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"Drown (Singles Soundtrack Version)" • Smashing Pumpkins (by Z.H. Gill)


I walk past a tuned-out bouncer into your show, your highly awaited opening at ____ Gallery, and begin composing a review of it inside my sweet, dumb, dippy, itty head; it starts like—


Full disclosure: I know the artist! 


Full disclosure: I know nothing of the fine arts and lost my virginity to the artist! 


Full disclosure: why are we still in each other’s lives? 


Full disclosure: no review I’ve written before has ever been intended to live anywhere beyond the confines of Yelp, or maybe Letterboxd, if I’m feeling grumpy.


Full disclosure: they’re working on the new train line a block over, Uzi-blasts of jackhammer, and they must have hit a sewer, and I’d be lying if I said the smell didn’t excite me a little…


Full disclosure: my dad gave up on taking me to museums. I’d always bring my Game Boy anyway and he’d always threaten to bury it in the park afterward—he never did it, though, he’s too kind and too weak, just like me.  


Full disclosure: you’re married now, I’m committed, it sure as hell seems like we don’t enjoy each other’s company very much anymore, so why do we bother? Boredom? Panic?


Full disclosure: the shrimp platter seems to have been sitting out for a while, for far too long. My first shrimp is agreeable enough, moist but still firm, holding that expected shrimp-taste and shrimp-mouthfeel when accounting for the culinary sacrifices intrinsic to buffet-style dining; the second, though, tastes like tennis ball with damp cigarette-texture. 


Full disclosure: I’ve heard the word “filament” more in the fifteen minutes I’ve spent clucking about this room than I have throughout the rest of my prior heathen life. 


Full disclosure: we lost our virginities in the back of your mother’s Toyota Avalon while listening to “Drown” by the Smashing Pumpkins, the Singles soundtrack version, not the radio edit (I couldn’t last as long as its eight minutes and 17 seconds, but almost definitely made it past the radio edit’s 4:30). 


Full disclosure: you’re a textile artist but I don’t actually know how that works. Do you make this stuff? Do you draw a diagram and then hire someone in, say, Bangladesh to do it? 


Full disclosure: the people here look as if they popped out of a video game character creator, just combinations of ten hairdos and six outfits between them all.


Full disclosure: I’ve been fantasizing about my cat going to town on one of your pieces—on all of them, actually.


Fill disclosure: I’m pretty sure this gallery, this post-industrial mixed-use bunghole, used to be a train station exclusively for serial killers.


Full disclosure: someone told me once, and obviously it stuck with me, that cats see thread and yarn as innards, as fine lines of intestine. If my cat walked in here, did his little cat-trot in here, he’d see this place as a bloodbath paradise, his eyes would go wide and get stuck there. 


Full disclosure: how can you operate a business like this—there are 150 people here right now inside this boiling mausoleum—with a single single-use toilet? I bow out to shit at the Subway across the street, they make me buy a Vitamin Water for the privilege.


Full disclosure: I talk to your mom for a minute, realize she doesn’t remember me, and thank our Jewish God (because I’m Jewish, and so is she, and this is possibly why He’s given us both such a big break here, this is the sense I get). 


Full disclosure: The sex we had—4 times it was, I think—was never good, which was entirely my fault, I didn’t become average or above-average at sex until I went on antidepressants and could hold my boy-goo in for that much longer; if anything, I’m sorry you missed out on this era. 


Full disclosure: it’s weird your husband isn’t here.


Full disclosure: he made a pass at me once. Not judging. I’ve sucked plenty of dicks in my time. But am I husband material? (You can say yes.)


Full disclosure: I like to draw. I don’t do it much anymore, but I like to. 


Full disclosure: serving a trough of yellow cheese in a place so cramped and humid is slow-mo terrorism—


And then you approach me, you practically run up to me. We hug. You tell me how “glad and grateful” you are that I “could make an appearance.” Then you ignore me for the rest of the night. 



Z.H. Gill lives in East Hollywood, CA, with his cat Hans. His writings have appeared recently or semi-recently in X-R-A-Y, HAD, Triangle House, hex, and Maudlin House; his debut chapbook My Eyes is available now from Bottlecap Press.


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