some fall in love. i shatter.

Dear Janet (or, The Letter You Write To Janet That She’ll Find After She Calls The Police And Has You Arrested) (#11)

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

I was on E Street, E and Tenth, when I saw the first one.  Thought it was a coincidence.  Maybe I was hallucinating.  You had loved that goddamn shirt so much that I didn’t even think of it.  I forgot it was mine – I thought it was your fucking shirt, Janet!  You wore it so much more than me, you looked better in it, too.  Forgot about it, stupid shirt, and fuck you, Janet, for thinking you’re smarter and better than me, and that you can get away with this shit.  You thought I’d completely forget since I forget about everything, huh?  Well you can thank that douchebag coming out of the Waxy Vinyl on E Street for wearing that same Fancy Nancies t-shirt and jogging my fucking memory cause it wasn’t even two hours since you broke it off, Janet.  Yeah, twenty-year old kid wearing a ten-year old shirt that looks worse for wear, just like fucking mine.  He walks out the store, nearly bumping right into me, with that black shirt and the chrome print and it jogs my memory and I say to myself, Fuck!  And then I say to myself, Janet’s gone off to work, I’ll go get it out of her place now, and then I say to myself, Fuck, she took the keys back!  So I go into Waxy Vinyl and I finger-walk the records for awhile, looking for something but there’s nothing great and I’m low on cash and the cashier is new so he keeps looking at me funny and as I’m walking out, I realize he’s got the Fancy Nancies shirt on too!  The fuck – is this some joke?  I say that to him, Is this some fucking joke?  But he has no idea so I tell him about the kid and he says he don’t know no kid, so I say fuck it, weird, and walk out.

It’s been maybe an hour since I left your place, or got pushed out, or whatever the fuck you’d call it.  Practice wasn’t until noon, so I’m wandering the streets and figure I’ll spend some time in Sumner’s Square, so I head towards J Street.  And those shops, always selling big, fucking ugly jewelry, do-rags, bongs, t-shirts, bootleg CDs and all that shit.  They’ve normally got three dozen different types of shirts, but the first two that I pass, they’re only selling that Fancy Nancies shirt!  Not a fucking Fancy Nancies shirt, it’s the fucking Fancy Nancies shirt, my shirt – it’s all they have hanging up!  My eyes are playing tricks on me, have to be, but when I see that second one… the owner’s outside, it’s quiet, ten-thirty, so I go up to him and say, What’s the story with the shirts?  And he says, Twenty bucks each, two for thirty; so I say, Who would want two of the same damn shirt?  Though for a second I think that if I had two, it wouldn’t be a problem now.  And he says it’s good for any two shirts, not the same two.  Fuck, right?  What the fuck?  That’s exactly what I say to him and wave my arms at the display full of the same fucking shirt, so then he yells at me to piss off, so I got out of there before he cracked any more.

Sumner’s is only two blocks off but in the time it takes me to walk over there, I pass the shirt three more times.  I saw them all up close.  Two really fucking beat up and one looking brand new.  Doesn’t make any goddamn sense! Starting to think I’m losing it, but I get to the park and it’s quiet and peaceful and I’ve got this headache so I’m just glad it’s quiet and I can rest my head on a park bench.

I’m sitting there with my eyes closed just thinking about how I really thought we had something going, Janet.  I never thought I was the smartest guy or the best looking and, let’s be honest, neither are you, Janet, but we always had good times didn’t we?  Didn’t we?  I always thought I was at my best with you.  It’s been what, Janet, three years?  We’ve both got better jobs – well, I did until two weeks ago.  And I haven’t been in as many fights as the past, though I know you’d like it if I was in none.  We’ve been saving money together, and I get that you were pissed that I spent so much of it for that trip to Vegas but I thought it was worth it, isn’t that why we save?  And the weekend with the guys was only three days and I figured that you’re always talking about how busy you are and how hectic things are, so you’d love it if I went out of town for a few days and gave you your apartment to yourself for a while.

So then this fucking yappy dog is barking and pulls me back into the real world and I open my eyes to see the woman walking this dog is wearing the fucking Fancy Nancies shirt.  I just stared at her and she looks at me like I’m the fucking maniac here, right?  Like she’s not in on what has to be a big fucking conspiracy that I’m trying to tell myself you have nothing to do with, cause you wanna keep the shirt so why would you bring the shirt to my attention like that, right?  Right, Janet?  Right, so I watch her take the dog to the dog run and then a minute later her boyfriend meets her and he turns around and he’s got the shirt on – at least none of the dogs in the park are wearing shirts.  I start looking around, paying attention to the people in the park and there aren’t that many cause it’s a Thursday and it’s not even close to lunch yet, but there are enough and I’m realizing that every other person is wearing a Fancy Nancies shirt; not a Fancy Nancies shirt, the Fancy Nancies shirt!  What!  The!  Fuck!

Something’s off, right?  I figure it has to be me, cause nobody else is acting funny about it, right? And I think that I was out late last night with Linda and I didn’t sleep well the night before that – maybe I’m asleep and dreaming but maybe not.  Then this morning was so shitty, so maybe I’m just focused on the t-shirt issue more than I should be.  What helps me focus, Janet?  Yeah, you know it, coffee.  Black coffee – Henry Rollins, Black Flag, drinkin’ black coffee.  Caffeine High ain’t too far off so I figure to go there and have some coffee, get my head on straight, focus on my shit, right?  Not so hard, I’m a fucking man here.  So I start off on K Street and every fucking other person is wearing the shirt.  Goddammit!  Kids, grandmothers, dudes in three-piece suits with the Fancy Nancies instead of button-downs; five women in dresses with the shirts pulled over the tops – that doesn’t make sense on top of everything else being crazy, you know?  Right, Janet, right?  Really thinking I’m going bonkers but at least it’s not everyone, right, Janet?  I’m keeping my head down now, just to keep from freaking out on someone, you know, cause it’s intense and I just need to mellow out my nerves.

