She called him Bugboy, a pet name with personal significance, so mind your own business. Her name, now? That was Plethora and don’t ask why, that personal aspect again, some information remains forever veiled, deal with it already. It was the two of them, here and there, up and down, a roller coaster ride doomed to end because that’s the nature of rides. Bugboy, his end arrived one afternoon in a field where black roses grow. He went up in ball of pale blue fire that scorched the low-hanging scud and released a shower of molten rain. Boom. Mightier than Fourth of July fireworks. Those skyrockets were nothing in comparison. Hell, they were less than the dust under nothing’s shoes. Plethora watched from her roost in an oak older than time and sighed a dusty sigh. So this is how it unfolds she whispered to the expanding plasma cloud that marked Bugboy’s swansong. Her bones shuddered. Her internal organs gave a skip. The thinset scud hissed and melted into memory.
Something indescribable happened to the sun. Plethora blinked and sank back into her roost. The leaves wrapped around her. They were home away from home, swaying and comfortable, an admirable refuge. Why bother coming down to earth. What was the point? Did the journey make any sort of sense?
Nineteen years later she was living in a trailer park on the outskirts of Salinas, Kansas. So hot in the summer. Air more easily drunk than breathed. The damned humidity. And the tornadoes. There was her job in a ceramics factory, forty hours a week at six dollars per hour, spraying glaze on unfired dinnerware. Stare off into space, work like a robot, no thoughts, no ruminations, nothing but softly nattering voices in her head. The voices wanted to know the best color for teacups. Cobalt blue? Hunter green? Cadmium yellow?
Eventually it was just her and the trailer and eleven cats. Somewhere along the line the voices took an unexpected turn and got lost.