The day that had started out in a fog, then rained, dripped, drizzled, and fizzled, turned surprisingly warmer. Then the heat rose, dipped, ebbed, simmered, stewed. I sweated right through my protective layers that failed me one by one. Before I knew what was what I was hot, dirty, wet, clammy, dry. I ignored the lights that flashed warnings. I felt drawn as a neutral bystander to the slaughter. Stray dirt mixed before clumping. Gases swirled, liquids roiled. Terrified thoughts fled contaminated balloons before popping. Possessions lost value, words lost meaning, the puzzle went unsolved. Missing parts needed replacing, people, places, things. All I had to do was change everything to regain footing. If only I could remember where I came from when it started, and how I turned up abandoned here in this empty straw basket.
Stepping diffidently to the plate, I paused to take it slow and easy. I rubbed dirt, wriggled, spit. I flexed, bent, melded, meshed, came unhinged. My potty mouth was empty. My knees were sore. I walked all over them head first. Meaty chunks of tender morsels bit me. I chewed sharp claws in defense. Cash exchanged digits for hands. All I had to show was empty. I swam the American crawl, freestyle. I went searching for a weapon to hold. I found bunches of them, ripe like bananas.
As I am wont to say, often repeatedly, at times with neither clear cause nor stunning affect, I said, “What the fuck.” As we all know by now when issues of the day burn consistently brightly on the infallible Internet, it is no longer a question. But then the voice drifted off and became smothered by lethal fumes. The fumes smelled raw like baked beans. A spit turned on a rotisserie. I listened as dogs barked in bite size order. I did not know why I became so moderately concerned. I’ve fallen into drippy vats of venom before. I slipped off to defy gravity. I also did not know why not. I aimed, and focused. I also settled for less, more bananas.
I mumbled, “Is this what I came so far to buy at this megastore?”
Back in the day when products were built to last a lifetime, products like all-wooly zoot suits, megaton bombs, lo-cal motor oil, Communism, disposable diapers, miniskirts, duck-tails, pet rocks, beatniks, tummy tucks, switch blades, V-8’s, 2 x 4’s, 3 square meals, I knew what to expect from the nearly living. Less had yet to become more. More had never been less. The blame game was carefree and easy. I could smoothly eat pudding and pie, and rise as high as a heifer, no biggie.
There used to be plenty enough blame to go around and come around. Shirts blamed skins. Boobs blamed rubes. Rubes blamed hicks. Hicks blamed slicks. Slicks blamed the oil that dripped from the rotisserie. But now clocks punch back. Unleavened bread rises. Referees take dives. Flippers flop. Waiters offer change. Holes clog. Threads unwind. Angles invert. Ointments cream. Lubes ooze. The next sweaty ayatollah bakes chicken pot pies under the hot sun. The charred ice melts like crackling yuan. The pope smokes dope and kicks off his ruby red heels. He orders a secret pizza behind closed walls. His one almighty crust burns brightly in the gas oven. In the next stall, pork sizzles on heat-seeking skewers. Each piece is indivisibly licked on the assembly line by a strange tongue. It deserves to die for countless unnamed sins. I had to zealously watch for where not to step in it.
I declared, “What a fucking drippy mess all over. Who’s going to wipe this shit up? Not me.”
“Who are you?”
Without convenient blame, where would we all end up? Nowhere, that’s where, which is why all our forged claims get granted by loaded judges and the terrain appears to be so familiar in our wildest dreams. I just want to settle down and have it my way. I was determined to look no farther than the end of my rope. I pointed my finger sharply and nailed it.
The techno-yuppie dweeb who commutes to Silicon Valley when not riding his green John Deere lawnmower on the leveled plot of cement next door to me in the Santa Cruz Mountains looked up first. Bob Dylan depicted a scene just like it. By the time he looked down it was too late. He had hired his three European guard dogs to serve and protect the pampered white cat enabled to murder beautiful birds by his porcelain wife. The porcelain wife only appeared after dark to preserve her skin, carrying a heavy stick in both hands. The venal white cat nestled snugly beneath her whirling hemline. Two dogs learned to pace in lockstep while one dog worked the perimeter undercover in the bushes. Commands were kept simple. Russian was the common language. AI machines operated managerial procedures from behind artificial tree trunks. The artificial tree trunks disguised snooping devices that hung like nooses from Nuremberg. The machinery growled, moaned, hissed, whined. The nooses sprouted artificial thorns that scarred the undercover dog. I heard the word nyet a lot. All the European dogs ate smaller dogs straight from the can, no chaser. Shifts worked 24/7, Munich time. Dead wild horses were minced and stewed, too. The chomping noises kept me awake.
I reiterated, “Et tu.”
I took my stance and scratched the dirt. I was aiming with a dead eye to take a mighty swing. I wasn’t merely kept awake at night, but tossed like a duffel bag. But then a missive from a two stroke engine beaned me. Two stroke engines had become the new Lyme disease. Even dirt as it turns out gets the scourge. But I was only looking for some solid contact to hit. I was unprepared to urgently die, and not for any sins. More of the dogs began to bark at me in bite size order. The refrain was poignant and familiar.
Symphonically, I heard, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Wisdom like that was difficult to deny. It was useless to resist but that’s all I know how to do. When it is what it is, as it is, I get stuck. Elon Musk is the buoyant visionary bopping to Mars, not me. I was still learning how to walk beside the dinosaurs who refused to go away. I plotzed and I spritzed, tunelessly adrift with an historically lame, herky-janner flair. No small time tee-hee was as fulfilling as a bite-sized belly laugh. Donald Trump was good for a penis joke but what happened to Elmer Fudd when he was so desperately needed? The dinosaurs archly flexed pens in their pocket holders that bulged like botulism. I know for a fact they scared Stephen Hawking so shitless he was unable to wipe without a reload of help.
Then I heard, “Who do you think you are?”
I was helpless to do any more than reiterate, “What the fuck.”
Because that one continues to have me stumped to this very day.