Everyone on this sofa is named Mike. We are in Barry’s apartment, but he is in his kitchen cooking. One Mike is a mechanic. So the air smells like kitchen-cooking and grease. Another Mike’s mom sells Avon products and has a threatening appeal about her. Penultimate Mike is waiting for his “prostitute” and Final Mike has teeth so white we think he ate car lights. I’m meth-Mike, full-time addict. We don’t know what time it is but we are all waiting on it. Mechanic Mike pulls out a photo from his jean jacket pocket and passes it around. It is of a short-haired blonde woman wearing hot pants, but we can see she is not alive in them. Avon Mike complains that all his ghosts are gone, and Barry is yelling (or singing) something in the kitchen, but he sounds more like an animal dying alone in a forest. Penultimate Mike says he likes games but definitely not this one. Final Mike yells to Barry asking if he has any house music. The police have been surveilling Barry’s house for months, but no Mike wants handcuffed. Everyone on the sofa named Mike stays put on the sofa. Barry yells from his cooking-kitchen that he has a puzzle just waiting to be puzzled and Penultimate Mike yells back, “I likes puzzles.” Avon Mike says his mom likes puzzles and that he bought her one for Christmas two Christmas’s ago. One Mike says he bought a giant pair of underpants once and made a human swing out of them. All of us have charisma. Even Kitchen Barry. Who is still not on the sofa, but remains in the kitchen and is now attempting to pay his electric bill online since the electricity just died and his house is so dark it looks like all of us are wearing black, exorcist windbreakers. Twenty years from now, not one Mike will remember these nights—of waiting, on dying Barry’s sofa, to erase the thing we never had. We will forget what we are waiting for, how we waited, and for whom we are waiting. We will watch falling stars and falling bodies. We will watch our past gradually erase itself. Some of us will slow-wake from death and forget every Mike on this sofa. Without house music, a puzzle, lights, crank, or Kitchen Barry, we Mikes wait. In vague and nameless windbreakers we wait.
Yvonne Amey holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Florida. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in Tin House, Queen Mob's Tea House, The Florida Review, Arc, and elsewhere. Image: "Sketch of sofa for workshop", Nicholas Roerich, 1904