When I walk down the steps to Caffeine High’s entrance I can see that it’s empty inside and I breathe this huge sigh of relief and then another sigh of relief that the chick behind the counter isn’t wearing the shirt.  Cause I would have freaked the fuck out, Janet.  It would’ve been way too much.  I got a coffee – large – black – no sugar – you know how I like it.  You always say that Caffeine High is full of hipsters and it’s too dark and makes your eyes hurt with the glow of your laptop screen but it was so quiet in there and the dark was what I needed.  I went to the back of the shop, one of those leather booths, one of the quieter ones where I could just sit back, better than the park, right?  So I was in there for awhile, just nursing my coffee, and I put my head down on the table cause I still had that headache and it was like there was this pulsing on the back of my eyes and the caffeine wasn’t hitting me fast enough to do much, and my eyes just wanted to pop right out of their sockets.  You know how it is, well, you knew, from before you gave up drinking coffee. You’re changing, you know, Janet.  So I closed my eyes, just to rest them, and I must have fallen asleep because I open them and the place is fucking packed!  Maybe it’s the lunch crowd, beats the fuck outta me, I can’t see the clock the people are so dense and I can’t seem to find my watch and my coffee’s gone but my headache’s still there and everybody’s wearing the damn Fancy Nancies shirt.  Everybody, Janet, everyfuckingbody!  The shirt’s after me, is all I can figure, or it’s trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t figure it out, there was so much noise in the place.  So I grabbed the shirt of the guy closest to me, grabbed it right in the center of his chest and pulled it close to my ear as I leaned it hear what it was saying, but the guy freaks out and pushes me off, and I stumbled back over the table I was just at.  The guy yelled something, I couldn’t hear, it wasn’t important, but now I’m closer to this girl, so I grab her shirt at the collar and try to lean in but she fucking nails me right across the cheek like she knew I was coming.  Now the whole goddamn place is getting hostile, and why?!  Cause I wanna understand what the shirt is saying?  This shirt has been calling to me all morning, I think, really ever since you threw me out, back on the home base of the shirt, and then I realize it.  These shirts aren’t the shirt, they’re fucking satellite shirts, they’re emissaries of the shirt, my shirt, back in your fucking apartment!

It ain’t easy now that so many people are staring at me but I run out of Caffeine High, I make it through the doors and there’s this cop car but the cops are a pair of douchebags and I just blow past them – and yeah, they’re satellites too.  So I’m past them and your place ain’t far away so I’m just running and feeling so fucking free even though I keep seeing them, Janet, they’re everywhere.  On people, in stores, now even the dogs are fucking wearing them.  If someone told me this, I wouldn’t believe shit, the person would be fucking crazy, but I saw it all with my own eyes.  I can feel it in my blood now too!!  Feel my heart beat, the blood in my fucking veins, it’s not like ‘thump – thump – thump – thump’ any more, it’s like ‘fancy – nancies – shirt – janet.’  Beats the fuck out of me why, but that doesn’t matter.  Every light was green, I think, I don’t know, I didn’t see any cars in the way but I wasn’t even looking, just trying to keep my head down and not see that big Fancy Nancies logo leering everywhere.  I don’t think it was trying to hurt me, but it’s fucking creeping me out the way it’s looming everywhere.  And I got close to your apartment and fuck the sidewalk, it looks like it’s turning darker, like the background of the shirt, and I’m thinking the whole ground might become the shirt.  Is that even possible, Janet?

I don’t remember how I got into the building – you took my key but I don’t remember breaking in.  I also don’t remember where the cuts on my knuckles came from.  Feels like I’ve been outside your door forever, are you coming home, Janet?  I wish my phone wasn’t busted, I could call on a pay phone if I could find one but I don’t remember your number and I’d have to get back in and I don’t know what the fuck is going on in the streets anymore and I really don’t want to leave the shirt.  I can see it, you know, through the crack between the bottom of the door and floor, I can see the fold of it on the floor.  Why the fuck do you keep it on the goddamn floor, Janet?  Can’t you treat shit better than that?  Yeah, I can see it and it doesn’t want me to leave, I can sense it, and it’s telling me something but I can’t quite hear it.  I mean, I hear it speaking but it’s muffled and it’s quiet, it’s too far away and that goddamn fucking fold muffles it cause it’s on the fucking floor, Janet!  This is your fault now, Janet!  I can’t hear it, I can’t hear it, I can’t do whatever it needs cause you can’t take care of things, Janet!

Okay.  Okay.  Okay.  We’re good here now.  I’ll fix the door, Janet, I swear, once the bruises heal on my hands, I’ll fix it.  Me and the shirt, we’ll fix it together, and we’ll explain everything, Janet, we’ll explain everything once you get home.  When are you getting home, Janet?  We’re waiting for you, we miss you, it feels like we’ve been waiting for you for so long.  You know, the shirt explained everything to me.  How it’s not right for me or for you but for both of us, that we need to be together, that it needs us to be together.  All of this was meant to be, this whole day, everything was part of the plan that it put together so that we could understand how important we are for each other.  I understand you didn’t want to throw me out, the shirt made you do it, otherwise we wouldn’t know.  Tough love, the shirt called it, and I called it tricky love but the shirt’s probably right because now I know how much I need you and you should know how much you need me too.  We can be together again now and we can be together forever.  We’re waiting for you, we’ve been waiting; we’ll stay as long as we need to.

Come on home, Janet.

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