"I don't know a lot about bohemian tattoos," said Eric.
"I've never heard the term bohemian tattoos before. I don't even really know what bohemian means. My friend from UF said he was going to be a bohemian in New York and asked me to go with him."
"Seems expensive," said Eric.
"I know. I don't know what I'm gonna do. Maybe I’ll just stay in Jacksonville and wait for Florida to sink."
"We should move to Olympia.”
"You think so?" said Jordan. "Can we move somewhere after we graduate?"
"I'm gonna graduate after you."
"Can you drop out?"
No one said anything for a minute.
"Robert moved out of my storage closet," said Jordan.
"Shit," said Eric. "Where's he living?"
"His parents' again."
"He's too depressed to live in a closet."
"I thought he was doing better."
"That's sad," said Olivia.
"He's not making enough at Winn-Dixie to afford the closet. I told him he could work with me and make two hundred a week food-running, but he wants to live at his parents' place. If Noah renews the lease I'm gonna live in the closet for a hundred a month. Graduating college to live in a closet. Insane poet man found dead in his closet-bedroom. My parents will love it."
"I don't think the landlord would even let that happen,” said Eric.
"That's what I'm thinking. She’s already trying to evict us."
"Noah is very good at making landlords hate him," said Eric.
"He invited a ten-person folk-punk band over to do cocaine and play washboard on a Monday night. They gave us a seven-day notice to either shut up or get out.”
"Live in the dorms like me," said Olivia.
"They're too expensive."
"I think you're the only one that still lives in a dorm," said Eric. "Except Shithead."
"Matt," said Eric. "Tall and skinny. He was playing the drums at Aubrey's last party."
"Wait…he has a mole like, near his lip."
"Yeah," said Eric.
"I made an asshole of myself one time when he came to one of the parties. He was like, making moves on Logan and I didn't realize it and he was going to go back to her apartment with her. I was like, drunk, and just kept saying, really, and he was just like, yeah.”
Jordan looked at Eric. "Does that nine-eleven girl still come over?"
"Nine-eleven girl. Does she still come over?"
"Sam cut it off,” said Eric. “I still have her fancy vodka glass."
"Who's nine-eleven girl?"
“Um, we were getting drunk on nine-eleven and being loud on the balcony. She asked us if we were celebrating nine-eleven and we said no and that we were just getting drunk not related to nine-eleven and she came up and drank with us."
Eric looked at Olivia. "You looks so morose," he said.
"I'm very tired."
"Meth," said Eric. "Do you need Meth?"
"Do I need Meth?"
"You should try Meth. My supervisor tried to turn me onto Meth the other day."
"No. Michelle is insane."
"She was strange to me when I was buying nachos," said Jordan. "She just kept telling me that she valued me as a person even though no else did. And then she made fun of me for wanting corn on my Nachos."
"She has a mole like, on the back of her neck that I'm afraid to ask about.”
"You shouldn't ask people about moles," said Olivia. "Okay. I need to go back in the library. Bye, guys."
Eric and Jordan said, “Bye.” Olivia walked somewhere else.
"I don't know if I should tell my girlfriend that I have tonsillitis and she's probably going to have it soon,” said Eric. “Her diet is so shitty her body isn't going to put up a fight. She eats toast and pizza. It's like, a touchy thing with her. I eat like shit but I get a fair amount of vegetables."
"I eat fruit when I have money. I need to start stealing from Wal-Mart again.”
"I remember when you were in there for so long and I was in the parking lot in 100 degree weather going through minor withdrawals and then you stole a 24 of Coors and we got drunk again.” Eric looked at his iPhone. “Fuck. I have to go to work.”
“I’ll walk with you,” said Jordan. They stood and walked down a shady path toward the student union food court.
“I hope I don’t die of something stupid like tonsillitis,” said Eric.
“I wanna die in a cool way.”
“I wanna die of a disease no one’s had in like, a hundred and fifty years.”
“I wanna die while I’m young,” said Jordan. “I don’t wanna die while I’m old and shitty and stupid.”
“I wanna die of SARS. No, I wanna die of bird flu.”
“I wanna die at Six Flags.”
“I wanna die at one of those casinos in Las Vegas that you have to go to after being kicked off the strip for being too drunk.”
“I wanna die after something bad happens to my penis.”
“I wanna die in a way that severely inconveniences all of my loved ones.”
“Dying in Vegas seems good,” said Jordan.
“Dying in Vegas seems too easy. I wanna die in Carson City.”
“We could die in Reno,” said Jordan, and noticed a group of about a dozen people doing acroyoga on a bright green patch of grass outside the medical sciences building.
“I wanna die jerking off in lot 18,” said Eric, referring to the parking lot farthest away from campus. “Like, they catch me and the cops come over and I just shoot myself in the head.”
“Die on the ferris wheel at Bonnaroo on bath salts while Death Grips does a U2 cover,” said Jordan. “I just wanna die, maybe.”
“I wanna do something before I die.”
“Me too,” said Jordan. “I mean, I won’t kill myself until I’m like, thirty-five.”
“You can write your book and then kill yourself to guarantee it will get famous.”
“I don’t care about that,” said Jordan. “That seems insane.”
“Caring about whether or not people remember you when you die.”
“I wanna be J.G. Ballard when I grow up,” said Eric. “I liked Crash a lot.”
“I’ve heard a lot of white boys talk about High Rise. They always talk about how bad-ass the opening is. Him eating his dog. White boys are fucking stupid.”