I was driving down a narrow one-lane, one-way, thinking about a woman I used to love when the flashing red lights halted me. The train was slow and long and I put the truck in park and sat there watching the railcars roll past my headlamps, daring myself to jump the curb and weave back through the line of parked vehicles behind me, but it was hopeless. I was stuck, watching the sides of the rusted and beaten cars, graffiti-soaked and bullet-battered, seized into rapture by the hypnotic pulsing red. I thought of that former love now dissipated and I thought of how much of my life I had wasted apologizing, how slow my maturation had been in relationships. I was stuck. My truck was stuck and my life was stuck. I reached up to the dash and pressed a button and jazz tickled at the edges of sound and so I turned it up, very aggressive drums and horns blazing, and it hit me in the chest like a cannon shot. My mind wriggled free from its shackles and began to accelerate toward various points of light and so I killed the engine and blasted the sound fully, reclining back into the seat and closing my eyes, thinking about my life, missed opportunities and forgotten dreams, the laughter, handshakes of various consequence, all the bad decisions and the mysteries of the future. I thought of people wearing masks like Mexican wrestlers and I thought about poetry and all the men and women of the spoken word, hypnotic verse in iambic pentameter and other various poetic structures, the true guerilla fighters in the bloody war of life, and I thought about that time my editor mistakenly sent me to Las Vegas to cover race riots that never occurred and instead of coming straight home on the first flight I floundered about the casinos on a three day bender before finally walking into my editor’s office on Monday morning still drunk and two thousand dollars poorer and telling him to go jerk himself and finish all over his shitty newspaper. Then I thought about what happened after, the journey from newsroom to newsroom across the country, each of them growing more desolate by the day. I recalled the men and women cleaning out their desks full of notepads and pens and road atlases and stylebooks. Boxes of dictionaries and thesauruses and strange tokens of America picked up here and there: a mannequin’s torso painted the colors of the Maltese flag with a wig made of zebra hide, a three-foot squid fashioned from old harmonicas and peanut butter and aluminum cans and charcoal, a shoebox full of photos from the National Elvis Impersonators and Taxidermists convention. Then I flew north to try my luck at a Vancouver newspaper and was fired my first day for smoking pot and strangling a photographer outside of the courthouse and then groping two female TV reporters. I hitchhiked down to Mexico but none of their periodicals were searching for a trained reporter so I took a bus to San Francisco and started up my own Online product with three other failed journalists. My particular beat was time travel, all five of my articles each week were somehow related to time travel.
To read the story in its entirety, you’re gonna have to buy the book when it comes out.
One thought on “Stuck”
I do believe you’re going to be my new morning ritual; not knowing how I’ll feel reading that day’s story or two. Enlightened, sad, curious … regardless, I know I’m in for a literary treat. And for the record, I told you you were a writer indeed, but this is only half-truth. I happen to think you’re an incredibly talented, gifted, intelligent, articulate and emotive writer. One whose work is worthy of reading slowly so the experience can be savored fully, b/c reading you is def. an experience.
Thanks for my Monday morning mental awakening.