Hi, I’m Esther, one of Lyra’s girlfriends. She disappeared yesterday, but we found out she was in the hospital after almost making an attempt on her own life. The hospital fucking DISCHARGED HER in the middle of the night after we visited her and now we have no idea where she could be, and the hospital has been less than helpful in even telling us when they put her out on the streets of Portland.
I’m so worried about her and I don’t have the slightest clue where she could be. An 18 year old trans woman alone on the streets is not something I even want to think about. If you see her please let me know either here, at email@example.com, or by phone at (541)740-1023.
Please, we’re so scared and we don’t know what to do
This is my gf, please help, we’re all really worried about her right now.
Abby and her mother, Rachel, are bored in a sterile dome city less than a month after an epidemic almost wiped out the species. Rachel was a farm punk back outside, has been arrested dozens of times chaining herself to trees, fighting the fracking and mountaintop removal that poisoned her socialist homestead and the Appalachian counties around it. Rachel was smart when the epidemic hit and knew how to hide and wait for rescue, knew how to find clean water and use herbs and other witchy stuff that kept her and Abby healthy and isolated from the pathogens. It was a complicated thing when they were picked up by jarheads in hovertanks. I have a gun, too, just so you know, Rachel told them. And I’m keeping it, just so that’s clear.
Rachel is strong but she doesn’t believe in stiff upper lip macho bullshit. She cries in front of Abby in their little bunk. Rachel believes in being honest with her daughter. But Abby is still a little too young to appreciate it, to respect the incredible bravery of crying in front of your children, and Abby’s learned from dominant paradigms that this means she has to be the adult, and so she keeps a stiff upper lip.
The bunk is like a submarine sleeping quarters, pipes and moisture and reverberations, but even smaller. Abby taps on a pipe with a little wrench to pass the time. Tap tap tap. She fantasizes that she knows morse code, or has good rhythm. She fantasizes that her imaginary powers are that simple, that she’ll uncover a salacious mystery in the dome and be tossed together with an unlikely friend to solve it.
Mom, I’m bored, Abby says. There’s literally nothing to do.
We should go help the food crews, Rachel says, massaging her own hands. I don’t mean morally, I think there’s a no-leisure-citizens thing.
I don’t want to farm. I’m sick of farming.
I don’t know what to tell you, sweetheart.
Abby is tapping the pipe next to her bunk and Rachel is gathering all her patience not to ask her to stop. It’s deeply annoying, it’s maybe the most annoying thing Abby does, but Rachel doesn’t want to squash the importance of immature self expression with her neurotic tics, not when she can control her actions and name her feelings and be treated like a full person. Abby doesn’t think about it this way, she’s half waiting for the tapping to return a response from the next room over.
I’m never going to have a best friend again, mom, Abby says. There’s nobody my age.
Lots of people here like you.
That’s like being friends with your teacher. Tap tap tap.
Do you miss school?
We were in the middle of the science and health unit. I know about reproduction, mom.
Oh? What about it?
We’re doomed, because I’ll dry up and never repopulate. Tap clunk bong. I don’t have a true love anymore.
I didn’t realize you had a boyfriend. Rachel pauses and corrects herself. Or girlfriend.
I didn’t because I hadn’t met them yet, and now I never will because my true love, somewhere out there, was eaten by zombies.
It’s not zombies, Abby, it’s a flu. A really big, bad flu.
It’s tiny zombies and they’ve eaten my future and we’re doomed and that’s why it’s stupid to farm and I don’t want to today. Thump clud fwang.
You don’t have to do anything today, Rachel says. Maybe tomorrow, okay?
Rachel listens for another minute for Abby to say more, but she only taps away a wandering thunder of gongs as the wrench whacks the pipe.
Just try not to break the pipe, Rachel says.
This place is like a basement, Abby says.
It is, Rachel agrees.
About: K. Tait Jarboe lives in Boston. Their fiction can be found in the anthologies, “The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard” and “Friend. Follow. Text. #storiesFromLivingOnline”. Their online presence is mostly @KelseyJarboe and toomanyfeelings.tumblr.com
9/25 - San Francisco, CA
9/26 - Santa Paula, CA
house show (open to the public)
9/27 - Los Angeles, CA
The Gallery @ Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Community Center
9/28 - Los Angeles, CA
Mineral Springs Picnic Grounds
9/29 - Tucson, AZ
More dates and info at http://www.topsidepress.com/tour