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Flat Champagne and Cliche Goodbyes

In the middle of the night, with the slight sugar of champagne fading on the back of my throat, Abe and I drove separately down to Costa Mesa.

We got to his apartment and fell asleep.

Me, “I did everything I could to save us, didn’t I?”

Abe, “You did good.”

We woke up late, and on a last day together you want to fit in everything. I had less than 12 hours before I had to head back up to Los Angeles.

I pulled out my magic pills.

Abe, “You want to take them now?”

Me, “Well, might as well. I have to be sober by tonight.”

Abe, “This takes an hour to hit and then you won’t be able to drive back at 5.”

Me, “Just don’t worry about it. It’s now or never. I can’t take these with me.”

I had thought about taking them to Paris with me, but it seems like an extraordinarily bad idea to take a hybrid narcotic overseas and then hallucinate alone in a foreign city.

So we measured out what was left between the two pills and swallowed them with our orange juice and coffee.

I wanted to see “Cabin in the Woods”.

Abe was nervous, “We have to see an early showing or we won’t have any time in the afternoon for ourselves. We missed the 10:15am showing. That’s it. The next one isn’t til 1pm and we won’t have time.”

I pushed him aside, “Let me work my wizardry.” I typed in Moviefone and found a showing across from Disneyland at 11am.

We drove over there and I could feel myself start to levitate over the passenger seat. The ground was especially rough on his Honda tires and my head high was hitting sooner than expected.

Abe pulled into a driveway that said “Disneyland: Character Entrance Only”

I said, “What are you doing?”

Abe, “This was the only place I saw we could park on Google Maps.”

Abe pulled out and tried to turn around in the driveway when an old man with white hair and a beard in what looked like a Southern Confederate uniform waved at us to stop.

Me, “Shit. Just stop. Don’t move.”

The man slowly walked over to my side of the vehicle, bent down and said, “What are you doing?”

I said cooly, “Sorry, we were just trying to park for the movie theater across the street.”

The man, “There is movie theater parking across the street.”

Me, “That makes sense. Can we just . . .?”

Man, “Yeah, just turn around, carefully.”

I rolled up my window and said to Abe, “Pull yourself together, man.”

We pulled around and I ran into the movie theater. Abe took his time, visiting the bathroom and the drinking fountain first. I waited at the door and we walked into a completely empty movie theater.

Now, I don’t know how many people have seen ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and I don’t really want to recommend you seeing it since it’s a comedy horror movie that is not really that funny nor that scary. I have never seen a horror movie with little to no suspense in the action sequences before. The film is popular because there is a twist.

What made the film special for us (Abe specifically) was the human sacrifice element- which I haven’t seen in modern horror. And why that element is a funny twist to see in Abe’s company is his genuine belief that the Illuminati facilitate human sacrifices, and, he would it take it one step further, the Illuminati made this movie to get the main population used to the idea that some of us must be sacrificed.

*The Illuminati  (as defined by Wikipedia) is a name given to several groups, both real (historical) and fictitious. Historically the name refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. In more modern contexts the name refers to a purported conspiratorial organization which is alleged to mastermind events and control world affairs through governments and corporations to establish a New World Order. In this context the Illuminati are usually represented as a modern version or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati.

So when the first image of someone’s blood pouring through a sacrificial tablet appeared, I laughed.

Abe said, “Ah, I see. Illuminati.”

When a red phone rang in the control center of the human sacrifice, Abe leaned back  and said, dryly, “Oh, the Illuminati aren’t happy.”

In Abe’s universe of paranoia and conspiracy, a movie theater experience, especially on hallucinogenics, becomes a hand delivered message from a cult that operates on an international scale.

I said, “Have you seen the carpet recently?”

The floor lights over the theater carpet brought to life reds and greens, blinking in various directions like neon lights spinning through broken arrows. I felt like we were in the middle of a large, untouched Pac-Man game, my seat at the center of an Atari maze ablaze with blinking power pellets.

We left the movie and walked out into an overcast afternoon.

Abe said, “I have never been here before.”

The little mall across from Disneyland had several restaurants that were closed, and between them were various murals. I wanted to admire them, but Abe kept tugging on my sleeve.

Abe, “We are running out of time.”

I said, “Look, time won’t stop. The day is escaping us. (I looked at him and shrugged) The day is escaping us. There is nothing we can do about it. Let’s just try our best not to avoid the time and enjoy this moment together.”

He sighed and pulled out two cigarettes.

We took pictures by the murals and giggled.



Then we swung by his place to pick up Brad and took him to the beach.
Abe and I walked to a place not too far in the sand where we could bring a dog without being reprimanded, turned on some old 60s Rolling Stones and laid out in the sun.

Old 60s Rolling Stones is a lot like boppy, Beach Boys music.

http://youtu.be/TgwT0794kHg

I said, “Where’s Gidget?”

He laughed though I am not sure he got the reference.

We laid there next to each other and I studied the baggy outline of his pants as it fell short over his brown socks and shoes. He seems so much like an overgrown boy.

The sand dunes moved like an old cardboard cut-out of waves someone would use in an old theater production. The clouds were magnificent and billowed in rhythm with the sand like they were on the same circuit as my blinking Christmas tree lights.

When you hallucinate on small doses, you know what you are seeing is not real. You are not confused and nothing seems terribly unpredictable about the shapes that unfold. You are in control of what you see.

I told Abe, “You can’t keep approaching problems from the same angle. That’s when people get trapped. You have to acquire the ability to approach the problem from different directions. That’s why I like hallucinagenics, it helps your mind learn how to look at things from a radically different angle. You get used to that. It becomes a skill.”

