Hannah Lee

Fight Between Friends


a short story in playlist form

By Hannah Lee


I was born with a fever, radiating a heat honed from sun herself.

I came out kicking and I guess the story goes that I would kick everyone when they would try to hold me that first week of my welcoming. “You didn’t want to come out of the womb, you didn’t want to enter this world and you sure let me know that you were pissed off about it every day,” my mom would often say. I came out jaundiced and flushed with fever. I came out screaming, screaming at the top of my lungs, all of my blood surging brain-bound.

My parents said I was not a ‘sad’ infant or toddler, and that even submerged in spells of sadness, I emerged always animated. My mom stated that I used to love to laugh, and that I loved watching other people laugh. I would stare stoic, intoxicated by the open-mouths and pleasant vibrations laughter invited. “You always loved to laugh, but you seemed to love the laughter of strangers more than anything else. You were always making strangers laugh, but sometimes you would misinterpret the strangers’ snickers as malicious or meant-to-harm, and then you would grow incredibly angry. You would cry and punch and kick and holler.”

My dad told me I would scream, sob and stare directly into the eyes of whomever was holding me at the time. He said it sometimes made strangers laugh because they couldn’t perceive that an infant could bear such an intense stare. “You had the most stable stare,” my parents would say. “You sort of scared us those few first weeks, but you began to adjust, then careen quickly into overdrive, and no one has been able to catch up since…”

These days, I have difficulty making and maintaining eye contact. Don’t be fooled: fever hallucinations are a gateway drug.


I used to only care about lights and patterns and muffled noises as an infant. I only thought about death and cats and cancer when I was seven. All I focused on at age eleven was lucid dreaming and possibilities of parallel universes, until at age twelve my boiling bubbled over and left me swimming in a crimson sea with only amnesiac visions of my anger’s aftermath. When I turned thirteen, the only thoughts I could muster were those of staying ‘sane,’ remembering medications and lithium lingering. Anger was too consuming now, it required too much electricity and for me it was lithium-lethargy-lights-out, baby. Apathy set in, seeping into sadness, side-swiping suicide until delusions of grandeur gave Anger a warm place to place his dick inside of once again.

Remember: bloodstains are difficult to become fully ridden of.

I was always screaming, yelling, pleading, fighting, fighting, fighting. First with words, later with physical violence. Violence made me capable of experiencing the feeling of everything all at once and nothing simultaneously, my favorite combination. The first hit to the head felt more sublime that the first hit of any drug I would ever try, turned me on and lit me up stronger than any man or mindfuck could ever hope to.
I have always loved the color red.


From the age of eleven until age fifteen, I often woke up to my thighs covered in blackberry-bruises. Swelling, pulsating, nasty splotches of self-inflicted battle wounds decorated my transparent thighs. The buzzing, the buzzing, the bzzzzz…As I would lie in my bed at night involuntarily thinking about a slew of fucked-up scenarios, I would clench my fists at my sides, tighter and tighter until so tight they would explode into five minutes of punishment via pummeling. The blooming, the blooming, I burn too bright…The somatic sensation of furled fist meeting the futile flesh of my inner thighs felt positively orgasmic. It wasn’t until the morning after that the dull, unrelenting throbbing and pain would set in. I grew accustomed, I acclimated accordingly. My tolerance for physical pain has always been exceptional.

Eventually, the punching, the cutting, the pinching, it all sort of lost its effect. True ‘feeling’ was becoming further difficult to achieve, let alone wallow in. Losing the lack or desire to feel or experience anything at all leaves an individual in a dangerous position. The ledge starts looking like a leaping-point.


I have always had a thing for bathrooms. I think my love and appreciation for bathrooms just might be the most unknown and important detail about me as a human being. People with social anxiety love bathrooms. The bathroom is a good place to hide, especially at medium-large gatherings of people.

Though I have used the bathroom as an emotional hideaway for years, I have thankfully only had to use a bathroom once in order to escape actual life-threatening danger. I was sixteen and he was twenty-one and let’s just say I got sick of being slapped around and shamed constantly, and let’s just say I gave him a ‘special’ blowjob that night, one with extra bite, and let’s just say that if it weren’t for that bathroom lock, those 90 seconds, and that broken window, I wouldn’t be typing this today, my friends. So, yeah, bathrooms have sort of ‘saved my life’ on more than one occasion, in more than one manner. I would worship at the porcelain altar if I were dumb enough to still worship anything or anyone.

One thing that I have noticed throughout my years of employment and general existence is that the developmentally disabled, the mentally ill, and drug addicts all love the bathroom, and this is a very understandable material entity to love. The bathroom is often the only place of solitude, of silence. You can jerk off in there or you can shoot-sniff-smoke up in there or you can throw up all of your meals in there or you can just beat the shit out of yourself and cry on the floor for hours, then lie there unresponsive and numb for a few hours more. Chances are, no one will even notice. Trust me, I am an expert. If I could only have one room to live in, it would be a private bathroom.


