The Wanderlust Misfit

Don't Run From Anything, Run Towards Everything

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

NO MORE INTERNET FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS BECAUSE THIS IS THE WORST DISTRACTION FOR A FEEBLE UNCONCENTRATED MIND THAT HAS EVER EXISTED SO, IN THIS VERY LONG TITLE, I AM SAYING GOODBYE UNTIL EARLY 2013 SOMETIME BECAUSE I AM NO LONGER GOING ON THE INTERNET UNTIL I HAVE THIS BOOK FINISHED. WELL, I’LL PROBABLY POST THE REST OF THE REASONS TO RUN STORIES, BUT THAT’S IT!! NO MORE INTERNET!

For the time being, while I’m writing The Road Paved With Madness, I will cease most all internet usage. I can’t focus if I’ve been on the internet, too many sites and ads vying for my attention that when I go to write, my mind wanders, helplessly.
I must stop using the internet during this period of writing because the internet, as well as television which I have already limited, diminishes concentration and focus: spreading sunlight across many diverse lands dilutes the total power of light that can fill the one important land which you to intend to explore and develop.
!!STOP GOING ON THE INTERNET WHEN WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE!!

I will not be posting on this blog, save for any short-stories I may finish during this time, until I have finished this novel.

When I return in early 2013 here’s what you can expect:
– The Road Paved With Madness as a PDF and on e-readers, and in your hands!
– Blogging about hitchhiking
– Blogging about living on the street and all this may entail
– Blogging about vagabonding, including something furtively titled ‘The Poor Man’s Travel Guide’
– A new, contemporary remake of the Declaration of Independence
– Lots of anti-establishment vitriol
– A new form of surrealistic short-story, furtively called ‘Scene-Flashes’
and…
well,
to sum it up I’ll be living on the road, traveling and rambling and writing writing writing. My plans are to take my time hitchhiking back out to Los Angeles, seeing the Pacific Northwest on my way there, and, upon my arrival, reclaim my bed behind the bushes and then strike out to meet as many writers, artists and wanderers as I possibly can.

Also during 2013 (hopefully), visiting Rainbow Fest!! and all other exciting adventures I can’t yet fathom!!

From Cuba to 9/11, Using False Flags to Wage War and Dissolve Liberty

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=92662&page=1#.UM-M1G-Znl9

The above is a link to the ABC News article ‘U.S. Wanted to Provoke War with Cuba’. It’s from May, 2001.
Frankly, I’m surprised ABC ever ran the story, and more surprised that it’s still up. From the second paragraph:
“Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.”

Here is a PDF of Operation Northwoods: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430/northwoods.pdf

Beginning on Page 7 is an outline of potential false-flag attacks mitigated by U.S. forces against the United States — attacks to be carried out by our government which they would then blame on Cuba to solidify public support for an invasion of Cuba. The Department of Justice, which passed this over to the Kennedy Administration who turned it down, recommended bombing Guantanamo, sinking U.S. naval craft, hijacking airplanes and: ‘We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, other Florida cities and even in Washington.’ Even: ‘It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States….’

Still think your government wouldn’t lie to you? Intentionally deceive you?
Well, get this…
The CIA recognizes something they call ‘blow-back’, which is when operations, military or otherwise, have obverse, undesired effects. Namely, when American forces blow up foreign villages (think drone strikes), these attacks have the curious effect of causing more people to take up arms against American forces overseas — the attacks create terrorists. And thus the cycle continues.
So, who would benefit from a self-sustaining war?
The NSA might know. Or the proponents of the NDAA, or the heads of the TSA, or people who stand to make billions from the ever growing national surveillance system, or people who profit from the military-industrial complex. Or even Halliburton, a billion dollar oil company involved with ‘rebuilding’ Iraq, which also lists Dick Cheney as a CEO.

The death of a free society begins with the consolidation of wealth and power. The wealth disparity in this country has been steadily climbing since the 1980’s. In 2010 the top 1% held 42% of financial wealth (ucsc.edu)
What are the primary factors driving wealth disparity? A quick look at Wikipedia, searching for ‘Wealth Inequality in the United States’, lists, among several other factors, inflation, lower credit costs, and tax policy.
We know of the tax loopholes the uber-wealthy regularly abuse, the very loopholes that politicians, although they say they will, never seem to close. The Federal Reserves prints $40 billion a month in new money, flooding the currency. ‘More of something’ inflates that something and drives down its worth, the worth of the dollars in your pocket. And of course, the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates artificially low.
So, the super-wealthy have the odds stacked for them. They have the wealth, and they can and do use the gears of government to protect their wealth.

I wonder who would benefit from perpetual war? A perpetual war that can be used to justify the dissolution of Liberty?

