The genie grants me one wish and it’s the same every morning – to live.
When I take these magic pills, at the minimum, my pounds of flesh and bones locomote. The ghost in the machine, even that, understands someone – saying something like – could you pass the salt. I can fill out paperwork, get stuck in traffic and wait in line. I can watch tv and remember to wash my hands. I can check my voicemail.
But hey, there’s also this. There’s this - food when you’re starving. When I take my magic pills I have the energy of James Brown. I go on a natural high. I stay out all night dancing. I drink you under the table. I interrupt you. I get excited about documentaries. listen to rap music, spit when I talk. chew with my mouth open. lift weights until I kill a horse. I make up new words. I remember names and fuck on top. I notice things like foliage and plumage. When I take my magic pills, you’re so cute I want to eat you up. When I take my magic pills, I will take a bullet for you.
Obviously, I have a superpower.
When I take too many, when I haven’t suffered enough, I litter. l bolt at the drop of the hat, the shadow of a snake. accuse you of being too admiring. point out things about your body. blurt out my most humiliating desires. I'm paranoid and irritable. hold grudges and read too much into it. hibernate in a bag of potato chips. I make an escape plan and avoid my grandparents. When I take too many magic pills, I stay up all night writing bad poems about my magic pills. When I take too many magic pills, I will devour my young.
Still, either way, eventually I fall sleep.
And as death is peaceful, so is unconsciousness. All the through the night, my fingernails and toenails grow, my skin thins, I wake myself choking. For a moment, I see the zombie in the doorway, I hear the wolves’ restless howling. But the pills have worn off - I’m not afraid.
As I fall back asleep I know that somewhere in my body some other magic holds vigil until daybreak.