A trailer sized motor caravan that all had arrived in had then just as quickly disappeared. In it’s place was a twisted wheel deprived frame dragged up high in the air by a container crane. The story leading up to it equally absurd in it dimensions. An effigy of a failing life gone unexpectedly off the tracks into an unimaginable sense of twisted fate. The sin being one of exploration in that latter point of life when prospects disappear and fast moves forever always inadvertently go awry. Perhaps what had occasioned if might have been the fate of an acquaintance at the local bar? A big guy named AL. An old dry soda biscuit dry humored billy goatee bearded rascal whose best days might have been seen in the jungles of Southeast Asia long ago in youthful manhood. Someone from that ‘tough shit’ universe who carried his innocence wrapped tight in shards of broken glass to be broken open much later in life. Only if the situation allowed! He had taken a spill landing against a table and chairs. When the blood could no longer reach as high up as his head causing him to unexpectedly pass out. That big heart having gotten even bigger in his chest impacting into his lungs and sealing up the envelope of the little matter of his continued mortality. A routine known all too well at that age! The family legacy hit home having slowly arrived over decades. The last few years leaving a big house to play in to an empty audience. Now the wheels were gone and the buckling aluminum whale supported above by the derrick was high out of reach. No way to return to that former place, that for lack of anywhere else, was called home. That lingering impulse of change of state to go from someone perpetually landlocked to freebooter on the highways leaving only an uncertain limbo. The lingering past and prescience of possible future gone before the immediate ‘here and now‘. That big redwood trunk of that man felled laying on his side. A bloody napkin freshly pulled off from his temple still too cogent to duck recall.
The big box store occasioning these tale still seeming fresh in the first years of its life’s cycle. The setting for that motoring behemoth parked up the lane so that its occupants could easily depart towards its main entrance. Old and generally stiff of the joints, it was a customary courtesy afforded without question. Much to my surprise and shock of those remaining within the vehicle it suddenly became apparent that the establishment had been sequestered by too eager a crew of motorcycle paraphernalia attired Satanists. A coven of bored Middle Class stalwarts that had formed a pact among themselves out of a lifetime of boredom to lay down ritual mayhem on the easiest most accessible place where innocents could be found. This cavernous well-lit environment a place of possibilities for violence perfect in parameters of containment and a potential to inspire terror over a substantial number of inadvertent victims occupying it by chance. The caravan’s arrival coinciding with a perfect near completion of the first phase of their murderous riot. Loyalty keeping those left behind int he vehicle from immediately driving off. That pulsating animal impulse for self-survival quashed out of some vague noble impulse. A foolish thing experienced over a matter of minutes of indecisive discussion of pro’s and con’s before the pirate crew mounted an exploration of the caravan’s insides. Their first ignoble act being to throw a ninety year old colored woman out of the side window impacting the pavement and breaking her neck. The poor old soul caught in the midst of trying to pull on the pants of her equally arthritic husband who lay pathetically weak and prone upon the carpeted hallway’s floor.
It seemed to be a very unfunny joke to denigrate anything deemed ‘white‘ especially if it turned out that the orator was classified as being a ember of that group. An adaptive form of dialogue equally viscous as practiced by progressive immigrant Hitler minded Hebrews all nestled in the midst of the audience. One evidently taken up the burning torch to their perennial ‘straw men‘! Ritually victimizing others as scapegoats for their woes! The historical crutch of arcane magical numbers of the craft in six and nine and eleven ever summed in their math. Those same perpetual discontents living by an ancient time weary code of an ‘eye for an eye’! And eternal task of vengeance handed down to successive generations to be leavened upon the descendants of enemies justifying the tibias perpetual mentality of constant deceit. The entire world outside the coven, a mortal enemy. Human nature defaulting most to group and to ground in applying ignoble customs. The big fat Italian on stage entertaining the select group about him in what appeared to be constant self-depreciating dialogue Sex! Blacks! (whores!) All manner of ‘no go‘ women topics! His patter sallied about the safe harbor of what seems to be conventional Saturday morning conversations ‘German-ness‘. The legacy of an era of vitriol fanned by a ‘half and half’ race mixer President. Who in the Hell knew ‘whom‘ he really was? A hero or demonic saint? The divided land. Self-Isolation by the telling of the tale of the Springfield Race Riot of 1908. Who would dare to give anything less than a dispassionate account? Persistence and empty liquor bottle. These disparate groups switching roles but continuing on essentially just the same. “Who created them!” “Who enforces them?” Who has any respect enough for anything to surrender their God given power without a fight? The man that no one wanted. He was tried and tasked and tried. And when he thought about it. He was also so very much alone. The pirates only being a figment of his ailing mind.
