Jeffrey Utzinger, "Carousel"

Alex is a roller coaster, all thrills and spills, apparently unpredictable, but moving in an endless electric loop, drinking herbal infused sugar pop concoctions and smoking clove cigarettes to help her forget the sting of more serious addiction. Her most recent is the olive-skinned Phillip, the electrician musician recovering, himself, from a thing difficult to place; he’s inked in beautiful designs, each with a story of its own that he seldom hangs around long enough to tell. Alex believes, above all else, in the power of forgiveness which doesn’t bode well for Phillip. Their house is a menagerie of mixed origin children from previous marriages, a twice removed nephew, and one shared premature miracle boy, who racked up medical bills the size of a mortgage, a honeymoon, and three student loans. Alex has a pinwheel heart that stops and starts on a whim, shoots sparks and smolders. She can light up the night sky, and then fade into a lingering wisp, but the only way she’ll leave Phillip is if she’s pushing up daisies. A ticket she almost punches while cooking spaghetti, the smoke alarm screeching, cats milling over her slumped shoulders, eating noodles and sauce. The mountain dew and meth relapse. Three weeks of detox, and four goldfish die. Phillip plays bocce ball with the children, lights out by nine, but they crawl, one by one, into his bed to crash watching t.v. His heart is a pinball, unbreakable, but unable to travel in simultaneous directions, so to surprise her, he has Alex tattooed on the back of his neck. A social worker interviews the children, and inspects the home while Phillip waters wilted plants, and as she’s leaving, the ceiling fan comes unhinged, jerks and crashes into unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink. Phillip spends his afternoon seeking out shards of glass. Alex returns with a locavore guide, self-help books and a canister of cayenne pepper lemonade. She leads the family on a thirty day purge, and sixty days later, the house is vacant, foreclosed, and nobody knows where that energy goes once the circus leaves town.