The Truth About The American Government

As you all have probably surmised, I’m quite the ‘anti-establishment’ sort. I’ve been frustrated, pissed-off, incredulous, and stunned by some of the things our government here in America has been doing. The corruption is palpable, the disregard for our Constitution blatant, and the arrogant contrivances of the people in power holds the fetid taste of bile.
I can no longer stand-by, indeed, this country can no longer stand-by, any longer: We’ve been apathetic for too long and the consequences have been horrendous. We are tail-spinning into a despotic plutocracy and if we do not reveal the information of corruption and deceit, if we do not successfully and with all haste prove to those who cannot fathom the depths of which our system has suffered putrefaction, we will no longer remain, in any semblance, a free society.
The time is now to get our act together, to unite beneath and rise above oppression.
Information is our key.

A new section of this blog will be dedicated to news articles, essays and documentaries pertinent to the crisis at hand. This is an attempt to awaken those who refuse, out of fear for what must happen, to accept the state of our Union. For all of you who already understand, this will be an information dump, a cache from which to arm yourselves with the necessary munitions of facts, arguments and rationalizations with which we must wage this war against the forces of disinformation and deceit.
Please post arguments, evidence and any thoughts you may have, and feel free to add links. All conversation is greatly welcomed.
So,
Go! Talk to your friends, your family, co-workers and classmates; the spread of truth through honest conversation is the greatest tactic we have at our disposal.
Go! Awaken the masses.
And,
— Viva la Revolucion.

This is not a post about every other post posted today

This is a post that has nothing to do about Conneticut or shootings or guns.

Since you understand that I am a human being, you already understand I how I feel and there is no need to describe what is already in your own heart.

This post is about no certain tragedy which I would ever feel compulsed to blog about simply because people would want to read more about it after having heard and read about it all day long.

How do people become well-known? By doing acts which other people ceaselessly and obsessively talk about.

Useless Time

If you don’t remember dreaming, did you dream at all? Likewise, if you do not remember an event occurring, can it be said to have never happened, if there is no one else to speak for the existence of the event? If a past event is so insignificant as to give you no reason to remember it (think of the inane: stepping over puddles, everyday conversations, going to the store), it must have no real reason to have ever existed. Your life, your current circumstances, are the product of a list of prior events. Well, if something happened to you that is so insignificant as to have no affect upon the outcome of this equation, than that event can be replaced by any other inconsequential event and, being so undefined, can be said to have never existed in the first place.

Now, How much of your life can you remember? For the rest must be of no significance, worthless and empty and therefore, truly, not even real.

Thus,  The majority of your time here has been absolutely nothing.

I suppose holes can easily here be poked but the original idea stands: if an event, moment or action can be so insignificant as to bear no affect upon you nor anyone else, can it be said to have never existed?

The Writer’s Mire

Last week I fell into a rut, a mire of self-pity that glooms the senses and dulls the wit. These ruts have been occurring with some frequency since last November when I first began writing, though the severity of these ruts has always varied. This last one was probably the worst, just from the length of it.

It all began on the 1st of December, a Saturday night. I’d written well all week and again on Saturday and I was feeling for a break. I drank a bit of parents’ liquor, bought a pint of vodka and went over to a friend’s. We went to the bar and I stumbled home in the fog around three in the morning.

That’s what kicked it off, because the next day I was hungover and I didn’t do shit. The unproductiveness had begun. It’s like you’re speeding down the highway and all is good, momentum carrying you right along and you’re writing well. Then out of nowhere the pavement turns to mud and you get stuck, and once you’re stuck you lose momentum and you learn how true the Law of Inertia really is, because once you’re stuck it’s pretty ugly to get unstuck.

Anyway…

I languished for a week, wanting to pound my head against the wall and lamenting my sorry wordsmith-ing. I believe I was able to get a story or two out, but nothing of significance. I tried to change it up, going to the library, etc, but my libido had disappeared and I got grumpy and for a couple of days there I was just an asshole which, actually, had some positive affect because the reason behind anyone’s ‘asshole-ishness’ is a weak ego — so you’re an asshole to boost your individual will. Like a Red-Bull for my self-esteem it was a quick boost and then a nose-dive.

For about a year now I’ve recognized, as a common factor in these bouts of languish, a certain loneliness. This isn’t to say I’ve been without friends, but since I’ve begun to write I’ve realized a potent need for camaraderie, a close group of fellow writers or anyone, really, motivated by discontent; other artists and vagabonds. Writing is a lonely profession, and it’s all too easy to get lost in the voids of your thoughts.

This is when I drink.

I get mired in self-pity feeling as though I’ve gone the wrong path, should’ve stayed in school and my writing isn’t anything special, I’ve been misled by my own delusions. Bottles bottles bottles. I start to drink to erase these thoughts and, also, it helps me pick around in my brain — back in Columbus sitting alone at the bar, getting disastrously slopped and filling pages pages and pages with introspection. I’ve found this to be a near panacea of mental discordance.