He awoke. A nervous shaky feeling pervading his upper back running immediately down the length of both his arms as if he were in electrical contact with something heavier and more metallic. It might as well be something to do with him? A carry over perhaps? The tingly tingling sensation feeling now descended into his lower back as if some electricity was constantly discharging its waning potential slowly from him back into a state of equilibrium. The space beside him in his bed was empty save for wrinkled sheets. The previous two that had inhabited it so long before him. They were now gone. Long gone and in the grave. It was still all too easy to see them slumbering unawares within this space. It had started out as their own! Decades passing where he was just some occasional visitor. Sometimes a squatter and ever a guest. The day was forming itself up just outside his window. Massing in strength to mount a rising illumination. One that began to seed flickers of light into a sky. Graying the ground from the grip of darkness lurking below. An utterly still and silent animation transitioning two realms, one to the other. Each instant suggesting that one had been switched off sometime in total darkness to hearken benefit for the other. The readout on his personal assistant stated the dead of Summer and the midst of August. A light touch of warmth fading quickly from the top edge of twisted covers. Now pulled back slightly and left open suggesting something in seasons ahead being much colder. What would the weather be today? Uncomfortable and sweaty and hot like last week? This last weekend having been cool like the middle of Fall. The light feeling of unheated air dancing upon his extremities extending down to his knees then halfway up the front of his thighs. “Circulation?“, his mind ingeniously pondered.
He pulled off his over worn black nightcap. Slinging it back over his head and set about rearranging the covers back to their nighttime convention. Imagining that he could prolong the night in order to compensate for the raw sensation that had deprived him of the full measure of needful rest. The disorder of the nights disturbing dreams defaulting to random misaligned images without hope of plot or drama. He lay back again in a flood of excuses. The impressions left by the fading visual imprint depositing deeper more lasting impressions that like some form of ultimate penalty would be levied for the coming day. An hourglass of sandy bothersome grit running out. He made an instantaneous sweep of the arm pulling off the covers once again. Unexpectedly rolling to the side onto the carpet to swiftly venture forth to the ‘jakes‘ of his kingdom. Fragments of dream rattling about his head. “If they weren’t recovered“, he reminded himself, “Then they would be lost.” And he would have to walk around the rest of the day under their burden. Trying to piece them together from loose threads suffering that nagging feeling that he had missed something important and telling about himself. Something that might hold a key to ending this current époque of stagnancy. There they lay like random bits of broken glass, sharp and pointed in his mind’s reflections. So much certainly like other ones of a previous vintage that he could barely recall being related to other more random experiences unearthed from many years back.
The world awaited out there. An apple to be plucked. An immovable lodestone that needed to be cracked open.
