I’m in a junkyard filled with smashed up cars. The world is set in a deep blue cast. The crushed cars are arranged as a labyrinth — the walls, six high. I am wondering through this maze and a woman, a college crush of mine, is following me. I’m annoyed by her presence. She never cared for me. Why the hell is she following me around? She flirting with me and I want her to stop.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of one of the cars. Do I have a second nose? What’s going on here!?
No, it’s not a nose, it’s some kind of bump or pimple to the left of my nose. And it’s growing. It isn’t painful, but it is hideous. When I squeeze it nothing happens. Every time I see my reflection I shutter. Will this thing ever go away? Or is it new and here to stay? It has now exceeded the size of my nose, and it’s expansion is showing no sign of stopping. Should I cut it off? . . . or learn to like it?
And why . . . why is this girl following me?
I’m in Texas, but this Texas isn’t landlocked. There is a sea that floods in at high tide and renders travel impossible. I’m traveling, trying to find my way to . . . wait!? To Where? Where am I going?
Through hitchhiking I’ve made it to a strange roadhouse. It’s nestled between two short brown dusty mountains, but high up, and I have view that extends 100s of miles into the desert. I don’t have a lot of time here — the tide is coming in, and when it does I will be stuck here for days, maybe weeks. I decide to make a call to my mother. A familiar voice answers the phone, but it isn’t her. I must have dialed the wrong number, but I can’t just hang up — I know this person. I have to figure out who it is without tipping them off that I unintentionally called them. I ramble uncomfortably about nothing for a few minutes. . . .
Got it! It’s Kirsten. I know her, but haven’t spoken with her in years. Shit! Now is not the time to catch up. I need to get out of here — I have to find a way to make this short. She then tells me it’s her birthday and is upset cause no one (other than me) has called her. The tide is coming. I’m stuck. I’m staying. I’m listening. The flooded mountains do look magnificent — but I left my camera in the trunk of the last ride I caught.
I wake juggling shapes that threaten to crush me should I slip up. In a pool of cold sweat. Submerged beneath. Dank blanket. Swallowing me.
“Leave me be! Sleep — come for me again! I beg you….”
Wandering the concrete alley. True to form, I walk upright — not like last time without feet. Fuck! Another dead end. I turn around from where I came, but there is a wall touching my nose. It has been following me. I turn around again — life beginning, a field of blue grass and moaning trees, distant mountains, and weeping clouds. A yellow & red zebra watches me and its tongue falls from its mouth. And where the tongue lands the ground cracks opens, and with it a chill overtakes my body. Shaking. Shaking. I peer into the gleaming white abyss, and my right eye unhinges itself from my skull and I am watching it fall and I am watching white falling. But my feet are firm on the blue grass. Dizzy.
I wake juggling those damn colossal shapes again. Cold, sweating, frenzied and frantic.
“Stop this you fiendish thieves of rest! I can not hold these terrible shapes! They are too big, too many sides. Too many disjointed sides! Leave me be! Sleep! Come for me again!”
The wall extends to only my arm’s length and I continue the pattern with the tiles. I’ve been doing this for centuries. On this same rickety ladder. On this same damn wall. I hate these tiles. I hate this wall. The mortar smells like death, and it weeps from the space my eye once occupied. My arm aches, my rusty spade has been worn to a nub. I hate this wall. I hate these damn tiles! Why the fuck am I doing this?
What’s that!? Inside the pattern. Inside the tiles!
No! Not what. Who!? Who is that!
She holds me in a tender gaze. She is old, her face looks like a raisin in the murky reflection of the tile. She speaks with a foreign tongue I do not know — my anger melts and I lay my hands back to their tedious, gross work. The infinite pattern is almost complete — and when it is, I will know rest like no other has known. And the red moon that tooters up from the West will relinquish its motion and steady itself so I may catch it in my net.