JULY 2009


Headspace Sampler
By Erin Fitzgerald, May 07, 2009

They had an exhibit at the science center about criminalistics and I got two tickets so that I could take Lisa, but then that tanked and I was stuck with an extra one obviously. I thought about taking my dad but he would’ve used the trip as an excuse to ask what happened with Lisa. So I took Ryan instead, and that turned out to be a dumb idea because Lisa was the only thing he wanted to talk about, too. “That stupid fucking bitch,” he said while we watched a mass spectrometer demonstration. Since a mass spectrometer demonstration isn’t exactly thrilling, him saying that was the highlight of the demo.

“There are children here,” the woman next to me said to him. She took a big breath first.

“You have to be fourteen to get tickets for this, right? Do you really think there’s a fourteen-year-old in St. Louis who hasn’t heard the phrase ‘fucking bitch’ before?”

If he’d been all loud and confrontational about it, someone would have kicked him out. But all that happened was that a dozen moms started hating him and he’s used to that.

I watched the needle on the gas chromatograph, which was at some point going to tell someone—not me, I’d be gone by then—what kind of paint chips got fed into it. It was like what had happened with Lisa. She fed her paint chips into my head and I didn’t know what the hell they were until she was long gone from the machine, the exhibit, and the science center.

“If you knew her,” Ryan was saying to the mom, “you’d think she was a fucking bitch, too.”

Erin Fitzgerald is editor of The Northville Review. She lives in western Connecticut, and online at rarelylikable.com.