Tears told me what the truth was. But two weeks ago, Dr. No Goode gave me two or three weeks to live after he gave me two or three lines of the best coke I ever did. I remember it differently sometimes. I don’t know why. I’m subjective like that. Anyways, Dr. No Goode said that it was this shit that he was selling me, and was snorting right alongside me, that was killing me and giving me a broken heart. If I wanted, he knew a guy who could obsessively mend the cracks of my broken, jaded, love-yearning ticker. The referred maniac could patch the holes, and get the thing going like when it was young and believed in true love, unlimited possibility, and the malleability of the universe.

I wanted to believe like this again. So, I said, “Yes.” to the procedure.

They took out the old one, put in this fancy fake, and told me not to do any lifting while they cleaned this heart that had pumping for twenty-six years.

Tomorrow, at This God’s Memorial Hospital, they are going to perform this guy’s heart surgery and return my original bloody thumper to my bloody chest.

I don’t know if I want it. I kind of like the feel of fake.

It feels different as fireflies flicker bits of luciferin from their abdomen and bioluminescence lights the night with pin pricks of green.

I am sitting on a lawn chair.

The grass had been cut four days earlier and is now on the rise from yesterday’s heavy rain. Drops still cling to the clipped blades as the humidity rises even further. And, even though it’s mostly cloudy, the overcast is not enough to cover the faint hint of sunset orange in the receding distance. Inconsistent raindrops hit me sporadic. There is a mighty oak that defines the wilderness of this parental property. It’s s about a hundred feet from where the clipped blades end.

I stare at this oak as I go between my cup of coffee and a cigarette; the perfect couple.

My sister slides the screen door as she screams my name.

“Mark!”

“Christine!” I say, matching her tone, as I put out my cigarette in my coffee.

I am at my sister’s place. Our family land. But our parents gave it to her when they passed. She is younger than me. I used to resent her for it. Now I just don’t care.

“You know you shouldn’t smoke without a heart.” She says standing next to me.

“I shouldn’t smoke with one either.”

“Mark, you got to think about recovery. After surgery, your immune system is going to be compromised. It’s going to make it worse if you’re stuffing yourself with coffee and cigarettes; two stimulants that are just plain no good, especially when together.”

“Two words. No smoking. All you needed to say.”

“Mark, do you even want your heart back?”

I put my ashtray mug on the ground. I feel my bare soles on the wet green Earth. And I respond with a, “No. I think I’d be better off without it.”

“Okay, but, how will your blood continue to pump?”

“The fake.”

“That’s only a patch job. A surface-level fix fixated on the wrong shit. You need your heart for so much more than pumping blood. Mark, you know this.”

I exhale heavy and sigh, “I know shit.”

Christine grabs the pack and lighter in my shirt pocket and lights up a smoke. She gives the lighter back.

“It’s about her, isn’t it?”

She exhales.

“Mark, contentment comes from the heart and mind and body being one. It comes from your Self and your Self alone. Being heartless and fake will not save you from the pain of heartache. It’ll manifest another way. So, go to sleep. Get some rest. Tomorrow, you are putting that bloody fist back where it belongs.” Christine puts out her cigarette in the ashtray mug and walks inside saying, “That tree looks like a penis.”

She slides the door shut.

I squint my eyes as I look at the oak.

It does look like a penis.

I laugh.

I am such a cock.

I need my heart to cry.

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