Space Cowboys

by dschapman

I had a friend, once, that I loved more than any friend in the world. But he was a troublemaker. We loved getting into trouble. He liked to go out and have sex with beautiful young girls. I watched with awe and love and connection.

I have had another friend, since then, that I have loved even more, and with whom I have gotten into even more trouble. I sent him clear into space, strapped onto the tip of this gigantic rocket, sending it’s voluminous power into the earth and disappearing into a star among the sphere of stars.

“Let’s hope we never meet again,” we said, but we did not mean it. I stomped on his face and pointed my gun into his back and said, “Don’t you ever disrespect me in my house again,” but then the feral cougars came and took us both down, and they ate my silly handgun raw, swallowing the bullets whole like gunpowder vitamins – essential nutrients, dietary supplements, essential amino acids, sulfur and salt peter – one, two, three, blast, blast, repulsion.

Animal magnetism kept us near. There is already no one left in the entire planet; we were already all alone, and all we had was one another. In the mountains, knee-deep in snow, and separated from the rest of the army, the moans of the dying can be heard through the night, under the dancing blue and purple lights, under the eye of the unending season, never spring and never fall; a tunnel opens up and the prisoners are faced with the daylight again.

In that face, with those features, the sunlight streamed like boiling water and soaked into the thirsty pores.

The Book of Exodus is the hardest story to tell. It is the fable of infinite time, and the Pharaoh is the infinite modernity, transfixed since words were ever written. Society has forgotten the Pharaoh because it is too much in touch with him. They believe in science. “Science,” they called it. “Gravity.”

Meanwhile, in a house in a suburb of Silicon Valley, a child swallowed two magnets that pinched his organs together and killed him.

More than anything, though, Exodus is a coming-of-age story. There is a Pharaoh and a Moses, two masters and lovers and kings, two sets of tangled, tired limbs.

Those were the days of sand, and chariots; today, at Talladega, the young heroes cry and they cry as they all drive by crying, wind in their eyes.

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