Mercury-Marvin Sunderland

One Joint

One joint.

It’s burnt halfway. The greens are packed tightly in a roll. The filter is unremarkable in the boring way.

It’s half-smoked, already becoming a stub, but still quite enough left to use it. It will probably just be shoved back into the package after a long evening.

My wrists hurt. They. Really hurt.

I grab the joint in one hand and the lighter in the other. I flick fire with my thumb, leaning the side that canoed the other day.

I put the joint into my mouth, closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I kept the fire air in my throat and let it both glide down and breathe in. I slowly blow through my nose. I repeat over and over again.

My wrists. In two weeks I’m going to have to wake up for a 7:30 AM doctor’s appointment on a school day. They’re gonna shoot steroids in my wrists to determine once and for all if I have carpal tunnel syndrome or not.

This weed takes away some physical pain shooting in my right wrist. Both feel gentle and tender.

There’s a trans flag unicorn on my right wrist. It’s galloping right above the joint. It has a blue body, a pink mane, and a white horn.

At my last job, my manager pointed out my unicorn tattoo and actually said, “You should have a MAN-icorn tattoo!” as if he was the funniest guy in the world for the unfunniest joke. He made me work only ten-hour shifts and I would have to wake up at 4 a.m. for all of them.

I burn for another gulp of smoke. It’s not much, only a gasp’s-worth. But it helps.

It only took three weeks but one day I walked into work saying, “hey, I’m worried I have carpal tunnel syndrome.” They said, “oh, well, that’s why I don’t masturbate on work nights,” and gave me a ten-hour shift anyway.

I get tired and I burn incense. I’ve kept the window open and there are drafts. I light a big yellow candle and breathe.

At the beginning of the summer I had to go to the Emergency Room because I spent an entire night doing nothing but puking and couldn’t keep down water or plain rice. I had just gotten fired from my last childcare job for calling out my boss for posting eugenicist imagery.

Different job. But apparently telling your boss as an actual autistic person that Autism Speaks is well-known for having eugenicist beliefs about autism is enough to get fired for.

Hot coals turn to ash.

Sometimes we just get tired. Sometimes we say nothing and let the hurt rot and stink up the apartment. Sometimes we say everything and the hurt burns the entire place down. Or they realize their mistake and put it out. And sometimes I just don’t have energy. So some days you remedy yourself after work with weed, but others you quit your job entirely and just smoke weed.

Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.

Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man with Borderline Personality Disorder. He’s from Seattle and currently attends the Evergreen State College. He’s been published by University of Amsterdam’s Writer’s Block, UC Davis’ Open Ceilings, UC Riverside’s Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara’s Spectrum, and The New School’s The Inquisitive Eater. His lifelong dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He’s @RomanGodMercury on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.