That was how I spent this Monday. I’d grown sick of self-pity and I needed to get out of my head and the only way to do this is to dive right in (my head). So I told my mom I needed twenty dollars to buy writing supplies and I bought a notebook and a flask of Southern Comfort and spent the night drinking and thinking and listening to music.

I knew I’d been here all before and that the only way I’d ever gotten back out was by writing; that in writing I was able to find my true ego and develop and maintain my own libido. That’s where I’d gotten, but it wasn’t so easy to get there. Once you can’t write the Law of Inertia holds true and if you force yourself you reinforce your pity because it always turns out that what you’ve tried writing here is never any good. But there was a way to right my head and I made myself a list. Here is…

A List of Things To Always Know:

1.) I am a genius     (narcissistic? no, it’s a necessity and it’s one I got from Kerouac’s Technique for Modern Prose.)

2.) I have a natural tack for clear, descriptive writing

3.) the novel is wonderful story need’s telling

4.) my future is success

5.) after I finish the novel I will take to the road and worry about nothing and I will write and enjoy simplicities of life

6.) after this novel I will find the friends i know I must meet

7.) focus on the wave I wish to ride and know with all of me this wave will bring true desired future

But, and here I’ll botch a paraphrase of Yoda — do not become so blinded by the future that you can not see the here and now, for now is what is important and now I must write. I need to read all of this tomorrow because I’m drinking right now. It’s become that the most of what I write are but attempts to sort out my own confounded thoughts. Understand the need to place faith in the flow, Love the wave you are on and be confident and excited.

Society Devoured

I was dropped off along 275, the main highway circling around Louisville, Kentucky. Just ahead the highway split, three lanes to the left, two to the right, and on the far right, one lane going into an exit ramp. There was an overpass up ahead and a number of large green signs stood above the highway. I stood there before all this, a man in a concrete channel, no-man’s-land with cars and tractor-trailers bowling forth. A deer with a flattened mid-section lay dead next to the guardrail. I waited for a pause in the traffic and ran across the exit lane, stopping when I got to the part of the shoulder that formed a wedge on the asphalt between the exit and the rest of the highway. Directly above me three green signs spanned the highway, the one on the right with an arrow saying 65 South. This was the road would take me into Nashville, Tennessee. Traffic howled past, the eeerrooo eeerrooo eeerrooo of tires streaking down the pavement filling my head with this drone of vibrations. The two lanes in front of me ran beneath the overpass before curving around into 65. Before the overpass and to the right was a long stretch of grass sandwiched between the exit and the highway. The grass looked sickly, I could smell the stale fumes of exhaust pipes, and a man in an orange vest was going around in the grass picking up trash, placing it in his trash bag. Anyway, this is where I stood, in the grass along the highway, walking backwards with my thumb out because I didn’t have a sign. Although there was a shoulder here people would be hard-pressed to stop, given the steady stream of speeding traffic. My arm was sore from being held out.

Eventually (it took about 45 minutes) a tan sedan circa 1990’s pulled over beneath the overpass, its bumper loose and tailpipe coughing. I grabbed my knapsack and ran over, climbed in the front seat without bothering to ask the driver where he was going.

‘Nashville, huh?’ he said. The driver, Drake Muldoon, had a very deep, hollow voice, not loud or booming, but thick and low. The car backfired plumes of smoke as we gained speed and pulled back on.

Drake was a large man in a solid color t-shirt, the neck of which had been cut. He also wore sweat-shorts that rose above his tree-stump knees. His face jiggled when he talked, his jowls loose and hanging above a neck that sloped down from a hidden jaw-line. He was a massive man whose seatbelt didn’t fit and you can guess correctly that he did not fly on planes because of this. His shoulders and arms were massive; elbows, wrists and knuckles hidden under thick, soft pudge. The center console was inaccessible for a reason you’ve probably just assumed. His chest looked like something small children would sleigh-ride down and his stomach, the top half at least, rested on the steering wheel so that one time, when Drake sneezed, the driver next to us held down his horn in return and forcibly extended his middle finger.

‘I get that a lot,’ rumbled Drake.

‘From honking at people?’

‘That’s usually not why.’

This took me a moment to realize and I uttered ‘Oh’ without looking at him. The conversation here stopped in the fashion of someone mentioning a recently dead dog: both people are awkwardly saddened.

‘So what’s in Elizabethtown?’ This was the wrong question for me to restart the conversation with.

‘I do my food shopping there. The Wal-Mart there gives me extra good discounts.’ I noticed then, curiously, that the back seats of the car had been removed, thereby tripling the trunk space.

‘You know, I’ve been hitchhiking once,’ he said. ‘Well, sort of. You see what happened was, a few years back I blew out a tire.’

‘Shit, you didn’t have a spare?’

