Different Floors of the House

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Silent Night

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A quick rendition...maybe I'll do it over in a couple days. As always, sorry about the sound quality! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Portland's Finest Update 1

So here are the names of all the officers we think need to be thanked. We will be filing a commendation report with the city next week. We really cannot express enough gratitude to these men. If I have any details wrong, it's because the whole incident was pretty blurry and happened at breakneck speed--and because I kept forgetting to ask names at various points along the way.

Officer Rilling who helped us over the phone and got the ball rolling on all this.
Officer Scott who visited Brendan at the hospital.
Detective Christianson(sp?) who is responsible for getting the confession and doing all the other things he's done/is doing.
Officer Lee, the transit officer who made the arrest of the perpetrator.

And one huge thanks to the one guy whose name I never got, the bus driver who helped Brendan get home and took time out of his day to help us in other ways. This man is a truly good guy and I feel like a toad for not getting his name and number because I really want to write a letter to Tri-Met about him. I'll get it.

Also, thanks to the Assistant D.A., Christine Mascal, for making this matter come to pass in a quick and timely fashion. Swift justice is my favorite kind and to be honest I think Brendan, being involved first-hand in the process, learned a lesson not many kids get to (have to) learn. I think he understands how extremely lucky we got on this, but he also found out that the system can work, does work, even if it's far from perfect.

We met with the grand jury today and Brendan gave his testimony along with all the other witnesses. They do have a confession so it might not have to go to trial. If it does, Brendan says he's ready to roll...but let's hope it never gets that far.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Portland's Finest--possibly the finest in the world

So, Sunday at around 4:30 pm my 15 year old step-son Brendan comes strolling in the house. I say "hi". He didn't reply. He'd been down at his girlfriend's house and I figured they got in an argument and I was getting the angst-riddled radioactive residue from the fallout. I was wrong.

"...just got mugged." he said in a mumble.
"Who just got mugged?"
"I..."
"What the f..."

I jumped out of my chair when I saw the gaping gash above his eye and the bloody rag he was using to dab out little pieces of dirt and rock.

Come to find out, he had gone down to the mall at Lloyd Center with his friend to drop off an application. I can't tell you how many times I've told them (all the kids, my kids, your kids, everyone's kids) to STAY AWAY FROM LLOYD CENTER and especially STAY AWAY FROM THE MAX STATIONS!!! Some young hip-hop hoodlums, gangbangers or just random punks beat him up for his cell phone and iPod. *Angry.* He had taken the bus all the way back from Lloyd Center to our house because he was debating whether he was going to tell us about the whole affair. Apparently, he was afraid of being grounded for being somewhere he wasn't supposed to be... Kids...logic...does not compute...

I don't get this world. Now's when grandma comes in and says "And this used to be such a nice city..."

But get this:

I, of course, immediately called the police, and after the usual wrangling around for a body that actually cared that a measure 11 crime had just been committed against my son, got a very competent officer on the case. Within a matter of FOUR HOURS, the police had not only detained the specific individual who had physically assaulted my son, they had a full confession. What the f... Nah. Really? Yep.

Apparently these kids had got on a bus or the MAX and did this to yet another victim and this time they got caught, possibly in the act, I'm not sure on all the details as of yet. The last I heard, the police had 2 of the possibly 5 assailants in custody.

I thought I would share this for a couple reasons. One being that we are always hearing about crimes being commited and nothing being done about it/cops being apathetic, unresponsive, etc. Maybe I thought a success story would help our societal morale...I hope it does. Secondly, I have to hand it to the detectives who interviewed the bad guys, the officer who came to the hospital to talk to Brendan, the dispatch officer (big cheer for this fellow), the bus driver who helped Brendan get home, the Transit cops, and everyone else involved. (I won't use their names until they say I can, but they deserve medals, commendations and raises--I'm not kidding)

We won't know how far this will go until later on. I'll try to update this as it all comes together.

By the way, Brendan is just fine. Three stitches, a bruised ego and yeah, of course, he's grounded. Heh.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Liber Review's Interview with Barrack Obama 10-29-09

During president Obama's recent trip out here to help promote the campaigns of certain incumbents, Liber Review was fortunate enough to get this short interview with the 44th president of the United States. We cannot possibly thank the adminstration, the president's staff and our new friends at the press corp for allowing us this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

We were only allowed two questions as we had to share the forty minute interview session with other fledgling outlets. We, of course, cheated and got an extra question or two in under the radar.

I have to admit, that I was very, very nervous doing this interview. Apologies for my obvious rookie mistakes and general amature composure...

One word of warning: we do not possess the editing capacity required to cut, edit or sample these tapes as of yet (we will soon, God willing), so beware the "R" rated word at the end of the tape. Sorry about that. Still, I think the interview went quite well.


video

Wrecked.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Song of the Month--October 2009--The Fool's Dog

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The Fool's dog.

A yip and champ. The strident fool.

We'll wish him well.

We'll shove him off.

The frayed and snapping string of ancient lyre.

A pounding paw for past regrets. That's him prancing, yelping, admonishing.

What you once knew.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Long time hero, John Stossel, Joins Fox News

One of our favorite investigative reporters has left the sad and sullied trenches of ABC for FOX news this last week. We figured the best way to celebrate yet another great libertarian among the ranks of FOX news personalities was to put together a little "best of" collection. Enjoy! And be sure to check listings for Mr. Stossel on FOX.













Of course, this is just a sample of John's great work over the years. Most of his 20/20 contributions can be found on Youtube. Check him out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Net Neutrality Regulation...Why we aint no better than China

Our good buddy Adam de Angeli over at Campaign for Liberty has written a great article on HR 3458--the so-called Net Neutrality bill.

Give him a read please. I'm just happy he did it, because now I don't hafta. He pretty much said everything I was going to say and a lot more.


PLEASE READ THIS

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Obama administration supports Patriot Act in Congressional hearing

The House Judiciary, Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee held hearings yesterday to discuss the three parts of the U.S.A. Patriot Act that are set to expire under their sunset clauses. The three parts were renewed upon review in 2005.


I'll post the video (although it is sort of boring) when I can get access to it. C-SPAN is currently having some technical difficulties. In case I don't get it. Here is the link to the hearing. You can try to load it at your own leisure.

Anyway, Click here to read the article!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ACORN rank and file under assault?


A lot of speculation is going around on the web about these women found in the recently released undercover tapes of ACORN. Some say they are victims of an elaborate, scheming entity—the conservative right. Some say they were acting defensively. Terms like “morally bankrupt” are being bandied about to describe these ACORN workers. Some pundits have gone so far as to call them “stupid”.
I don't think they are, and I think it is, to some extent, disingenuous to place them in generically dispossessed categories of the poor and/or stupid. Maybe there are a couple questions we should be asking before we leap on the bandwagon of labeling everyone as a victim, as a rube.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something funny this way comes...

Alright, everyone just calm down! I know you all think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but I assure you, it is not...well, no more than it has always been. Take a deep breath. Center your chi. Smile.



Many thanks to all the artists who take the time to create these images!







Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vetting Van Jones for Tom Brokaw

This week’s roundtable discussion on Meet the Press with David Gregory was dominated by two topics in the first part of the show: The president’s speech to schoolchildren and Anthony “Van” Jones’ early departure from his advisory position in the White House.

While discussing Van Jones’ demise, Tom Brokaw, the former anchor of NBC News and regular contributor to many NBC affiliated shows makes the point that information gathered from the internet is unvetted and dangerous. And while Brokaw has a good point—all information should be vetted individually—Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, then finished off the conversation by saying: “The internet is an open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information.”



Apparently, Freidman and Brokaw choose to have our news filtered by the powers-that-be before we, the meek and huddled masses, get our eyes and ears on it. Brokaw even says as much regarding the multitudinous internet investigations of Van Jones: “…it requires political and social leaders to stand up and say ‘This is crazy’”. So, according to Brokaw, we have to vet the information personally, then ship our assessments off to our priests or shrinks or congressmen for validation? Aren’t these news men? Should not they be the ones doing the vetting? And the major networks and news press in this country wonder why we don’t trust them anymore.

Fine, Tommy boys. If you didn’t take the chance to vet the Van Jones stories afloat on the internet, I’ll do it for you.

Here is the video in which Jones states all white people are responsible for pollution in black communities:



Here is Jones admitting his communist sympathies and radical idealism



I don't have to link to Van Jones calling people derogatory terms, they are all over the web, for crying out loud.


Here is the document linking Jones to the “truther” movement



Here is the link to Reclaiming Revolution, the “handbook” for STORM: (By the way, Mr. Brokaw, you really should read this. In this frothing cauldron of bile, the originators of STORM call you and your leftist ilk “racists”. I’m wondering if they might have a point…)



Now, that wasn't really that hard to do, Tom. In fact, it took me about thirty minutes to put this entire thing together. I’m sure I left some things out. But I think we all get the point, right Tom? Actually, I should mention, the only thing I didn’t find, was any evidence that Jones was ever in jail after the LA riots of ’93. But then, he was the one who offered up that information, so it must be true, right? Yeah. Right.

Ok, I’ll ship this off to my priest for validation and get back to you.

Short Story, September '09: Roadkill

Marvin,

It was both exhilirating and disheartening seeing you the other day. I felt I should contact you in some way. I'm sorry I haven't. I've been thinking about you a lot.
I don't really know what to say, or how to say it, so I'll just throw ink on the paper and see what happens.

