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The Sun Forges the Sweetest Songs

If Valentine's Day teaches us to be cautious when we look for love, 

it also teaches us to be terrified if love finds us.

The Sun Forges the Sweetest Songs by CS DeWildt



Physical therapy had its charms: heat therapy, the sticky electrodes forcing my muscles to work again, the girl in the hospital cafeteria who sucked me off that Wednesday after her shift. But for all the perks it was also cunt. Nine months in hell, sweating and crying on the stationary bike, pumping my aching legs for miles and miles. But every time my body said “quit”, I thought about what had put there in the first place and got a recharge. I pushed through the shit.
                
I had been alone, giant Greek letters painted gold hung below the second story windows of the decaying colonial, Omega House. Beer bottles littered the yard and porch, dried vomit coated the dying shrubs that lined the front walk.  Frat parties weren’t my scene, dig? But ten bucks at the door got you access to the kegs and the hard stuff at the open bar. There was weed everywhere, edibles, mushrooms. This cat in one of the upstairs bedroom had a tank of nitrous and was selling balloons for a buck a piece.
              
A few of us were chilling around the tank, sucking gas and staring into the black light posters of gnomes on mushrooms and unicorns riding rainbows. There was this hippie chick. I say she was a hippie, but she shaved her pits and legs and I’m sure she had a late model Volkswagen parked up the street. She looked good, suede vest displaying her tits, a bone and hemp choker around her neck, and this long, thick, curly, dark brown you could get lost in. She had a Jerry Bear tattooed on her ankle.
              
She saw me looking and I ran my lines: entrepreneur, new in town, record label; that one seemed to work the best with these college girls. Told her about a local rapper we recorded who was about to blow up huge.
              
“Rap isn’t really my thing,” she said.
             
“I hear you, but the market is what it is.”
              
“You like The Dead?”
              
“Shit yeah. I’ve been trading tapes for years. Got some dope shit. You should come by and check it out. You trade?”
              
“Nah,” she said, looking away. Her ankle ink danced away in poser shame.
              
“American Beauty is the best though,” I said.
              
She liked that. “I’d love to hear what you got sometime. Drop some cid and just fucking dance.”
              
Another bedroom, empty of people, twin beds on opposite walls. She kissed me hard and I was feeling those beautiful tits, biting her neck. I got her out of her shorts and she had a bush to match her locks. I didn’t hear the door open.
              
“Sunshine? What the fuck? Not fucking cool!” the guy said. Then he closed the door.          

“You know him?”
              
Sunshine pulled me close and purred. “Don’t worry about it.”
              
I never did.
***
 I settled in with a beer on one of the couches and got into a rotation of some killer dank. I had Sunshine’s number in my pocket and a dynamite buzz on. Then I felt a hard tap on my shoulder. Two guys, one thinking he was hard, the other just there.
              
“You fuck my girl, dog?”
              
 “Which one’s your girl?” I said.
              
“The one my man here saw you fucking. Her name’s Sunshine.”
              
“Yeah, I did it. Thought she was single, dig?”
              
“Nah bro, I don’t ‘dig’.”
              
The gathering crowd was flecked with the hard eyes of the other Omegas, and I was caught between trying to make a gracious retreat and punching this fuck’s teeth out.
              
“Look man, I didn’t know she was your girl. She wasn’t acting like it, that’s for sure. No disrespect. How about I split and that’s that?”
              
He laughed. “Nah, this is this mother fucker. We’re going to go outside, I’m gonna fuck you up, and then you can stumble the fuck home.”
              
“You and how many of your frat brothers?”
              
“You call your country your cunt? This ain’t a frat. Fraternity, Bro.”             
              
I looked over the guy’s shoulder and found Sunshine herself, standing on the stairway with a couple more mean looking cats. She was watching the floor.
              
I sighed. “Let’s go then, bitch.”
              
Outside on the littered front lawn, we squared up and the guy threw a couple weak punches and I returned a hard straight right to the chin that dropped him. I won the crowd, and for a moment, I felt good.
              
I glimpsed the other guy, the one who saw me and Sunshine.  I never felt the bottle, but I heard the breaking glass. Then it was nothing but stomping Omegas as I tried to cover up, blinded by my own blood.
              
Sunshine came to visit me in the hospital, but I told her where she could fucking stick it. Said it through a wired jaw but she heard me loud and clear. Said she’d tell the cops everything. I shook my head. Cops. Fuck that. The dudes would tell some self defense story, get Sunshine to say I raped her; she seemed the type.  I only wanted to heal. First my body and then my soul.
***
2 AM: I parked a couple blocks away from Omega house, carried the sloshing can of gas and the bat. I poured the gas around the perimeter, sparing the front door. I lit a cigarette, took two long drags and dropped it in of gas.  A fiery trail of flame raced around the house and lit up the night. I took a empty bottle from the lawn and put it through an upstairs window. I heard voice, then another, then a smoke alarm somewhere.          
              
I moved to the porch, waited with my bat at the bottom of the concrete stairs, smelling the fresh vomit in the bushes. I listened to the flames flicker against the cold air, clacking like teeth on bone as the contents of the house began to spill. Each of them got a bat to the face before they could even take their first cool breath. Then smashing them, breaking arms and legs and ribs and faces. They moaned at my feet and I panted like a dog king.
              

Then I found her, the wild haired beauty in silhouette, flames roaring in the doorway behind her. We looked at each other in the night, cautiously optimistic as the flames spread, fiery tongues desperate to lick her, the way I had the night we met. I watched and listened and felt the growing heat as the first responders howled in the distance. I dropped the bat and the aluminum sang against the concrete.
  
CS DeWildt is the author of Candy and Cigarettes, as well as the shorts collection, Dead Animals. Please visit him at csdewildt.com