Knowing I can go nowhere where there is no there to go, I drove to Oaksterdam by the light of the slivered moon. It makes good sense to me for a human to go where gravity isn’t such a dead weight holding a buoyant head down. San Francisco Bay appeared to be glowing with feigned effervescence when I looked out from the left side of my aircraft. A messianic tenor coming in for a landing was guided by blue lights from a trio of bifurcated airports. The beat was off and the timing was ill-advised. The traffic was otherwise slow, until Koko Taylor, who was a queen of the knockout punchers, cut in, “Yes, I know the way to hell. I love the devil and I know him well.”
I idled my search engine to back into a tight space heads up and ass frontwards. No autopilot in these uncontrolled simulations to erase mistakes. I took care to look out for my private liability in the proscribed manner. More mistakes beckoned. I turned wide, not deep, to maintain a distance. Long lines led to shortness of breath. Hairy animals were doing the barnyard boogie in the alley. One or another commotion was scheduled to go on all night long, though subject to change without notice. Any distance was better than none. Avoidance issues were left dangling above the fray like a switchblade. Smart devices connecting contacts were wired and jumpy. Many got bent. Dumb was no dumber, though. My head leaned sideways out of the window. The conversation in the street was snappy.
“Do you know birds get high when they do it?”
“I’ve never seen for myself but I have faith.”
“Tiny speed-freak hummingbirds, big birds, seed peckers, meat eaters.”
“I’d have to be a fool to argue.”
“Does your religion teach only you are original, special, blessed?
“Well, yeah, like…duh”
The university down the street and up and around the next block over offered an advanced class in posturing that is very popular at night. A second lecturer was necessary to handle the overflow of matriculation into the street. No wonder the patter I overheard was so erudite. Some pretty amazing unknown followers have taken remote signals to liver and heart. Clues are left behind like crumbs. Once a selfie documents a pose, where have you gone? Are you coming back? Does the disappearance of vacant space require acknowledgment? These are serious topics to be considered, dispatched, and rated on a relative scale employing prime numbers prior to certification, though not as seriously as gravity. Like, duh.
“A little help, I’m stuck.”
“Do I know you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who am I supposed to believe?”
The birds doing it without the heavy manhole cover of gravity slamming on gnarly toes and upraised pinkies, don’t need to pretend. That high, they fly. I would if I could but I can’t. The ravaged landscape below looks like cubed squares dumped on squishy shoulders by semi-long-haulers. Historically, the best advice money can buy is don’t ask, don’t tell, just say no. And, in addition, why not?
Driving home, San Francisco appeared in retrograde. Being and nothingness had multiplied into a flurry of hard shots leading to a TKO. The light was not as much dimmed as ashen. A chip of the pale effervescence that turned into a thin slice of slate had fallen off the old block. It might have come from Venus. Or ghosts from the majestic redwood forest sacrificed at the altar of Victorian banisters. Neighbors complained about the noise. Up went arms in alarm to dial for assistance. They had to catch the shuttle to Silicon Valley in the morning for a free breakfast in the real world as we know it to have succumbed. Pure rooting, tooting revolutionaries need quiet time to suck pacifiers and stay alert for the ding dong bell to ring. Soon the whole swell team might be able to feel better with a cute tattoo to raise like a baby on those bulging arms. If it can be done, do what it takes. Where? Bend over, don’t look, and remember not to tell.
“Are you or have you ever been?”
“Let me see.”
“Talk is cheap.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“I still can’t tell.”
By then, I was gaining elevation. The robust state of affairs in the Santa Cruz Mountains maintained reliable uplift and thrust. The sky was not even the limit. No complaints about gravity from below. Pushy roots spread out to undermine flimsy foundations plopped down by unwelcome squatters. Squash, persimmons and kumquats grew like virgins, no dirt, no air, via osmoting. Pears appeared plump and pimply like retreating asses fleeing ergonomic chairs. The San Andreas Fault continued to have issues with arbitrary commitment one way or another amid episodes of acting out. Either/or corners were best viewed from far behind. The Pacific Plate continued to need more space to continue in such a fragile relationship with an uncertain partner. I passed under the radar without causing alarm.
“Who are you?”
“I still can’t tell but I know there’s nobody home.”
“Is that supposed to be good enough for me?”
“It’s good enough for me.”
While it may not be prudent to get lost while staying invisible in a fog, I’m consciously not, not now that the range has been overrun with voracious pests and gruesome varmints tooting horns and blowing guns. It takes a good rubber ball and a sleepy rocking chair to keep bouncing while lulled into a daze on the end of a big stick. Who can afford to look down when the sky is falling? Don’t look at me. My eyes are frozen open like makeshift shelters after a blinding snowstorm.
“Oh dear, it looks like the poisoned well is nearly empty.”
“What tangent is it this time?”
“I’m still thirsty.”
“You can’t be blamed for getting thirsty?”
“I’ll have a cup of the best you’ve got.”
“You want to run a tab?”
The dewy bouquet was daft and fruity. The tangent crossed a plane upside an arc and broke into the line to the trough where the cattle feed. I could smell the desert sage coming home to kick out the jamming cows and roost with the banana slugs in a bed of redwood mulch. It was bold like a matching pair of transparent balls. The maximum impact was almost nearly real enough to feel. Dank and dry and a tasty tad more than a little iota dirty. When I looked up it was still coming down.
“Make that tab a double.”