Theodore marches down the side of a road as wavy specters rise off the blacktop. He wipes sweat off his brow; a blurred shape boils in the distance.
The shape solidifies into two amorphous figures. Theodore walks a few more steps, and then squints his eyes:
Delicious Lemonade 4 Sale
Two little girls stand beside a crystal pitcher and a spire of Styrofoam cups. Theodore pauses; his chest expands as he sucks in hot air through flared nostrils:
“I bet you girls are making a killing out here, huh?”
They wrap their big blue eyes around the crystal pitcher.
“Would you like some?”
Theodore wipes his forehead and looks down the black serpentine concrete which has melted into a static slither. Sweat drips along the contour of his cranium.
One of the girls lifts a cup from the Styrofoam spire, while the other gently tips the pitcher on its side. A yellowish, milky substance sloshes into the cup, and then spills on her knuckles. Theodore rubs his throat as he dips a hand in his pocket and revels a crumpled $5.00 bill.
“Five dollars. Please.” The little girls simultaneously demand.
Theodore allows the crumpled bill to drift from his palm.
“Keep the change.”
He grips his dirty fingers around the Styrofoam cup; the cold seeps into his calloused flesh.
Theodore smiles as he resuscitates his march upon the concrete snake’s back. He tosses a glance over his shoulder, but the restless atmosphere blurs the lemonade stand into smeared obscurity.
The road ahead seems to impale straight into the gut of eternity.
He raises the Styrofoam goblet up to his scorched lips as the pus-like liquid forsakes his taste buds. The sugary sludge bulges his eyes with each sip. Theodore puckers his lips—common sense whispers: don’t do it—but it tastes. So.
He pushes against a wall of heat as it suffocates his determination with a slow strangle.
The thirst returns with a sweet vengeance, cementing Theodore’s throat with globs of saliva. He sips the lemonade to cure himself of the internal drought; a temporary fix that continues to lure Theodore in with another sip.
He the cup and tosses it over his shoulder.
Theodore whistles as his feet tap along the burning blacktop; his throat begins to coat with a sugary mucous that tastes like lemons.
…The thirst always returns—the desire for water seduces Theodore to jog down the road.
Theodore huffs and puffs; his lungs cannot be satisfied. He drags his feet, even as a cramp stabs him in the kidney with a hemorrhaging twist.
Nothing Theodore hasn’t felt before. He recalls accomplishing a ten minute mile in gym class three years in a row, all of which, he ran with a dagger jammed into his side.
Motivation evaporates while Theodore collapses to his knees. The taste of lemons rises up his gut as he gurgles a gargling burp. Steam dances off his scalp as bits of his fleshy identity swirl up toward the clouds.
A tear drips into his mouth; the taste of lemons incite the desire for thirst. Heat erodes Thedore’s body into a flavored goo…the lemon variety.
The little girls hold hands while they skip along the concrete snake’s back. They orbit around the sugary oasis as they sing:
“La La— a dead man—a dead man—La La—pick him up—sip him up.”
One girl holds the crystal pitcher as the other grips a wooden ladle. She dips it into the sugary oasis; swirls of clumped matter float along whirling eddies. The red stain of biological grease thins out toward the edge of the sugary oasis, and then dissolves into an opaque elixir.
They glide the crystal pitcher along the surface; its interior swallows what’s left of Theodore. The little girls kick their knees high as he splashes upon the concrete snake’s back.
The little girls smear into a silver mirage as the specters of heat smudge them into vaporous blobs.