It seemed that it would be a fight to the finish? All dignity aside. Two dogs wanting the same bone. Barely any meat left for one. The dream offered little solace and it was the dead of night once again. The sky lay upon the cage like and over washed purple cloth spread upon a birds cage. No sound of snoring but a clock’s steady tic to and an icebox’s hum. Two weeks now of waking up to this skittery weak feeling drenched in sweat. A stomach full of carpet tacks. Little to say for another nugget frugally spent alone. The dogs seemed lucky! They had the diversion of each others dedicated company. There were worse things than mayhem! Maybe than even a perpetually stomach? There was being completely and totally alone. Even the most miserable of all the dregs mankind so unrepentant to the sting of the whip must tremble at thirty days in the hole. What could they do with three-hundred time three? It was so easy to hallucinate a passing auto defaulting to the distant call of a listless wind. The hum of he icebox pump now angry attempting to eradicate that. The heart had swollen up hard against the internals and the lungs ached as if a ball of cotton was heavily lodged and mucous soaked descending slowly like the clog of a sink. At least the hard inflexible unstoppable galley slave beat had not begun. The system had turned to rust. The only current pleasure being a slight caress of cold upon bare skin. The dichotomy of mild extremes diverting all the rest from total domination of all things thought to be real.
A slight and subtle crack of the the neck just below the back of he skull as the head was leaned back hard into the chairs cloth cushion. Inky dark night interrupting the clear view of the same old ceiling so blatantly apparent in day. There were lives going on beyond its barrier as well. The head changed direction and the same mantra sprung out from hiding again. The building was alive with strangers. People that for the most part one never encountered nor even occasionally heard. Strange characters that would pop out of a door on occasion making both parties nervous and generally defaulting to some insincere play of easy familiarity. All parties ready to go back to the myth of no sign of life for an eternity of miles all around. To step back into one’s own threshold! And return to the conviction that they were hopelessly and totally without possible alternative to remain being alone. Trust in one’s fellow a rusty misguided key too long unused to have any trust in its ability to unlock any real hidden store of boundless felicity. Whose fault was that? Forgetfulness was the referee right now that sent all parties back to their corners until the bell would be rung. But the question coming t mind being, “Would it ever?” The shadows of one’s own existence seemed safer portrayed by paper thin phantom’s flicker long ago recorded. Every line pure and purposefully misstated as by the reigning script. The reason for any hesitation in this world of these long past phantoms being their delivery and the comfort of familiarity that it brought one. Something ersatz human that one felt that they could depend upon time and again. It was starvation otherwise.
The sticky rubber of flaccid skin upon skin. A certain rising sense of mild clamminess from muscles set too long in the awkwardness of a body over-saturated by the effects of inactivity. Seemingly astounding how an excess of flesh imposed such dilemmas? One might have thought that the satiation of an empty gut at rare intervals was a healthy thing? Instead some demon power utterly perverse demanded otherwise. This was a land of suffering and it had always been so. Transgressors who believed otherwise were always sooner or later brought back down to earth if they believed otherwise. Social pressure and an inbred jealously that allowed only the single notion that insufficient bread and fishes be shared universally with all. Leaving only the possibility of a lingering taste in the palate that inflated one’s desire for more. Those that wanted more. That took more. Most likely to suffer the worst. The crack of the head sounding again as the nape bounced a couple times against cool invisible cotton. A reliable stiffness evident now in the neck. Sleep was now coming on as both the approximation of a night of heavy drinking and a rising burden weighing down the back. Soon, so very soon, it would be time to rise like a penitent to revisit the rack. A strange recycling barely detectable whistle war whooped as if the squeak of an old outdated wooden chair creaking under the excitement of someone to patently obese. The continuous protest of a canine? Perhaps one of those unseen distant dogs that had lost the contest for that bone?
Which is better? To be universally recognized or remain completely anonymous? The new form of triumphal surrender as therapy to your impossibilities. It is all too easy to fall into the stereotype, or embody it from the start. Playing card parliamentary rules when you plot to ask someone a pointed question. Sometimes it would be wise to have prepared your own answer lest you be found wanting when the same question is turned around on you. All the old war heroes can be lined up before the cameras like trophies. They just have to show up to collect. In the best sense of same, women are there to be admired. What is fairness after all but simply a fabricated mental impression, yet not a truth, and never an inflexible standard?