‘ – Oh, no, I had a spare. I just wasn’t able to fix it though, and I couldn’t find anyone else to fix it on account of my dead cellphone. I was two miles outside of town still and I had to walk the whole way back. I couldn’t catch a single fruggin’ ride.’ He paused and glanced over at the glove compartment. ‘Hey would you open that up and pass me the Fatty Cakes?’ I told myself this wasn’t true. But as I passed the box there was the label. Undeniable. Fatty Cakes, a picture of four pink, hand-sized cakes with glazed icing, one of them cut in half to reveal a cross-section of what appeared to be a pink, meat-like substance, albeit more gelatinous, and a center filled with some sort of flesh-colored icing.

‘I’d offer you some but this is my only lunch till I get there.’

I felt like being sick but I couldn’t stop watching, the way this fleshy cave smacked and smucked up and down, clumps of processed gum and fat globbing up and down saturated with sweet saliva, I could see the pink gooey strands of chemical-laden spit every time the open hole mushed up and down, pink slime on flat wet smucking lips.

Transfixed by disgust.

‘Where was I? Oh, yes. It took me seven hours and not one person would stop. I haven’t a clue why.’ The serving size of Fatty Cakes was one half. There were four cakes in each individual package. A second package of cakes was making its way towards the soggy hole. ‘I thought I was going to drop. I mean, I was really huffin’ n’ puffin’. I stopped for a few breaks, you know, grab a couple sodas and some snacks for energy. But, man, there ain’t nothing harder than walking in the heat. Seven hours, seven hours and I had my thumb out the whole time. Not one person stopped. I don’t know why. Does that ever happen to you?’

‘All the time,’ I lied. Drake Muldoon continued to talk with his mouth open and I watched as bits of chemicalized gelatinous fat sprayed from his mouth. By the time the Fatty Cakes were gone a layer of pink goop like soggy crumbs was slowly slipping down the windshield. Drake, vexed, turned on his windshield wipers, waited twenty seconds and turned them back off. I watched a fly land in the goop, feel around with its proboscis and, uninterested, fly away.

*          *          *

            Drake let me out at the top of the exit before driving on. Here, to the left was an overpass, across the street was the on-ramp and to the right of that was a small shopping center. In front of the shopping center was one large Old Country Buffet and along the street were nine signs standing tall and bright, one for each of the nine fast-food stores that occupied the whole of the shopping center. The parking lots were full. It was very cloudy here and I wanted to get a good hour at the on-ramp before the rain came. First I needed a sign.

I was kneeling in the grass next to the Buffet’s parking lot scrawling NASH in big bold letters on a piece of cardboard. I was taking my time, making sure the letters were even and filled in because I assumed people would be less inclined to pick up a stranger with a sign that looked like the product of a four-year-old. Next to me was a blue dumpster full of cardboard. Fortunately there had been a slot on the side so all I had to do was reach my arm in, instead of climbing in, to retrieve a piece of cardboard.

While I was filling in NASH with the permanent marker, a large chartered bus pulled into the parking lot. The windows were tinted and the exhaust smelled especially foul. The bus doors swung open. Streaming out came a line of large rotund women throwing their chubby arms up singing praises, these women in their Eucharist-receiving bests with their arms raised and faces at the sky shouting allelujahs streaming out of the bus and into the Old Country Buffet. The last chubby church-goer in line stopped at the door and flipped the Open sign over to Closed.

There was a traffic light down the road so that I could see most of the vehicles before they reached the on-ramp. This gave everyone plenty of time to see my friendly smiling face and the cardboard sign I was holding over my head. I would stand along the road and as traffic came I’d backpedal along with it, holding the sign and jutting my thumb. I’d backpedal till I got to the on-ramp then backpedal some more, waving at people who never waved back.

This was taking a while. People were seemingly unaware I was standing on the corner and this all gets discouraging, running around and waving and not so much as a curt wave ‘No!’. But that just adds to the feeling, because when a big sleek white pick-up pulled over after ninety minutes I was thrilled as if my faith in humanity had instantly been restored.

‘I’m going to Bowling Green. You want a ride?’ The driver was an older man with a powerful and rusty voice. When I said Hell Yes he asked if I liked cats because as I climbed in a half-breed pit jumped on my face and slopped up my nose.

‘Down Sarge! I said down, damnit!’ The driver hit the dog on the head and the dog went over to his side. ‘I know he looks big, but he’s still just a pup. He’s friendly as all hell, really, but watch out ‘cus he’ll bite ya’.’ Rex, the driver, was towing a twenty foot fishing boat to a lake outside of Bowling Green. He tried to get down there once week – not that he was any good at fishing but because it helped him clear his head. He was hoping the rain would hold.

Sarge kept jumping on me and Rex told me to hit him over the head. I did, and Sarge took to chewing my hand instead. Rex would then curse at the fifty-pound dog and, grabbing Sarge by the scruff of his neck, pull him over. Rex told me he wouldn’t have picked me up if I wasn’t running backwards with traffic, waving ‘like a lunatic’, because he doesn’t ever stop for hitchhikers who just stand around passively waiting. I told him Thanks. He told me people don’t help those who don’t care enough to help themselves. Then Sarge got a plastic cap stuck in his mouth and Rex asked me to retrieve it, which I did, afterwards wiping my hands on my jeans.

