Short Fiction

Charlie and Many Carpet-Textured Things

It was just before midnight and the moonlight spilled like oil into the house. Charlie sat on what felt like a couch made entirely of tweed and was delicately sprinkled with ash and cat hair, and he stared at a Grease-era John Travolta poster on the wall. Or what he could reasonably assume was a wall. Every square inch of Jack’s house was draped with stained, flea-market tapestries. And it was Charlie’s philosophy that how can you, like, really know something is there and concrete, like a wall, if you can’t see it with your glassy eyeballs?

Charlie was turning this over in his head when he realized that Jack, the owner of the home in question, had been saying his name. Jack and his roommates laughed at Charlie’s oblivion, giggling and rolling around where they sat on the floor. They looked, if not identical, interchangeable: both clad in those scratchy, like, Jamaican multi-colored carpetish tunics, both of their pairs of sandals hanging from their respective big toes, and their hair falling, not unlike the head of a brown, tufty mop, down to their shoulders. Eyes glazed. Charlie referred to the sandaled companions privately as Mary and Jane.

The squeaking and snorting faded down and as Jane lazily excreted the last of his laughter. Charlie blushed quietly and offered a half-grin. “What?” he said with a forced laugh.

Jack shook his head. He was a wiry fellow with black hair that coiled down in a ponytail. He sat in the moonlight in the window, and it spilled over his face, turning it incandescent, a white, halating thing.