Long ago the will to love was lost. Why? How much dirt on a grave does there need to be to make one think it has never been anywhere to begin with? A lack of empathy in daily life, just a simple form anesthesia. When you walk alone you can never have a peaceful moment again. You can describe the action and let your mental audience comment. You can describe the setting and provide the tone of the atmosphere to let other consciousnesses construct a narrative. You can recite the primary character’s inner thoughts verbatim and then allow the impression to come to the most likely conclusion, come what may. Some people just want another to sit silently there beside them so as to get a physical sense of security. Some people don’t what to change a single aspect of their own existences and are constantly plotting on how to resist the same. Other cling to their sanity by swimming upstream in the swift current of other people’s emotions as they overwhelm their own.
A dim bleary eyed besotted face rises from the drool pond of the table, “It’s Hickey!” “He’s arrived!” “Finally!”, “The Iceman Cometh!”
The popular media’s job is to dispel human loneliness with the daily illusion of an engaging conversation. Any victim is always eventually condemned for the fact of their disease or miscalculation leading to their eventual failure. Especially if they have risen too high and done too well. Two guys get waylaid on a schooner then share their adventures high in the rigging drunk as skunks. Most men have heroes generally in professional sports. Careers that they follow through the entire course of their own lives. The wilderness of night was thus consumed with such abstract mental wanderings.
It had been a bad night of constant drifting off and sudden waking. His left arm ached and he had to constantly jockey his position to suit the restlessness that its relentless discomfort demanded. Those sudden sharp shooting pains beneath the ribs. It seemed that a sinkhole had appeared in the middle of his chest. The waters of life did not seem to penetrate it. But the beer and the tequila did like a sharp arrow. He was too old now for frivolous bar stool adventures. The sunlight of morning seemed extra bright and demanding that he open his eyes to it. The sweat stained bed sheets clung tightly like stucco upon him. He rose checking the stagger to the bathroom marking if its source was the previous night’s drink or the inefficiency of his heart’s pumping. The steamy shower seemed to wash away much wreckage. The mirror being all too honest confirming yet again that not much was left of his sense of male vanity. The descent into old age had not been kind. All to the disappointment of youthful desires that refused to be quenched. His head slowly nodded in sympathetic agreement that there was nothing extraordinary or unfair in this. But extremely disappointing as he had disappointed himself by not taking better care having too quickly given in to well-worn self destructive habits. His mind refused to leave its endless wanderings in the flowery fields of youth.
Sylphs, fairies and ghostly mental images of all the women that he had once been attracted to in those bygone rituals of mating. Ceremonies that were no longer possible for him save to idly ponder in private. He closed the towel and then turned to the shapeless pile of his raiment’s discarded in a rumple just outside the bathroom door. A worn second skin of threadbare futilities. The renewal and replacement of each garment noted on a mental list to one day renew. A second skin to be renewed by in some small but significant way. His attentions diverted back to a longstanding mystery cloaking his mind’s eye to the constant sight of others. The incomprehensible experience of his arms encircling a young maiden as he had in decades past. A young woman’s body unwrapped and fully revealed in all its wonder a sight perpetually eternal in his thoughts. How many like it had he held in close embrace in eons past? Tried to understand, not with his mind, but with the antenna of his soul? Failed miserably with each to learn its secrets as to the reason for its being. His hands upon the small of a back delicately bowing it like a cello with restless fingertips. Each attempt to capture it defeated by the flash of an eye. Something ethereal int he descent of fingertips incrementally tracing the flatness of a hip declining inevitably into the curve of an inner thigh. Taut strings rubbed and plucked.
