Aug 26, 2008
There are some things they’ll never tell you on the Front End and maybe it’s better, in the End, not to know. Nobody tells you, when you’re young and dumb, about the kind of raucous hang-overs you can get from cheap whiskey but Common Sense should kick in somewhere along that line and allow you to figure things out for yourself. But that won’t mean too much when you’re sicker than seven hells and wondering how you woke up in a strange bed in a room you’ve never seen before with an itemized list tacked to the wall with the Heading: “Things to Get” and that includes the frighteningly cryptic entry: “Blood of the Chosen One.”
But, then again, they’ll never tell you that Good Whiskey goes straight to your legs.
And that’s one I picked up for myself somewhere on the trail and I’ve stood by it as much as I’ve stood by anything. It has served me well.
Sure. And I’m just looking for some kind of lynchpin now to peg all this down while I sit next to an open window with the breeze glazing my right arm with a fine spray from the lingering remnants of this season’s first Tropical storm. But storms are frequent and cheap these days and I was forced, lately, to turn off the chattering Idiot Box after I’d managed to get more than an ass full of the ridiculous farce that some people call the DNC. The Republicans will get their chance soon enough and then I can get down to paranoid delusions about the Neocons slitting my throat because I once listened to Art Bell in the square-ass middle of the night. But, somehow, I can only imagine that hearing Coast to Coast would be infinitely superior in every possible way to hearing the kind of Flack-fashioned drivel that the Democrats seriously believe will make Michelle Obama more palatable to the general populace.
But that’s not what’s on my mind tonight. No. Tonight I’m recalling all those diaphanous episodes that fade all too swiftly behind me and linger, shimmering, out in the West of my mind while the Sun sets behind them.
The Call is strong tonight and I can feel myself being pulled by the gravity of reminiscence back to late nights and early mornings after long hours of tracking motions that were etched into the permanent radar scopes of my soul.
Back then, I used to watch her and she was smooth and all cool and easy grace with a keen edge that cut the night in front of her and blazed the trail that she followed; all fluid lines and a sure sense of motion…no wasted effort; an economy of movement.
…there was no way it could happen fast enough; I couldn't get there as quick as I wanted.
And the sleek, clear memory of some long, lost night out on the dam while the Moon showed his face double in the lake (and we got stuck in deep mud) got hung up in the last corner of my mind.
All those times with colored lights strung across the luau night while we drank whiskey and juice out of coconut cups and pretended that it wasn't really about all that; when, actually, we knew precisely what we were about to do.
All a slippery blur now; those weird experiments we conducted with soft rope, wine bottles and loaded guns.
I can still hear the stinging click of the trigger as we tried to wear it down to a nub with repeated and furious firing while the spent, golden shells peppered the floor around us with a resounding, glittering clink that took my mind away and made me believe that this was finally something beautiful in a world of uglier realities.
And we never cared about the thrumming, hypnotic beat that the rain hammered out on the roof above us as we tried to make it home below in the fruitless hope of making it all magic again; but we knew better even then, I think. Or did we?
There was no way we could've known what it was on those nights but we ran, thirsty and palpating, trying to squeeze out some last, errant drop that we might've missed when we ran our tongues along those imaginary lines that only we could see.
I remember standing there as the light faded in the rainy distance as you drove away; the clouds were thick and poised, biding their time and keeping their own secrets; storms within storms. Then: A sudden flash of lightning across the trees and the forest was filled with furtive life and the echo of the thunder rolled away on ominous gossamer wings as we all settled back into ordinary.
But the blinding flash was plastered behind my eyes like a slick, black whip-crack straight from the hand of some unknown god.