I was walking in the middle of nowhere this morning. At least, it used to be the middle of nowhere. There are rows of houses atop hills. Huge houses. McMansions and ‘Dream Homes’. There used to be an old logging road out here. Now it’s a well-manicured street. Too clean, too TV-land. The sidewalks are pristine white concrete. The house numbers that identify each winding brick driveway are painted in sharp, black, perfectly aligned numbers on the curb below each shining mailbox. There are trees out here. But they are not the trees I knew.
I was out here almost 2 decades ago, which seems like a long time. But it is so damned different here now. It’s hard to imagine how they completely erased this place and replaced it with this immaculation, in the course of just a few years.
When I came out here before, so many years ago, it was for a reason. I happened upon an old shoebox in my attic full of letters and paperwork dating back to the middle of last century. The papers were all my wife’s grandfathers. I came across a water stained picture too. There was a man standing on a hilltop in front of an old shack-looking house. If you ever went out toward Timber for fishing, you might have come across the old fish and tackle shop at the crossroads over there. Well, that’s what this shanty looked like. It was an old shack with that crappy old warped-bottle glass for windows and the tin roof and the old crooked metal chimney flue. The man in the picture, who I later found out to be my wife’s great-uncle, was sitting in a rocking chair on the very narrow porch (if you can call it that) of this building (if you can call it that). He had a rifle across his lap, which he secured with his right hand on the barrel. His other arm was draped over the side of the chair and it was reaching down to a medium sized bear that was lying on the ground next to him. At first I thought he was holding the bear’s head up. But, it seems to me, after looking at the picture again, (by the way I’m looking at the picture right now as well) that he is caressing the beast. I don’t expect that bear was alive. I guess it could have been. This old geezer may have been a real-life Grizzly Adams. But I doubt that. I think the bear was dead.
Ever since I was a kid I always wondered what happens to animals when they die. Like squirrels and possums and shit. I’m not talking about possum heaven, I mean, what do they do when they know they are going to die? Do they check in to the local rodent hospital and die in a whitewashed room after racking up a twenty thousand dollar pharmaceutical bill? Up until I saw that picture of the Timber man, the only dead animals I ever really saw were on the roadside, victims of an under budgeted local political infrastructure that didn’t seem to think that crosswalks or pedestrian bridges were important enough to invest in. Bah, forget all that. That’s just what marsupial society doesn’t need: more government. Those rogue whacko’s need to learn how to look both ways. Maybe it’s a failure at the kindergarten level. “Look Both Ways” should have been as much a part of the social conditioning curriculum as were mantras like: “Stop Drop and Roll” and “Just Say No to Winter Hoarding Restrictions.”
I’m not even talking about that anyway. At least, I don’t intend to. What I really mean to say is: What do these animals do when they know that life is at its end and where do they go? And don’t tell me they don’t sense when death is approaching. They go somewhere. I know they do, because I’ve been through hundreds of walks in the forest and have never once seen a dead skunk just lying there as if ‘bam!’ death occurred. It doesn’t happen that way.
Well that said, I have to tell you about the dead deer corpse down by Timber, around the place where that old picture had been taken. The experience was pretty weird, but not gross. Another time, I saw a dead dog on the side of highway 43 when I was twenty-two or twenty three, and it was disgusting: A lake of putrid yellow maggots was churning inside this dog’s torso. The stench of it was unreal—you might know it—that acidic, stifling waft of death that fumes up and around you, melting the air and burning your nose as it leaves that invisible, intangible, violently acrid film on your tongue that you can’t stop tasting for a very, very long time. That taste fills your mouth. It’s beyond gross; it’s the epitome of some nameless, eternal essence. It moves around in your mouth, it’s the only ‘thing’ in the world that moves without being moved. It coats your tongue, seeps in between your teeth. It fills the gap between your gums and your inner cheek. That salty, pungent form grows up to the roof of your mouth, and up into your nose, then back into your throat. It tries to wriggle its putrid mass down into your soul. It squirms, it fights, it might even reach your larynx and stifle your voice—and you wonder why the only utterance you eschew are primal, guttural grunts and that pre-emetic hacking gasp, you know the one. Hmm…I might have gotten carried away there… But really though, even when I covered my nose and mouth with the sleeve of my coat, I couldn’t look at it straightaway. I had to look off into the forest or into the oncoming traffic and gradually build up my courage to slowly turn my head toward the carnage. And even then, I really don’t think I looked at it directly. I wish I had. I wish I had the balls to look at that filthy cleansing process.
I can tell you still aren’t getting it. Probably my fault. Ok, check this out, here is an example:
My wife and I had just bought a new car and decided to take it out for a drive. This was years ago, of course. We headed out on the old river road toward the mountain. Well, about half way between the oxbow and the reservoir, we had to stop. Actually, my wife saw them first, which in some way pisses me off… Anyway she slapped her hands onto the dashboard and screamed “Stop!” like, five times real fast. “Stopstopstopstopstop!” I slammed on the brakes; this was before ABS mind you, so we actually did come to a skidding, screeching halt. Right before the car veered a little to the left and stopped, I saw them: a mother duck and five or six little, yellow, fuzzy ducklings. Well, we just sat there for a few minutes, my wife smiling, giggling even. Yeah, ok, it was cute or whatever, I guess I was probably feeling a little giddy myself, because I was an idiot back then. I had no idea what was going on.
It was probably five minutes we waited. But the procession didn’t move. The mother duck sort of circled her babies, corralling them. She never once looked at the car or at me. She just stared ahead, into the sky like a roving preacher leading her congregation down to the river to pray. Eventually, she just parked right there on the side of the road. And when she sat down, all the babies sat down in unison. Some time later, she stood back up and all her parishioners did likewise, simultaneously.
My wife kind of shrugged at the event. We couldn’t figure out what the problem was. The duck family simply wouldn’t cross the road. They were a good 20 yards away, she was afraid that if we started to go, they would attempt to cross the road. “I’ll just drive slow around them.” I recall suggesting. But at that moment we noticed another car coming down the road toward us. It was going as fast as I should have been.
“You got to get out and stop that car, Dave”
“I do?”
Now this is a small road, mind you. The forest on either side is separated from the road by two narrow ditches, which makes the road seem wider in some respects, but that’s just an illusion. So anyway, I started the car up again and pulled it off into the minuscule emergency lane. I got out and started walking up the hash marks in the middle, waving my hands. As I got closer to the duck family they started to go. I couldn’t believe it. I started yelling at the mother. Well, she apparently couldn’t understand a lick of English, because she was completely ignoring me. Then I got mad because she started walking faster as I got closer. I didn’t want her to walk now. Now I wanted her to stop, or better yet, turn the fuck around and get off the road entirely. I stopped in my tracks. And so did she. So I took a step forward, and then, so did she, followed by a military-like half step from all the trailing minions. I looked back to my wife. I said something about how unbelievable this was, but my wife was yelling something I couldn’t hear and pointing down the road frantically. I shook my head to inform her I didn’t know what she was saying. She got out of the car after fighting with the handle due to nervousness, I guess. When I saw that I knew something was wrong.
That other car was coming on so fast. I’d say probably about 80 or 85 mph. From where I stood, looking toward the west, you could see the sun setting at the top of the road a good two or so miles away. I guess the car picked up speed coming down that hill, or it was just another illusion. In any case it was closing in fast. Momma duck must have seen it, or sensed it because she started moving—in the wrong direction. And the faster the car seemed to go, the faster went the row of ducks. I really, really thought they were going to get smooshed to smithereens, but I had to get off the road. That car, whose driver apparently didn’t see me, or the damned ducks, wasn’t going to stop.
Now, I don’t know why things like this happen to me, but they do. I should have, could have, simply walked off to the right side of the road. But I didn’t. I felt, just then, as if I had some kind of universal or biblical sense of responsibility. Or maybe I didn’t. I think…I just didn’t want to have to deal with the sight of squash, squish-squish-squish-squish…. I forgot how many squishes there could have been…
Eh. I must do something else. I’m really horrible at coming to the point, aren’t I?
Why can’t things be simple? Life is simple. At the beginning. It’s simple because we haven’t got any choice about anything at all. Choice sucks. Ok, I know that’s not true. I just…well, when I saw you there at the hospital, knowing what I know about your illness, that masked demon that kills everyone we love… The end is so difficult. It so…damned difficult to do because something is gone that will never come back and it’s been replaced by something we’ll never be able to destroy, no matter how hard we endeavor to do so.
Well, I mentioned that deer before, the one in the forest. Maybe I really don’t like to talk about it. Maybe, just maybe, that’s the way I want to go out. Forget about the goddamned ducks for a minute. Jesus, I’m trying to make a point here. All you want is to skip to the end. Then again, I guess that’s what this is all about. The end. The end of all things. Of course, all things never end. For the bible tells me so.
So, anyway. The deer. It was on top of this grass-covered ridge. I’d just come up from the dirty logging trail that parts its way through a peripheral host of thirty year-old stumps. I could have kept going on that trail, but I was looking for an old shack, where Jack Marbury used to live in the 1920’s. I had my makeshift map, drawn by me and verified by Lennox Andrews at the Gulliver’s Pass Fish and Tackle Shop on the crossroads. Eh, that’s where Gulliver’s pass crosses highway 10 now, if you don’t know. Of course in the early part of the 20th century, neither of these roads existed as ‘roads’. But at this time, which was about twenty years ago now, one was traversed daily by all those rodent-killing machines on their way to the beach and the other was used by government contracted loggers in trucks larger than anything Jack Marbury probably could’ve imagined in 1925 or 26 or ever really.
So, the map had two X’s on it. One to specify Regence Hill, named for Patty Regence’s great, great uncle. You don’t know about her, Patty that is, anyway she goes by Melmann now, since she married me. The other mark signified, or was supposed to at least approximate the location of Marbury’s shack.
From the logging road, which was sunlit and dusty, the forest seems bleak and dark. Some of those trees have been up there for over forty years since no loggers could afford the minimum bid required to harvest them. So now they grew through and above unchecked, rampant fecundity…and they scared the shit out of me. I can’t explain why. They just seemed to be hiding something from me. They kept whispering to each other. I’m not kidding. And I’m not crazy. One tree would bend slowly in the wind toward another, whisper something, and then go erect again. If I got too inquisitive or tried eaves dropping, the muffled whispers became a gust of howling winds that got me to looking in a different direction entirely.
I left my car a few miles back in adherence to the law. Fuck all that, I should have had my car nearby. There were other things there too. Besides the gossiping trees. Things were moving up there, in the ridgeline. The wind bowled down Regence Hill, over the dirt road and up the other side only to be met by a wall of trees, which blocked the wind and deflected it upward or to the side. I heard things; things that made me look back down the road in the direction I came from. Fuck all that eco bullshit. If you saw the evil up in that wooded hell, the peering red eyes and rustling black I had to hack my way through to find this stupid shack, you woulda wished they all met a model H2HG43XY, 29 inch maximum flare saw, too. No, on second thought, you probably wouldn’t. I know all about you and your narcissistic ways. I’m just kidding. Geez.
Of course, the terror of a thing is only amplified ‘in the moment’, as it were. But right before I checked the ‘get the fuck outta there’ box in my mind’s fight or flight survey, I heard something else. There was a beep-beep-beep, like the sound big trucks make when backing up. Then there was an extremely loud mechanical lifting sound. You know, like a crane or something else that picks things up and moves them to a different place. And I heard yelling, what I took to be loggers barking orders and whatnot back and forth. I couldn’t tell which direction all the noise was coming from, but all that commotion made me feel a little bit safer. When things are silent and still, the amplitude of things we don’t want to or can’t understand scare the shit out of us. That noise, those loggers and their equipment, wherever they were…well, it made me feel safer for some reason. I resolved myself to going through the woods to get to this shack. “It just better be there!” I yelled beyond the woods. I sort of expected an echo, but none came.