Life since had become laundered of such thoughts. He had his pile of well spent rags that served as snake skin remnants of his former self. The pursuit of youthful passions lost and now impossible. Absurd to consider! The waking dreams of old movies affording a slip from current dignity in the propriety observed in the conduct of one’s self. The world of now was filled with old compromises. Quick bargains made forgoing something considered so regular long ago but now cemented tightly shut and impenetrable. Pacts made in silence with unspecified entities that asked for nothing in specific but one knew were keeping a grim vigil. The inevitability of one’s genes as demonstrated by now long lost forebears offering only the conclusion of mortality. Perhaps sooner and not later? There in the street by a table in the imminence of the sun strung out like a line of beetles. Slow careful promenades of ancient brittle bones and arthritic joints supporting wrinkled skin and sagging bellies. all melting slowing and inevitably like candle wax left unattended in the wee hours of sleep. One awakening in the morning with a start to the spectacle of it’s decay. That moribund procession dirge-like slowly into the oblivion of the grave.
The sun had painted the landscape below upon its Western face. The rest of everything rapidly filling with shadows of mauve. All earthly attention pointed upon it imminent escape. It was going to be a cold and blustery Summer this year. Uncustomarily so. The day had been spent indoors with all the blinds closed and little illumination save for some old reruns on the DVD machine that recounted a vague facsimile of what life had supposedly been several decades back. Everything seemed equally at a loss now as what little could be resurrected from that now indefinable place of ‘back then‘. Or that is what his answer to the abject stillness before him inferred. The day was at an end. Soon to have night slide over it like a cover. It was the same vista of rectangles overlapping each other. Some brilliant and reflective some with yellow and red brick hues all fading away before his eyes. That certainty of another day not unlike the last as it had been for so long was quickly waning as well. The original occupants were barely a memory now. Just empty quiet place holders that one left space for occasionally in the daily patter. Whatever discourse that went on was conducted in the confidentiality of dreams that were reliably expunged without he first light of a new day. That orange-ish glow had descended upon all in sight up to the edge marked by the horizon. In less than an hour or two this all would be blackness delineated only by pinpoints of random street lamps. This failing illumination revealing a hint of that sadness that plodded about keeping a clear distance of daily activities. Tonight it was anxious to come out back into these few rooms to inhabit them without apology or regret.
Age had descended upon all. The rooms were little more than sections of a museum housing artifacts whose only definable purpose now was to contain some anecdote or long lost memory of an experience. A talisman functioning as tiny time machines taking one back to the immediacy of a single instant int he past. But not having the presence or persuasive power to maintain the effect for more than the next successive instant. All possibilities in this sense had been terminally exhausted. There was no going forward with any of it. It was a trap. Flypaper for the emotions. Too many hopes for things that remained in progress but could not find their roots or a possibility of fruition. The light about the room failing blending all the items into jagged caverns of inhospitable coral. The enigmas of happenstance as left by its previous occupants insoluble. Each assemblage a shrine to some former meaning lost to the ages. How quickly human flesh decays when bereft of the animating spirit that powered its engine? Was this what was meant by the notion of being haunted. Rumors spreading about an empty space only slightly fragrant enough to suggest but never again to embody? A grand silence that only a random wooden beams squeak or distant tailpipe cough dared to intervene against. The streams of light receding to the West as if all firmament had been unknowingly tilted in the wake of the racing Sun. Life was now a soft hush of unseen humanity dutifully passing back and forth respectfully unseen at the end of another day’s labors.
The landscape extended below was now simply a quilt. The final embers sinking to ash and smoke in dissolving sky chariots relieved of gorse and rider. Their drift slow and inevitable in procession back towards the East. Whatever eulogies that had long ago been offered now floated about as if perpetually contemplated yet never said. The audience of friends and relatives now strangers. Perhaps stranger still than the rest of humanity unmet. One could consider the vast fortune in knickknacks now lost to anonymous shelves somewhere in small resale shops. Those rewards awarded for the special moments dispersed and unrecognized now for the meaning that they had once represented within a single casual glance. Gifts no longer wanted or treasured. Death could not be defined as pain but forgetfulness. Certainly not an individual thing! But of entire worlds and societies whose ways of life could not longer be fathomed. The accomplishments and complexities of entire lifetimes returned to the invisibility of simple elemental molecules inhabiting the endless oceans of water and air and dust. Undignified and unsympathetic to the conscious longing of a broken heart wrecked upon the shoals like the broken back of a long forsaken schooner. Abandonment in the fact that whole worlds of thousands of years of communal experience were singly no longer there. The only repository left signifying the meaning of an entire life’s struggle themselves waning. Falling into the hollows of stillness and silence garnering no companionship or interest of others with which to pass on this saga. The absence of chaos, and of sound or echoes. Forms melting into the absence of illumination. Slow incremental motion of static whirlpools deteriorating within endless undefined regions in the emptiness of space sinking towards a deep unreachable place. Unknowable. Untouchable. Gone.
