other skeds timed their fall from the sky. they chose to land in places where the earth was fresh, soft, and ready. a tulip field right after rainfall, a muddy down south river-bank populated mostly by bullfrogs and pig shit. anywhere but asphalt.
Rader needed new york city, broken beer bottles, and metal sewer grates to feel like the trip was worth it at all. as a fifth generation sked, whose blood-line was only tainted by a few pirks and some bastard gremes, rader had ultimate control on where to land and how long to burn.
semi-conscious, her knees curled into the curbs, arms holding on to the sidewalk, Rader counted the footsteps of people walking by. she divided high heels by loafers and multiplied them by air jordans. she adjusted for babies being carried in bjorns whose feet never touched the floor. all these numbers slid into her bloodstream and slowed down her racing heart. meditation is different for everyone. meditation gets us all into the same place.
sky trap, home of to all skeds, was cacophonous. the wind pushed into sunlight, splintering its beams one ray at a time. each crack multiplied by screams and banshee screeches. rain drops yelped as they burst forth from soft cloud pods, calling for God’s mercy as they plummeted to the ground. skeds roamed sky trap in search of quiet, in search of reason for their existence in elemental hell.
rader excavated sky trap for booze, punk sked chicks, and screaming rain clouds. She snapped lightning bolts in half to hunt for amusement after the sun set. anything to pass the time. she’d circled sky trap for more than a millenium, resisting the fall at first. every sked had to fall and for most skeds, the body took over and they’d be hurtled over the main frame cloud wall and into earth’s oblivion. more coherent, experienced skeds, planned that shit way in advance to ease up on cracked spines, split lips, and the weeks of wondering who/what/where/why on planets that had no context for them.
Lightning bolts also etched long-lasting tattoos onto sked skin. Nothing else allowed for permanence; sked skin regenerates in between heartbeats and deep breaths. The closer it gets to the time to fall the faster the skin swirls, changes, stretches. Rader worked lightning bolts into into bone marrow, sketching catacombs and Christian bible verses into the backs and torsos of galaxy-old skeds. She was given free reign over their flesh. None of the other skeds ever offered an idea of what they wanted. It didn’t matter. It was the pain they sought. Something to drown out the cries of elemental chaos.
Lightning bolts tattooed in bright orange sunlight. No other color, ever. Rader doused the bolts in blood, in tornado dust, in blue bits of faded sky, anything, everything just for some other color and nothing.
Counting steps of humans calmed her breathing into ripples. rader stared up at the sky while laying half on the sidewalk, half in the street.
“fuck gray matter”, she said, spitting blood at a street lamp. she was at the intersection of Christopher St. and 7th Avenue South. Red, green, and silver lights lit up the overcrowded streets filled with queers and snobs. Snowflakes and green trees and red-nosed deer creatures peered down at Rader. She stood up on weak legs, a few inches shy of six feet, hair black as licorice hanging from her shoulders.
Rader walked towards the smell of food and used the soft green 20 bill from her last fall on a hot dog with mustard, sauerkraut, and a coke. She bought another hot dog and ate it in one bite. From her back pocket, rader pulled out a black and silver card: Hostile Ink, 87 Christopher St, NYC.
Big Koe, owner of Hostile Ink, put the gun to rader’s body. Down the length of both her forearms, he tattooed bold black lightning bolts.
“Are you ready to work”, he asked, covering her fresh tats with white bandages.
Rader grabbed his shoulder.
“I’m here because all I can dream about is building murals on bodies in color. You have all the fucking colors and I’ve never seen anything like it and yes, I’m ready to work. This is my last fall.”