I am a crustacean; a variant of a strain of flu found in a bog on Old Woolworth Lane. The bog is no more; they filled it in many summers ago and erected a shiny shopping arcade which is now overwhelmed by an abundance of vacant fashion boutiques full to the brim not with the latest fashions, but with a dozen types of dust indistinguishable from any other type of dust. At a little after ten in the morning, I was born, motionless, at the feet of a riderless horse, motioning for a glass of soda water and a book of poetry by T.S. Eliot. There were statues nearby, as well as whores. Statues with no faces that had once been at the bottom of Toluca Lake, and whores who dream of drawers stuffed with black stockings and crisp packets showing identical expiry dates. July seventh, two thousand and eight, to be exact. In the next town over, there are women caught in revolving doors experiencing excruciating period pains that cause them to swallow their tongues. Their fingernails are cracked, and their vulvas disturbing. They smell of herbs and are covered with surreal verse written by those on the verge of nervous exhaustion by the prospect of what occurs to one’s body when one isn’t looking. The statues that were once beneath Toluca Lake but of which are now not, resemble musicians from the medieval age. Like them, I am a mollusc with plump fingers unable to pluck the strings of a trombone. It’s a good thing trombones have no strings, then, at least not in this life. My father’s son has wavy hair that resembles a heath-covered hill someplace on the south-east coast of Ireland. I’ve never been to Ireland, but I’ve walked its streets many a time looking for a brown-eyed girl to call my own. The air is salty. The rocks wet. The rocks were much bigger than they currently appear, and one day, they will be much bigger again, but not today. In my satchel is a leather-bound book covering the canonical victims of Jack the Ripper, and a photograph of a blindfolded Japanese woman with legs like a spider. She has a hairy bush that reminds me of a dense patch of vegetation behind my parents’ old house from when I was a child. In the garden, next to said patch, there was a shed, painted red. Beneath it, much soil. Fresh, but as old as the cross. As soon as I was of age, I would masturbate nearby dreaming of a girl in my English class, as beautiful as glass. Ejaculating into my left hand imagining suckling her the way a piglet suckles its mother, I would slither onto my belly and spread my seed like butter over the soil. I’ve no idea what grew there after I gave the seed to the yearning earth, as we moved shortly after, but now, each night, I hear a circle of flowers calling my name, begging me to return from where I came. Behind that shed, I remember digging up the bones of dead rabbits that had been my childhood pets. As if cursed for doing so, I once fell from a ladder attempting to prune the branches of the tree outside my bedroom window. They were obscuring my view of the morning sun. I woke early those days, and without a hangover in sight. The branches pushed me away, and as the ladder pivoted on one leg, I burped out a cry for help heard only by the birds in the sky.