I could smell lavender in her tears when she cried. Something that struck me as exceptional as a quality that in the same instant was both beautiful and yet very terrible. Transcendent of anything that I could expect in a mortal woman. But then that is why they are so, is it not? The old shop keeper stood before the young man with the fatal object in his palm. A small desiccated thing enclosed in a bituminous afflicted parchment covering tightly wrapped upon a small armature of birdlike bones. The damnably fascinating thing had sat in one juxtaposition on relatively plain sight within eye-shod of his showroom window for literally decades. It was almost an icon of his presence that had survived in my mind since those latter years of post adolescence. this infrequent times when on weekend evening sojourns escaping from the weekly banalities of suburban juvenile existence I had stumbled across its stark reality. The terminology of ‘glory hand’ coming in vogue to the tongue after a few trips and a touch of insightful wisdom by one of my fellow ‘know it all’s‘. There was much speculation of how such a horrific object came to be so shamelessly displayed publicly without fear of prosecution? How naive were shelter American youth of that time? The tremulous obsession to see it firsthand subverted by that to be expected fear of untimely death the grave so ingrained in the contemporary level of understanding of the world by callow youth. The rest of the small establishment a fully-stocked storehouse every kind of barely imaginable oddity equally demonstrating the ‘crème de la crème‘ of extremely off-beat qualities. The proprietor’s sensibilities as represented suggesting someone of such eccentricity and daring that one naturally hesitated in his presence as such a character one would think could be capable of anything?
A small typed expository paragraph that sat hanging just beneath the object within its bell glass resting place explaining what I had long ago already surmised in my tenuous youth bound sorties into the realm of the generally abrupt and high strung fellow. It neatly mentioning the well-accepted suggestion that such artifacts as harvested from someone gallows bound were employed in rituals of magic to when the fingers were lit like a candle and the thin carried palm upright it could open any locked door while rendering any other that its holder motionless and at bay. The text going on to say that once it was burning it’s illumination would continue unchecked and inexhaustible forever. The mouldering and mashing of it in my older mind still stultifying in range of the horrid thing resting in dust barely and inch above. Still the cloying sense of fragrance that persisted around it gave it an immediacy that chilled one’s own bones. Why one would ask in the wee hours late at night was the seeming eternal promise of youthful innocence and the sudden intervention of mortal death so akin? Especially from those whose lives had been contradicted by laws of times that now seemed ancient and pitiless in their barbarity? A burden that one might be cursed with after several days or sometimes weeks of sleepless obsessing. The fragrant smell of eternity lingering in the nostrils as a hint of an ultimate horizon beyond which imagination went blank. Those infrequent points in time when the warm vibrant living equivalent of a young maiden was firm within one’s own grip poisoned to some degree by the persistent mentally inscribed heirloom. So many short decades later. Now, since my own youth has been swept away by intervening time and the capricious meander of so many varied and inexplicable to this day experiences. I sit back into my easy chair in the inevitably slow graying haze of distant memory and see the thing not under its bell shape. But too often resting gone recently dormant and incrementally growing cold. The hand transposed into that of a newly departed loved one now leaving their weary flesh behind in favor that journey to who really knows where?