‘Thanks, that damn dog eats anything. Really, even shit that’s clearly inedible and toxic. I don’t know if it’s just the way he is, or maybe something with the way we’re raising him – the other day he was eating a hunk of rubber! But either way, he’s just a dog. They don’t got the intelligence we do, obviously, they lack our freedom of choice. So I can’t get mad. Of course, who the fuck knows! Maybe he does. In which case it’s a good thing he’s a pet ‘cus he wouldn’t survive too long without someone paying his medical bills and telling him what he ain’t allowed to eat. But that’s fine for them, dogs fit fine in a tyrannical social domineering. Fortunately it don’t work for humans ‘cus we have freewill. Dogs do seem to learn though. You don’t see habitually drunk dogs or dogs – besides pups – eating shit they ain’t supposed to. It makes honest sense though, ‘cus what family would empty their fortune on a dog that can’t learn? Or, worse, one that refuses to learn? It ain’t easy, and if pets had freewill there wouldn’t be a way in hell the richest nations could make it work.’ Rex leaned forward, peering up at the sky through the windshield. ‘I sure hope this rain holds out. But, well I suppose it’s got to pour sooner or later.’

Viva!

For all the disenfranchised, discontented youth who have the roiling urge to rip the heads off the standard-bearers of the status-quo and to shove a revolution down their throats. This decade’s for you.

Go!

I met them at 6:30 p.m. and by 6:45 we were screaming down the highway. It was dark out, rush hour traffic while weaving through cars. We had agreed Butch would go first, and as par his tradition he insisted on being stoned. The windows were rolled up. Butch held the steering wheel with his knees while he lit a joint. It went around clockwise – Butch, me, Sunshine, Allie-Lee and Sparks.

The cars on the highway, each one was dark, dark and identical to the car before it. The drivers weren’t happy. Identical hundreds of faces, cheap suits and ties and baggy eyes, scowls frozen on their faces. Inside the dark cars dim circles of light illuminated only frustrated frowning faces.

The car was stuffy, hot, filled with drifting wisps of smoke. Butch passed me the joint. ‘You ready?’ I asked him. He exhaled a lingering cloud, wreath of smoke around his head.

‘Wait for the music.’ He said.

Traffic wasn’t heavy, but, at 90 MPH the cars came up quick, most unexpectedly. The tires echoed going through cold overpass. Tension rising in the music. I could see Butch mentally noting pattern of the cars in front of us, how they spaced out. The engine humming faster, deeper, I could see the speedometer, 95…100, and at 110 Butch applied the cruise control, cranked the music blaring simultaneously yelling Go! … as he squeezed his eyes shut and I hit the timer…

Flying blindly down dark highway passing cars on right and left, Butch gently guiding roaring missile round the bend– a car! coming up quick but we don’t tell him, we can’t spoil the fun – quickly coming close to taillights bumper stickers in our sights – and Butch yanked the wheel to the right, changing lanes in just the time. He knew the car was there the whole time. Highway now into a straight-away, Butch blindly feels it out, gets the car straight and keeps it there, a car to the right holds the horn swerving to the other lane, Butch in reaction begins drifting, drifting to the left, eyes shut and drifting into traffic on the left…

‘Open!’ I yelled. Butch opened his eyes, saw where we were too close to the car and brought us back to the lane, away from the cars so close to our left. Butch smiled wide, thrilling me with his bursting eyes.

‘What—a—rush.’ The music was winding down. ‘How long?’

‘Fifteen seconds.’

‘Pah! Who’s next?’

‘I’ll go!’ said Sunshine. She passed Allie-Lee a plastic pint of vodka and positioned herself to climb into the front. I held the wheel while Sunshine and Butch switched. Every 50 feet, on both sides of the highway huge billboards stood. ‘We sell this! So buy it!’ said one. Another, ‘You aren’t happy, without this!’ ‘Be yourself. Be, Glamore!’ proclaimed a still-life, a woman modeling basic red t-shirt and plastic smile.

‘I hate those things,’ said Sunshine. She settled in behind the wheel. ‘Be different! Buy Glimmore!’ proclaimed a still-life, a woman modeling basic off-red t-shirt and unctuous smile. Sunshine complained, yet she knew, she knew there wasn’t a road to take without them looming. The engine hummed to 95 and cruise-control was then applied.

‘Ready?’ I asked. Sunshine grinning flicked the headlights out, drew a deep breath, shutting her eyes and shouting Go! …

Dark missile coming blind round gentle curve, a car in front of us Sunshine swerved, over a lane – wait a moment – and back again, narrowly missing the other car’s front-end. The car she cut off blew a horn. A bullet in the dark, she quickly pulled ahead of them.

