Monday, December 20, 2010
EVER PRESENT NOW - V
Gary, the bearded one, handed him a joint. The young man without a name took it, and inhaled. He held the scalding smoke in his lungs, and then pressed it out. Apparently, he had not forgotten how to do this. Gary was already stoned. His eyes were deep set yet unfocused. Out beyond the boundaries of understanding, his mind was romping in green fields.
The girl from before, who said such rude things to him, for reasons he could not discern, was named Sally. She sat on a threadbare couch with a beer in her hand, self-consciously talking to a guy with a large nose and a plume of blond hair that fell over his forehead. Somewhere else in the house, live music was being played, and soon it overtook the sound of the stereo, which someone had the good sense to shut off; then, the driving rhythm of some bongos, a guitar, and harmonica, filled the smoky house. Gary shook his head mockingly.
“Beatnik crap,” then he said to the young man. “What do you think of this….” And he appeared to say a name.
“What did you say?” the young man asked.
“I said what do you think about this beatnik crap?”
“No, before that?”
“I didn’t say anything before that. Man, you are watering down my fucking high. What is wrong with you? Look at it. See it pass by. It all passes by. There is nothing you can do to stop it. But you try to grasp onto it.” And he made a fist. “You hold onto memories and pain and they’re gonna sink you, man.”
“All of that is false,” the young man answered. “None of that is true…”
Then Gary said something, but the music smothered the words. Then he got up and walked away
The night then became a series of images strung together by a thread so insignificant it was nearly invisible. There were couples making out in the corner and a girl throwing up outside in the bushes, crying and being comforted by an unknown voice. Someone had pissed off the stoop, and another person had fallen into it, cursing.
He found himself in the back room, where Derick, who had dropped out in freshman year from drinking and drugs, but had never left, slept on a mattress on the floor next to the cat litter. Derick was strumming a guitar.
“How are you feeling?” Derick asked.
“Oddly disconnected,” he answered.
“I know the feeling,” Derick answered, still humming his tune. “But for you, the reason is apparent.”
“Yeah, why is that?”
“That hit you took to the head,” Derick strummed. He stared at the wall and hummed. His revelry was factual. “We probably should have taken you to the hospital, but we were shit faced and high.”
“What hit? When?”
“Ah shit,” Derick laid down his guitar. “You mean you don’t remember. See, I told them to take you in, but nobody fucking listens to me!”
“What do you mean? Tell me?”
“Two nights ago… shit three… well, I don’t remember. There was this fricking massive storm, and we all decided, like a bunch of dipshits, to go stand out on the jetty. The waves were pounding the shit out of us. Hell, a couple of us almost fell in the drink. But you did fall in and for a minute or two we thought you were gone. But when we got off the jetty to get help, there you were, standing on the beach, wet and dazed. You looked fine, but you kept holding your head. We looked but there was nothing there. So we said, fuck it!”
“So that is the reason…” he mused.
“Reason for what?” Derick asked.