Johnny pulled aside the covers and stepped down into the basement of his dreams. He felt his heart ache but it wasn’t romance. The pangs of relationships had long ago left him with the vague memories of divorce and the teeter totter of a career that had petered out. The circus was dead and only the random animals floated by from vague recollection buried deep in childhood. The real car window sight of massive pachyderms trundling past the impact of their soil like an occasional drumbeat sounding for no apparent reason. Like toys they flew around in the great expanse of his nightly imagination. These new times had killed them by demanding their anonymity out of the false proclamation of social concern. That raw stinging odor of their presence was now safely removed from sight. Desire had become a relative thing as of late. To prohibitive to bank upon it left him stranded in his small apartment most nights. Drinking one’s self silly was a young man’s games these days anyhow. He was forced to pick and shoos his sites mostly on foot. The ‘bric a brac’ of items discarded for recycling always caught his eye. Artifacts assembled in disarray from the deeper levels of a Troy from the era of the nineteen-eighties or seventies, or earlier. All in fragmentary condition like unwanted orphans. The random pieces seemed like parts of himself. He found himself in the business of a scavenger of memories of incidents of the past. Anecdotes that when investigated never held a correlation of the veracity of his memory and the posted facts. How cruel was the world to disclose this tilt?
Sleep became synonymous with intervening bouts of insomnia and mental exhaustion. Since no one was listening or for that matter aware of his presence he felt free to pad about at hours. Generally in sync with the bewitching hour when most mischief in the world seemed to be at play. There was a certain familiarity kept with a corollary of some of the great stars of Hollywood in its golden era. He could count upon the reliability of their typecast and off-screen interview demeanor to define his own moral outlook, They provided the foundation that his own daytime lack of connection could not compete with. This easy familiarity in turn served as a justification for an avoidance of all this contemporary as mere wanderings by the unsophisticated. After all what populated the screen those days had to be literal to the experience of real human beings and more wondrous for that fact alone. The world of shadows and phantoms flickered nightly. The preference for these nightly interludes suggested that the preferred realm was indeed fantasy, For all his own past experience in the world of business past he could not see the connection to anything tangible beyond vague promises that at least for him never turned out. Still there was the hope! That ever-lingering possibility that some seed laid in the soil from some forgotten time past might unexpectedly sprout and bear fruit.
The lady down the hall was still in the hospital. Two decades past his own he sometimes wondered where she had gotten her mindset when he was still a boy. Still a bridesmaid but never a bride her own brace had drifted in a fog of years into frigidity and decay. The coup d’gace being delivered by a misapplied prescription in combination with a flu shot. The hospital clinician might have just as well given her hemlock! The stillness of night and its lack of company had his mind wandering past the rote of cinematic narrative as to wondering when he would see her haphazard collection of items dear deposed to the ignominy of the alley. How sad to think that the photographs recounting one’s better moments just ended up anonymous in the trash. What a cruel world of diffident youngsters that were so caught up in a mass hysterical cult of socially agreeable fantasy that they shunned the opportunity to embrace the vagaries of these bits and pieces of ancient realities. There was something about a human face that could tell a story without words or written script. Lines and wrinkles were no longer in favor. The daytime seemed to be a place where all artifice of humanity as it had once been know was scraped away like greasepaint from a clown. He could still recall them from the back seat of that slow moving sedan piloted by his parents in that carnival. Clowns in groups walking past toting the implements of the last performance like lowered lances. Cigarettes puffing away the adrenaline and subsuming the coming tension of another afternoon performance ahead. All he could think of is how he missed those elephants? Those youthful more comely faces of yesteryear that were now lost in the perpetual fog forming slowly over an unforgiving now.