I never believed it could happen to me, but my well ran dry. Now, I miss my water. Sure, I was warned. I’m more than simply a smug prisoner of denial. Technically, the fault was likely all mine. In many cases, it’s a bitter pill. I miss Otis Redding, too, along with Albert Einstein, Abbott and Costello, Jor-El, Plato, Mr. Rogers, Steve McQueen, Elmore Leonard, and the high diving dolts from the white cliffs of Dover. Though knowing is not the same as believing. But, still.
Although much evidence might indicate I went slightly over the edge this past Summer in brewing brown beer during the millennial drought, I will admit that I’m not very sorry. I am willing to endure the consequences for my belief system, and gulp hard. The edge, especially when razor sharp, may cut, but no teardrops will fall. Not from, and therefore not on, me. None of these fake religions featuring superheros in tight briefs and stretch pajamas under flowing robes can hold up a drippy candle to that. I won’t go thirsty for long. I refuse. I rebel. I won’t repent. If I don’t feel entitled, who will?
To my great distress, however, although not to my surprise, the numb nuts who operate the so-called Family Law Division of the Superior Court of Santa Cruz County like a triage service for vampires let me know that they don’t agree. Not now, not ever. Not with my thoughts, my feelings, my attitude, my language, or my accusations. Especially the untoward component of my attitude which covers such a lot of fertile ground for them to step into. They were prompt about it, too. I’d chalk one up for my side of I could feel good about it in a healthy, holistic way. But, until I was able to demonstrably to walk the take and show the fuck up, and put the fuck up, and shut the fuck up as well, the tween twins were mandated to be fed and cared for by their mother, a confessed extortionist.
Before I had an opportunity to remonstrate in any typical, characteristic manner, a clerk snapped, “Be careful. We’ve all had it just about up to here with your attitude.”
I muttered, “Achtung, scheisskopf.”
“What was that?”
“A positive example of my new and improved language.”
So, I dug deeper. I had to do it. The fuckers flat out made me do it. It was blatant and repugnant. Just anyone who looked could see. I used a shovel and a pick. Much of the dirt did not meet my ideal expectations in the category of softness. I hit a pipe. My wrist twisted. The grit and grime grew. The pipe broke and jagged edges became exposed. There was little comfort or ease to be uncovered. I looked hard but came up empty. I had an ax handle handy in case of an attack by fed up granules of manganese. The minerals were bitter. I didn’t blame them one bit. The manganese clung to the iron and did not wish to be disturbed. The zinc did not dig being dug so deep and hard. Bauxite, quartz, and galena, too. Other dirt was infiltrated by shards of clay, glass, flint, sulfur, ashes, tar, bones, and composites from primitive pre-plastic settlements. A lot of it also stunk, too.
As my wrist turned a humiliating shade of scarlet, I exclaimed, “What the fuck.” It was not a question. I was nowhere close to reaching my end, any end. The swelling increased exponentially like a retrograde of rising income taxes.
It was hard to keep my mind from roaming while I dug. The terrain consisted of rounded peaks and denuded valleys, highly conducive to meandering thoughts. What if I blew it with my lack of sensitivity and my well won’t come back to me? What if rampant extraction of irreplaceable minerals causes irreversible brain damage? What if the minerals that provide the clarity for my screen, the precision for my keystrokes, and the circuitry that enables the best big brains that billions can buy to be at my service on command at all times, all leach out at me at once? What if delusion precedes denudement? What if the minerals have prepared retaliatory attacks, and are about to spit back? Would I be saved if I apologized? Would there be a warning? Would I keep digging while it’s happening? Would the pain continue to spread?
The tawny owl, who was reading my thoughts from a sturdy perch in a redwood tree while he waited for his lovely wife Thee Mrs. to regurgitate a brown mouse in peace and harmony, added, “If a vein of tungsten explodes a cap your ass, and you get launched back to where you once might have belonged…”
I said, “I bet I know where there is going to end up.”
“Not here” he continued, “clinging to your acres and your mules, or anywhere near. I’m talking far out there. Would you be able to know the difference?”
I said, “I’ve seen epic, cutting edge plans for the next phase rocket ships that are going out there, you know.”
“As in nowhere close.”
“There are credible instructions on the Internet,” I countered.
He said, “As if.”
“But, my hope is there’s a solution to be found somewhere closer to home first.”
It was also my sincere hope that the brown mouse reduced to a sodden skeleton by the lovely jaws and juices of Thee Mrs. was the same brown mouse that had stalked and attacked me the day before. The sneaky runt had jumped me from a rafter while I was engaged in an unarmed surveillance mission. I know the odds were never in my favor. Like, duh. And I won’t deny that I had been previously engaged in protracted warfare with that mouse, nor that I had ruthlessly plundered and pillaged his soft home with a broom handle. Furthermore, I felt no guilt. But, still.
For the sake of the tween twins, however, and only for them, and their plight, although they appeared to be no less remarkably unfazed than ever, and I expected no decisive victory as a result, because that’s just not how it’s done anymore, I continued to withstand the rigors of my ordeal. Dirt became my preferred milieu, digging my cause. Sure, you’ve been there. If you believe you missed it, you were not paying attention. The many blood feuds in the adjacent muck continued on a parallel course surrounding me. Hogs came to the slaughterhouse in herds. The swelling did not respond to treatment. Animals with great pots of transcendental energy to stir came and observed, hummingbirds, bees, gnats. Opportunistic parasites and scavengers, too. It is possible that one or both of the two astral traveling beavers who operated a conceptual lodge in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains, Berton and Burton, stopped by and paused briefly to be amused. I don’t need no stinking evidence to believe any more than you do.
I knew, moreover, that I could not plausibly return to genuflect in open court with convincing artifacts of change in my current condition. First, I had to suck back all of the residual bile and cleanse my shallow breathing. After that, I had to take a step back and rise above, but not so far back that I fell into the ditch with more bitterness, where I would have to begin additional clawing from scratch. Who knows if there might not be extra insidious shit mixed in with the grit this time, plus traps and dead-ends? I knew I’d better play it safe, and suck some more. And then and only then could I begin to wash my face and hands clean. But, where was the pure water coming from? Wasn’t that the point a long time ago? You can see the inherent contradictions. Contradictions are not the second most basic building block of the multiverse just for the fun of it. Like, duh. Try to get anywhere without one grabbing hold. Don’t come whining to me about how much it hurts when you do.
That’s another excellent reason why I feel no guilt. It still hurts, you know.
After all that I’ve been through, and for whatever cause, who’s going to be the first to cast a boulder out of that big pile of shitty dirt and blame me?
I thought so.