Kyle Hemmings: Manga Girls Need Love (Fireball)

Manga Girls Need Love! {Fireball}

The scientists say that a giant fireball is aiming towards our little island city and will kill all of us in approximately 72 hours and 42 minutes. When it hits, it will have three times the destructiveness of the Nagasaki bomb. Plans at evacuations have been made, but many of us are refusing to leave. Maybe because we are so far from everything and we have grown too accustomed to our small and busy city island. Maybe because we feel that after surviving storms and radiations from foreign wars, a radiation that has drifted here—death would not be the worst thing. Many of us have grown apathetic to loss and pain. I know I have. My girlfriend committed suicide.

Her name was Matsuko. Her name is Matsuko.

She still lives inside my head.

Before Matsuko took her life, her life as a flimsy girl falling out of windows just to see who would catch her—-she said the moon was falling.

I said that was impossible.

No, she said, she kept seeing a trailing light at night from very far away. She said it was having an effect on her co-workers at the office. Many, she said, handed in assignments late, or called in sick. She said if you drive to the sea you will see how much higher the waves are. She said lovers are taking risks, are not using protection. She said fathers are becoming bipolar. Sons are not returning home. Mothers cry at the slightest annoyance.

Don’t you see? Shogo, she said, the moon will soon flatten us.

Several days later, Matsuko jumped head-first from the highest floor of the building she worked at. One witness said it was one of the most beautiful dives he ever saw.

I look up at the night sky. I imagine a distant trail of what must be gases—-orange, copper, blue, yellow, red, and purple. The fireball.

Taken together, the colors are what I feel about Matsuko.

We all have ways of dealing with the end. Some of us have escaped. Some of us have quit our jobs and do nothing but skateboard down steep streets. Some of us return to our first passions: stamp collecting, finger painting, building sandcastles. Some of us stretch our arms, jump from roofs, and pretend we can hang glide.

Some of us do nothing but watch the sky.
I go to the clubs. I love to dance. When the fireball hits, I will be dancing.
My favorite club is the one Matsuko loved, dancing to Techno and EuroBeat until dawn. It’s called Toto’s Wish. The dance floor is always dark and in the long mirror that lines the walls, under the flash of strobe lights, you can see yourself as a fireball.
Some of us dress as drum-playing clowns, or as schoolgirls, or as the latest movie stars in rehab. Some of us wear gas masks and carry false grenades.
I know most of the faces here. I know so little about the lives. They are all young and lost and in and out of love the way Mitsuko and I were. Mitsuko used to joke that as a couple–we are half-formed.
And lately, I’ve been seeing a Ghost-Girl dancing, swerving, gyrating between couples. She’s always alone. Sometimes she smiles at me or taunts me with her svelte pale figure.
Whenever I approach, she either dances away or disappears. I ask some of the clubbers about her. A girl who dresses like Britney Spears says she is the ghost of an old friend of hers who died from a brain tumor. The radiation, you know?
A punk with spiked hair, dressed in black leather and holed sneakers says it’s the ghost of a girl who died in the accident. He was driving drunk. He says he will keep walking great distances and dancing all night, as if any of this will bring her back.
As for me, whenever I see Ghost-Girl, I think—-Matsuko, You’ve come back to dance with me.
I imagine it’s a full moon coming closer.

Over the radio, a scientist announces that the fireball will wipe us out in approximately 42 hours and 17 minutes.

We have this little routine we do at Toto’s Wish. Sometime past midnight, when we are all hot and sweaty and drunk on our fourth or fifth Fuzzy Eyeball, the DJ, whose face no one ever sees, stops the music. We all freeze with eyes closed. I can hear some giggle. We are all supposed to make a wish. Tonight, my wish is for the lights to go back on. And they do.
The DJ plays more mixes of Trance and old Hip Hop, and Ghost-Girl is performing perfect spins, lizard lunges and moon walks. Dance with me, I cry out to her. She smiles, opens her arms, and dances through me.

The Fireball will annihilate us in approximately 15 minutes and 20 seconds.

In my room of old walls, of fading posters of rock stars, of red and orange shag carpets, of unwashed jeans folded over chairs, Matsuko is telling me how empty she’s been feeling lately. She says she feels so sorry for this little island-city of people. She says she dreams in white flash. She says she wants a dog or cat, but can’t afford the closeness. She says the best way to die is to melt while holding hands.
She says she is going to fall out of my window.
I tell her that I’m tired of catching her.

The fireball will land in approximately 20 seconds.

I’m dancing with Ghost-Girl. We are alive in each other’s eyes. She’s a reckless spinner. I’m so giddy to dub-step. The lights are flashing yellow, blue, orange, red, and copper versions of us. Then, they go out.
We stand still. I keep my eyes open.
Ghost-Girl smiles, turns into a solid girl, then, goes up in flames.
I touch the fire.
Matsuko, I say, we are fireballs.
Copyright ©2012, by Kyle Hemmings. All Rights Reserved.
Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. He lives and writes in New Jersey.

Kyle Hemmings: Manga Girls Need Love (Fireball)
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