Happiness came out of me. A string of helium balloons in the parking lot of a used car dealership. I choked on my own expression. Each balloon is named after a carebear but resembles teen heart throbs from the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Each heart throb's heart is a 3D representation of itself and superglued to the outside of each heart throb's left butt-cheek. From one angle the hearts look like sweet-tart valentine candies I can taste the memory of, and from another angle they look like the hearts I see in pictures of Catholic Jesus but instead of thorns, they're wrapped in multicolored tinsel that repeatedly reads happy birdday. So fixated am I on their hearts in an effort to expose the perils of devotion that I think "We Care a Lot" is emitting from their cracks, but that is just my mistake. Suddenly they spin around and show their faces, lip-sinking perfectly to the rhythm of my clapping. I almost unbelieved my happiness for a minute there, but it got believable again. Close call. The heart throbs rip open their white t-shirts and furry bears emerge from the fabric of their lives. They're polar bears and they're gnawing on the ever squirming caricatures of bunny rabbits. Appalled at the indecency of it all I rip off my head and float away. As a side-effect, I pop pills out of my belly button and feed them to the cloud animals who drop dead and water the earth. How disgusting.
Alethea Tusher is a recent graduate from the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame. She has work published or forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Toad, and PRØOF.