So anyway, I rough-and-tumble my way through the first wave of undergrowth, bramble and various other shit. I make it up the first tier of this ridge without much trouble, a few nicks and scrapes sure, but no dark spirits attacked me, no ravaging beasts. The second tier was even easier to ascend. I found various ferns and adolescent tree stalks to grasp onto as I propelled myself up the hill. The trees got bigger near the top, so much so that the sky was at certain points, blotted out entirely. But this didn’t seem to shake me. Maybe terror isn’t amplified ‘in the moment’. Nothing happened. Nothing ate me. Finally, I immerged on top of that ridge, victorious without much of a fight at all.
Well, they are just trees after all.
On the top of that ridge the sun beat down hard. No wind came up there. No wind at all. Which was weird, because, apart from the ring of trees that surrounded this baseball diamond sized clearing, there was nothing to stop the wind. But I reckon I’m just trying to be spooky by saying that. Well, that is where I saw the deer, after all. And I’m not sure really how to describe the scene to you in a spooky enough fashion, so perhaps the wind thing is simply my pre-emptive attempt at garnering some type of tension.
Well, it’s kind of a lie anyway. Or, rather, a half-truth. I didn’t really see ‘a’ deer. That would require seeing a whole deer, which I cannot truly say I did. What I did see was the hindquarters of a deer. It appeared as if the thing was half buried from about the mid-section up. All I saw, and again, I didn’t really ‘see’ it, for my response was sort of like the response I had to the roadkill on highway 43 so many years before, I had a hard time looking directly at it. But I could tell, this animal was only half there. I thought for a second that maybe a bear or mountain lion ripped it in half and dragged the yummier part off into the woods to eat. But then I thought, ‘wouldn’t the hind of the hind be more tasty? How should I know?
For a second I thought maybe there could be some kind of predator up there, preying on me, watching me with red eyes from some point along the ridgeline. I spun around and around, my eyes shifting and darting around trees and ferns, looking for whatever could be wanting me. Of course, I saw nothing. I looked also for the shack that was supposed to be up here. And it wasn’t. It wasn’t in the clearing or anywhere visible within the trees for as far as I could see.
I got up the gumption to investigate the dead deer a little more. I don’t know why, or how. I knelt down beside it. The skin of it was mostly in tact. I might have ruled out predation at that point, but I saw something that made me think. Its left leg was fractured. Dried blood stained the tattered fur in both directions. The blood had run both up and down the leg. The fracture wasn’t a clean one. I’m no hunter or zoologist, but I could swear this looked like an impact break, not an incisory puncture. This deer had run into something, or something had smashed into it.
Which brings me back to the ducks.
So I was standing there in the middle of this skinny ass road. I thought I was waving my arms until I realized I was simply gyrating in fear. I could tell the car was slowing down. But he had been going really fast and he was never going to be able to break in time—no ABS, remember.
There were two images. My left eye was just jumped to the right. But for some stupid fucking goddamn inexplicable moronic dipshit reason watching the speeding car; the other half of my sight was locked onto the ducks. I should have …yeah, I’ll tell you this, but it might not be true: I think I thought that if I jumped into the ditch on his side of the road he might swerve and hit the ducks, which might be a good thing, because if he swerves to his right, he tin cans his Chevy in the ditch, which could kill him. Of course if he kills the ducks and freaks out, he could go out of control and smash into my parked car and end up dead anyway. Which would be ok, really, as long as my wife wasn’t in the car…
So I turned around. I should have moved. Left. Right. Either would have been better than neither. I did neither. I turned around to see where my wife was and that was the last thing I remember before waking up in the ambulance.
Bah. I should have never been on that road like that in the first place. I was about forty or so then. I had no business being there. I had half my life to live yet.
So anyway. I broke my leg. No big deal. The guy barely hit me, or so they say. He swerved or did whatever and ended up in a ditch. I don’t know which ditch. But he didn’t kill anyone…just a broken leg. Which is what I was talking about before with that deer, wasn’t it?
Its corpse appeared to be weeks old. Like I said before, there were no gross maggots around it, maybe that process had already been completed. It didn’t smell bad. It smelled…different. The bones I could smell, and they were clean, they didn’t smell bad or anything, just a weird, rich, natural-type smell. That’s the best I can do. The fur had a smell too, but not an acrid scent. Why am I talking about smells? You don’t care about that. You want the end. The point. I seriously doubt there is a point to any of this. Would that be ok? Maybe I just don’t know what to say to you. I know what your thinking: ‘shuttup and finish the goddamn story.’ I know all about you man.
Ok. I noticed some marks by where the corpse of the thing was cut in half. Almost looked like digging marks, as if the animal was clawing itself into the ground. Remember now, I’m not making this up. I’ve no reason to do so. I say remember that, because what I found next…well…it borders on the absurd. I know I said ‘weird’ before, but that was a serious flaw.
I dug with my hands in the area the deer had been assumedly digging. The deeper I got, the more of this animal I unearthed. It wasn’t cut in half after all. The ground got harder a few inches down, so much harder that I couldn’t dig anymore. I scoured the perimeter of the ridge for a good rock and a few ample sticks for digging. The sun was going limp, but I was still sweating. With my crude shovels I dug and dug. The ribs of the beast I found, then the upper spine and the atlas and the skull, all the way to the tip of its snout. I uncovered the deer’s front arms and almost had the thing unearthed in tact until the head fell off. The only thing missing was a hoof.
I dug around for the hoof a little bit more, but I never found it. I found something else, though. I had just thrust my larger stick into the clay when I heard a crack. At first I thought my stick broke. And then the ground in front of me gave way. Both my arms fell through a toilet bowl sized hole, but my fall was broke by my chin as it hit the earth above the area I was digging into. I was in an awkward position. My arms dangling below the earth in some sort of hollow space, which was freaking creepy, my face smashed up against the clay. My legs were bent at the knees and locked under my stomach. I heard a rush, like an oncoming wind, and a howling whistle reverberated past me as air burst out of the hollow below me, knocking me back like a buoy on a wave that gets laid flat by a surge, only to pop right back up.
Well I jumped right out of that hole. I stepped back a few paces, scared shitless, as you can imagine. I didn’t know how deep this hollow earth/cave/hole/abyss thing was. I was only glad I didn’t find out the hard way. I made a chair of a moss-covered stump barely large enough to fit one ass-cheek on. I looked at the dirt on me. I was covered in dirt. I started thinking then, about the absurdity of my actions. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of any reason why I was up here on this hill, digging out a deer skeleton with the sun going down. And then my chair broke.
Actually, first it creaked a little, like a rusty, old metal pipe, then it sank an inch or two, which startled me up onto my feet, then it cracked and the top of it fell over limp. I picked it up and stripped some of the moss away from it. It was metal. It was copper or some very, very ancient metal. It was a top of an old flue, the antique kind that would have been connected to an old cast iron wood stove. Yeah. I had found Jack Marbury’s shack. At least his chimney.
I don’t know how it became buried. I suppose it could have had something to do with St. Helens blowing up in ’80. But I never verified that, because I never told anyone about it until now. And here’s the reason:
Never mind how I snuck down to the loggers and stole a 50-foot rope. Never mind the makeshift torch I made. Never mind how I found out that I really don’t know how to tie a good knot. Just believe me when I tell you what I found, at the bottom of the black hole that had once been Jack Marbury’s shack. Bones. Entire endoskeletal frameworks piled up. There were stacks and stacks of them. The place was a fucking tomb.
My torch was a piece of shit and blew out often. But when I could see well enough, I found that it was hard to gauge the dimensions of the place. I, to this day, cannot recall ever seeing, feeling or even sensing a wall—be it dirt or otherwise—in that entire enclosure. Enclosure. Well, that’s exactly what it seemed to be. But if there were no walls?
There were so many different types of skeletons that I could see. Most of them were shattered and dismembered, perhaps from time or gravity or disturbance. I reckoned the smaller ones were mice and chipmunks. But there were others, larger ones: Badgers (I’m pretty sure because of the teeth), rabbits (again, dental analysis), bears or dogs or wolves or some canine-type things, birds of various types (few of which were in tact), skunks (eww), deer, marmots, snakes, etc. etc. etc. It was Noah’s ark…the eh, dead version. Oh, yeah, and there was one human skeleton there too. I couldn’t miss that one, it was hanging from a very dusty, tattered rope that ascended up and disappeared into the darkness above.
I guess I found Jack Marbury. Which was not my intention. Actually I have no proof that this was Marbury at all. It’s not important is it? The skeleton was hanging a bit out of my reach, like some apparition flickering in my torchlight. I probably should have just left it alone, but inquisitiveness got the better of me.
I looked around for something to stand on and found a busted up old wooden box. I dusted it off and carefully moved some random bones off of it and slid it over to the hanged man. I tested the damned thing for durability. It seemed sturdy enough. It wasn’t.
I think I twisted my back trying to hold myself up. To no avail. I sort of broke my fall, but I landed in a pile of bones. I was dazed for a second. I felt I was probably going to black out, which would be ok since I dropped my torch whose light was now flickering low and fading. But before it did, I fixed my sight on something. A skeleton of a bird. It was a large bird. Like a mother duck, perhaps. And nestled all around it were tiny bird skeletons. With the dying light it seemed that the larger skeleton started forming flesh and innards and then a skin grew over it and feathers, brilliant and dark feathers grew out of it until, at once, it was a living thing again. And then (I admit all of this is quite absurd) the ducklings came to life and the bones and carnage and darkness of that hole became the greenery and wildness of that small road to the mountain my wife and I were on those many years before.
And this was when fear really grew over me. Because I was there, on that road, bleeding and broken with pebbles stuck in my face as I was lying on the pavement. I was unable to move anything but my eyes. And she was all I saw, the mother duck, as she looked at me one time before burying her beak in her chest feathers and closing her eyes one last time.
There was no question she died right there. The ducklings huddled around her for a minute or two and the world grew quiet—save for the sound of a spinning wheel behind me. The babies mourned her, or did whatever they do, without keen or cry, and then, finally, they rose in unison and started their slow procession through the ditch and back into the woods before my eyes slipped shut.
When I came to, I checked myself for injury. I was fine. But I realized I couldn’t stay there any longer.
I left that place as much in tact as I could. Even after I got out of that hole (which was not easy, by the way) I was spooked by it. I headed to my car in the dark and went home. All the way home I couldn’t wait to tell my wife about what I found. But I never did. I don’t know why, but I never told anyone about that place until just now. I thought about it often, and came close to telling someone about it. I figured I could write about it, maybe publish it on a large scale or maybe just tell one person, like my wife or my brother, perhaps. I did neither.
And then I saw you in the hospital last week. I can’t explain how truly, deeply saddened I am for you. I know we haven’t even seen each other since high school, which was near 50 years ago now, but I felt you were the person to tell this to. I really do hope you beat that cancer. I know I wont beat mine. It’s not because I don’t want to. Believe me when I say I want to live. Everyone has a right to live. But the rights of the meek are constantly usurped by the privilege granted to the powerful.
So this morning I set out to find Marbury’s shack again and instead I found this place. These huge estates, these immaculate streets. I had that old map still, the one I got from the tackle shop that isn’t there anymore. The crossroads are still there. But there’s a supermarket there now. And traffic lights. And a video rental store. And a fern bar.
I never found that hill today. I found many hills. Just not that one. I half expected to find a few dead animals lying in a yard somewhere. But I didn’t. In fact, nothing is dead here, not even a brittle leaf from last autumn.
But don’t worry about me. I know the place is around here somewhere, buried like it was before. And I know I’ll find it. And if I don’t, there’s a road right here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

