SLUDGE • by Elizabeth Lawrence

A roach runs across my cutting board. Scurries down the drain. I flick on the garbage disposal. Listening to the crunch and bunch of matter satisfies. Wish a garbage disposal would churn through my mind. Pulverize my thoughts and feelings. Unclog my brain. Let creative juices flow. But today feels just like any-other-day-that-ends-in-day. I feel nothing. Wading through the sludge. My congested, neural pathways are middle-aged like the pipes of this leaky sink.

“It’s crazy,” the maintenance man wipes up water. “I don’t see no leak. Maybe something spilled down there.”

Front door slams. He’s gone.

A text:


Solved? I asked for a plumbing-fix and got gas-lit.

Working in news production, we’re told to make any disaster newsworthy. Warn the community to hunker down, while documenting at all costs. I narrate as I film.

“Behold, a bizarre mystery. Maintenance dismissed multiple tenant complaints of alleged leakage from the kitchen sink. Yet, one cannot argue that a pool of water has accumulated at the basin of the cupboard. A breeding ground for uninvited guests. Cockroaches. Plural. Because where there is one pest, there are hundreds…”

Video sent.

Maintenance replaced the leaky pipe that afternoon. Roach-Tech sprayed the apartment. Maybe my doctor is right. With persistence comes change. Maybe the Transcranial Magnetic Therapy we’ve been doing is working. Unclogging brain matter. Will my nightmares stop pooling in the drain to rot?

The pests in my mind are running amuck and I can’t keep getting trapped in their sludge.

Elizabeth Lawrence is a writer and documentary filmmaker residing in Jacksonville, Florida. She has just completed her second feature documentary titled, THE DEPTHS OF MY DESPAIR. Her debut and award-winning feature film ROLL OUT, COWBOY screened at over 50 film festivals and won six Best Documentary awards.

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