“Milk” by Carrie Branson


            Jasper carried his two paper bags into the tiny two room apartment.  Pickled beets and pears combined with chocolate liquor sat on the counter.  Unloading his groceries he looked down at me and smiled.  I had taken the day off and doctored myself with whatever cabinet medication I could consume.  My mind was focused on finding the television remote but my body was only interested in lying still on the small two cushion sofa.  “Holy shit,” Jasper was standing in front of the only window looking out onto Centralia’s town square.  I opened my slits of eyes and tried to question what was wrong when he backed away slowly.  “Unless your meds are seeping into my blood, I can count at least 100 camels chewing away the the salt bushes that surround the statue in front of town hall.”  I tried to stand but fell back quickly.  “Grab my phone,” I said.  “Take some pictures.”

I could hear Jasper trying to figure out the buttons on my iPhone.  He has had the same boring flip phone for three years.  I twisted my body to try to catch a glimpse of the exotic scene outdoors but I couldn’t crane my neck enough.  As I put my head on the edge of the sofa arm I could hear the sirens and noise getting closer and closer.  I remember nothing after that.

I felt like I had slept for days.  I remember getting drinks of cherry Kool-Aid from a small yellow cup sitting on the end table.  My arm had fallen asleep and I shook it violently off the side of the sofa and smashed my finger on the tile floor.  Jasper had been in and out and at one point he left the front door wide open.  I had noticed a smell coming from the kitchen area and popped my head up to investigate.  Three small camels were slurping from the last of the milk that had apparently spilled on the floor.  I don’t remember getting milk but now I won’t have to clean up the mess.  I grinned.

Truthfully, I don’t know how I got where I did, but I was not on the sofa anymore.  Jasper was sitting next to me and the annoying beeping sound was ringing in my ears.  My arms looked like they were plugged into a small computer and my legs were tied to the bed.  “How do you feel?”  I heard the voice but could not tell who said it.  Jasper leaned over my bed.  “I don’t know why I am still here.  I thought you were gone this time.  Had I not come home early to get started on my project you probably would be dead.”

Shaking my head and following along with the story I realize that the camels had the right idea.  Taking on a new town and entering house by house to search for food.  Maybe that is my next move.  My next sofa escape.

Published by


The literary journal of the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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