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I was up all night thinking about eating your brains. You sat me down at your table and started to go over the boundaries of love. The parameters, the injunctions and tariffs. You put a cup of coffee in front of me and told me to drink. We’ll be up all night again, I said. That’s fine, you replied. We’ll stay up all night, watch zombie movies, listen to each other open and close our mouths. I have to tell you something about the boundaries of love. I have to tell you something important now that I’ve got your attention. You understand?

You could always trample through my head like a freight train, you could drive an armored car right through my narrow body. You could leave me in the road like the villain in a slasher movie, just twitching, just groaning. You could sit me down in your chair and chop away at my hair, break my glasses, tattoo your initials. I’d let you.

We met our friends out for dinner. You wouldn’t have believed the thoughts I was thinking. Everything was backwards, everything was turned over, like Dracula chewing grapes with broken teeth. The way they looked at me was like flash bulbs, like paparazzi. The way they looked at me made me nervous. Who would want to photograph us, I wondered. You and I, coming out of a restaurant. You and I, getting in a taxicab. Who would want to put us on the cover of a tabloid? We aren’t movie stars, we aren’t models, we aren’t politicians, we just walk around occupying this negligible zone of ourselves, so why the fuck do we matter? You wouldn’t have believed the thoughts in my head. You could’ve seen right through me if you’d been looking, I was pale enough. Have you ever seen anyone as pale as me? Jesus Christ, you wouldn’t have believed the thoughts I had.

Your dad told you to be careful with me. I was up all night from the coffee you made me drink, I was up all night reading the dictionary, thinking about eating your brains. We’ve watched too many zombie movies. We’ve read too many books about catastrophe. Remember the ending of Matchstick Men? I’m telling you, that’s what it was like. This can’t be good for us. This is just like driving a car off of a bridge, screaming Geronimo, screaming freedom, screaming fuck the world. We sit around and make nice and talk about everything that goes into the water, everything that suffocates. Your mom thought I was a nice boy, all gentle, all tender. You sat me down and put a cup of coffee in front of me. You told me to drink it. Everything you said was a loaded die. Everything I did was with fingers crossed.

I wanted to make arrangements with my good side. I wanted to be an animal, so I let you pet me. Every bridge was on fire from both sides and we were out dancing in the middle. We held each other like figurines on a wedding cake in an industrial warzone, with smoke from all around. Did you want me as your animal? Did you want to pet my body, and keep me on a leash? You sat me down for a serious discussion about the boundaries of love. You sat me down to say something important.

Not now, I said. I was thinking about eating your brains. I was thinking about all the TV I’d watched when I was a kid, all the cartoons and quiz shows. Not now, I said. I was reading the dictionary. I was thinking about Nicolas Cage, I was thinking about Nick Carraway. I was thinking about going to bed, I was thinking about getting up the next morning and wearing argyle socks with grey slacks. Not now, I said. Not now. There will be time for all of this later.