‘Oh! She passed!’ went Sparks, sitting forward in his seat. We were all sitting forward in our seats. This was the only reason we ever had.

The highway straightened, Sunshine smoothing out along with it, dark missile hidden in the night, fleeing between unknowing cars. The lane ahead of us empty of taillights, up ahead a car to right – Sunshine jerked the wheel into the lane behind the car going going going closer to the car and was inches from the bumper before jerking to the left again, opening her eyes. Big beaming smile and her excitement-glowing eyes. ‘Did I get close?’

‘Yes!’ chorused the rest of us, laughingly.

‘23 seconds,’ I said.

‘Personal best.’ Sunshine dancing in the driver seat.

‘I’m next,’ I said. Me and Sunshine switched. ‘What if we turn into a burning flaming wreck tonight?’

‘What, is there suddenly some importance to your life you’re worried about?’ Allie-Lee gibed, sounding intentionally pathetic.

‘Good. I’m going one-fifteen, thirty seconds. Ready?’ I flicked the headlights on. Deep breath, shook out my arms. Stomach sick, filled with thick-blood nervousness. Go! …

Roaring blind through midnight void, seeing nothing feeling all, vibrations of an engine churning burning down the highway blind and guessing, barely knowing where the other cars may lie, hoping, not knowing – possibly I’ll steer us by. Gently straighten out the wheel, drift left a lane and keep it straight, hold it straight…

… A pressure behind my eyes wanting to burst, wanting me to open them but the burn, the burn builds with the pressure in my heart and stomach the longer I keep them shut – heart thumping echoes in my chest – rising rising rising in my throat with the tension and numbing fear of not knowing not seeing what is coming and the pure thrill of tempting the unknown for that moment of escape, this moment of escape – barreling into uncertainty because it’s only there where you might chance to free yourself from imposed order and begin anew. To choose your future. Flying madly through the dark because everyone else lives in the daytime. Plunging  forward through lovely chaos hoping to come out alive. For a moment to feel alive – I didn’t know where I was going and it thrilled me filled me with the feeling of living ecstacy barreling madly through the darkness hands gripping sweaty the wheel and tempting lust of keeping my eyes shut longer, knowing I need to look but swept up in the surge and the increasing thrill of keeping my eyes shut longer, just a little bit longer to feel the anxiousness building in my heart my chest shaking not giving a fuck, the rush of not knowing, not caring, the anxiousness, the skin-tingling – I realized I couldn’t remember the pattern of the cars. It’s okay, they’ll let me know if I’m close….

I opened my eyes.

‘It’s beautiful,’ said Butch.

The billboards had disappeared. The road was empty. A one-lane, empty road. On the right side dark and wet woods, crickets and the gentle rustle of leaves as the car rolled slowly along. On the left was a beach, white sand drenched in the silver-bluish light of the full moon. Waves breaking softly at the bottom. The windows were down and we could hear the waves breaking; smell of the cold salt air and the gentle breeze damp on our skin.

‘Where are we?’ asked Sunshine.

‘I don’t know,’ I replied.

‘ – ‘cus I like it.’

‘Let’s stay here awhile,’ said Butch. ‘We’ll be alright. We don’t need to go back.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright, 2012   — had to, don’t like it but had to. it’s business, ya know?

Don’t Drink and Drive, You’ll Spill Your Beer

It was a sunny morning, fresh, cool. I still had the sign with Louisville and South on either side and I kept flipping it over to keep people amused. I wasn’t at the on-ramp for more than an hour before a pick-up truck pulled over on the shoulder, shining white in the early yellow sun. The driver was Mac, a sturdy and amicable graying man in his fifties. It was Saturday. Mac kept answering his phone for work. He was giving orders about fixing a leaky roof, telling Mark and Joe Stalig what job sites they needed to take their crews to. Then something about an ice-cream paddle from ma’s. He needed it to make ice-cream for the party and, yes, the moonwalk would be there by noon.

‘It gets stressful,’ he said to me, putting away the cellphone. The heat was on and it was warm and stuffy.

‘You work and work hoping things get easier as you get older, but,’ he sighed, ‘nope. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the fortunate ones, I do what I love for a living – building people homes. Looking back though I don’t know how we used to do it, without cellphones. I’m on this damn thing day long telling people what to do, but even back in the eighties and nineties we had the same number of jobs. It’s like people had less questions, knew better what to do. Things seemed less complex.’ His phone rang.

‘I need to get to 65 – ’ I said as he took out his phone.

‘Wheel get ya there.’ He took the call and then hung up, continued where he left off. ‘There’s more paperwork, too. A damn lot more. It seems like every time I need to move a piece of equipment or use a certain kind of nail I got a folder of files to fill out. It don’t help no one, let me tell ya. ‘Cept maybe Father Time getting gray.’ He picked up the phone again. It was about his grandson’s fourth birthday party. He put the phone away and continued.

