The dogs are barking again.
I’m sprawled on a heaping trash nest of clothes and towels and papers and plastic bags. I stare at the ceiling. I’ve been staring at the ceiling for hours. My ceiling looks like the moon’s surface: sickly yellow-pale like old cottage cheese and riddled with craters.
Each bark is like a hammer blow to my head.
There are flies everywhere. My head is filled with buzzing. Blow flies and flesh flies and bloated house flies like black motors flying. They descend on the overflowing piles of trash. They dance in and out of the open drawers of the cabinets that lie upended on the floor. Everything in the room is crooked. The kitchen sink is clogged with stagnant ooze, where food chunks float on a sea of oily grease.
Someone runs above me, THUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP
and the dogs chase after them barking, yelping, baying like the hounds of hell.
Things moving behind me, things moving in the mirrors and in the windows. There are voices, like swarms of flies, the voices are needles drilling the buzzing into my skin, and there are thousands of them. It fills up the back of my eyes. They are talking about me, but I can’t make out what they say.
The dogs are barking and barking and barking.
I’m standing on the table with a hammer and I swing that hammer over my shoulder and into ceiling. The dogs are going crazy as I bring the hammer harder and harder into the ceiling, punching holes, showering plaster on the carpet and into my hair and screaming face.
Have I been screaming the entire time?
Shouts from upstairs and I hear the neighbor’s big booming voice as if he’s right there in the room with me, “I’m going to fucking kill him!”
Stomping feet down the stairs, like an earthquake shaking my apartment.
I throw the hammer one more time at the ceiling, where it bounces off and thuds to the carpet, and I run into the decaying, stinking kitchen with the dingy lightbulbs and grab the wooden block of large butcher knives and carry it back to the door. I tuck it into my left armpit and my right hand lands on the doorknob like a distorted fly, separate from my body.
The pounding on the door intensifies.
The dogs are still barking. The room spins in a blurry funnel of colors and noises, and the neighbor is yelling something with his fists battering the door inches from my face.
The fly opens the door.