Many aspiring actors convinced to try out different characters in a bizare form of prothestic makeup of oversized faces. Displaying same in different public spaces with any warning. William Shatner in a Turkish airport dressed up like Humpty Dumpty! Or some moron that was filling in for him when he wanted a smoke and went on break? All of this insanity went on to be eventually televised. A sort of terrorist event? Unsuspectedly, publicly exposing the various people that participated in it. They going on the continue to work upon the dynamics of their respective character’s effect in the most absurd of situations.
Something like that over there in Paris where they have all those indigent Muslim hanging about the streets and swimming pools. Like someone who really was who was posing as someone who really wasn’t posing at all but who was posing like someone who really was trying to do so! There, where their latrine was their sink!
A Wisconsin fishing lodge filled with a bunch of old timers. Old farts, they all sit around and watch TV and eat cheese and passing gas between wheezy tall tales. A six-foot long unwound rind of cheese slowly yellowing tacked end to end horizontal at waist level along the wood paneled wall. Somewhat as a display of local pride one might suppose? But to whom? It was getting late. Or early? Or something! And I bellow out to the lot of them, “Let me, I’ll go upstairs and stay by the TV room!” “And when I’m done, I’ll make sure to turn it off.” The rest of them grunt and groan stiffly rising unsteadily and walked downstairs hobbling out of the place into the night.
The garbage men slowly drove their truck down the dirt alley out in back. Hollering out every once and a while to each of the brand new suburban homes on either side of the narrow trail to bring out their garbage. Their calls awakening me early so that was I standing on the bed in my pajamas and then shoving my nose against the broken screen in the new Summer’s dawn to view this commotion going on at the back of our house. It was the middle of the nineteen-fifties and such arcane occurrences were common back then.
They say that cruelty is a result of many long years of an upbringing in hateful behavior. But I might add that a more extreme equally dangerous form comes from simple neglect of common sense. This quality would be something quickly shelved in the sunny paradise of any Southern California metropolis on any given day. The easy tempo of existence offers no challenge to the mind and as a result one is likely to encounter all manner of strange circumstances attributed to the lack of any attempt at foresight of some of its citizens. I recollect and incident that I as an average citizen happened to encounter when performing the unimaginable in the grand little perpetual ‘burbs’ of Los Angeles. I am speaking about walking on foot through an old but venerable section of that ever expanding grid of perpetual roadways. Having confessed to this shameless commission on my part to not be at least engaged as part of an auto bus provided guided tour I found myself walking past an unenclosed parking lot fully loaded with vehicles. Each one accompanied by a tall chest high parking meter biding their time waiting for a matron to walk past to wreak vengeance upon those who through mental oversight or lack of ready coin would flagrantly hope in their heart to shortchange the system of its rightful few grams of negotiable flesh. The transgression rewarded of course with a fine and a summons to pay some extraordinary financial penalty that would enlighten the every hungry coffers of the municipality and its officials. While this might have been considered as both acceptable and to be expected the sight that I spied besides one of the older but well-maintained luxury autos astounded my own sense of incredulity. A small Dachshund sat trembling in the sun leashed in such a manner that it was forced to fretfully balance atop a parking meter lest it slip and hang itself.
The car in the stall by the poor creature itself was identifiable to any living locally who had of late been apprised of the latest televised entertainment gossip that a former long forgotten luminary of stage and screen was engaged in what was unfondly referred as a comeback. Their car had even by Southern California standards had been so ostentatiously expensive and unique that its current reputation eclipsed its owner. Something given the fact that the lot it was parked in was immediately adjacent to one of the television studios that daily hosted celebrities that were in some cases caught trying to swim back upstream into fame and the glory of momentary public attention. Certainly one could surmise that such a state of mind targeted mainly on so challenging a mission would be unable to notice anything else in their immediate vicinity beyond the scent of waiting popularity wafting out from the studio awaiting their arrival. How what one could equally assume was her beleaguered pet might have found itself in such a miserable life-threatening physical state is beyond comprehension to and reasonable common sense thinking yet fully in line with the usual sort of antics one would expect from this town of entertainment savvy scatter brains. The poor animal sat perplexed by my approach. Shaking judiciously trying not to wag its tail too much lest it slip off to an ignominious doom. And a bit of ammunition for some celebrity reporter on a slow news day to use to make up a casual news byte headline about a former local great’s plunge into unfogiveable animal cruelty transgression. Like anyone in the news department could give a shit beyond a few extra rating points.
