);

SIX FEET, BLEEK, AND BURIED by Exodus Oktavia Brownlow

Six feet could be ten feet.

Six feet could be sixty.

Six feet was not a lot. Six feet was one of him.

It starts with an ending.

Bleek, a man with big hips. They curved against the box. And he saw their fullness. The mirror reflected. Lying, they looked more grave. And he understood why. Why they gave him such looks. Why they envied his curves.

Six feet could be ten feet.

Six feet could be fifty.

Six feet was not a lot. One new fridge—a big box.

Bleek had an old iPhone. With service still intact. It was safe on his chest. No chance of slipping down. The place was un-spacious. His span, stunted, no chance. One small mercy, a fan. The taste of air was sweet.

Six feet could be ten feet.

Six feet could be forty.

Six feet was not a lot. One thing of Bubble Tape.

His ragged breath, cut off. His cracked inhales, deprived. Fairy-princess music. He fumbled with the phone. Sickening sweaty hands. It was so very hot. So very hard to breathe. The sound had been a text. And he knew it was them. Was the music a jape? Was it reassurance? Or a cruel reminder? Bleek could not decide which.

Six feet could be ten feet.

Six feet could be thirty.

Six feet was not a lot. It was just some inches.

He read literature. “How are things going, friend?” And Bleek replied, “Just fine.” “This downtime is quite nice.” A lightning fast response. “Haha, now that’s funny!” They praised him from above. “You’re fucking funny, friend!” Bleek sent an emoji. The impish kind, slant eyes. He added, “I know this.” A thumbs up and time down.   

Six feet could be ten feet.

Six feet could be twenty.

Six feet was not a lot. His walking span was that.

They tossed him in the box. Calling him every name. Freaky-Faggot-Fucker. Short men threw him inside. A complete set of six. One had his long left leg. The other had his right. One had his long right arm. The other had his left. One had his nice-sized head. And one short man just watched. They dropped in a small fan. They dumped in an iPhone. They closed the box’s lid. They buried him alive.

One group of fans watched him. He watched the six men back. Was it his height and heels? Was it his curves and jeans? Was it his femaleness? Bleek could not decide which. “Excuse me, friend,” said one. The man held up something. “Self-lighting mirror, friend?” Bleek studied the small man. He had on a Lowes’ vest. Bleek posed in the mirror. His reflection glowed back. “Absolutely,” Bleek said.

It ends with an onset. Bleek pursued a new fridge. His steps devoured floors. Lowes had not been prepared. His hips swayed side to side. His heels clacked and sought praise. And his mouth chewed tape gum.  

Read Next: ARMILUSTRIUM by Rebecca Otter