It’s somewhere between body drop dawn and alarm clock wail. Zin and I traipse the streets, still high from the sugar of mixed drinks. The reflections off the sheen of cobblestone jump at us in ciphers. Dressed down in preppy navy blue skirt and white satin shirt with blazer, Zin is playing iTunes, downloading Morning Masume. At times, she is all sentimental Eurobeat; at others, she is all wild-eyed and mainline sugar freak. Her eyes, however, are still large, almond-shaped hazel, not really hers, and sensitive to light.
Overhead, a plane is going down in flames, its destiny: the Hudson River. There will be no survivors. Lately, all survivor statistics converge on zero.
“If I became a fetus in the sky,” says Zin, her eyes upward and unpeeling the skins of night, “would it be enough to save the children who’ve already dropped from clouds?”
“I don’t know,” I say. “I spin to forget. I drink to become unconscious while on tiptoe. It’s good that South Korea has its R16. It gives the kids something to lock about.”
“And Paris had their Milky Way and B-Boys.” Zin breaks into an innocent whammy of a chuckle.
Just then I spot the boy from the corner of an eye. He’s yelling something like: “Get your plastic roses. Two for three, five for a fin. No organic botch up. A date. A mate. Make love –tonight’s inmate.”
Overhead, another plane is nose diving for the Hudson. It might crash before. Pre-morning is chilly, full of perpendicular side streets, metallic rasp and din. My head is still reeling from splotchy club remixes of Mice Teeth and Japanoise.
We approach the boy dressed in pin stripe suit and oversized men’s shoes. He doesn’t have eyes. What he has are two miniature globes that keep spinning.
“How can he see?” whispers Zin in my better techno ear.
“Yes, ma’am, no Ma’am, “ he says in a voice of monotone and static buzz. ”I can hear footsteps a mile away. I can see who will drop off the world in a year a day a scheme a dictator. But no ma’am, I can’t see you right now, there. I can feel you and you are beautiful in my world.”
I turn to Zin. She is cabbage patch sad and stuffed animal glare-eyed. She looks to be holding the world too. I offer to buy her some flowers. She ignores the offer and says that he is shivering. The boy is shivering.
No, I say, it’s you who are shivering. You are shivering, Zin.
She walks up the boy and puts her arms around him and hugs him like some brother little who wandered too far from underground shelters do you want some taffy and so glad they found you get off the streets my darling boy I am so choked up I will offer you my breast and the freckles of jump rope sisters the promises of single mothers-to-be.
I’m noticing a serial number stamped across the boy’s neck.
I can hear him ticking.
“Zin!” I yell in screech mode. “Get away from him. It’s a Pop-Boy. He’s a terrorist’s bomb inside the armor of a plastic boy.
I snatch Zin and push her to the ground, covering her body with mine. The explosion goes off, a thousand parts over our heads and into the streets. After the smoke clears, I comb through the debris. There’s a piece of paper, somewhat larger than what one finds in a Chinese cookie. It keeps staring at me, as if the only thing that matters. I pick it up.
It reads: Don’t get Close. Highly flammable. Badly scarred war child. Nobody’s bad boy.