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leaf-browsing
(c) .nitrotic.
04.30.01

paint chips, cracked face, missing left ring finger: these things compose janetta, who is boi1's purest friend. she is malleable, the joints retaining any form in which they are set. janetta is quiet, more than mute. boi1 listens carefully for pulse rhythms, and hears little more than an echo of his own heart. there is no question that janetta thrives. she is real, you can touch her. she is an avid listener with a vast mind.

boi1 is always drowned out, vexed, lost in some whirling spasm of thoughtcough and sputter. he is jeered at, bears bruises. new clothes are grabbed at and torn with the precision of a system; boi1 buys only thrift shop, predamaged clothes for this reason. he understands that if he eclipses pathetic by exponents and drifts out some other side, he can ward off even pity. it is hard for him to understand that some words are directed to him, that sometimes strangers hold open doors exclusively for him. these strangers are always over 60 and for this reason, boi1 is fond of only the aged, and naturally janetta.

janetta's skin is waxy and hard. currently he fears she has scleroderma, and so rubs her carefully with ascorbic acid. he remembers the day he was lost in the city; boi1 had run furiously, blindly, and he was pleased with the ease of exertion until he notice grass had given way to apshalt, and there stood no buildings familiar. he remembers a specific interior: red carpet, racks and racks of garments, and modeling a ballgown: janetta. he was struck by her glassy eyes. they hit it off from hello and she helped lead him home.

today boi1 takes his lovely for a walk. the sky could be colored with crayon. it's an impossible blue, like janetta's eyes. he trills to his goddess: "it's tenochititlan, pre-conquistador, post architectural renaissance, oh hanging gardens, the ancient world." boi1 hears tonal voice structure like the soaring of orchestral bass. janetta sits on a hilltop and he joins her, rubbing her arm to ward off the stone disease. five minutes pass, during which they watch cars pass; the minutes are each long enough to be hours on some converted scale.

boi1 eventually discovers a large structure obstructing his sun rays. he hears a growl overhead: "what up with the plastic dummy, yo?" he dimly distinguishes a human form from the object, but assumes the voice is directed at janetta. boi1 suddenly regains most his senses to the stench of stale breath. his head is thrown back, he feels his fingers scrape concrete; there's a terrible moment when his body touches nothing but air. he feels some sort of relief when his side collides with the pavement. he grabs up the knapsack, feels around for janetta. he can't find her anywhere in the foliage. he tries to look between all the blades of grass, but the tears mar his vision.

he hears a shout and a cracking, a terrible, raucous cracking. boi1 looks up from the leaf-browsing to see pieces of janetta rolling down the hill toward him. a violent sob erupts in his throat. he rushes into oncoming traffic. horns beep; brakes screech. he grabs every body part he can find before the cars resume. he throws an arm in his knapsack, a leg, both feet, three fingers. he finds a shred of her red velvet dress and a lone blue glass eye.

boi1 feels like it is he brokenly rolling down the hill as he runs to escape the dread scene. as he flees he stumbles over every rock and jams his toes in every land depression. his pace stays the same through the jarring half-trips.

the forest is dark when he arrives in the familiar clearing. bugs swarm. the visibility is less than four feet in every direction, but boi1 forages on. his feet tell him when the grass is soft enough to settle. it is only then he opens his knapsack and takes out the features. he feels an abrasion on the pupil of the glass eye. he takes out both feet. "janetta!," he moans, "i'm so sorry they stole yr body away, i'm so sorry." the right foot is cracked; the toes drop off when he brushes them. "i should have known better, i'm so sorry janetta. they tried to steal mine away, my body too, can't you see the marks?" he rubs some of his blood on her fingers. he fumbles for his ascorbic acid and applies liberal doses to both bodies.

it takes boi1 ten lightless hours before he can murmur anything but sorry. he is certain his eyes will never stop producing these currents of water. he thinks of deluge, ark, asexual reproduction. boi1 grabs up the spore cases, collects twigs, grasps fingers. boi1 grasps, he clasps, he tries