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 am standing on the utmost peak of a jagged mountain. It is a moonless, pitch black night. The lightening flashing around me is the only source of light. My naked body is hunched over a pale rock. I am sweating, muttering words in a language I don’t know . . . words that come to me as if whispered by a worm inside my skull. They have a ghastly power, and the world around me changes as I untangle the invidious words from my stern lips. The wind begins to rip through the pulsating darkness like an estranged uninvited guest. And I see, in the frantic flickering light, the mountains grow and topple, the vast cracked desert expand endlessly, the dark seas come rushing in. All on my whim. All on my whim!
I am alone in this world — it is me, and I am it.
But wait! What’s this? Something is happening to my body! I am undergoing a metamorphosis. I twitch against the pale dank rock. My fingers and arms elongate to my knees, my eyes sink into my hallow skull. Ribs sharpened, stomach turned in. My skin, a pasty blue.
And when all this horror has ceased I see that my testicles have dropped and become like flat stone tablets. But they are spongy, dense, and soft, still connected to my groin by a long thick pinkish tube. Though they are heavy, I can lift them with my long crooked arms. On the tablets are more words . . . more terrible words I don’t understand.
I’m standing on a rickety pier, surrounding me throbs and swells a black angry ocean. No land in sight. The sun beating on my neck, the still empty blue sky above. I’m fishing with only a hooked line and a short thick stick. No bait. Despite the pitiful tackle, I am able to throw the 3-pronged hook far off into the rough waters. I use the stick to help me reel it in by twisting the line around it. My bare hands covered in thin red lines.
On one throw the hook lands centered in a pod of playing dolphins. I love dolphins. I immediately start to reel in the line as quickly as I can — nervous because I don’t want to catch one on the hook. SHIT! . . . Got something! . . . please don’t be a dolphin . . . please don’t be a dolphin . . . please don’t be a dolphin . . . .
I’m frantically twisting the line around the stick — it’s dragging something, something big, something heavy. My arms, hands, and fingers strain and ache — my tension builds as the struggling creature is desperately tugged closer . . . please . . . I don’t want this to be true. Sharp pains running from my fingertips to the base of my neck. Closed eyes . . . please don’t be a dolphin .. . please . . . .
Then I see . . . it’s not a dolphin!
My dear friend, Katie! . . . the hook is through her nose!
I collapse to my knees and break out into uncontrollable tears. She reassures me that she is fine while yanking and twisting the gnarled hook from her nose and climbing from the cold black water. But it doesn’t matter. I’m devastated — reminded of every time I have unintentionally hurt someone that I love. A deep hopelessness swallows my mind as dark clouds close in and spiral violent above me. My sobs growing louder, the sky cracks open, and frigid raindrops pierce my heart. My breath becomes the turbulent surface of the untamed sea — and I vanish within everything surrounding me.
I wake gasping for air. And the lyrics of a song immediately possess my mind — they soothe and cradle my sadness as I try to fall back into sleep.
The little puppies in milk, like small dumplings. Some in the teeth of some larger being. I was in a yellow glowing room. The table was wooden. The bowls of milk were warm. Later there was a ceramic artpiece on the wall. I saw that there was a piece that had to be fit onto it. There was writing on it. Old Zach from high school with his zaggy left hand script was there and the dogs now were large and I kept Celeste away from them.
It was as if I were trying to catch a solid reflection of myself in a rushing brook.
. . . I then started cutting off large sections of each of my fingers so they would fit into the small gloves. I used dull scissors for this horrible chore; it was tougher to get through the tendons than the bone. The bone just snapped clean with the initial pressure — the tendons took a special kind of focused time. However, I saw through the gruesome task with steadfast dedication and utter agony, without so much as a flinch. The real pain and frustration didn’t come until much later. For I realized, not soon enough, that the premise of my reasoning was faulty — the gloves were the fingerless kind!
Needless to say, awkwardly typing this with sore bloody knuckles has been a humbling and lonely experience.
I went up the black steps that were well lit. People waited for me as I banged through the safetygates with the key. I opened up the roof, but it was trashed. It was night. I lay down with my head on the edge. There was a blanket. I began to talk to the person next to me.
The night was long and filled with troupes of makeuped women. I strode into a cool neon lit bar. It was long and tables filled with laughter was a scent of energy thick and deep with currents. Any one person strolling in would have had to tear a hole into the vibe in order to break it’s lush cocaine undertow. The frolicking rocked their toothy bodies. A woman with electric blue braces smiled wide as the waxing cheshire moon. Her lips were glistening candy red. I came to attack someone. I came in with violence in the heart. It was only milky arms and smiles braced and eyelashes made of feather and black liner beaded with luminescent paint. Everyone was from pandora.
I didn’t stay there. Where I went was filled with tiny animals.
The next day you and I walked in a strange town. We found a rock with a historical leap. They told of how the huge gap over the water was usually crossed by a rope swing more than seven times a day. Although it was a long way down into the water, I took the leap with the rope in hand, swinging, even kicking off against the water. I made it to the other side. You followed me. And I saw you come across. &~~