Markus had read something about depression and psychedelics. He was depressed. Still, I couldn’t imagine him taking psilocybin. A guy who drives a truck with a gun rack and operates power tools for a living doesn’t seem like the right demographic. I said I’d watch. I had my notebook ready. I could write something. The ravings of a man high on drugs would do.
He was quiet, calmer then I’d ever seen him. He opened a sketch pad and started painting with water colors. I wished I’d joined him when he offered.
Tunnel Vision for a relaxed viewing experience. It’s an app. Easily available for download from the not-evil-less-good purveyor of such things. Said app is guaranteed to shield your eyes from unwanted images of, among other perfidities: measles, ecoli, drought, floods, and politically apocalyptic weather conditions. Also: locusts, wildfires, and plagues of hailstorms as revealed in Revelations.
never saw it coming and, once we did, we took it as God’s will.
Surely the End Times. Most definitely nothing to do but pray. Pray or
prey on. Better not to look. They say death by freezing is rather
like falling asleep.
Snow symbolizes death. Check out twentieth century fiction. I’m living in twenty-first century America, looking out the window at snow in June. Banks of it cover the summer ground. Carbon flecked flakes fall from the sky. Opening the door of my isolated cabin, where it’s safe to stay for now, I look out on the garden. Poles push out of the white landscape. They have labels: potatoes, carrots, turnips. Shriveled apples hang from a tree. Inside the house, basil and thyme grow fragrant, adding their flavors to the root vegetable stews that make up my post climate change diet. L’chiam.
The Pineapple Express thundered in last night, dark, weighty, pouring rain into soggy ground late into summer. In the morning, you pull on yellow boots, a raincoat, grab an umbrella, and step outside. Splashing through small puddles, avoiding big ones, your legs pump, hoping to reach the station between outbursts.
A lush jungle, California’s changed. Waiting at a light, feeling the air blow warm through your hair, you remember the cool contrast of Midwest rainstorms and muggy summer days. You think California could get used to April showers in August. You know the climate is evolving. Here comes the train.
At the moment the latest Supreme Court nominee took the oath of office, Lady Liberty felt a hand grope her under the tattered robes of democracy she wore for the occasion. It was a small hand. A hand practiced at conspiracy, graft and corruption.
In front of the assembled crowd, she began to crumble. Her head fell off. Then her arms. The concrete at the foundations of her feet turned to sand. The audience morphed into animal figures that resembled the twisted cubes of pain and fear in Picasso’s Guernica. When the onlookers appeared in grayscale, America’s destruction was complete.
Soon as she heard Biddy’s crackly voice, Vivian felt trapped.
Biddy folded her hands on the walker, a shocked expression on her face. “Bessie’s nephew’s in the hospital. Top of his head come clean off. Her daughter called last night.” Biddy puckered up her lips like she was eating a lemon straight up, no sugar, no salt, just peeled off the tree. “Like he got scalped.”
Biddy wagged her head. “You going to supper?”
Thrown together for decades, a friendship of convenience, Vivian considered pleading illness. What a gossip. Vivian fervently wished her husband hadn’t gone first. “I guess so.”
In grade school, we played out of boredom, shooting spitballs at the ceiling from straws. A sodden mess, the glop hit tables, never lights. I was the tallest.
I’m a long sip now, a Margarita. Tall as most college guys. My superpower is passing. As in basketball scholarship. Now that I’ve learned chess, nerds get nervous. I trot out opening gambits, spiking pieces across the board at lightening speed. Checkmate.
They call me “Show-off.” I say, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did backwards, wearing high heels. She didn’t make as much, though.”
There’s a buzz in Bezerkeley. Just a fly. Not a contact high. Swatting the pest, I cross campus. The fly follows me.
I took a shower. I say it out loud. That gets a few looks.
Embarrassed, I wave it away with my copy of The Daily. Sprinting through Sather Gate, breathing hard, I slow. Gliding ahead of me across a wide swath of grass, an owl skims the air just inches above my head. The fly tumbles in the jet stream of the bird’s wings.
Psst, a pesky whisper. It’s back. A streak of grey, a flycatcher. No more fly.
He could not sleep. Padding to the kitchen in pajamas, he heated milk. Needing a cozy spot to sip it sent him from room to room, landing him in an overstuffed chair. Children’s illustrated books jumbled together with thick tomes, Pooh next to Jung, a shelf up from Wittgenstein, a shelf down from a huddle of keepsakes. He touched their textures, wound up a song. A tiny bowl, a Nutcracker ballerina, a music box, a rabbit tail.
A last ounce of milk. He rubbed his eyes and paged through his wife’s last drawings. Their life together. Now he might sleep.
Imagine an elevator on Thanksgiving. You are hurtling into a conflagration of turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and post-modern politics. Your mother, the feminist, stands left. Taking the middle, you and your school chum play at Cockney rhyming slang. Your Uncle Uncle embraces the Madmen Era. He never suspects that your friend, whose ass he pinches, is an expert kick boxer. He expects that gender rules. But it doesn’t. In the hall, she will enlighten him and he will nurse his bruised balls with one highball after another, reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the library.