‘I might be one of the fortunate, but I’m not sure I can keep doing this much longer. Nothing about age – I’ll work till I die, son. But the business, it’s changed so damn much and so much harder to conduct. The stress keeps going up while the profits keep going down. I’ll be working at a hardware store soon enough. Maybe even a gardening center. There’s one in town – that’d be nice. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just a bust economy, but they keep compounding it. It’s been coming from both sides for a long time. It were just the economy people would still find work for themselves. My uncle drove a cab during the Depression. Used to be a man could paint his car yellow, slap a taxi sign on it and be in business for himself, be able to feed his wife and kids. But that’s long been regulated out of practice. Now, if you don’t got hundreds of thousands of dollars you ain’t allowed to register a taxi, which means, unless you’re employed by a taxi company, you ain’t driving a cab. And you can bet damn straight it ain’t the taxi driver that that law’s making rich. And it ain’t just taxis either, but construction, farms, manufacturing, grocery stores – everything in this country regulated with laws the businesses themselves wrote, because they don’t want the little guy coming -in -on -their -profits. And if you ain’t got a sterling resume and impeccable background, those companies are never going to hire you. Employers don’t read people anymore they read resumes and Facebook profiles. So make sure you stay off the grass, son; you so much as step the wrong the way and you are fucked for life! This is my exit here. I’ll let you off at the bottom.’ The road was stop and go with traffic. Louisville was just a mile south. Mac made a right and pulled an illegal U-turn when there wasn’t any traffic coming and stopped just before the on-ramp.

‘One more thing. Let me tell you something, son. If a man can’t do what makes him happy, what feels right to him, in here [he jabbed his chest with a finger], that man might be alive, but he’s loong since stopped living.’

*          *          *

            The on-ramp here was without a shoulder and with so much traffic coming in fast it would be hard for anyone to stop. But of course, someone did. After 45 minutes a Lexus hit the brakes on the ramp in front of me.

‘Where are you going?’ called a voice from the car. He seemed about nineteen.

‘I need to get to 65.’

He thought a moment. ‘I don’t know where that is.’

‘It’s the Southwest corner.’

He thought again. Traffic was coming up behind him. ‘Screw it – hop in!’ I heaved my knapsack into the backseat and climbed in the front. I hadn’t closed the door when the driver hit the gas and shot up the on-ramp, neglecting to yield as the car dashed into traffic. He jerked the Lexus to the left, splitting an impossible gap between two cars and he did this twice more till we were in the left lane, the HOV making good speed.

‘I’m Jack-fred.’ We shook hands. ‘And no, it’s not heph,’ he paused, ‘inated.’ He had a bottle of gold Bacardi between his legs and he took a swig.

‘You’re drinking?’ I said, simply.

‘Oh. Sorry.’ Jackfred took another swig and passed me the bottle. I put my seatbelt on, took a large drink, wiped my chin with my sleeve and passed the bottle back.

‘Don’t worry, I’m good at this. I do it all the time. Did you have DARE in school?’

(D.A.R.E. was a program in elementary schools that sent police officers to tell students why they shouldn’t do drugs. The officers would describe the effects hallucinogenics and other sorts of intoxicants. This had the interesting effect of sparking the curiosity of children who realized then that life didn’t have to be so boring and mundane.)

‘They brought in drunk goggles one time to show us what it’d be like, being drunk, and they had us stumble around the room for a while. Well my friend asked if he’d be able to walk normal if he practiced enough with them on. The cop, she said yes. Well, same works for driving. Did you go to college?’ I lied and said no.

‘Me neither. I wasn’t ever any good at school. I’m not dumb, by any means. I read too much. Just I’m unmotivated. But,’ he said as he took another swig. ‘I might not be the sharpest kid but I’ll bet I’m the youngest alcoholic. At least I have something going for me. I mean, look at me. I’m not going to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or any of those other suit and tie jobs. And what the hell does it matter, anyway? I got a marijuana charge on my record. I’m lucky to have my $15 an hour job. And if I’m real lucky I’ll be making thirty by the time I’m fifty. Retirement? Hopefully Heaven has those. No, what I am is a face in the crowd, a loser low-life who’s only chance at a clip in the paper is an early death. ‘Ya sift through life and your years flit away in the wind like dust, no one remembering who the fuck you were. Like you never existed. And in 13.66 billion years? You never existed, my friend.’ He took another swig and passed me the bottle. I decided to hold on to it for a few minutes.

