Monday, June 9, 2008

Dear old Matty Van. I'm a president nerd, remember?

Here is something I wrote once. It has no ending. At least I don't think it does. I really don't know what to do with it, but I really like how it captures the essence of a highway journey, albeit a crazy highway journey. Please let me know what you think.

I’m thinking about killing myself again. But why? Rationally I ask myself the same question over and over. I never seem to find the answer. Possibly there is no answer. It really doesn’t matter anyway. I’m starting to see reason again. There is no satisfaction in death. There is no exaltation. There is nothing.
These thoughts then get me to thinking about metaphysical matters. What is the soul? Does it exist? How much does it weigh, or what is its color?
None of it matters anyway. I look upon the person at the counter and grin robotically.
“Yes, it is a nice day out. Oh, yes, I do think there will be rain after all.”
I take my candy bar, my mineral water and my luxurious stick of jerkied beef back to my newly filled gasoline combustion machine.
As I drive I begin to wonder what it was that brought me to my current state. Is there anything truly wrong with me, I wonder. It even seems as though I am forcing myself to suffer for some future deed as yet unfolded. Hmm.?
As I drive I try to conjure up any notion that lets me believe that what I am attempting is anything except crazy.
“I’m not crazy! Everyone else is crazy.”
I haven’t done anything crazy yet, but what I am contemplating still weighs weary on my mind.
“You see, I am an artist. That is all. I’m just making a grand presentation.”
Just a grand presentation. Yes. After all it’s not like I want to hurt anyone. Far from it, I’m merely making a demonstration of my love. It’s a gentle intimate thing. Not unlike a wedding proposal on a billboard. Just more unique. That’s it, more unique. I always try to be somewhat original. It’s my strong suit. But maybe I am grasping for straws. Maybe this whole goddamned trip is futile. Nobody likes an insane man. And isn’t that exactly the type of person I am presenting if I go on with this?
I turn on the radio. It fills my cabin with blissful forgetfulness for awhile. I like that. I sing along to the popular songs of my childhood in nostalgic reverie. I sing along. I sing along. And I hum. And I tap out familiar rhythms upon my steering wheel. All is good. Yes. It does feel good to be on the road. The road is entrancing. It bumps and pulsates giddily along. Flashing past so swiftly, so forgetting. So forgetting. I sip at my water and flap my tongue lovingly at the tingling. The bubbles.
After some time I find that I have traveled far, indeed, far through time, if not in space. I look upon my speedometer and start to make the calculations again. Okay, at 70 miles per hour after seven hours I should be getting near where I need to sleep tonight. For some reason I loathe the notion of stopping. I just want to plow through past daybreak. But it’s not reasonable. It’s not rational. I need some rest. I’ve been on this road for a day now, and if I didn’t think I was capable of being crazy then, I surely should by now. I need to sleep it out. Think things through.
“I need to keep myself awake until I find a place to stay.”
I’m beginning to grow so tired. I even try to slap myself, but it is only a facsimile of a slap. I chuckle to myself.
“I can’t even slap myself, how could I expect to kill myself?”
I turn up the music. Louder and louder. I roll down the windows in an attempt to revive consciousness while looking like an air eating dog. I bounce up and down in my seat and pray for a hotel. Eventually it comes.
It is late. Far past midnight. The girl at the counter takes my credit card without looking up, and I hardly notice. I bring myself to my room and flop down instantly. I lay there for quite awhile staring at the textured ceiling. Sleep doesn’t come. It merely teases me. I find myself looking up in the yellow illumination of the hotel lamp. The bed is neat yet hard. It is stiff. It is unyielding. Pulling myself out of my clothes I grab instinctively for the remote control and crawl into the sack amidst an array of flashing imagery. The TV sings it’s lullaby and I finally submit to sleep.
“You don’t know who you are.”
“I’m the man you find sleeping.”
I awake for a moment to find the station all a fuzz with indifference. I click it off and resume my slumber.
Morning comes, and I choose to shower. The hot water is blissful upon my waking back. I see more clearful.
“I am alive”
The hot water drabs down and I start to sob.
“Why can’t she see me as clearly as I?”
“Fuck her! Fuck everybody!”
I begin to pound my head against the hollow fiberglass. Boom boom boom.
“Jesus this must be an interminable racket.”
I step out of the shower and turn on the fake red ticking lamp just for fun. Seated on the toilet I hang my head. I hang my head and sit. For a while.
The phone rings.
My heart stops.
The phone rings again.
I get up and answer,
“Oh yes, thank you.”
I hang up having forgotten the wake up call I had asked for.
Bunching my spare clothes together in my sack, I dress and head for the outdoors. I am greeted by the cool breeze of freshness in my wet head as I climb into my car and make haste for the freeway.
Driving again I start to feel more relaxed.
“Sadness gropes me.”
Like a molester, despair plunges it’s fangs into my being from out of nowhere.
“Why am I such a pussy?”
After a while I begin to feel human. The endless monotony of the interstate placates my madness momentarily. I count to myself, trying to figure out my gas mileage, my distance from my goal, and how I’m supposed to dig up the body of President Martin Van Buren and win back my lost love.


belsum said...

That was chilling. In a good way. I agree that the imagery of the road is really captured. I remember you mentioning the idea of exhuming Van Buren but I didn't know you did anything with it. I'd love to know why he thinks it'll win back his lost love.

Yet in some ways, not knowing makes it even more evocative. This was a really amazing piece. "Choose to shower" jumped out at me for some reason. Very real.

Jon Hunt said...

I loved it too. Fantastic. I like the rhythm of the words.