Sunday, May 15, 2011
Once upon a time I drove around for two hours in the dark, singing Rosanne Cash's 7 Year Itch over and over again. The water crystals in the fog amplified my voice, and smoothed out the rough edges, so that the sound spreading in puddle waves through the dark houses and postage stamp backyards was clear and perfected. Naturally auto tuned through meteorological phenomenon. Somewhere in that cocoon of brick walls and day lilies, there was a guy sitting on his front porch with friends and beers, and he heard me, just a little, and remembers it. And someday, if we meet, he won't know it, but when I whisper in his ear, the tones will be familiar. Whatever I say, it'll be burned into his synapses like a brand mark, and anytime he hears me, it will glow hot inside his brain like an itch. This is how some day I'm going to steal your husband. If I feel like it.
Once upon a time there was a flock of fireflies and their leader was drunk and got them lost in the fog. They flew around for hours, looking for safety, unable to guide themselves, the radio signals from faraway stars blocked by the thickness. Eventually, a group of younger males decided they had had enough of this shit, and they ambushed the leader and pushed him into the wet grass, where he lay grounded by the moisture on his wings, impotent and whining furiously. The ants took his body away in the darkness. Without one leader, the group soon splintered completely and all their months of building up important firefly culture, literature, progressive social norms, it was all for nothing because really it just takes a few angry kids to throw it all to chaos, if they really don't think it through. And nothing brings out the violence in a group like not being able to see more than two feet in front of you. All the fireflies died, because they all die anyway after like a day and a half, but the point is, they left nothing worthwhile behind because they got scared.
Once upon a time there was a band that went on tour through the shittiest rust belt cities. They played in even shittier bars, hidden in the alleys and valleys of unemployed industry, and after their first three shows they were so tired they couldn't even talk to girls, their eyes were glassy and their heads bowed as if their necks were no longer capable of supporting the heavy load of their determination. They were pretty good. There were five boys in the band - the goofy hot one in the v-neck tee, the serious older one in cowboy boots, the dorky keyboardist with glasses, the drummer of who nothing could be said except he knew what he was doing, and the willow'o'wisp singer with floppy hair and the cheekbones of a 16 yr old girl. They drove to Cleveland and the Fog descended while they were drinking 2 dollar beers and rolling cigarettes, discussing the finer points of Brooklyn versus the rest of the world with the few people who came to see them this rainy night. The Fog watched them, and wanted to go with them. It waited while they packed up their equipment, patient but anxious. When they finally started off towards Milwaukee, it hid in the exhaust, and crept slowly in through the vents. They were so tired, none of them noticed the windows getting opaque until it was too late. They were never seen again.
Once upon a time there was girl who got lost, maybe fell asleep, maybe ended up in a van to Milwaukee. She woke up and found herself in the Wood Between the Worlds, the place we all know exists because references to it are there pointing the way through all of history. It's the place between here and then, now and there. She saw the lights, and couldn't tell if she was supposed to walk towards them or stay away, there was no indication of safety any way she turned. That's how it is in this place, you can't make decisions, you can only just keep walking until you end somewhere else. The power lines, the railroad tracks, the river, the sun, all the symbols we would normally use to guide us back to civilization, they are endless here. They go nowhere and are attached to nothing. There is no reason or back history for any object, it just exists and you, you just exist too. Nothing that boy does is going to bring you back.
Once upon a time there was a woman who had been a bartender at this hole in the wall bar on Madison for like 15 years. One day, she stumbled, and put her hand out to catch herself, and sliced her finger open on these aluminum blinds that had been there as long as her. It cut her finger open all the way to knuckle. She wrapped it in a wad of paper towels and tried to forget about. In the morning she went to the hospital, and they told her that if she had come in the night before they could have saved it, but instead now they had to cut it completely off. So she lost her finger. The important part of this story is that this happened, but those fucking blinds are still up in that bar. They never took them down. Even though they took a woman's finger.