‘It’s the only thing lets me feel alive anymore. Not knowing for once where I’m going or what’s coming. That’s the real problem. I know it, and I know you know it – the sound of the water falling keeps growing, louder, and louder, and louder. All I do anymore is drink. I try and get laid, but that never works. I know this isn’t how it works, but I’m when I’m drinking I feel like I’m in control again, as if I really do get to choose where I’ll go. I know when I’m sober it’s not true, but when you drink enough it knocks out your reason and you don’t feel like you’re going along with it because you can’t understand it. When I drink, I call it the temporary lobotomy. They would sever the frontal lobe, you see? the seat of reason, and then they’d be docile and just go along.’ He motioned with his hand for me to pass the rum. I took another swig and handed it to him. He took a long drink and pulled out a pack of cigarettes, lighting two and passing me one.

‘You know why we don’t have jobs? They don’t want us to. Dependence makes a wonderful shackle. And what the fuck exactly are you and I supposed to do about it? Vote? Sickens me. Congress yells and ‘argues’ and then nothing happens. They argue about cutting $100 billion. We pay $200 billion on our interest! They argue about nothing! Meanwhile the middle class keeps shrinking and the median household income shrivels away. But you know who’s doing good? Stock prices keep soaring quite nicely. Maybe we should all be investment bankers. Yes, I think that’s it. I’m going to quit my job at the strip mine and move to New York City. I should be able to afford a flat there.’ He reached beside him and pulled out a can of beer. He popped the tab, squeezed his eyes shut and chugged the can empty. While driving eighty miles an hour in the HOV lane.

‘They’ve got us by the balls, man. You think they were ignorant what they were doing to the housing market? Heck no. They knew full well. They had a gynecologist, a fucking vagina doctor telling them they were destroying the market. Bullshit he was the only one who understood it. And then they did the same thing to student finances! The same, exact, thing! They’re not ignoramuses. Just giant, gaping anuses. And would it matter if they destroyed higher ed? Fuck no! You think anybody would do anything about it anyway? Are Phil and Tim and Betty really going to get up off their fat asses and demand change? Fuck no! But if they can stroll into a voting booth and think they’re voting for change, that’ll satisfy them. ‘Cus the easiest people to control are the ones who think they’re free, Allen, remember that. Allen it was, right? I mean, when the fuck are people going to wake up? They’re being screwed like sheep in a barn full of perverts! We’re on the lazy river, Allen, the lazy fucking river when we should be building water slides! And guess what? The people don’t care! They get to be lazy and sit on their asses and cozily float along! Ignorance really is bliss. And the perverts have done a WONderful job keeping them blissfully ignorant. They took out the ladders, Allen! The ladders, in the lazy river – they’re gone! They took them out and we’re stuck here on the lazy fucking river and can’t you hear the water falling louder and louder? I sure can! But is anything going to change? Fuck no! Not as long as Pete and Joe get to sit undisturbed eating Doritos in front of their HDTV! Clearer than life, they say! Sit on your ass and don’t do a thing! Even if they knew the truth do you think they’d do anything about it! Knowing the truth, it demands action! Demands revolution, Allen! And do you really think anyone is ever going to want the inherent chaos and strife when instead they can so easily lose themselves in their indolent excesses!’ Jackfred paused to chug another beer. He tossed the can out the window and it hit the car behind us.

‘Successfully preoccupied! That’s what they’ve done! Because they know people aren’t going to do shit when they’re cozy and safe! Why the fuck would anyone want upheaval? Why would someone want to start a revolution when they’re content, and happy, and safe. And that’s just the fucking point! Why stress yourself and wake yourself to the truth? Why use reason? They know people won’t ever do a fucking thing if they have their cheap Luxury, simple, mindless Entertainment and their indolent fucking Comforts!’

As Jackfred forcefully enunciated these three nouns they came down the highway at us, floating quickly above the road and they went splat, spluck, splick, right on the windshield as if they were insects. Accept these words were much larger than insects. And much more alluring. The large, bright, juicy letters stuck to the windshield and covered the whole of it.

‘Fuck!’ yelled Jackfred. ‘Quick, take the wheel!’ I grabbed the wheel and tried keeping it straight, not knowing what was in front of us but hearing the disturbing sound of water rushing, as if falling. Jackfred opened the bottle of the rum and climbed out his window so that he sat where the window was rolled down and, with the bottle of rum, began pouring it across the windshield.

‘Quick Allen! The book in the back!’ In the back seat was a very large copy of a book titled, ‘The Benefits of Critical Thinking’. With one hand on the wheel I used my other hand to pass Jackfred the book and used the hardcover to scrape the words from the windshield. The words slid down the hood and disappeared beneath the car. Jackfred climbed back in and took the wheel.

‘You heard the waterfall, didn’t you?’ he said. He finished off the rum. ‘So how’s hitchhiking?’

‘As a means to an end? I’d say it’s less unhealthy than alcoholism.’

‘I should try it, sometime.’

‘Yes. I think you should.’

‘I’ll drop you off up here.’

‘Thanks.’

Cons(ism)umer

Spiderwebs distracting,

Catching,

Feeble minds,

To suck

Dry.

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