92 <strong>The</strong> 4 of Us Mark Christopher My most recent episode begins with a chainsaw fight. Father, upon partaking in multiple whiskey wedge cocktails of the single malt variety, concludes the moment has arrived to replace the lighting in our home’s common areas (regardless of whether or not their filaments continue carrying forth life), and I am directed to the nearest hardware store for the purchase of fresh bulbs—a minor task he and mother feel I’m capable of performing without the requisite supervision. Green Line South. Twenty-five minutes round-trip. Two bus tokens and a folded piece of yellow paper from my pocket. Father’s calligraphy: Seven packs of bulbs. Three bulbs per pack.
125 watts per bulb. Rectangular boxes. Various sizes. Brand names printed in bold, primary letters. Soft yellow refulgent fanning out between misshapen layers of corrugated cardboard, spilling into a sinking horizon and slicing through dust filled air. Sunglasses from the pocket of my grey hoodie. Protection—eyes scorched and the blinding perdition. Customers shuffle about. Shopping carts with spinning, squeaky wheels scrape along the floor, plastic baskets for smaller items. Passing judgments. Dr. Sawyer by my side, retro in her navy-blue pants suit and rimless reading glasses, instructing me to utilize the deep breathing techniques we’ve practiced. Positive coping skills. “Get perky, ‘Manda. You gonna need to pluck your daddy’s wants from the top rack, ‘cause that’s where they hide the best ones.” Raven pulls the headphones from around her shaved head. “C’mon girl, rise up high up on those steel toes.” I give her the finger. (She knows dropping the “A” pisses me right off the rails.) Shaytan’s turn to speak. He removes the menthol from between his coffee stained teeth and blows blue smoke rings. “Absolutely not, the best brands pay out the nose to stare at you dead center.” My response is, “You can’t smoke in here, jack-ass.” Dr. Sawyer’s in-lobby-pre-session check list: 7 – Please Rate from 0 to 10 (10 being the best) FOCUS and CONCENTRATION. “Incandescent.” “Halogen.” 93