by Daniel Nguyen

There was nothing to do in this shitty town where the strip malls closed at 8.
Being here was just like being dead and being dead was just like being alone.
Miko was my friend in Japan while all the people here slept.

I held a melon up to my webcam and said, ‘melon.’
Miko showed me a jackfruit and said what I assumed was her word for jackfruit.
We had to download an app to learn how to talk to each other.

I sipped from my mug and said, ‘This is blood.’
Miko held up a cup and I said, ‘Not cup! Blood!’
I tilted my mug toward the camera to show her the inside and spilled on my keyboard.

I licked up the mess but the blood had already started scabbing over.
“Miko!” I said, “Miko can you hear me!”
Miko gargled something that meant either: yes, no, or something else.

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