In the deepest canyons more than a mile below the surface of Monterey Bay, where the theft of private property had not yet occurred, mighty contradictions, the second most basic building blocks of the multiverse, were abounding. No light, no matter. The coolest creatures were chill. The beat bumped bedrock. The simpler facts were matter enough. One unsurpassed cell came out on top and bottom. No outlets for pent up demand required. No beginning, no end, no illusions.
The superficial outlook from above the crust, in thinner air, roiled by dense fog, was understandably more confused. Followers with no known destinations clogged the tumultuous byways. The fourth most basic building blocks of the multiverse, unintended consequences, which many consider a subset of the third, mistakes, and not a solid block of its own, though not me, were adrift. I know that I met up with a big one while looking up when I should have been looking down in the mountains where my feet were going. One body part cried out to another. Connections were not made like this to be broken. It hurts to suck that hard to breathe.
“What happened to that splayed foot that’s dangling?”
“It bailed on me.”
“Sucks for you.”
That passed as a bedside manner from the hirsute nurse who strapped me down and mangled me from behind. Next, he handed me the one crutch deemed necessary and sufficient for rudimentary locomotion and shunted me aside. The doctor was less sympathetic. Meekly, I questioned the logic. Why does the question of acute pain in my ass always come up? She looked away, and coughed into her left hand, which I interpreted as a genetic slur disguised as a commentary on meekness, before barking, “Next.”
As I waited to be adequately discharged, the image of the President of the United States appeared on the small screen bolted into the ceiling above the rows of molded plastic chairs. Those molded chairs in all emergency rooms are manufactured for next to nothing by female impersonators in commercial sweatshops. Any color, bulk discounts, prompt delivery. The President also had a timely wee message he conjured on his own to deliver. It was sponsored commercially by Ex-Lax and Viagra. Mixed nuts were being served in the audience along with soft drinks. A quorum was assembled from scraps. A majority were illicitly adulterated under the tables. The President was wearing lightly clumped mascara but no telltale pinko rouge. He was alleged to be the worlds fastest human when behind the scenes and unencumbered by his tighty whitey briefs.
“Despite the protuberance of my commitment, my fellow Americans, which would appear to be no less obvious tonight than ever, I come before you this evening carrying what might be construed as the dead weight of a heavy heart. I believe that no man in my position, top, bottom, or bravely bi, would admit any less. Or any brave woman for that matter marching to the long telltale line at the locked door to the ladies room, or any of you out there in small screen mode coming together to knock politely on all of your doors to plead for mercy. What else makes us so special? That’s what makes us so special. Take my word among many words for it. Surely not the many travesties of our deniable weaknesses, like duh, or the mass of mundane travesties of normal common decorum. As if.”
The front row of stuffed penguins barked back like trained seals. Synthetic colors flashed lewdly. There was white, off-white, vanilla, and light beige. Balls were balanced against spleens and memory pillows achieved the formats of bendable behinds. Starched shirts popped with raging fervor as dibs on plastic chips were traded. Scarlet temperatures ran feverishly high and commentators danced jigs.
I did not care to speculate on which or what entity still requires starch instead of a backbone. But, why not finally get a grip on inner flaccidity? That includes plenty of bed rest as a bonus. I knew it was going to be hard for me to get a good nights sleep anywhere nearby. When I looked up the volume was still turned on too high. Then there was a modern onscreen pause to refresh from Ex-Lax. State of the art sound effects were captivating.
A prisoner sat beside me on a chair that wobbled asymmetrically and said, “What happened to your head?”
“It hit me.”
“Sucks for you.”
“Out of nowhere,” I added, “and for no reason.”
He held up his shackles and said, “Me too.”
I stepped to the side and shuffled across the crowded floor. Muzak brayed. I could tell that the last dance was not going to be saved for me. I knocked on the bullet proof glass and said, “How much longer?”
“Who are you?”
“Don’t tell me you don’t know.”
I could hide all right but I could not run. I held up my arm like a traffic cop and returned to the solace of my own seated ass to stop, look, and listen before attempting any more dangerous crossings. As my eyes returned involuntarily to the ghoulish spectacle above, it occurred to me that no one was going to requisition the balls needed to stop the President from going on and on.
“Only the good Lord knows, the real one, none of your sallow sicko wannabes, just how much medicine the American people have been forced to suck and swallow in order to attain the certifiable position in which we are enmeshed. As a single solid mass, we all look forward to the day when no more sacrifices will be required. Let me assure you that no one wishes this more than I. Each morning I wake up and swear to Gold Almighty. Just take a look at what’s happened to my head of hair. I know that you all would agree with me if you could.”
I ultimately paid in legal tender, unbreakable plastic that carried me this far better than any crutch, with no wrinkled dead presidents to drag out and unfold, and limped away. The crutch was not half bad once the kinks were worked out. I learned a new lesson in how to be used. I felt like a lucky man to breathe. In a pinch, where it hurts most of the ordinary time, the shallow point of view works good enough. I already knew that but it was a useful wake-up call to be reminded where I stand.
“Don’t forget your receipt.”
Once I had paid in full there became a consolidated effort to make sure to get me good and gone. Mere kinetic energy suddenly metastasized into a stereophonic concert. An aide in dotty candy stripes punched a code into a box that emitted a porcine squeal that scrambled frantic pixels to call me a dingy yellow cab.
“In your condition, no matter what, you’re in no condition to drive.”
“In my condition, no matter what, I can’t find my car.”
The cab driver did not speak English but that did not stop him from talking. To listen, I did not need to understand. Who said that breathing was supposed to be easy with head above water? I know for a fact it was never me. It turned out that the best part of being free was not the journey.