HR 2749: The Food Facism Bill of 2009?


You are what we tell you you can eat.

The House of Representatives has passed resolution 2749 which severely regulates the food industry and America’s small natural food farms. The resolution greatly amplifies the power of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and lays a yolk of terror and bankruptcy around the neck of any organic food endeavors.



Full Article is Here

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Amber Flyse--Song of the Month for August 2009

I've decided to post some guitar songs on here. I already post one short story per month, I figure since I play me some geetar, mize well share. My playing is almost as bad as my writing, but hey, it's free, so sit on it! This one I call "Amber Flyse".

Just click to play. (Sorry the quality isn't the best, blogger restricts bandwidth for movies).

video

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Liber Review: How to make Enemies and Alienate People by Toby Young


Toby Young’s memoir of a Briton failing to climb the social ladder of the NYC “glossy posse” is full of great pie-faced hi jinks. For a book brimming with humor and ironic witticism, the book makes a pretty poignant, pointed statement of American social structure and the inaccessibility of the “American Dream”.
The tale spun here is a pretty much the typical thread of woe and failure we hear so much of these days. The narrator spends the bulk of his time in self-debasing ridicule, thereby lending some perverse measure of (self-imposed) credence to its author when he throws his wrench of rebuke into the gears of the American social machine: We are all just post-modern versions of Melville’s Ishmael. Outcasts, trodden, huddled masses. You get the picture.


To Read the full review click here

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oregon to businesses: We hate you (Still)

Taxing a hospital may not be illegal, but it is certainly immoral. The words tax and hospital shouldn’t be in the same sentence…ever. The effort (included in the GRB) is an effort to diminish the public cost of this vast healthcare fiasco we know as the Oregon Health Plan by taxing the private companies, oft non-profit organizations (Peace Health), companies and organization which successfully provide the care we need firsthand. It’s a government sponsored pyramid scheme at least, a top-notch hen-house robbery along the lines of oh, say, a Cloward-Piven strategy in its grimmest reality.



TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE

Whale Huggers of the 21st Century



We used to think they were just tree-huggin’ orcaphiliacs.

You know, in the third grade they were the little girls who colored those panoramic ocean scenes complete with the jumping lumpy humpback whale and the big yellow sun. The sun always shines in those pictures. Frederic Church would be proud, wouldn’t he? Usually there was a little caption somewhere on the seascape masterpiece that read: “Save the whales!”


Yeah, them.


Those girls.


But then those girls grew up and went to high school and after they learned how to put a condom on a cucumber they moved up in the world and became “the future of America”. That’s right. They went to college. In college, when they weren’t busy hitting the bong or downloading illegal copies of some obscure Bob Marley album, they learned about the big bad Corporate Individual and the evils of the petroleum industry. They studied Marx, grew hair in places American girls should not have hair.


And they liked it.


They loved every self-indulging, self-inflating, self-promoting minute of it. In fact, they loved themselves so much, they eventually started hating the fact that they loved themselves. Well, not themselves, but some other selves which, in their newfound drivel-driven philosophy they were forced to consider as part of the “collective”. And being now wards of the collective unconscious or…subconscious…or whatever it was, they had no choice but to join Greenpeace. After all, mom and dad never really gave a shit about the whales. In fact, I don’t think daddy ever really liked that superbly creative, uniquely original, extremely insightful, thought-provoking crayon rendition of Moby fucking Dick and the big, yellow, sun.


So, to better understand the oppressive state of the nuclear family, the logical step was to get some sociology notches on the liberal arts garter belt. Of course, this is where the girls learned that people are really, really bad and there’s this, like, carbon thingy that like is bad for the ozone and the planet is, like, totally overpopulated and because of rich people our level of ecolo—ecologistic—ecologisticality or something, is really not sustainable! They joined the “No War for Oil” protest organization, which, as you’ll recall, was comprised of a bunch of bike-riding nitwits that didn’t need—at least didn’t think they needed—oil at all. Then, after failing to pass the philosophy course entitled “Cultural Relativism”due to a wee little binge with peyote and Hunter S Thompson, these girls lapped up three trimesters of transgender relations and human sexuality courses, before they came to the beaming enlightenment that they had been academically transformed into this lying, shithead of a guy:


video


And while I technically cannot prove that this man has no penis, I assure you, he has no balls.

Oh, and one more thing, little missy. Those crayons you colored that piece of crap over-bloated whale picture with? Yeah. Paraffin. Comes from petroleum. Dunce.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ten Songs That Would Make My Mother Cringe...If She Only Knew...

A note before the storm: Here's a little story about a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's in America. Some of the content herein may not be suitable for all readers. There's nothing totally crass here, I think, but my opinion rarely matches up with anyone elses...

1. Freebird—Lynyrd Skynyrd. Not because she hates southern rock but because that’s the song Billy Schaefer was playing on his portable transistor radio when him and his cousin Jenny Cramer and me snuck out to the pipe at the swamp that summer. It was a huge concrete drainage pipe. It wasn’t even a pipe really, to us it was a tunnel. It was long and dark and smelled like swamp gas—which is pretty much like what the bathroom smells like after your dad takes a big dump. But on the other side of the tunnel was the secluded clearing where even the sun couldn’t see us. Billy would pay his cousin quarters to drop her pants for us. She was two or three years older than us and she called it “hot-buns” because she would force me to drop my pants and…well, you get the picture. Billy called it “humping”. But I kind of knew that word meant something else…

2. How Deep is Your Love?—Bee Gees. Because of what I saw when I ran in the house that day. Stupid Shane Travis had to chase me and Donnie Miller all the way home because Donnie said Shane’s girlfriend’s butt was as big as the Hindenberg. I didn’t really know what the Hindenberg was, but gauging from the size of Alicia Skidmore’s ass-end baggage, it had to be colossal. Anyway we split up at the edge of the woods behind the school. The plan was to meet back at Donnie’s house. He jumped over Mr. Greerdon’s hedgerow and outran The Juggs—Mr. Greerdon’s hungry-fanged Rotweiller. Shane and I stopped a few paces away from each other and watched Donnie disappear. I smirked off a taunting little smile—shouldn’t have done that. I ran out of breath turning the corner on Center Street. I had some ground on him, but he was big, I knew he wasn’t going to stop. I ducked into the True Value Hardware Store. I was out of breath and dripping wet with sweat. I thought I’d lost him, and pretended to be in the market for a new garden hoe, but there is a distinct sound the bells on the doors make when an angry fourteen year-old bully comes crashing into proximity with his prey. I bolted through the back, past the garden hoses and immature tomato plants, back through the warehouse and out the huge bay door. I never looked back. I just assumed he was on my case. I made it down Alton Street passed 43rd and finally to Donnie’s house on Shattuck. I blasted through the door. I had never knocked before since Donnie’s house was my after-school home. I wish I’d knocked that day. There were the Gibb boys squeaking out the worst love song ever. And there was Donnie’s older brother, Chad, and his girlfriend, in the buff, on the couch…which was doing some squeaking of it’s own.

