Jessica Alexander

After the little man moved into his head, Apollo started dry-humping Los Angeles: the boulevards, the flagpoles, the houses.
     The winter was mild. No frost. Wet snow. In April the sun shone. In May the potted plants began blossoming.
     "Boring," said the little man. He threw up and fainted on the couch.
     In August the robber came.

The trick, Apollo learned, was to keep the little man entertained. His little palms flat against Apollo’s irises. To keep the concrete close to him.
     The little man loved to watch Apollo fuck his office. Roll his hips against a file cabinet. Tongue a clock or calendar.
     He liked to be in public.

In winter Apollo made love to a bus.
     He disposed of a knit hat, pants, socks, unwound a scarf, ground against a blue seat, French kissed the window, where knotty limbs scratched the glass, like bony fingers, aching for his mouth.
     "Sentimental." The little man spat. "Sap!"
     On the first day of spring Apollo mistook two men, in fedoras, moving slow beneath the trees, jackets slung on shoulders, for coat racks. He came home with a black eye and a fat lip.

In summer Apollo fell asleep to the little man coughing or grunting or vomiting and the sweet sound of electricity: ceiling fans, freezers, the hunger thrumming from a radio, the sprinklers hiss, hiss, the floodlights from the garden, that false bright caressing his closed eyes.

In August, Apollo blew a fuse in his apartment.
     His seclusion was sudden, and startling. He sat up in bed, while the little man slept. The light switch was not responding. Apollo had never felt so abstract. 
     He stuck his head out the window. The little man’s furniture slid across the floor. In the quiet cobalt road, where the phone wire dipped into an orb of light, the robber waited, patient as a landscape.
     Apollo swung his legs over the window ledge and flung himself into the uncut grass. The little man fell from bed, blinking and disgruntled.
     It was the cool heat after rain, the first light of morning.
     Apollo was thinking he’d find a night café, where underground trains rattle cups in saucers, or a Laundromat where a dryer gyrates off the wall and just rest his hips against it, when the robber cracked his skull with a shovel.
     The little man was shaking his fist, kicking toppled chairs and tables, shouting, "That is it Apollo!"

The robber nudged Apollo’s ribs and he rolled over.
     The little man fell silent and moved slowly to Apollo’s eyes. He flattened his palms against Apollo’s irises.
     The robber raised the shovel over his head.

How did metamorphosis work again?
     Apollo wanted badly to remember. To make the objects suit his purpose. To turn the little man into something un-thwarted, the robber into something less sadistic.
     When he opened his eyes again, the robber’s face was close to his.      And through the slits in his mask Apollo saw another little man, beating his fists against the robber’s irises and shouting the end, the end: a thing which Apollo had imagined would come without warning.