by Elia Karra
And maybe you don’t mind that. Maybe it’s enough to watch Mike Osterman swivel the board under his feet, flashing the blues and greens and yellows of his deck. He can do it infinitely, a ceaseless loop of nose-to-tail, and he does. He stays on that skateboard month after month. The asphalt grinds his donut wheels down to their core. The crowd that gathers around him only grows, first a couple of neighborhood kids, then the neighborhood, then the whole town, all of them hypnotized by the rhythmic tap-tap-tapping of his wheels, the kaleidoscopic bursts of color.
You are hypnotized, too, every time he does this. Bark Ruffalo is forgotten at home, and you know he’ll piss in every corner, chew your new 200-dollar shoes to bits, and stare at the front door wondering why you left him all alone. Still, you are caught in Mike Osterman’s gravitational pull, like so many others. A thousand planets against a burning sun.
It’s about time I stopped asking him to walk the damn dog, you think. He does it on purpose, you think. You’ve had enough arguments about it for him to know you’re asking him to walk the actual dog, not perform his skate tricks. But you never try to stop him once he’s on the board. You couldn’t even if you tried. He won’t stop until he’s ready to stop.
You’ve lost track of time. Sometimes, it lasts for a few days, others for months. Now, it must have been years. You don’t know when his hair turned gray or if yours is gray, too. The wheels are all gone, and the trucks rip out morsels of tar from the ground with every swing of the board, shoot them through the air like confetti.
He’ll stop, you think. He always stops. He’ll stop this time, too. You imagine him stepping off the tattered remains of his deck and burying them in the backyard under the pine. You imagine him smiling, though he only ever smiles at the grit of a griptape under his soles, the chants of his name, the eyes of the crowd.
Elia Karra (she/they) is an author and filmmaker from Athens, Greece. She holds an MFA from Lindenwood University, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cease, Cows, the first Bullshit Lit anthology, Crow & Cross Keys, and others. You can find her lurking on Twitter @eliakarra or at eliakarra.com.