3. Glory Days—Bruce Springsteen. Because that’s the song that was playing on Chad’s boom box when my cousin Billy hit a baseball through the windshield of Glenn Nevin’s brand new Toyota 4x4. Something about that rock and roll rhythm makes boys hit the ball harder than seems possible. And since the song glorifies baseball anyway, I think we should have blamed Springsteen for subliminally enhancing our 11 year-old physical prowess. Bet you didn’t know a song with an organ and a ukulele could be so potent. But it was—especially if you swung the bat right at the end of the verse, when the chorus hits that first power beat. Everyone in the neighborhood knew Curly Alfred (which was the “nice” nickname people had for him…all the boys called him Poopred Noodlehead) was best friends with Shane Travis—who everyone hated. So we all got together and decided to blame Noodlehead—who wasn’t even playing that day. Not that it makes anyone feel better, but I cried when I heard Noodlehead getting his ass whipped by his dad that night.

4. Once in a Lifetime—Talking Heads. Because this is the song that Tony put into the tape player the time that I found myself “behind the wheel of a large automobile”—my mom’s Ford LTD automobile. You see, Tony knew I could get the keys and his girlfriend lived way out in East County and I still owed him for beating up Chance Parker and he was leaving town and he would jump off the Freemont if he couldn’t see her one last time and his mom was drunk on the couch in her bathrobe and his sister was blowing coke smoke through the vents into his room… Ok, Tony had some issues, yeah, but I agreed to do it. The old tradition of getting what we deserve has been displaced by a sheer meaninglessness—I think that’s what the song says. But you can’t drive and attempt to sift David Byrne’s lyrics through the waters of that funky, new age…thing the band was doing. It’s dangerous. And I’m sorry that dog died, I really am, but Tony kept grabbing the wheel, laughing, pushing on my knee so I’d accelerate… There’s really nothing more to say. I’m sorry.

5. Wrapped Around Your Finger—The Police. I guess there’s a double meaning for me with this one. First, because of what my fingers were wrapped around that day: my first cigarette. Second, because of why I was smoking it: Maria Zora. My God, she was the world. Everything. Her hair, how it sparkled in the sunlight. And that smile, the one she had to tease me with. That song, a smooth, enticing melody intertwining with an echoing guitar that lingered like a stymied teen-age eruption of emotion. The song crept up louder and louder from some car parked at the bottom of the hill, and all I could think about was how laden with unrelenting truth it was. How she buried her toes in the sand as the swing gently swung. This was what love felt like, right? Like the feeling the song emotes?
Yeah.
Right.
Let me tell you. That girl was a witch. Biggest mistake of my teenage love life was falling for this vixen. You see, her sister Carmella, well she had it for me, big time. But I was to stupid to see it—or maybe I ignored it. We all went up to the park that day. They had all been smoking up there at the swings for quite some time, but I’d never tried it. I thought—I actually, literally, truly, for really real thought—if I smoked, Maria would like me. The thing about it is, I knew—I know I knew—she was the doom-bringing toxic-wrath bitchspawn of Lucifer. And Carmella, well Jesus man, Carmella was as sweet as any person I’ve ever met in all these years since. No one needs to know the details of my demise at the hands of this wretched Siren. Let me just say this: I am an idiot.
Now, twenty years later, Maria has been married and divorced three times (all ugly), Carmella moved away to New York or Miami or somewhere shiny to became a big shot journalist and I’m sitting here writing this with a cigarette burning in my ashtray.
Loser.

6. Rock the Casbah—The Clash. It wasn’t the song playing in his car, it was the song playing in his house when we went in. “That crazy casbah sound”. Yeah.
I was at the homecoming game with my sister who decided to take off with her boyfriend to God knows where. That really pissed me off for some reason so I went behind the visitor bleachers to smoke a cigarette. Usually there were a few rockers hanging out there, but no one was around at that moment…except Marty Kilgore, who was about thirty years old and came to every game. He was sitting on the hood of that ’83 Corolla he had totally tricked out with teal and chrome. He could sense I was irritated and motioned for me to come over. I did. He offered to give me a ride home after we talked about the game for a minute or two. I agreed. He said he had to stop by his house to pick something up. He told me to come inside because he didn’t like leaving his car running in the heat. I did. He told me to sit on the reclining chair. I did. The song’s tinny resonance escaping some back room, the clapping percussions, the electronic jetfighters flying overhead, the raspy screech of words I couldn’t understand and those I knew too well:
“He thinks its not kosher
Fundamentally he cant take it.
You know he really hates it.”
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

7. Bring it on Home—Led Zeppelin. Because this is the song my mom’s boyfriend was playing in his new CD player in his car when he picked me up from J.D.H. I still don’t know how he was able to get me out; he wasn’t my dad or anything, just my mom’s rich boyfriend with a Porsche and a CD player. The song starts out slow and bluesy, you know, and I was depressed and muddled. I knew I would be grounded at least until I was 32. He didn’t say anything, just put the Porsche in that special “I’m one cool mother fucker” gear that only Porsche’s have. We drove. Neither of us talked. The blues. He’d glance over at me every now and then, I could sense it, but I just stared out the window at the streaking tracers emanating from the highway lights. But then the song starts bustin’. He started dancing in his seat. It was the first time I can remember anyone dancing while sitting—and doing a damned good job of it. I’ll never forget that big ass smile and his wide, bright, happy eyes. He kept nudging me. “Can you dig it?” Nudge. “I know you can dig this.” Nudge, nudge. I guess I could “dig it” a little bit. I started bobbing my head slightly. He nudged me some more. I started getting into it, dancing, waving my arms around. I smiled, which made him laugh, which made me giggle hysterically which made Jimmy Page rip off an extra crazy riff, which made Robert Plant the happiest Tommy on the planet. Then, for three encapsulating minutes, the chaos of my teenage wasteland dissipated. We rolled up to my house and parked out front as J.P.J. brought it on home and the song ended. He told me he had straightened everything out and that, as long as I wasn’t dropping acid with my long-haired hoodlum friends at the train station anymore, my mother would never need to know about that night. And that, I certainly could dig.

8. The Temple of Syrinx—Rush. Because one of my long-haired hoodlum friends starting singing this song while we were breaking into the basement window of St. Ignatius. Actually, I was there with two other guys, and neither of them had long hair. In fact, we could probably just say they ran with the crowd that didn’t particularly care for hair all that much. Sledge, he was the guy that looked like what Sid Vicious would have looked like if he weighed 225 and had a swastika shaved into the side of his head, and Shea, who was a shorter, meaner version of Sledge and always had two or three switchblades hidden somewhere in that bomber jacket. Those were my partners in crime and wine was our mark. Shea said he knew where they locked it up. But when we got to the cabinet where the holy sacrament was supposedly kept, it was empty, save for a folded piece of paper. Sledge couldn’t read all that good, so he gave it to me. I tried to read it, but it was hard to do in the dark. Shea snapped open his Zippo, the one with the double lightning bolts on it, and I read the words in the flickering light: “If you want the wine, Mass is at 11 a.m. every Sunday. See you there. Father Mellhouse.” Shea got pissed and started knocking shit over at random, but Sledge just started singing louder. It sounded good in the cathedral. A crisp, acoustic echo. “We are the priests!” We sang at the altar. I mumbled the words I didn’t know, but Sledge knew the song by heart. We would have stayed longer, but Shea got mad when he found a candleabra under the pulpit. “A Candleabra? What the fucking whore is this Jew shit doing in here?” He shoved the thing under the flap of his jacket and marched off, der brave soldat Schweik, to dispose of it in the river. After the golden article of transgression had splashed down in the Willamette, we continued to sing:
“Look around this world we made
Equality our stock in trade
Come and join the brotherhood of man
Oh what a wide contented world
Let the banners be unfurled
Hold the red star proudly high in hand”
Blatant ignorance. No idea what we were singing. No idea what we were doing. No idea. That’s all.

9. Hey Joe—The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Because usually fag bashing was an organized event. But on this night it was completely and hopelessly random. For those who don’t know, fag bashing in the 80’s was nothing like it is today. Today some kid gets on Youtube and posts a comment like “this song is gay” and that kid has successfully fag bashed. In the 80’s though, the activity was a sport—or at least at times involved baseball bats or a three iron—but it always culminated in the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I didn’t go in for it, wasn’t really my style. Sure, I talked like I hated any pretty thing that wouldn’t “screw to save his species”, but I didn’t really hate any isolated thing. What I hated was an undefined, intangible abstract only loosely described as “everything”. Saying I had nothing to do with fag bashing isn’t entirely a self-acquittal, however. In fact, my sins…well, they are vaster and infinitely sadder.
So we’re walking downtown on Park at about closing time. All the bars were pretty much emptied by then. In the 80’s downtown was pretty much dead after midnight…except for one area. I don’t know maybe we were drunk, or trippin’. But this guy, this flamer, you know the kind in straight clothes but with the Robert Palmer girl make-up and slicked back hair, comes sauntering up the street, smiling, lisping to himself, walking his gay hip-waving walk. Shea looks at me like he can’t actually believe this guy is going to keep walking toward us. Chris Zigler was with us that night. I was pretty sure “Ziggy”, as we called him back then, was schizophrenic, but everyone else just assumed he’d taken too many drugs into his system. Anyway, Ziggy and I stop while Shea advances toward the guy a few steps. The guy almost gets past us but, and I’ll never understand this, as he was almost past our hating gazes and on with his life, he stopped. “What? You want to hurt me?”
No one answered.
“Well. What are you waiting for? Go on. Hurt me.”
Ziggy and I shot confused glances at each other.
“Yeah. This window right here.” He was talking right at Shea now.
“Go ahead. You want to bash my head into this window? I want you to do it. Do it!”
Then he took a step toward Shea. The last step he would make that night. At one point the gay guy had dug his nails into Shea’s arm so deep that he yelled for Ziggy to “Hold down this Mary’s arms!” Blood? Probably, but I don’t remember. I just remember the guy laughing and laughing as Shea pummeled him, bashed his head into the glittering concrete, kicked him all over his body. I remember Ziggy holding the guy up by his pony tail as Shea slapped his face—hard, precise, sharp, deliberate back hands. And I just stood there. Vaster and infinitely sadder. I said nothing. Smoked my cigarette and looked up past the skyscrapers at one solitary bright star hovering above the evils of the Earth.
And that’s when the song happened. It was a red Mercedes coupe, I believe. I think it had been parked there the whole time, because I never saw it arrive. But the doors opened, and the song that was previously playing in a muffled, subconscious distance filled the street and echoed off the buildings. Jimi’s voice came pouring out, and it seemed to me that either he or his sweet guitar, or maybe both, were crying.
Two black guys got out. One of them stood by the car. The other had a long leather trench coat on and walked slowly toward the foray, yelling: “Hey! What’s the problem here?”
Shea got off the gay guy. I was pretty sure this was going to get worse. Ziggy went running down the street. Shea and the black guy took steps toward each other and the closer the black guy got it became apparent that he was quite possibly the tallest man on the planet. Shea’s stride slowed as he realized the size of the guy. I was standing about twenty feet away, and I could tell, this guy was an NBA player. Shea probably made the best decision of his life at that moment when he turned and ran after Ziggy.
Me? I just stood there, staring at a star, thinking a million guilty thoughts, letting Jimi’s blues wash over me until the police came.

