A broken light shining in my eye made me wince. There was no evidence of harmony to speak of so I was supposed to have nothing to say. Fractured glass was crunching underfoot and the fine tuning was flat. The point of a gun lurked smoking in the shadows. That was enough of a point to satisfy me.
A familiar voice buried hip deep was heard to remark, “Sup.”
I also heard, “Yo.”
The volatile mix of attitude and bass in the streets was marching, charging. Bloody gums and dull teeth were aching. Shirts were going at it ass to cheek against skins to keep playing for the power to keep playing. It’s not only robots who favor heavy bass as an assault weapon. Drudges and drones, too. Drones may be a recent growth industry but drudges have been around for what appears to our weak foresight as forever. That’s one example of the great civic good to be achieved by myopia. Just look at all the knees jerking to the same sad song while bowing down daily.
I heard a bovine voice, bleating “My neck hurts from looking up so long.”
I did not say what I meant, which was, You’ve got quite an impressive ass posing up there on your shoulders. That up looks suspiciously like down to me. Instead, lacking empathy, I said, “Uh huh.”
I tried to discreetly lam out of there. Sure, you can blame me. I do. I felt the bad breath of a monkey watching me from behind bars in the zoo. His pointed judgments hurt. I looked away, unable to feel his pain or match his purpose. Sham spectacles mixed with wardrobe changes, white powders, and dull explosions, work fast, but tail off faster. Not even the decrepit Rolling Stones could get no satisfaction, though they still try and try. I felt shame, too, which wore off next. Later, second thoughts snatched me from behind and knocked my senses loopy. Was that a polecat stinking up the enchanted ether of heaven or only an ordinary weasel?
What do you do when stiff defenses and rigid denial are no longer up to snuff, when the market is out of stock and the furnace is out of fuel? Where do we get to go to hide next from the factory rejects who spoil a swell time for the rest of the one great gang? You wouldn’t believe how standards around here have descended. My pants were lost playing poker because that old crooked smile had lost that old black magic that had me in its spell. No bluff passed enough snuff.
I said, “I’m all in.”
“Mighty high and defiant of you.”
“That’s my bet.”
I heard, “Hah.”
Soon, no respectable waiter in a stuffed shirt would serve me. The bartender sloshed my wan beer into the drain designed for pissing contests. Wobbly tables were overturned. They claimed it was now my job to bend over and wipe. Better get ready. If not now, when? Now is not soon enough.
I heard gobbledygook that translated to, “Scoot.”
The darn old pump has never been the same since the vandals took the handles. The swimming hole stays dry all year long with no lube oozing on the horizon. Just the other day another honeybee bit the dust. And the warranty that was indivisible right here just a minute ago has disappeared. If that bluff don’t get fixed right quick all these critters turning tricks in the cage might get loose and spew.
I said, “Don’t look at me like that.”
“Who you think you’re talking to?”
I said, “Uh.”
I heard, “Crunch.”
That was the wake-up call I needed to hear. I snapped to attention. I grabbed ass and scooted. That was still my indivisible right. Just ask the man with the gun in his hand.
“What I say?”
“I’m warning you.”
“Ain’t nobody here but us chickens.”
I ran for a ringside seat in the rafters and stayed put for the prelims. Two pairs of salty dogs in suits fought in a steel cage to no decision. Then they started all over again. A pack of lying wolves howled sky high from the cheap seats for recognition. The tense vendor hawking wieners on the loge level spilled hot juice down the front of his pants. Those fangs drip some powerful ick. In the next fight, a religious contender who borrowed his ceramic haircut from the meanest of the Three Stooges burst out of the chute fortified with a tag-team army. The army clogged two sides of a ditch and both shoulders of a road they dug fast and loose linking to a solid waste hookup. Drains filled up to the highest common denominator of butt crack when bent. Try getting a foothold in that during construction. Then a candidate with a cinched up neck countered with a plop and a fizz that is still stinking up the joint. His brass buttons were causing unsightly ring around the creased collar. He stooped so low he kissed the dirt he shat upon. Then he lip-synched a prayer to the single most top notch god just in case. And he waited, and he waited. He dragged his lawfully wedded wife alongside by her hair. Yet, yesterday never came back. The game that was in the bag slipped away. Only the stink lingers. The wires crossed and the fuse blew. Ick all over.
“We need more antidote in all wards.”
“Serum or capsules?”
I heard, “Stat.”
Is it that the pose is getting harder to maintain or that faking it ain’t what it used to be? All this monkey business looks like weak to middling baby bear porridge in bright light. Where is the good stuff that makes magic? I still can’t fly. My consciousness remains unrisen. When does the same old shit on a shingle going to turn into ambrosia? Billions of insatiable lips want to keep sucking hard. Fuck this evidence shit that gets in the way.
I heard, “I got a bleeder.”
Junior Walker in the all night waiting room was wailing, “What does it take?” The worst kind of shallow breathing, my own, was calling, calling, calling. I did not know what to make of all this crying out loud, for Pete’s sake. The leather strap on the patched mixed bag I was carrying sprung a leak, and guts spilled out from under the bump in the rug. That explained that. If I know anything I know that no help is on the way from marching, charging. I’d be content to know that the only hands in my pants are all mine.
What more does the thinking man get to do with his suspicions? Bodies in bags on stretchers keep coming. The alibis for the newfangled crimes arrive pre-packaged and gift wrapped when ordered from the pre-approved catalogues. The script was supposed to start out funny and stay funny, as if the meaning of funny was sorrow. It’s the same template, the same script, as the big boys have always used. Left, right, march, straight. No slouching, shithead. And they’ve been getting away with it for centuries. I’ll bet you believed the guilt was buried deep out of sight. The same odds may shift but the stink won’t go.
A swell old boy with a good sized portion of belly in the snack bar annex chimed in, “Burp.”
I said, “Pay no mind to me.”
He combed his good hair and said, “Who are you?”
I said, “Uh.”
I heard, “Just as I thought.”
I said, “I’m looking for the physical therapy department.”
I heard “We can exchange codes and numbers but you have to pay in advance.”
I said, “Along with the areas of harmonic convergence, and conscious breathing.”
I heard, “Uh.”
I said, “But…”
A sweet and sexy little sidekick of a gal in one indivisible honey of a push-up bra added, “We know who you think you are. You’d better scoot.”