Kris Kidd Interview++ Exclusive Excerpt Of I Can’t Feel My Face
story / KOKO NTUEN
“I’m like those Jeff Koons pieces— the balloon animals— all shiny and pretty, but hollow on the inside.”
– Kris Kidd
In June of 2009, I tell my father to kill himself. We’re standing in the kitchen, and he’s crying and I’m wearing a
$300 sweater with, like, an oversized hood sort of thing going on, holding the biggest knife I can find. It’s all very avant-garde.
In July of 2009, my father blows his brains out in the backyard. I’m in the kitchen, deciding what color I’m going to dye my hair (my father never let me), and watching through the window as he is zipped into a body bag.
I know it sounds a bit trite, but I really do get everything I want now. They say life is a game, and I guess I might agree if the stakes were a little higher, but it’s just so easy to fall into a cycle. I get bored.
I bleach my hair bright white in the city of Compton within weeks of my father’s suicide. My hands fidget, drumming my fingers against my sternum and listening to the metallic whir of my cocaine heart.
In Irvine, or Costa Mesa, or whatever, my therapist tries her very best to avoid the word “manipulative” at all costs, but I catch on quickly and I give her a free pass. I pick a bleach-scab from my scalp, and tell her it’s true. She keeps mints on her desk, and every time I leave, I take a handful, and then another. I forgive myself each time, telling her she should be happy I’m eating anything at all. She is never as impressed as I want her to be.
I buy six bottles of wine at 5 O’clock Liquor in the city of Bell, using an expired I.D. I stole from a friend-of-afriend-of-an-acquaintance in New York. The man on the I.D. is four inches shorter, and fifty pounds heavier than I am, and I explain to Rajan, the cashier, that I’ve been losing weight lately due to stress. I make sad eyes, and shift my weight from foot to foot while he sighs and continues to ring me up.
I’m like those Jeff Koons pieces— the balloon animals— all shiny and pretty, but hollow on the inside. I’m half-high, taking pictures of myself on my MacBook’s photo booth while Joy Division’s Disorder plays over and over again in my iTunes library.My friend decides to go to rehab— to get clean or to take a vacation, I can’t remember which, and I throw all her paraphernalia into a dumpster and stuff her Xanax into my back pocket, because I am a saint.
I’m back at 5 O’clock Liquor, wearing a distressed Calvin Klein muscle-tee and setting a 40oz of Miller High Life on the counter next to a bag of gummy worms. This cashier’s name is Sanjiv. He takes one look at the I.D. and tells me he can’t sell me the beer.
WHERE THE FUCK IS RAJAN? I slam my fists on the counter. Sanjiv is not at all amused. RAJAN SELLS ME BEER EVERY TIME I COME HERE! DO YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR FUCKING LIQUOR LICENSE? I’m crying now. CALL RAJAN! I WANT TO SPEAK TO RAJAN! I WILL FUCKING REPORT YOU!
It’s just that easy.
At three in the morning, I smell like champagne and Colgate, wandering the streets of downtown and playing don’t-step-on-the-cracks, waiting for the trains to start running again. Little L.A. waif waits, wastes. I’m losing sight, smell, and taste. I’d hail a cab, but they never pick me up. They don’t trust me. I stand at the intersection of Flower and 6th, holding a wad of cash in the air, and the cabs still avoid me. I’m Julia fucking Roberts.
I’m posing for a high school art class, shivering like a Grand-mal seizure, and I take my shirt off, even though the teacher specifically asked me not to during our fifteen minute briefing. Nobody compliments me on the extreme visibility of my ribcage, so I ask the class what they think I’m at The Standard on Sunset with a producer I met on a shoot, wearing a leather jacket I stole from an acquaintance-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, and the producer says he wants to go out for dinner. I tell him I’d rather have drinks, and of course he complies. I make sure to remind him that I have no money in between every gulp of my six or seven vodka-Redbulls.
“IS THIS REALLY A ‘ME’ ISSUE?” I’m screaming at my mom in the kitchen because she won’t stop asking me where I go at night. I’m wearing a ninety dollar tank top that I practically begged the designer for, and the gold-foil lettering shimmers when I stomp my feet on the ground.
I am the cause of the energy crisis. When the sun sets, I turn all of the lights on, and I keep them on until the sun returns. Darkness equates to loneliness and I have, over the years, developed a Motel 6 mentality. I bask in late-night artificial light and amphetamine clarity, dancing to “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths and waiting for morning to come.
I drink Coke-zero while I score coke from an honors student in Huntington Beach. I take my sweet time gumming it at home while listening to the Runaways’ Cherry Bomb, hyping myself up for another night alone.
“I’m just not into this,” I declare during my last therapy session when my therapist asks if I resent my father for killing himself. Then I dump her entire bowl of mints into my backpack and leave.
The game is getting old, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve mastered the art of it, or if I just have some weird attention-deficit-disorder when it comes to getting my way all the time, every time. My nose bleeds, and every comedown feels like an overdose. I try to make peace with God each time, but he shows no interest, and it reminds me of my dad, and I get so upset that I just have to do another line. Like I said, a cycle.
In my kitchen, I’m staring out the window at the impending storm clouds, and pretending to wash dishes— which I really don’t think is fair because I never eat any of the food here. In the backyard, there is a small patch of dead grass where my father’s head laid the night he killed himself. I feel a pinch on the palm of my hand and look down to see that I’m bleeding. I pull the big knife out of the sink and rinse the blade off in the running water.
It’s raining outside now. The sky is dirty blue. Mud begins to puddle in the little patch of dead-dad grass, and I wonder if anything will ever grow there again.