pages Animals

by Samvel Aleksanyan

Published in Issue No. 206 ~ July, 2014



“And it’s like, you know like –

The kinds of people that like starve for animals.”


“Yeah, one of those, they piss me off.”

My arm brushed against another.

“Excuse me.”

– Letting them know that I was present for whatever that was worth. All around, humanoid shapes were filling the lights and colors with musk. Awful stuff, I grabbed a nearby can and started to sip. It was full of cigarette ash. I felt the noise deep under my skull. The DJ didn’t care; he had put the thing on autopilot and was having a smoke behind the speakers. Terrible stuff, half the day was gone and the evening kept rolling over. Too late, too tired, I had never had an interest in these kinds of messes. A conversation with strangers, old words thrown around, not much help, words lose meaning when the air is still. Everything was standing around this whole time, everyone moving but waiting for something. The world was numbing itself more and more. Most of the crowd had disappeared, replaced itself with a collection of placebos. These people were an odd wave of dancing lights, the kind you see when squinting at a bulb and shaking your head. The difference was that these lights were dim and colorless. I wanted no part of that show.

Stepping outside, I met the clean air, an old friend rising in the night sky. Outside, I was a balcony in a row of balconies stretching all the way across and all the way down. My life was an endless row of balconies. The foreground past the street was a beach, the background the water. I could imagine as I saw the water, the dark strokes of the ocean. The water carried the meaning of the beach.

In the afternoon we gathered to watch the sunset, though not everyone was interested. We huddled, some together, by the fire pit as the thing jumped past its peak. When it touched the water, it brought with it warmness. The strip of light on the waves was like a carpet extending outward past the dividing line between sky and sea. It was a bright carpet, clear and real. It invited me to join it past the ocean. They had exaggerated paper strip opinions and plastic cup smiles. This thing called out in color, a wonderful beast. I wanted to go swimming. They felt the water was too cold. We all touched it for a moment before it disappeared.

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Samvel Aleksanyan (Sam Aleks) is an Armenian/Russian student of art and literature living in Los Angeles, California. His short story, "The Man with the Tin Hat" was recently published in The Northridge Review. Find more: