on channel one

The Other Basement

And Dorrie’s basement, like under the bed, like under the sink. Crawling with kittens and buckets full of I-don’t-know-what. Is this your pen?

With the kittens came red carpet and fleas. At first, I enjoyed the fleas — how they hopped like pepper, clung to my red knee socks and flew when I smacked my calves together. Is this my pen?

The fleas covered our hands, sprang off and on again. The kittens rolled and mewed, the air hazy with white chemicals. Her mother was always angry about something when we came up the stairs.

I told my mother that the welts came from running in the grass, that the weeds in our backyard had stung me.

The boards under the corner of that red carpet were loose. I imagined that if we stood there at the same time, we would fall through to the other basement underneath.

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