Believe Me, I’m Dead

She doesn’t believe him.

“I don’t believe you.”

He holds the receiver close, lips pressed into the plastic, chasing after his own words.

“So dead people can’t make phone calls?”

“Dead people can’t make phone calls.”

“Believe me. I am. Just listen. Do you hear that?”

“No. What the hell are you talking about Justin, this is––“

“The dripping! Hear the dripping? That’s the sound of my blood emptying out onto the hardwood. It just drains outta the hole until I start to get weak and then I collect it in that old measuring cup of yours and put it back in.”

“Hole? Okay. To be honest, you’re being really weird and this is getting concerning––

–It should be, I’m dead!––

–and I don’t really want to have this conversation anymore. If you’re actually hurt or need help or anything I can call someone for you.”

“What is anyone going to do? It’s too late. I’m toast. I’m already pretty heavily decomposed. It’s been like, what, four months? That’s a long time for meat to be sitting out in the sun.”

“You’ve been dead for four months.”

“And counting.”

“Oh god.”

“He hasn’t helped at all.”

“You’re being dramatic. Surprisingly so.”

“Death is inherently dramatic. The loss of a life. An extinguished flame.”

“Please, shut up.”

“Shut up? My elbows no longer work as a hinge joints. They’re like wet rope. I can’t do push-ups anymore.”

“What do you want me to say?”

“Say? I just want you to have some compassion. Some understanding. My landlord is threatening to evict me because I haven’t paid rent––

–you haven’t paid rent?––

–due to the fact that it’s hard to mow a lawn when you can’t even start the mower without your fucking arm detaching.”

“What?”

“My body is breaking down, because I’m dead, and my muscle strength is nearly non-existent and my flesh just tears like that fancy paper used to fluff up gift bags.”

“This is so stupid. If you really have nothing better to do than act petty and strange, can you take that show somewhere else, please.”

“Yikes––I thought you cared.”

“Please. Cared? About what?”

“About me. Us. I’m dead and nearly homeless and you don’t give a goddamn shit.”

“Justin, of course I care about you. That’s not fair. I just don’t want to play your games.”

“This isn’t a game. If you could see me right now you’d be, like, horrified.”

“What is this actually about? Why aren’t you working? Do you want money––is this how you ask me for fucking money? You cannot be serious.”

“Get off it! I’m not here singing a sap-song for pesos, I just needed someone to talk to, because obviously this is a real fucked up time for me.”

“Because you’re dead.”

“Because I’m dead.”

“And you’re getting evicted.”

“Unless I can come up with $300 by Wednesday.”

“Fuck you.”

He didn’t expect her to hang up on him. It stung. It had become a foreign thing to feel anything besides the whoosh of air through the grapefruit sized hole in his chest and the wriggling of maggots in his legs. He wasn’t trying to swindle Daisy, dupe her, or anything like that. He just wanted to spend his last few months before he became completely immobile in the comfort of his own home, not outside where the earth would reclaim him with haste and without mercy. He leaned forward, not so fast as to make his eyeball slip out like yesterday, but just fast enough that when his face met his remaining hand it didn’t collapse on a limp wrist. It just stayed upright, steady.