11/2/2012

by dschapman

It was an unusually warm night and I had spent the whole day in a decent mood. I was at odds in a business deal but it didn’t bother me, it felt like a shell of tissue paper, easily tossed off. I advanced calmly through the sunlit forest to take advantage of the day, days like this will soon be hard to find and I will remember them fondly. It feels good to feel good, and I worry that soon I’ll be sick again. By the evening I am so engrossed in the weather that I can’t handle it, I go inside and lay down on the floor, out of the weather. I can feel it in my skin, it is juvenile, it is like a very dry dampness under my skin cells, something connective and transient. I feel connected to the past and to all the other days I’ve ever spent in perfect weather. They say scent is the sense most connected to memory but I suspect it is weather- barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, clouds, seasons – and the many ways it is engaged with.

I made myself soup and then I drained it and fed it to the dog. It was all catching up to me. I drank a glass of lukewarm water. I was suddenly sick, as the day drew close. I felt disconnected. I wanted to call up my friends, to go visit my family. I wanted to go out on my feet and meet up with some friend in the city, make a scene for no reason at all, something like that. I wanted to meet the girl across the street and lay next to her. I could’ve talked all night to her. I wanted to write to the woman I love in the city, but she is too far away, by the time it would reach her I’d have already died. Even the ancient Egyptians were modern in an ancient world, and the secrets of the pyramids were lost even to them, the technology. To say nothing of the Romans. I am more Roman than modernist, that much is sure. We all are. And we are as bad as the Romans, and less creative. We are shadows of the core of structured shadows. Some people think its all a simulation, it wouldn’t make any difference if it were – we people would still just be Romans. Modern people – sarcastic and self-absorbed people, making vain and listless proclamations, carving our names into walls for the vanity of it. Lectures, sex joke, and rhetoric – it’s a mockery, and it’s extremely well-crafted.

I was relieved when I found a pill on the floor and ate it. It sent me somewhere more secure for a while, I stood in the corner of the room not feeling disconnected, nor exactly connected, but plenty secure nonetheless. I wondered what the future held. I tried to hold on to my grip with the past but it was already growing illegible. I shuffled my feet in a dance to show myself I could still dance, but it was just a brief shuffle, and I wasn’t convinced I could dance, but I saw no reason to risk it. The great master William Still started playing again and I grew teary-eyed, and then I shed a tear. I wondered why I shed a tear, and then I shed another. I did not know then how much more I could take of this, and I wondered what I was supposed to do with it all, when the phone rang, so I answered it. There was no one on the other line and I hung up in disgust. I threw my phone in the sink and it sank in the water. Helpless. I should have brought a gun with me.

When I wandered into the ghetto past curfew trying to buy some heroin I wasn’t sure exactly what my plan was, and I didn’t have a gun, and I was dressed like a faggot. Some faggots tried to get with me and I brushed them off, and then I met a man who was bleeding from under his shirt, he asked me for a subway ticket. I said I didn’t have money for a subway ticket but I could use some drugs. I told him I’d buy him a ticket if he found me some drugs. He walked me into a complex and took the money and disappeared. I waited on the corner trying not to look over my shoulder, alone in the glow of a single, dim streetlight. Soon the streetlight flickers off, the temperature has dropped, and I began to doubt the wisdom of my situation, so I hurried off through an alley and back to the subway, and I rode uptown.

I practiced shooting a gun by the lake with my dog in the fall, when the weather was dry and bearable, and my shot improved significantly. I began to grow confident. I read up about prison, and then prison rape, and I decided I would do better to avoid prison. I decided to not break the law, because if I did not break the law, they had nothing on me, and I could not go to prison. Although this is not strictly true, it is true enough to keep me immune for the time being. I wasn’t sure that I could ever really break the law again anyway, it was not as though I was a violent man, a criminal man. But I kept my gun in my pocket and waited for something that I knew was coming for me, whatever it was, and I prepared to meet on dead-on, like a man, like the movies. I have seen enough movies to understand what a man has to do. I am thoroughly brainwashed – I’ve even read books. I’ve read books and I’ve related to characters. They were idiots for letting me learn how to read. They should never have taught me – they should never teach anyone. Gutenberg should have been assassinated.

A gust of wind came through and blew the front door open. The air that came tasted wonderful, it was like an exorcism of the house, I felt buoyed, and clean. It was the weather of another time, of many different places, all at once Vermont, Barcelona, California, Jaipur. I’ve been here before and I’ll be here again, but there is only a finite number of perfect days, and only a finite number of days to begin with, and if I am not at least 100x more careful with them, I will miss them, and then they’ll be gone.

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