10. Go Your Own Way—Fleetwood Mac. Because this was the song playing in my mom’s car stereo when we drove home after Sledge’s funeral. Because one chapter of my life ended, and I realized on that long slow procession that things…they were a changin’. There’s something prophetically funeralistic about that song. I can’t quite put my finger on it and everyone else on the planet says it’s a song about escape and freedom—I just think it’s about separation and death. Maybe I’m just as morbid now as I was then. Or maybe the chiming guitars in the song remind me of a place we’ll all eventually go. Anyway, I went my own way after this. I got a job a few weeks later and enrolled in college the following year.
So why would my mother cringe at this song? Not because Sledge’s death probably saved my life. No, I suppose in some way she probably realizes this is true. And I suppose, being my mother, she’s in some way happy things worked out like they did, in the end. I know Sledge’s death released me from a bond most of those guys only got out of the way Sledge did. He was leader of this gang of dealers and robbers. Nothing happened he didn’t know about. Without him we were vulnerable and weak. The thing about Sledge’s death is that I was literally this ê ê close to him when he died. And that’s what it took. A chest riddled with bullets and shards of bleeding glass. He writhed there, a gasping, spitting boy, soldiering to the end in a world of deceit and pain. Dying a death we all openly pretended to admire. My salvation was a child, rapt in the skin-headed vestige of confusion, sorrow and thuggery. And I was glad, unrepentantly relieved, he was dead—I cringe at that thought now, and would certainly hope my mother would.
When I think back on all these people I knew, I think about Donnie and his infatuation with poetry and the beautiful things in life and how he met his end in a foreign country, fighting a foreign war. I think about Shane Travis, the bully, who now owns his own company and is one of the great, benevolent men we all aspire to be. I think about Shea and his dad who taught him how to hate, about Maria and Carm—and I think about her a lot, I find myself not remorseful, no, not a bit. I’d say I’m as incapable of comprehending any of this now as I was back then. Just as ignorant, just as befuddled, I suppose.
But sometimes, something happens. It happens when my ten year-old daughter is riding her bike or brings me a glass of ice cold lemonade she made all by herself, and I look at her smile, and I think of myself: you don’t deserve this, you aren’t good enough for this, and I want to scream and laugh and weep and quiver and I want to rend open up my soul, grab the little girl in my arms because I don’t want her to know about that ugly world out there and I can only hope I absorbed some of it for her. I want her to believe that there is a desirable, beautiful place somewhere out there past all the evil. That there is a place where grace endures and hope remains. I want her to know beyond doubt that in this place:
“Everything’s waiting for you.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Perfect Circle

Two young men look up to the sky to see a sun which had finally spun its way above the ridgeline of the foothills of the mountain they cannot see. The sun glows and turns in a silver ring that surrounds it. Up and above the conical firs, above the circles of spruce in the bowl of the valley the sun had reached its peak. It seems to hover there, a golden disc of fire, illuminating and blinding with its perpetual glow. The everlasting, noontide rays of the sun come spiraling down, absorbing direction and sense.

It was hot.

Eddie: Whichever direction we go, we end up in the same place.
Jack: I’m not lost. Just be quiet.
Eddie: Well this may not be the best time, but I think I gotta tell you something else.
Jack: What?
Eddie: Evolution is a lie man.
Jack: The fuck are you talking about now?
Eddie: Should be the Theory of Revolution. Shit goes around, it doesn’t progress.
Jack: Will you be quiet? I’m trying to listen.
Eddie: You tell me to talk…you tell me to shut up.

They are lost. Going in circles. Of course, ‘going in circles’ implies that they aren’t going anywhere, which is not entirely true. Jack, the older of the two, had been trying to gather information, gain some bearings. Even after all this time, he refused to ‘be lost’ in the wilderness. The other, Eddie is his name, is handling their situation the same as had always handled stress: he talked. Not even an encounter with the infamous Whetlock bear who was said to rip men to shreds just to see them squirm could change that aspect of Eddie. He talked and talked and talked.

Jack: Just shuttup.
Eddie: Did you know that a turtle can live one hundred seventy-five years?
Jack: Listen. Who? Turtle Beducci? I doubt he’ll live to be forty.
Eddie: Man… I said a turtle. I’m being serious. I’m talking about a one hundred seventy-five year cycle here.
Jack: I know. But you remember that guy? Crazy mother, him.
Eddie: Unbelievable
Jack: That’s Turtle.
Eddie: What the hell man? T-U-R-T-L-E.
Jack: That’s nice, now spell tortoise.
Eddie: You’re an idiot. Did you know that? Besides, his nickname was T-U-R-D-L-E, because he used to shit his pants all the time in grade school.
Jack: No shit? How about shutting the fuck up?
Eddie: Yeah. Shit. I’m talking about a turtle.
Jack: Well, every time I see a turtle or hear the word turtle it reminds me of Beducci.
Eddie: Ah. Ok. Fine. Connections: whenever I look at a bicycle wheel I think about turtles.
Jack: I don’t want to talk about turtles and I absolutely do not want to talk about cycles.

Since the accident this morning, carrying around their bicycles had become more than burdensome. Running with a bicycle wasn’t an option, so when they had to run, they had to backtrack for the cycles. If only that path had not disappeared in the undergrowth. If only they had a compass…there’s a thought that would return later and often. There is the sun. Still. The still sun. That’s of no use. They continue on. What else can they do?

Eddie: A turtle’s life is one big perpetual cycle. Did you know that?
Jack: My life is one big circle. I get up, I eat, I shit, I work, I eat some more, I shit some more…
Eddie: I’m talking about cycles. Revolutions. Thirty-six chromosomes.
Jack: I think you are the only person alive that can confuse a turtle with a bicycle wheel.
Eddie: What? A bicycle wheel has thirty-six spokes.
Jack: Thirty-five.
Eddie: Don’t you see the connection?
Jack: Will you just shut up? It’s not important.
Eddie: God, how old are you? You can’t live your whole life without knowing something important before you die. And you definitely have to be able to decipher between shit that is important and the shit that isn’t!
Jack: I’m trying to hear…do you really want to die out here?

Jack really thought he heard water. But this forest brims with all sorts of sounds. There are two creeks…certainly somewhere nearby. Every once in a whle the rush of water sends an echo over the hills. Figuring out where it came from is proving difficult for Jack. There are birds of all kinds making all kinds of ruckus. There are other bustling creatures in the bushes and undergrowth. A distant plane was humming beyond and over the mountain. Twigs snap, limbs fall in the shadows, a bumblebee zips here and there across the path the two men are making. The day lingered. The sounds mingled and clanged in the heat like a symphony tuning before a concert. Eddie has no interest in the auditions of the forest. He was mumbling something under his breath, making noises of his own.

Eddie: A turtle has thirty-six chromosomes. Are you listening to me?
Jack: I don’t know.
Eddie: How many chromosomes does a turtle have?
Jack: Listen! That’s our salvation, man!
Eddie: I give up.
Jack: Don’t you know what that is?
Eddie: No! And I don’t care what you hear as long as it’s not that goddamned bear.
Jack: The Whetlock bear again…the bear is history. Let it go.
Eddie: So says you. It’s probably the Whetlock bear drinking the blood of his latest victim…that’s what you hear.
Jack: You don’t hear it? The creek? That’s a creek.
Eddie: Ok…I don’t hear it.
Jack: Salmon Creek runs parallel to highway twenty-six, man! On the south side!

Jack was trying very hard to figure out where they might be. Eddie wasn’t helping.

Eddie: Whatever, we’re still lost. That’s not gonna help us. We’re still screwed. It’s going to get freezing tonight. If the cold don’t kill us, the bear will.
Jack: That must be Salmon Creek. I can hear it. Eddie, the bear isn’t here.
Eddie: Yeah right. The Whetlock bear has been hunting us all day. Guarantee it.
Jack: You’re hopeless. Listen.
Eddie: You’re goddamned right I am! I’m sick of this shit!
Jack: Dude, chill. Chromosomes. Ok? We need to keep you talking or you’re gonna go wacky.
Eddie: No we don’t.
Jack: Yes we do.
Eddie: We don’t need to talk about anything. You don’t want to hear it anyway.
Jack: Let’s just keep moving. Just try to keep a conversation going. I won’t stop you.
Eddie: Ok, fine. So can we can go straight back from right here? This very spot?

Now, here’s the trick. The answer is ‘yes’. Yes, they could go straight back from any point. But it won’t lead them out of the circular predicament they have created for themselves. At any point, we can go back, but the story is always the same. Always.