I am at work. It is hour nine out of my twelve for Saturday. The air smells like male body odor, too much sugar and feces. There are eight people speak-screaming all at once, and one person banging his head against the wall in a precise pattern. Headbanger over there, he’s my favorite. I am cooking steak dinner for six. I am cleaning human feces off of a 34 year old man. I am scrubbing solutions into tile to rid the smell of piss and shit and long-ago neglect. I am playing checkers with a human being who has never had a present or party in their life. I am watching a grown man punch holes, harming himself because physical pain overrides psychic pain, because no one ever held him or fed him, because no one cares about ‘these people,’ these less-than inferiors. But I do. I care because the delight derived from daily life from a simple soda or a sole smile is 1,000,000 times more pure than any emotion evoked from my peers, and, well, someone has to care about something other than their so-called shitty lives, their iphones, their ridiculous relationship woes. Someone has to care about something other than themselves, and it doesn’t look like many people are stepping up to the proverbial plate, am I right mate? Someone has to remember who everyone else has tried to forget.


I got so tired of the way assholes would stare at the guys as we walked down the block, as if they have never seen their own shitty faces in the mirror, let alone the shitstains skid-marking their souls. I wrote a new manifesto and we marched through the neon double-doors triumphant. “We will not acknowledge your disgusted glances! We will not oblige you simply because you are uncomfortable! Because you are scared! Because you want to forget! Because you want to pretend perfection is possible, that superiority is not subjective! We will not hide away! We are in your 7/11s and we will spill and scream and stand at the counter, deciding what to buy for as long as we fucking please! Because we can! Because your bubble isn’t bulletproof, and we’re locked and loaded, motherfucker!” The man behind the counter stood speechless and then turned angry, nearly physically assaulting me, and then he spit on me, a huge spitwad. I tried to spit back but screamed “FUCKING BITCH” instead as he tried to slap me across the face and restrain me. The guys began punching him and I could see welts already beginning to form all over his head and neck. Johnnybones ripped the clerk’s collar off and this grown man began crying and begging me to remove the “retards” from him and just leave the store. If I could just do that, he wouldn’t call the police. So we got up and left, snagging a few candy bars on the way out.

He never did tell the police, but Eddie ended up tattling on me after I told him he had to strip his urine-soaked bed. He refused. I pleaded some more. “Fuck you, bitch, I’m Satan!!!” When the manager came back, she yelled at Eddie for not stripping his bed and told him he would lose the privilege of shitty instant pudding dessert as result of his (non)actions. This devastated E.G., as there were few things he loved more than shitty instant pudding dessert night, and thus resulted in him blurting out the whole 7/11 ordeal in a clever attempt to divert the attention to me. I can’t say I blame him. Needless to say, I was fired.


Remembering the look of shock and disgust on my coworkers’ faces as Johnnybones punched himself full in the face repeatedly, how he would first howl murderously and then manically laugh. I recalled an older coworker had screamed out during his ‘behavior’ “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH HIM?? WHY IS HE LAUGHING AND THEN CRYING AND THEN SMILING AND LAUGHING AGAIN AS HE BEATS THE SHIT OUT OF HIMSELF?! THIS IS NOT NORMAL! DOESN’T IT HURT??” I thought to myself, I Can Understand Why He Does It, Why He Likes It. The Sensation Feels Good, Sometimes Pain Feels Good And Nothing Feels More Fulfilling Than The Perfect Pact of Pain And Pleasure. I wondered why it was so difficult for certain individuals to understand what it felt like to feel too much, what it feels like when your emotions are confused and your sentiments do not synch with your synapses.


I thought to myself how strange it seemed that the laughter of strangers could often be heard both before and after acts of violence. I thought about how many times, in a fit of unknown fury or immediately following a binge of deep sobbing, I often broke out into fits of uncontrollable laughter. I thought about the way Johnnybones would erupt into gigantic guffaws in the middle of a brutal self-beating, how his laugh would echo in tempo with the rhythmic THUD-SLAP-THUD, head hitting wall and the contrast of the physical pain and physical pleasure of laughter tickling inside his already illuminated innards.

As a child, other children used to tease me about the fact that I nervously giggled constantly to myself. Almost any time I was being spoken directly to or garnering any sort of attention, I would laugh before responding. It was a nervous tic and led many to believe I was an air-headed Pollyanna when in fact my demeanor more carefully matched that of a lonely, lead-headed old drunk man.

As a young girl, I loved to make others laugh. I put on plays, wrote short stories, told jokes, embarrassed myself, whatever it took to cheer up the sea of sad adults surrounding me. I was too young yet to have my spirit completely soiled by soon-to-be supposed ‘friends’ and lovers. I was too young yet to understand that ‘laughter’ didn’t always derive from happiness, just as I was too young to understand that anger did not always devolve from hate. I had yet to learn about the different types of laughter, about the different kinds of violence, and the uses for them both.

Oh, how there were so many situations where the laughter of strangers saved rather than slayed us all.


There is a ‘playlist’ of eight tracks that are the headers of each section. Here is the song list if you want to include it, I can also provide a free download link of the mix of songs.

if not it is all the better :)


1. Being Underwater And Everything Being Quiet And Still by Ricky Eat Acid
2. Red Red Red by Fiona Apple
3. Amy in the White Coat by Bright Eyes
4. Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor by EELS
5. At Least The Pain Is Real by Neva Dinova
6. Surprise! You’re Dead! by Faith No More
7. A New War Is Underway by Buckethead
8. All Is Violent, All Is Bright by God Is An Astronaut

Hannah Lee is a 23-year-old palindrome living in Southern California. She enjoys Fernando Pessoa, laughing uncontrollably, feeding her cat gelato and making her eyes go blurry while looking at traffic lights.