Tearjerk - A Short Story

Traffic hits the scenery. My bare feet hit the ground harder than the ground hits me. Alcohol and cars that scream at each other over the darkened twilight, the smell of Saturday. But I hear nothing but the swirling, the whisper of the wheels as they hit the water, spraying the earth and the pedestrians. A puddle hits my soles, my silhouette towering over it. I suppress it. Walk on with a part of my silhouette dripping from my feet.

I lose myself on the pavement. Soon my feet will be as dry as the sky.


Moon fights the traffic lights, but loses the battle. Red, yellow, green, and the light on the buildings, OPEN, Budweiser, Vacancy, Bar & Grill, XXX. I am a sign of my own, the 10$ a night motel at the end of the road, the Coca Cola with a blinking L, the 5 dollar lap dance in the basement.

But they all outshine me in the blur, and I keep walking.


Drugs hit the air, intoxicate, the smell of demise, Budweiser, XXX. The man that bumps into me and doesn't apologize, the woman firming the grip on her bag as I walk by, the runaway teenager stranded on the side of the road, stretching out his fingers, waiting for someone to drop a penny in one of the slots in his arms. He needs his machinery to yet again start ticking, the mechanical wheels sticking out from his skin, the skin that stretches over him too tightly.


The devil lurks in the corner under a hat and a raincoat. Screaming 'they’re at it again'. Long nights, and I linger to see the stars that lurk behind industrial smog. Almost got hit by a fist as it lunges towards me. But the fist turns and hits the face behind him instead, and the bouncers cling to the two, twirl them away in a twisted ballet.

I am no ballerina, my toes are frozen and my back is bent. I trip over all the silhouettes, the blur that covers my eyes, the hours before midnight that are reluctantly silent, the calm before the calmer hours of the night.


These streets are empty. Houses don’t tower over me like they did in New York City. Here, the houses have sunk, bowing to their pity, their heads cut off, their eyes bleeding neon and all the screaming. A cat whining from a dumpster, a man hitting his lover, the clicking of the prostitute’s heels as she enters a man’s 1971 Chevrolet Impala, steps on his turf, puts her ball in his court, lets him throw it, at her, from her, out of the car.


It lands in my hands, I cradle it and tell it everything will be fine, as I wish these streets would cradle me too.

Only the desert sand cradles me, the Santa Ana curling my hair, burning my insides. And I turn to ash and color the desert grey.


A hay ball running across the emptiness. I’d run with it when I’m ashes. And I’d let the Santa Ana breathe me in, blow me through the streets, the traffic and the screaming, the neon lights and the lap dance, the woman and the teenager, the ballet and the silhouettes, the houses and the Impala. I’d make them blind, make them crash into each other. Like a snow globe I’d shake them. Curl and crush them and their twisted minds, make them cough, make their eyes sting, tears, shelter. And let the vultures pick them dry.


And then I’d be alone. And I’d be better off, having it all inside my snow globe.

And the long nights might all be so much lighter than what they are in the smog, and if I ever were to miss the heaviness, I’d shake my snow globe yet again, let annihilation snow like rose pedals on my face, the American beauty, the American dream.



I look down at my hands. Demise of the city stained on them like a wet painting stains the one who touches it. Quietus. And all that could have been.


I can hear the detonator before it all blows up into stardust, the fluttering from below, a moth’s wing hitting the concrete of the sewer.

I was a dirty dub, the streets would roll their white-powdered dreams in me, slip me under the table in exchange for a bag of green, give me to the woman in the Impala before pulling the trigger, leaving me there with the white, the green, the gunpowder stains, the lipstick kissed on Andrew Jackson.


Stop. The red light screams at my eyes. And I awaken from wandering, and let slow-motion paint a still-life of my surroundings. The remedies in my system beginning to run thin, I can see the red more clearly now. The streets are turning empty. One car stands waiting for the green light.

Desolate. Santa Ana. OPEN lingering over my head.


And I close, close myself in the streets of demise, the industrial solvent on the advertising poster, the disinfecting tissues scattered on the garbage cans, the still-burning cigarette rolling across the sidewalk, a paper bag peeking out of the gutter, like a tongue licking the pavement clean of filth, the mannequin pointing in the wrong direction, the man stumbling out of XXX, the MISSING flyer clinging on to the blinking streetlight, the boy with the smile that even the Santa Ana knows there is no hope left for.

And the flyer lets go of the streetlight, and is carried away into the street. The light turns green. The boy gets run over.



Sounds from the basements, sounds like lust and appetite. Indiscretion.

Silly rabbit. Fancy words won’t hold up on these streets.  Fucking masochists. They keep me bleeding.


Budweiser’s door is slung open. Alice in Chains screams to me, but I can’t sew your eyes shut. I have no needle but the one stuck in my arm. The door glows red, the smell of accidents, glass shattered, bottoms up, nicotine, atrocities.


A rattlesnake skin, I shed mine next to it, but keep rattling. The rapist isn't tempted. I’m used goods, I’m HIV. And the street ends with the gas station. I need not fuel, I run on empty.

The bell that rings every time the door is opened. My mind rings with it, even if nobody enters.


And from my pocket I find my powder, brush my teeth with it.

My feet stop, I let my back rest on the dumpster behind the restaurant, the 5 dollar dinner for two. I watch Santa Ana bring life to the desert, lets the dust dance towards the orange sky.



Dawn. Hours before everything changes and we all hide under the rocks, the man, the woman, the teenager, the Impala.



The desert is red, and there’s no turning back. The lonely hay ball is covered with dust. It keeps running, is thrown in the wrong direction as the Impala flies by.


The desert is red, and I’m running. Tears color the sand crimson. White colors my eyes purple. Needle colors my arm violet.


Dies Irae, Jesus Christ. When I die, will the city turn violet?

Repent. I want my desert to be red again. I want my tears to stay inside the white. And I want the white to cry out of me in repent.


The desert turns crimson.

The hay ball keeps running.

Moth keeps fluttering. The scissor cuts the lifeline.



Lord, all pitying, Jesus blest,
grant me thine eternal rest.





God, can you hear me in the blur of the demise?

If I crush my snow globe, will I be liberated?

Sofia Hariz