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.