As it was up to me as some interloper still fielding my over preachy Midwestern attitudes I made it my task to immediately rescue the poor beast taking it town from its perch after detaching the other end of the leash. Care and kindness extending to a much needed watering and walk so the little canine do what all of its kind seem most prone to do in any urban setting. My sense of propriety lacking the requisite plastic bag to remove its trembling deposits. Seeing that fate in such a mercurial environment of every imaginable genetically customized show dog might lead to some inadvertent situation of harm to the little fellow by a viscous mean spirited four-legged rival I proceeded towards the studio’s entrance to find out if its owner was in some way prepared to take back custody ot its neglected little ward. I felt emboldened enough to pass a message on through one of the guards monitoring the entrance. something along the lines that ‘Ms So and So’ should be made aware that her beloved little pet was now safe from what I am sure was merely an oversight on her part. And that I would be happy to personally return her little pride and joy toy at her earliest convenience back out int he parking lot by her vehicle when her gala televised appearance had concluded. Some forty-five minutes later a very nervously conflicted but equally disgruntled old dowager waddled over unsteadily towards my direction. No entourage of autograph seekers within a half a mile or more. of the loaded parking lot to accept the rare gift of a small stack of autographed photos in the folder that was in the vise of one of her upper arms. The twin laser beams like fog suppressed beacons emanating from her sunglassses covered eyes as the sight of my leaning against her old chrome and steel warhorse. The little ‘poochie‘ now happily strangling itself on both its hind legs by its leach bound collar with my arm pulled to full extension at the other end of its forgetful master’s approach.
I could tell by the vibe in her immediate vicinity that her efforts at public reconciliation had not gone as planned. Though I was able to confirm the fact of same at a subsequent rebroadcast of a total airtime of some thirty seconds or so she had been handily eclipsed by the precocious interruptive verbal contributions of a much younger talent and soon to be rising star of a new prime-time comedy series about buoyant young lesbian schoolteachers in rural Mississippi in the nineteen-sixties. The aging starlet cut to the quick in quips suggesting that her heyday in the spotlight was a dark era of misinformed and misguided sensibilities that had brought the world as a whole into an age of perpetual political and social despair. The poor old bitch was trembling with wrath on a part that rivaled her pet when I had first encountered it. It was evident that the stored up negative electricity pertaining to her previous experience of the day would find the shortest distance to a convenient pole to arc to. That of course being me. The nebulous excuse being to ward off any responsibility for so ridiculously stupid an impulse as to solve the potential danger of placing her tiny pet out of reach of malevolent marauding canines. Her coolness in confronting me lacking any sign of ebullience in seeing her pet safe and rapidly concluding in a very insincere and terse thank you. The leash snatched unceremoniously from my hand the old fossil bundling both herself and her beloved companion into the equally aged four-wheeled steel behemoth and screeching off into the sunny California haze. No doubt in the direction of some nondescript forgotten apartment block for aging senior has been’s from the former film industry located in a neglected potion of the San Fernando valley. I standing there bereft of the material boon of one of the yellowed publicity photos that had slipped out of the back seat of her in her better days a half a decade before I was born. This thank you possibly an oversight or perhaps of unconscious scorn for some stranger that had seen behind the platinum image? Having pondered the situation later that night in light of the pathos of her overwhelmed by situation of providing fodder for a televised disregard as the butt of attack against her generation I could only feel sympathy. The most hateful and malicious party at fault not so much this fading talent but this damn town and its faux atmosphere of vain complacency that had its own perverse industry to support and maintain the fiction of it. Hooray for Hollywood!