Jack: Yes.
Eddie: Yeah? Are you sure?
Jack: I am sure. We can go back from any point here.
Eddie: You better be posi-fucking-tively sure.
Jack: Well…I’m pretty sure.
Eddie: Don’t say you’re ‘pretty’ sure! You’re half-assed planning is what got us into this shit-hole mess in the first place!
Jack: Instead of doing that, why don’t you give me a valid suggestion? I’m pretty sure the creek is just over that ridge there.
Eddie: Yeah, I’m gonna scream! I can’t believe you said that! I’m screaming now. And loud!
Jack: That’s right. Yell. That’ll help. Real great. I should just leave you here for that stupid bear.

Eddie isn’t happy. The bear is nowhere to be seen. But the forest moves still. Eddie screams and the forest replies.

Eddie: I loved my poor bicycle! Bicycle! Bicycle!
Jack: The bike is toast, man. Come on, get a grip and let’s get up that ridge over there, ok?
Eddie: I really am going to get you killed…I’m going to get myself killed! I don’t think I can handle this. Twelve hundred bucks I paid for that bike!
Jack: That’s definitely not helpful. Talk about something. Turdle Beducci, remember? Or whatever, anything. Talk about anything.
Eddie: Why does this shit happen to me? I have to stop. Just leave me here to die.

Eddie’s friend would never leave him there to die. They had been friends since high school. He may have thought about leaving Eddie, just for a few minutes, to scope things out, but knew that would never work. And now he noticed that something was moving in the shadows along the ridgeline again.

Jack: Eddie just keep moving, bro. We got to keep moving or we’re going to die.
Eddie: Fuck! F-uuuuuuuuuu-ck! Fuck bicycles! Fuck bears and turtles and trees and fuck all this fuckity fucked-up fuck fuck fuckity fuck!
Jack: Eddie. Pay attention. Eddie…
Eddie: Oh my God! Oh my God!
Jack: Eddie! Keep it together!
Eddie: What?!
Jack: Is that the bear you were talking about?

And there it was. The Whetlock bear of local legend, slayer of man and beast. Widow-maker. Death-bringer. The fangs of Satan gleaming, dripping with vile. His coat, a mane of pure anger. Eyes, circular portals to the End of all things.

Eddie: Oh…my…God.
Jack: C’mon! Run!

What could they do? Run.

Eddie: You gotta be fucking kidding me!
Jack: Holy shit! That’s…the biggest damn bear…Behind those rocks! Go! Go! Go!
Eddie: Oh shit!
Jack: Did you see that? What is that thing?!

The illusion of safety. The forest, as serene and tranquil, as taken advantage…it is as it is. Back in the city, we know to look for predation. We think we know who is hunting and who is hunted. The wilderness masks. The sun waxes. The forest lies.

Eddie: Is that him?
Jack: Ok. Stop, stop, stop. Stop here.
Eddie: I don’t see him anywhere!
Jack: I don’t think he chased us, I think our paths crossed coincidentally.
Eddie: I hope you’re right. You’re never right.
Jack: Let’s just get up on that mound over there for a few minutes. I think it’s safe.
Eddie: Do you see him?
Jack: I think I can sense him. But I can’t make him out if he’s back there.
Eddie: You don’t see him?
Jack: I don’t know. Shh!
Eddie: You see? That’s what I’m talking about.
Jack: He might still be around here. Shut the fuck up!
Eddie: Grizzly fuckin Adams man.
Jack: Ok, that’s enough, man. Serious. Let me regain my bearings.

Jack knows they have to keep moving. But the feeling of recurrence overwhelms him. This rock, this ridge, the mound over there…all familiar. Eddie notices it too. Eddie is confused. This way is that and that, this. Nothing makes sense. The sun never moves from its zenith. It simply beams. The flooding lamp of some celestial interrogator.

Eddie: Well, this is exactly what I was talking about. We came up here on twelve-hundred dollar mountain bikes and now were being chased by Grizzly Adams or…whatever!
Jack: Grizzly Adams was the guy. The bears name was Ben, or something like that.
Eddie: No it wasn’t.
Jack: Was that show even on when you were a kid?
Eddie: Your’re the damned T.V. junkie. I’ve never even seen the stupid show.
Jack: The bear’s name wasn’t Grizzly Adams.
Eddie: Whatever you say.
Jack: Ok. Just hunker down here for a minute or two. Catch your breath, keep your eyes open.

They make their way to the feigned safety of an outcropping. Covered with moss and hanging grasses. They hide themselves. They know that won’t help. They’ll have to move and do this again and again.

Eddie: Grizzly fuckin’ Adams, man.
Jack: The Whetlock bear. Unbelievable.
Eddie: Jesus, that’s one big bear. Shit! Look!
Jack: What is it? I don’t see!
Eddie: Down there. In the gulch! It’s moving!
Jack: Ok listen, there’s no bear up here. Calm down. He’s out there, but he’s not right here, right now. Ok? Let’s keep it that way and keep moving.
Eddie: You ever seen a bear that big?
Jack: Well, I have now.
Eddie: Do you ever think about dying?
Jack: You’re really asking for it. You need to shuttup.

Eddie hunches down like a school boy digging for worms. He mumbles to himself a string of psuedo decipherable words that soon become a silent song.

Eddie: I love my bicycle.
Jack: Loved.
Eddie: I love my bicycle.
Jack: Loved.
Eddie: I love my bicycle.
Jack: God, you’ve finally lost it.

Jack starts walking westward toward the mountain they can not see through the trees. Eddie, lost in thought, looks up to see that Jack is almost out of sight and runs to catch up.

Eddie: Bicycle wheels have thirty-six spokes.
Jack: Yes, you’re an overflowing fountain of information.
Eddie: I’m right, aren’t I?
Jack: Right about what?
Eddie: We aren’t making it out of here. We’re going in circles. We’re turtles. I was right.
Jack: Oh for fucks sake…What the hell do you know about turtles anyway?
Eddie: Turtles have thirty-six chromosomes.
Jack: Yeah, and they’re complete idiots.

Jack stops at a small crick. Eddie kneels down and laps up some water like a dog. Jack cups his hands to drink. They continue on, talking and walking, but looking this way and that for any sign of danger.


Eddie: The Whetlock bear has hunted these woods for centuries, that’s what they say.
Jack: Ridiculous. What, that stupid bear? He’s a bear you’re a human. Chromosomes, man.
Eddie: We can’t outrun him forever. It’s the tortoise and the hare.
Jack: Oh my God. Does it ever end with you?
Eddie: Well, this might not be the best time to mention, but…
Jack: We aint lost. Shut up about it.
Eddie: We’re going in circles man.
Jack: Look, we aren’t lost and not every little thing in life is a circle for fuck’s sake.
Eddie: Name one that isn’t.
Jack: Stories have a very distinct beginning, middle and end. Right? They aren’t circular.
Eddie: Oh, really? Just answer me this then what if the end of the story is the beginning and the beginning is the end?
Jack: Stories have a very distinct beginning middle and end. Right? They aren’t circular.
Eddie: Name one that isn’t.
Jack: Look, we aren’t lost and not every little thing in life is a circle for fuck’s sake.
Eddie: We’re going in circles man.
Jack: We aint lost. Shut up about it.
Eddie: Well, this might not be the best time to mention, but…
Jack: Oh my God does it ever end with you?
Eddie: We can’t outrun him forever. It’s the tortoise and the hare.
Jack: Ridiculous. What, that stupid bear? He’s a bear you’re a human. Chromosomes, man.
Eddie: The Whetlock bear has hunted these woods for centuries, that’s what they say.

Jack stops at a small crick. Eddie kneels down and laps up some water like a dog. Jack cups his hands to drink. They continue on, talking and walking, but looking this way and that for any sign of danger.

Jack: Yeah, and they’re complete idiots.
Eddie: Turtles have thirty-six chromosomes.
Jack: Oh for fucks sake…What the hell do you know about turtles anyway?
Eddie: We aren’t making it out of here. We’re going in circles. We’re turtles. I was right.
Jack: Right about what?
Eddie: I’m right aren’t I?
Jack: Yes, you’re an overflowing fountain of information.
Eddie: Bicycle wheels have thirty-six spokes.

Jack starts walking westward toward the mountain they can not see through the trees. Eddie, lost in thought, looks up to see that Jack is almost out of sight and runs to catch up.

Jack: God you’ve finally lost it.
Eddie: I love my bicycle.
Jack: Loved.
Eddie: I love my bicycle.
Jack: Loved.
Eddie: I love my bicycle.

Eddie hunches down like a school boy digging for worms. He mumbles to himself a string of psuedo decipherable words that soon become a silent song.

Jack: You’re really asking for it. You need to shuttup.
Eddie: Do you ever think about dying?
Jack: Well, I have now.
Eddie: You ever seen a bear that big?
Jack: Ok listen, there’s no bear up here. Calm down. He’s out there. But he’s not right here, right now. Ok? Let’s keep it that way and keep moving.
Eddie: Down there! In the gulch! It’s moving!
Jack: What is it? I don’t see!
Eddie: Jesus, that’s one big bear. Shit! Look!
Jack: The Whetlock bear. Unbelievable!
Eddie: Grizzly fuckin’ Adams, man.

They make their way to the feigned safety of an outcropping covered with moss and hanging grasses. They hide themselves. They know it won’t help. They’ll have to move and do this again and again.

Jack: Ok. Just hunker down here for a minute or two. Catch your breath, keep your eyes open.
Eddie: Whatever you say.
Jack: The bear’s name wasn’t Grizzly Adams.
Eddie: You’re the damned T.V. junkie. I’ve never even seen the stupid show.
Jack: Was that show even on when you were a kid?
Eddie: No it wasn’t.
Jack: Grizzly Adams was the guy. The bears name was Ben, or something like that.
Eddie: Well, this is exactly what I was talking about. We came up here on twelve-hundred dollar mountain bikes and now were being chased by Grizzly Adams…or whatever.

