‘Hongi to God’ – flash fiction by Michael Botur

Hongi to God


Leap from your bedroom window. DOOFT. Crush mum’s irises. Creep through the indigo. Avoid street lights, chained dogs. Spot the white exhaust pipe fumes, the red brake light eyes. Sister and her friends with lip rings give you an inch of cramped backseat. The hatchback lurches forward. Scraping springs. Stink of burning vegetables. Crank Tool so loud the speakers crack and rattle.

You will NOT go to that concert.

Park a mile from the gig. Suck stinging bourbon from a hot heavy bottle. Stumble to the entrance. Breathe. Get your shit together. Bouncers part, wave you in. Haul open the heavy fire door. Punched ears. An underground city pressed against the stage. Zion. Maynard screams lyrics you scrawled across your maths book til the white paper went black like a locust swarm. Alex Jones strokes his bass guitar. Earthquake. Avalanche. Spitfire.

You will NOT take part in that so-called crowdsurfing thing. Promise me.

Duck through a minefield of elbows and pocket chains. Everyone is rancid armpits and black wet backs. Tap the shoulder of a mountain-man. Scream, ‘Help me dude, please.’ Step into his cupped hand. Put your fingers on sweaty slippery shoulders. Steam rising from necks and chests and breath. Rainforest. Air raid. Exploding speakers.

Whatever, mum. Okay. Jawohl.

You can’t see your sister up here. She dissolved in 10,000 black t-shirts. You’ll have to walk an hour home. You’ll wake mum as you come in.

You think of her as you swim, nose up, held up like Mum held you on your back in the school pool, ears in the throng, hongi to God.

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