Saturday, October 17, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
He stood waiting at the edge of the driveway. One foot in the hard dirt and the other on the harder pavement. His eyebrows were furrowed into a squint as he focused on the hill of the horizon which the road straddled. In the daytime he would close his eyes and listen for an approaching hum but in the evening and at night he watched for the growing glow of headlights. He wore a ratty baseball cap that featured deep brown sweat stains around the rim. His right hand was gripping the knob at the end of a 32 inch 18 ounce metal baseball bat which he would use to lean on when his legs would get tired from waiting at the edge of the driveway for hours.
Some days there wouldn’t be any cars coming over the hill. Some days there would be trucks with boats or jet skis behind them going to the lakes. Some days there were young kids in young cars going to a cabin to drink beer and fuck. Other times there were families in mini-vans going to visit dying or dead relatives. Some days there were loud motorcycles in pairs of two or four or ten. Some days there were nubile couples in jeeps with mountain bikes on the rack, or slightly older couples in jeeps with kayaks on the roof. Most days it would just be thunderous semis with food or furniture or gasoline. But some days there were no cars or trucks or loud engines or exhaust fumes or trembling pavement.
From the edge of his dirt driveway he would watch the cars go by every day. But he would mostly watch the people in the cars go by and would imagine their lives. Who they were and where they were going and when they would come back. He would imagine what they do when they reach their destination, how they would get out and greet their host and how they would eat dinner that night and talk about the drive up and whether or not they would mention him and what they would eat for dessert and what raunchy jokes would be told and then who would win the game of cards afterwards and then who would go to bed in which room and who would flip on the tv and who would have sex and what they would dream about that night. He did this until he knew each new person’s life that drove by before they escaped his gaze around the bend.
On the days that no one came he would walk along the side of the road, dragging his metal bat in the dirt behind him. He would keep his eyes on the ground and on the weeds that sprung up from the hot earth and in the cracks of the hot black pavement. Sometimes there would be burnt out cigarettes or empty bottles and wrappers and even once a condom. He would walk until he reached the looming transmission tower that dominated the landscape. It was the only one that he could see and so it was the only one that existed for him. Often times he sat under the tower for hours at a time, shutting his eyes and feeling the electricity radiate over him and envelop him. It felt safe to him. Then he imagined where the telephone wires went to and whether or not there were other towers and what the electricity in the wires did when it got there. When he looked up the electrical wires bisected the sky. The wide wide wide blue sky. He wondered which section God would be in. There were never any birds on the wires.
Once on one of the days when no cars were coming he went to the tower and studied the intricate triangular pattern. His chest welled up at the complexities and his eyes watered a little bit. He flipped his bat around in his hand and used the knob to scrape lines in the dirt. He scratched out a triangle, looked back up at the tower, then down again at the dirt and etched another triangle next to the first. Then another. And another. He looked up at the beautiful tower then down at his crude marks and kicked them out of existence. A wind came over the land and carried away the dust.
That night he dreamt about the tower that reached up into infinity and the wires that stretched out past the horizon. He dreamt that he climbed the tower and walked along the wires and then ran until he came to the edge and it was just blackness. He woke up and was sweating. He fumbled in the dark for a pencil and fell to the floor and tried to draw the tower on the wooden boards but his triangles looked dull and stupid and he threw the pencil across the room and it ricocheted quietly off a slumbering wall. Then he went back to sleep.
The next day he brought a pencil and a notebook he had from grade school out to the tower and sat down. He watched the tower for an hour before opening the notebook and making a faint and unsure triangle. He squinted up at the arches of the tower and the way the rusting steel relieved against the sky and the perfect stillness of the entire structure. The way the bars crossed in an exhilarating way that reminded him of something that he couldn’t quite remember, only that it was pleasant. The way the clouds would be visible in the tiny pockets within the tower and then the sunset if you sat on the right side of it. He thought of these things until he felt his chest tighten and his head tingle from the electricity of the tower and then he opened the notebook and tried to draw what he knew was beauty. When his triangles were still and dull and stupid as the night before he felt hot tears in his eyes and on his cheek and he threw the notebook into a dusty bush nearby. He grabbed his bat and ran towards the leg of the tower, mouth gaping and eyes shut, he sobbed loudly as he swung. Metal against metal. The ringing stung his ears badly and his hands felt raw and intense immediately and he dropped the bat. His momentum carried him forward and he fell into the solid steel leg and cut open his forehead.
He lie there beneath the tower, holding his head and alternating between moans and screams at nothing. When he finally opened his eyes again nothing was different. The tower hummed on with indifference. The wires reached far into the coming darkness. He got up, grabbed his bat and left for the driveway.
Leaning against his bat he could feel the blood from his forehead softly running down around his eye and to his jawline and then down to his chin, dripping off into the dirt and leaving dark spots. Soon he could hear an engine come over to the hill and after that he saw a pick up come in to view. As it drew closer he took the bat with both hands and rested the barrel on his shoulder. Just as it was about to pass him he book a strong step forward and in a great arc flung the bat into the windshield of the truck. There was a brief moment of silence between release and collision and he smiled at this. The truck swerved to avoid the bat but it was too slow and the windshield shattered and the bat flew off the vehicle with a loud clang up into the air. The car screeched to a stop a few yards past the driveway and the bat landed loudly near it.
A man threw open the door of the truck and came around the bed and towards the bat.
“What in the fuck are you fucking doing? You tryna kill me you stupid sonuvabitch?”
He stared at the man, unsure of why he had just done what he did. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t move. He could only picture the silhouette of the tower against a deep red sky at evening.
“Well? Are you gonna fuckin answer you stupid motherfucker? Jesus fucking Christ I am gonna fuckin murder you!”
The man picked up the bat that was lying in the road and took quick powerful steps forward.
“Maybe this will open your goddamned mouth you fuckin faggot!”
The man swung the bat viciously into the side of his head. His skull split open instantly and he fell to the ground with incredible weight. His neck snapped into an awkward angle and out of the crack in his head came a flood of bright blue liquid that glowed in the dusk. It shimmered and flowed in strange thick movements all around him and on to his dirt driveway. The liquid absorbed into the earth with an unnatural quickness and just as quickly patches of lush grass and lilacs and roses and wild flowers and lilies and orchids and tulips and dahlias erupted from the ground, surrounding the body. From the wires of the tower a canary watched the scene curiously before taking flight.