Excerpt of “Planet Blue and Green,” A Novel by MP Snell
My name is Kate.
I live in a rent controlled apartment.
The Hells Angels are across the street.
They have metal and wings and deep voices and beer.
I paint the floor black.
I keep the phone in the refrigerator.
The sound of engines takes over the block the angels protect me.
I live above the door you have to kick to enter.
I hear every buzzer every intercom every conversation.
I have menial jobs and vague artistic endeavors.
I don’t notice the passing years.
I meet Jake.
I meet Jake and fall into Jake.
He is a hole to escape into.
I am ten years younger than Jake and ten years older than anyone he has ever been with. His last girlfriend had a breakdown while getting her teeth drilled. She was put under and screamed throughout the procedure. Her yells cleaned out the waiting room. Jake told me she walked out of the dentist’s office with the most beatific look on her face.
“I want to do that again,” she said.
She asked him to go to a club she wanted him to fuck her while people watched. Jake broke up with her the next day.
I wonder about his taste in women and what it says about me.
Jake takes photographs. He is a photographer.
Jake knows everything about light. He knows how to angle a lamp for a longer face, deeper cheek bones, and finer skin. He learned Photoshop during a long winter on coke.
I talk to him about twins who take photographs. Twins tearing images apart, putting them back together. I talk to him about photographs of an overgrown tricycle, a shrunken house, a sea of lawn.
I show Jake my German box camera that bleeds light creating flames on every image.
I throw myself on Jake.
I move into his 200 square foot apartment where he has lived for years, before the area became a high end department store. He kicked all previous girlfriends out after two days. We survive the proximity. A plant that is always about to die sits on the fire escape, a half fridge and stove is in the living room; appliances we never use.
Jake takes taxis, eats out, makes and spends money.
He is prepared to live the rest of his life like this.
One ex had an abortion he never thinks about but will.
Others wanted children he said no.
When I ask Jake how he feels about me he says he doesn’t know me well enough to answer this.
You have to know someone well to answer this?
There is either something missing, or he is mature in a way I am not.
I leave for India because I don’t want to spend the turn of the century with a man who is not sure he wants to be with me.
I have no time to waste, although I have wasted so much.
I am going to India on a ticket through Pakistan.
I am a woman who lives cheaply then travels far.
I see blind cows.
I drink orange Fanta.
Green shit flies out of my body.
I am brought to a hospital on a rug salesman’s motorcycle.
He ties a Red Cross sign to the handle bars.
A wild boar stares at me from outside my open door.
I line up bananas on the floor.
The male nurse puts a needle in my arm the blood sprays all over the place.
I say “Namaste” to the woman scrubbing the bathroom with her hands, she replies “Namaste Namaste all the time Namaste.”
The doctor visits me at three in the morning, drunk, and offers to have my child.
I consider it.
“You are Indian, very Indian he says.”
Women above me give birth on thin cots; the surgery room is a wooden table with three knives.
Everyone is given an IV with sugar water. The mothers. The babies. And me.
I am also given little brown pills wrapped in newspaper.
I hear the man next door to me moan. He is dying. No one is disturbed by these sounds it is in the air.
I leave the hospital and watch little paper boats with lit candles float down the Ganges River.
A skinny naked Sadhu pulls me to him and says “I have never lost a drop of semen.”
I am left wondering why this stranger shared this particular piece of information with me. And what he wants me to do with it.
MP Snell has published short stories in various literary magazines. (No Tokens, Best of Ducts, Nerve Cowboy, Specter.) She often performed with Ridge Theater, and in venues such as Lincoln Center and The Guggenheim Museum. She can be heard on the Point Music/Philips Classics Recording of John Moran’s Opera ‘The Manson Family’ with Iggy Pop. She has recently completed her debut novel, “Planet of Blue and Green.”