It’s exceptionally difficult to explain to a badge what’s decent about mad ramblings. Hell, maybe nothing is. Maybe that’s what makes them decent.
I’m rambling to myself, something strange and curious enough to merit a transcription in my notepad. I’m zoned, in the corner of some suspicious state park, unnecessarily nervous about my car stalling. Shadow on the dashboard. I turn to my left and am confronted by a badge. “Have you been smoking marijuana sir?” I forage through a hodgepodge of vocabulary, hoping to stumble upon an adequate response, “Oh, uh, that’s the … yes?” “Get out of the car.”
Jesus Christ! That sunset; I wonder if he notices. He’s mumbling something about going through my car, about his reasonable suspicion, but before I register any of it he’s inside, shining his light into every crevice of the vehicle. He finds a lighter. All incriminating material is stored in the trunk, standard protocol for any experienced degenerate.
He’s sitting in my front seat now. Through the side mirror I see his fat, pit bull-shaped face wrinkle into a mess of confusion. Perfect, I’ll be on my way any moment now. Focus on the sunset. Focus on the sounds of nature. Focus on the sound … of my trunk opening.
The fucker! Where are my witnesses? Christ, he’s digging in. Christ, I’m not doing anything about it. He’ll find my backpack – my main piece of gear – loaded with a six-inch glass pipe, bundles of scribbled paper, a semi-functional digital camera, an eighth of marijuana, and an assortment of pens. The papers alone are enough to warrant some kind of mandatory confinement, or at the very least, a case study. It’s exceptionally difficult to explain to a badge what’s decent about mad ramblings. Hell, maybe nothing is. Maybe that’s what makes them decent. Maybe I’m rambling now.
Back to the trunk. Next to the backpack is a wet plastic bag I’ve been planning on dumping for a while now, but haven’t. In it: papers full of resin, used condoms, waterlogged sneakers, a curious stained dress (innocently) purchased for a costume party – abortions and discards of my life. Buried deeper, a Sam Adams box filled with tennis balls and power wires, a sandy quahogging basket, and a duffle bag packed with more costume material, notably a homemade tinfoil crown with a twelve inch cross on top of it.
The pit bull rummages through the trunk, his snout buried deep in the ass of my automobile. After sniffing and shuffling through my inventory, he pulls up the anchor of his fat head with a triumphant enthusiasm. His face is swelling. He bursts into laughter and tears. Ecstatic. Revelrous.
Driving now, shaking the dread of some phantom cop digging through my trunk. Enjoy a long, peaceful, four minute journey to the beach. Park safely. That sunset is still lighting up the canvas of Nothing on top of me. I stare.
A middle-aged woman stretching her legs for an evening jog interrupts my gaze. She is staring at me. She thinks I’m staring at her. I am staring at her. Frightening, and perhaps an explanation for the sudden spike in my blood pressure. Drive away, only option.
On the road, driving aimlessly, and a massive pink November cloudscape descends upon me. Arresting and oppressing, sublime and beautiful, I prepare to pull the emergency break. I will barge out of this rusty machine, fall to my knees, open my arms, cry “God!”, and embrace the inevitable crushing of my skull by oncoming spinning steel and hot rubber. No, keep driving – it’s too early for redemption. The cloudscape recedes. I chase down uncharted terrain like an addict on his last binge.
The sky turns to black. The clouds are gone. I pull into a gas station with a stuttering maneuver. More fuel for my car and body: gasoline, cigarettes, energy drinks, beef jerky – the bare necessities for going and decomposing. The clerk is staring at me with big eyes, and moving too slow. I yell, and stumble out the door grinning. My heart is beating fast, too fast, a palpitating fast. The clerk is on the phone. Why? Breathe. Breathe.
Heart slows, blood flows evenly, back on the road. Smooth. Nothing left but a weaving through white lights on a black canvas.
Image by owlpacino.