Slug Trail
Brian Allen Carr


It's hard to shop when you're hungry and sad.


If the leprosy returns I could hold them hostage with my rot.


On a bus ride through Texas I woke next to a man who stared over me, through the window and out across the plains. The man was not beside me before I fell asleep. He was wearing a camouflage jacket, and his breath smelled of licorice. He had red murky eyes and white ashy skin.
-- My father made all of it.
I looked out the window to the flat land streaming by.
-- What, like God?
The man rubbed his face and flecks of skin swirled in the air.
-- You're funny to me. I've met the black you.
He smiled.
-- The black me?
-- Yeah, everyone has one. A black them. I met yours in Savannah in a candy shop by the river. He threw me a warm taffy. He was you but in black.
The man waved at something out the window that I couldn't see.
-- So, all black people have white thems running around.
The man laughed. The laughter woke a sleeping baby. The baby cried and cried.
-- You see. You're funny.
-- Thanks.
Then the man looked at the flooring beneath his seat.
-- Holy shit, holy fucking shit.
-- What?
He stomped his feet. He leaned close. He put a finger to his lips.
-- This bus leaves a slug trail.


If I pull the alarm they'll run for fear of fire.


My fourth grade teacher had a tattoo of a woman on his forearm that he liked to make dance. He watched me as I watched it dancing.


Most of them did not scream, but walked to the exits, looking up as the sirens called. A train of people, all headed for doors.


-- You could follow the slug trail back to the start of the bus.


With my rot I could back them into corners.


Then we sat in the parking lot. We wanted to go back in. There was no smoke. There were families and friends in bundles talking about the alarm. There were security guards on Segways maneuvering through the crowd. I sat on the asphalt. Indian style as the siren sang. Then a man. Dark as a red-wine bottle stood beside me where I sat. He lifted his shirt sleeve to show me his arm. There was a woman tattooed on it. He flexed and the woman danced. He watched as I watched it.
I smiled.
-- I've met the white you.
The man dropped his shirt sleeve and shook his head.
-- Shit, if I had a dime for every time someone told me that.