Now Let's See How Fast This Baby Can Go
Ravi Mangla

You need to jiggle the handle to get in and out of the Kristics' downstairs bathroom. Just lightly. During a dinner party one evening, following a curried lamb shank that didn't agree with my system, I jiggled the handle too hard and broke it off the door. I waited on the padded toilet cover for my wife. Sooner or later she'd realize I wasn't there and come looking for me. But after an hour or so I heard well wishings being exchanged, cars starting.
I ran myself a hot bath and tried to keep calm. I felt angry all of a sudden, very angry. Why hadn't they fixed the damn door? I cursed the Kristics for every day I was locked in the bathroom. I drank from the faucets and ate those fancy bars of soap they sell at department stores for twenty bucks a pop, made from lemongrass and oatmeal shavings.
Some years later, with the weight I'd lost, I climbed the sink and pinched my body through the vent slot above the vanity mirror. There was an Ethiopian family eating tacos in the dining room. They didn't scream. They looked as if they'd been expecting me, and invited me to sit and eat with them. I took a seat next to their youngest daughter, winched up in a high chair. They asked after my family. I told them it'd been a long time since I'd seen my family. I told them I used to know the people who lived in the house before them. The Guptas, they said. No. The Pullmans? No. The Kristics, I said. I think they owned it before the O'Days, one of them said, and they argued amongst themselves. I was impressed by their knowledge of the house and its previous owners; they must have done plenty of research before buying. They asked me if I wanted to take a hot shower in the upstairs bathroom; the downstairs bathroom was on the fritz. I declined. They packed me some tacos for the road and wished me well and I walked off into the vanishing sunlight, into a world I no longer recognized.
There was a boy riding his hover bike around the cul de sac. I asked him if I could take the bike for a spin, just up the block and back: I'd give him a quarter. He asked me what a quarter was. Well, I'll give you something neat, I said. He agreed. The sucker.

Now let's see how fast this baby can go. . .