Jack knows they have to keep moving. But the feeling of recurrence overwhelms him. This rock, this ridge, the mound over there…all familiar. Eddie notices it too. Eddie is confused. This way is that and that, this. Nothing makes sense. The sun never moves from its zenith. It simply beams. The flooding lamp of some celestial interrogator.

Jack: Ok that’s enough man. Serious. Let me regain my bearings.
Eddie: Grizzly fuckin’ Adams, man.
Jack: He might still be around here. Shut the fuck up.
Eddie: You see? That’s what I’m talking about.
Jack: I don’t know. Shh!
Eddie: You don’t see him?
Jack: I think I can sense him. But I can’t make him out if he’s back there.
Eddie: Do you see him?
Jack: Let’s just get up on that mound over there for a few minutes. I think it’s safe.
Eddie: I hope you’re right. You’re never right.
Jack: I don’t think he chased us, I think our paths crossed coincidentally.
Eddie: I don’t see him anywhere!
Jack: Ok. Stop, stop, stop. Stop here.
Eddie: Is that him?

The illusion of safety. The forest, as serene and tranquil, as taken advantage of…it is as it is. Back in the city, we know to look for predation. We think we know who is hunting and who is hunted. The wilderness masks. The sun waxes. The forest lies.

Jack: Did you see that? What is that thing?!
Eddie: Oh shit!
Jack: Holy shit! That’s…the biggest damn bear…Behind those rocks! Go! Go! Go!
Eddie: You gotta be fucking kidding me!

What else could they do? Run.

Jack: C’mon! Run!
Eddie: Oh…my …God.

And there it is. The Whetlock bear of local legend, slayer of man and beast. Widow-maker. Death-bringer. The fangs of Satan gleaming, dripping with vile. His coat, a mane of pure anger. Eyes, circular portals to the End of all things.

Jack: Is that the bear you were talking about?
Eddie: What?!
Jack: Eddie! Keep it together!
Eddie: Oh my God! Oh my God!
Jack: Eddie. Pay attention. Eddie…
Eddie: Fuck! F-uuuuuuuuuu-ck! Fuck bicycles! Fuck bears and turtles and tress and fuck all this fuckity fucked-up fuck fuck fuckity fuck!
Jack: Eddie just keep moving, bro. We got to keep moving or we’re going to die.

Jack would never leave Eddie there to die. They had been friends since high school. He may have thought about leaving Eddie, just for a few minutes, to scope things out, but knew that would never work. And now he noticed that something was moving in the shadows along the ridgeline again. Eddie was frantic.

Eddie: Why does this shit happen to me? I have to stop. Just leave me here to die.
Jack: That’s definitely not helpful.. Talk about something, Eddie. Turdle Beducci, remember? Or whatever, anything. Keep walking. Talk about anything.
Eddie: I really am going to get you killed…I’m going to get myself killed! I don’t think I can handle this. Twelve hundred bucks I paid for that bike!
Jack: The bike is toast, man. Come on, get a grip and let’s get up that ridge over there, ok?
Eddie: I loved my poor bicycle! Bicycle! Bicycle!

Eddie isn’t happy. The bear is nowhere to be seen. But the forest moves still. Eddie screams and the forest replies.

Jack: That’s right. Yell. That’ll help. Real great. I should just leave you here for that stupid bear.
Eddie: Yeah, I’m gonna scream! I can’t believe you said that! I’m screaming now. And loud!
Jack: Instead of doing that, why don’t you give me a valid suggestion? I’m pretty sure the creek is just over that ridge there.
Eddie: Don’t say you’re ‘pretty’ sure! You’re half-assed planning is what got us into this shit-hole mess in the first place!
Jack: Well…I’m pretty sure.
Eddie: You better be posi-fucking-tively sure!
Jack: I am sure. We can go back from any point here.
Eddie: Yeah? Are you sure?
Jack: Yes.

Now, here’s the trick. The answer is ‘yes’. Yes, they could go straight back from any point. But it won’t lead them out of the circular predicament they have created for themselves. At any point, we can go back, but the story is always the same. Always.

Eddie: Ok, Fine. So can we go straight back from right here? This very spot?
Jack: Let’s just keep moving. Just try to keep a conversation going. I won’t stop you.
Eddie: We don’t need to talk about anything. You don’t want to hear it anyway.
Jack: Yes we do.
Eddie: No we don’t.
Jack: Dude, chill. Chromosomes. Ok? We need to keep you talking or you’re gonna go wacky.
Eddie: You’re goddamned right I am! I’m sick of this shit!
Jack: You’re hopeless. Listen.
Eddie: Yeah right. The Whetlock bear has been hunting us all day. Guarantee it.
Jack: That must be Salmon Creek. I can hear it. Eddie, the bear isn’t here.
Eddie: Whatever, we’re still lost. That’s not gonna help us. We’re still screwed. It’s going to get freezing tonight. If the cold don’t kill us, the bear will.

Jack was trying very hard to figure out where they might be. Eddie wasn’t helping.

Jack: Salmon Creek runs parallel to highway twenty-six, man! On the south side!
Eddie: Ok…I don’t hear it.
Jack: You don’t hear it? The creek? That’s a creek.
Eddie: So says you. It’s probably the Whetlock bear drinking the blood of his latest victim…that’s what you hear.
Jack: The Whetlock bear again…the bear is history. Let it go.
Eddie: No! And I don’t care what you hear as long as it’s not the goddamned bear!
Jack: Don’t you know what that is?
Eddie: I give up.
Jack: Listen! That’s our salvation, man!
Eddie: How many chromosomes does a turtle have?
Jack: I don’t know.
Eddie: A turtle has thirty-six chromosomes. Are you listening to me?

Jack really thought he heard water. But this forest brims with all sorts of sounds. There are two creeks…certainly somewhere nearby. Every once in a whle the rush of water sends an echo over the hills. Figuring out where it came from is proving difficult for Jack. There are birds of all kinds making all kinds of ruckus. There are other bustling creatures in the bushes and undergrowth. A distant plane was humming beyond and over the mountain. Twigs snap, limbs fall in the shadows, a bumblee zips here and there across the path the two men are making. The day lingered. The sounds mingled and clanged in the heat like a symphony tuning before a concert. Eddie has no interest in the auditions of the forest. He was mumbling something under his breath, making noises of his own.

Jack: I’m trying to hear…do you really want to die out here?
Eddie: God, how old are you? You can’t live your whole life without knowing something important before you die. And you definitely have to be able to decipher between shit that is important and the shit that isn’t!
Jack: Will you just shut up? It’s not important.
Eddie: Don’t you see the connection?
Jack: Thirty-five.
Eddie: What? A bicycle has thirty-six spokes.
Jack: I think you’re the only person alive that can confuse a turtle with a bicycle wheel.
Eddie: I’m talking about cycles. Revolutions. Thirty-six chromosomes.
Jack: My life is one big circle. I get up, I eat, I shit, I work, I eat some more, I shit some more…
Eddie: A turtle’s life is a perpetual cycle. Did you know that?

Since the accident this morning, carrying around their bicycles had become more than burdensome. Running with a bicycle wasn’t an option, so when they had to run, they had to backtrack for the cycles. If only that path had not disappeared in the undergrowth. If only they had a compass…there’s a thought that would return later and often. There is the sun. Still. The still sun. That’s of no use. They continue on. What else can they do?

Jack: I don’t want to talk about turtles and I absolutely do not want to talk about cycles.
Eddie: Ah Ok. Fine. Connections: whenever I look at a bicycle wheel I think about turtles.
Jack: Well, every time I see a turtle or hear the word turtle it reminds me of Beducci.
Eddie: Yeah. Shit. I’m talking about a turtle.
Jack: No shit? How about shutting the fuck up?
Eddie: You’re an idiot. Did you know that? Besides, his nickname was T-U-R-D-L-E, because he used to shit his pants all the time in grade school. T-U-R-D-L-E.
Jack: That’s nice, now spell tortoise.
Eddie: What the hell man? T-U-R-T-L-E.
Jack: That’s turtle.
Eddie: Unbelievable.
Jack: I know. But you remember that guy? Crazy mother, him.
Eddie: Man…I said a turtle. I’m being serious. I’m talking about a one hundred seventy-five year cycle here.
Jack: Listen. Who? Turtle Beducci? I doubt he’ll live to be forty.
Eddie: Did you know that a turtle can live one hundred seventy-five years.
Jack: Just shut up.

They were lost. Again. Going in circles…or so they thought. Of course, ‘going in circles’ implies that they weren’t going anywhere, which is not entirely true. Jack had been trying to gather information they whole way, even with Eddie constantly jabbering. Jack refused to ‘be lost’ in the wilderness. The other, Eddie was his name, was handling their situation the same as he had always handled stress. He talked. Not even an encounter with the infamous Whetlock bear who was said to rip men to shreds just to see them squirm could change that aspect of Eddie. He talked and talked and talked.

Eddie: You tell me to talk…you tell me to shut up.
Jack: Will you be quiet? Right now I’m trying to listen.
Eddie: Should be the Theory of Revolution. Shit goes around, it doesn’t progress.
Jack: The fuck are you talking about now?
Eddie: Evolution is a lie, man.
Jack: What?
Eddie: Well this may not be the best time, but I think I gotta tell you something else…
Jack: I’m not lost. Just be quiet.
Eddie: Whichever direction we go, we end up in the same place.

Two young men look up to the sky to see a sun which had finally spun its way above the ridgeline of the foothills of the mountain they cannot see. The sun glows and turns in a silver ring that surrounds it. Up and above the conical firs, above the circles of spruce in the bowl of the valley the sun had reached its peak. It seems to hover there, a golden disc of fire, illuminating and blinding with its perpetual glow. The everlasting, noontide rays of the sun come spiraling down, absorbing direction and sense.

It was hot.


Copyright 2008, The Liber Review
Portland Oregon
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