Humming Drums

I tell Rose about the memory. She's reclining on our black, cat hair covered futon, strumming an unplugged Fender with a cracked bridge,

Eduard Manet, Suicide
humming. Up until I finally gained the courage to walk through the fearful bulge in my brain, I had only seen firearms on television and movies. Even after I deducted the cause of my death as being the result of suicide, I still had a difficult time picturing a specific weapon. I couldn't hear the click of the trigger. I was unable to recall the sound of the blast. There was a hole in my neck, through the side.

I think, there is a strong possibility I've killed myself before, I say to Rose. My body's telling me this. I can feel it in my muscles.

No matter how much I would beg her to sing for me, Rose only hummed. She liked to complain about how the electricity of her voice didn't meld well with the guitar's metallic ring.

I'm telling you, I say to her, there's a violent, blood-filled, primal rage buried deep inside of me. I think I'm afraid of myself.

Rose drops her strumming hand and floats her head towards me. Her words drip from the edge of her plump, bottom lip, and splash lightly on the carpet. All males have a blood-filled, primal rage inside of them, she says.


The cat, which doesn't belong to either of us, sprints from around the corner and jumps at my head, mouth open, claws out. I duck, and the cat's tail smacks my ear as it flies overhead. When the cat lands I kick it hard in the ribs with my bare foot, soliciting a piercing screech. Rose begins strumming and humming, again. I sit down next to the cat and stroke it's back until I feel the vibrations of a steady purr. Rose's eyes are glistening. I think she's probably holding back tears. I try asking her, please, just this one time, sing for me. She continues humming.

When I shot myself before, I was younger than I am now. But, I felt older. I think, I had figured out the circular nature of time. Because, I wasn't afraid to die. I was a physicist, or a mathematician, or some other kind of scientist interested in the nature of space. I had large posters of visual representations of fractals hung up on every wall in my office. The same patterns, repeating themselves over and over again.

Once, I asked Rose why she liked music so much. She was able to put her headphones on and listen to a repeated Miles Davis record for days at a time, only stopping when the batteries ran out of juice. When I asked her what the deal was with her and music, she paused, cocked her head at me, and sucked in her lips.

A person can lose control of sounds, she finally told me, and nobody gets hurt.

Before I shot myself, I had better rhythm than I do now. I could keep a beat, as they say. Before I shot myself I loved playing the cajón. I'd sit on top of it's wooden frame, tilt the whole thing slightly backwards, and slap away. Sometimes, when I played with other people I was leader, everyone else would shift their playing to match up with my sounds. Sometimes I was the follower, I'd listen carefully to the rhythm of the environment, moving my hands in complimentary fashion.

I shot myself before, and, I'll do it again, I say to Rose.

She nods, then reclines further down the back of the futon. The Fender rests on her heavy belly. A deep sigh escapes her mouth and fills the room. The cat, which Rose had decided we should welcome into our house (not me), jumps up and claws at Rose's bare leg.

I wish I had a drum, right now, I tell Rose. We could play together. I'm pretty sure I used to be a great Beat Master.

Yeah, she replies. What happened?

Aaron Krieski is a recent BA in English Literature graduate from Northern Arizona University. He currently lives and work in Austin, TX.

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