Brad was panting by my side.

I said, “Do you think he is ok?”

Sand lined his gold hair and his eyes were closed in a meditative pant.

Abe, “He is happy, baby.”

I cuddled up to Abe. I would miss him. And when I got back, I knew I would be a totally different woman.

The Doors came on his ipod, the psychedelic chimes rising in audible steam out of the cheap plastic bag by his feet.

“The End” came on.

♪ ♫ “No safety or surprise, the end.” ♪ ♫

Then we left.

His brother called when we were at his apartment. His apartment is always cold.

Abe, on the phone, “No, tonight’s not a good night. Its (her) last night in Los Angeles, so it’s really not a good night. I can’t come over. (silence) I will see you guys tomorrow.”

It was good to hear him choose a night with me over his family. I love how loyal he is to his family, but now it’s become part of a greater dependence to his life as a child. He has no interest in forging his own path, his own Friday night or his own family. He seems totally apathetic towards becoming a father, a husband or a man of his own, and forever content remaining the oldest son of someone else.

We made love at least twice in his cold bedroom, as the sun died behind grey, ocean clouds.

Writing about this now, a month later, I can’t recall anything special about the lovemaking other than it being the last time I felt close to someone. The last time I didn’t have to worry about my words being misinterpreted or about my body odor working through my deodorant or fumbling to find when I should end a moment.

I miss that.

We showered and he said, “I am going to be good.”

Me, “Huh?”

Abe, “I am going to be good . . . while you’re gone.”

Me, “You’re always good.”

I mean, lets face it, he doesn’t exactly have a mob of girls knocking at his door.

Abe, “I am going to be good. Are you going to be good?”

I looked at him, naked, washing the shampoo out of his hair and didn’t know what to say.

I wasn’t going to be “good”, I intended on enjoying other men, maybe falling in love with someone else. He broke my heart only a few weeks ago and didn’t deserve any false promise in return. But I just made love to this man, naked in front of me and he was looking for a little corner of polyester and nylon threaded comfort before I left his bedroom.

I muttered, “I will be good.”

Then, Abe took 45 minutes to repack my car. I was so late. It was after 9pm now, and I promised Frank  that we would have quality time before I left LA.

He texted to see if I was ok.

I texted back, “Yes, he is dragging this out and reorganizing my car. We will stay up late tonight.”

Frank texted back, “I thought that might be it. I am looking fwd to it whenever you get here.”

We kissed goodbye, and I can say I don’t remember the kiss. I remember he drove in my passenger side until I got to the end of his block and we puttered through a lot of cliches.

“I love you”

“Be safe”

“I will miss you”

“Ok goodnight”

And I called him “sweetie” which felt awkward out of my mouth. I never call anyone sweetie, but smelling of man’s soap and semen, I said, “Take care, sweetie.”

Who jumped in my body and said that?

And then I patted his back shoulder as he jumped out of my car.

This man who I was having one of the most intense on-again, off-again love affairs of my life, just sprang out of my car door and my life, and all I could offer him was a pat on the shoulder and a “Take care, sweetie.”

Driving away, I felt tears that never came.

I didn’t want to let him go, and I still don’t really want to let him go. But thank God something happened in my life to break the spin cycle our relationship was on. I needed something to jam the spoke before we went through another ride together.

***

I showed up to Frank’s, all my dogs were reunited.

Frank, “Do you just want to get Thai Food? Does it make me old that I just want to grab a bite to eat it in a quiet restaurant on a Saturday night?”

Me, “If that makes you old, then I am old. (stretch) It’s going to rain tomorrow. I feel it in my knees.”

We ate half of a dinner in Hollywood, then came back and had a glass and a half of champagne. I was exhausted.

Frank made a half joke/pass at me- going in for a kiss or something.

I said, “Please don’t. I just had a lot of sex and can’t deal with that right now.”

He laughed and said, “I figured.”

The next day when he sent me off, we mashed together in clumsy affection and kissed each other goodbye. It wasn’t laced with champagne and romance, but felt like a weird victorious punctuation mark. Friendship. Gratitude. Time.

It all ended on a wet kiss on Frank’s mouth at 9am on a Saturday.

And from there, with my three dogs jammed in the back seat, we headed north to Washington.

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Daytripping with Joshua

There were problems with Trent and Kent. I will rue the day I unknowingly assigned them rhyming names for this blog.

They have had a bumpy year, but were in love and living together in Kent’s new 1-bedroom in Highland Park, a more economic, more Hispanic, busier neighborhood than his last place in Silver Lake.

Kent told me that Trent drinks too much, says mean things and sometimes he is a completely different person.

I said, “That’s called Alcoholism.”

On Kent’s B-Day, Trent didn’t wish Kent a Happy Birthday or hug him or wake him up with a Birthday Blowjob. He instead got drunk and told him he didn’t want to spend his birthday, 3 days later, with Kent. He preferred to be alone.

During this time, they were both texting me. Trent stating he wanted to be a slut and was tiring of the relationship.

Kent struggling to understand where Trent was coming from, acknowledging it was Trent’s first adult relationship and battling with love and trust.

We were all supposed to go to Joshua Tree together, but now Kent was going to San Diego to visit his family and asked me to nudge Trent into camping alone with me for that weekend. He thought Trent needed space.

When the day arrived, Trent resisted. He sent me texts that he “wants to be alone” and “doesn’t feel like celebrating my birthday.” I knew he was in that dark apartment, draining a bottle of wine wondering when he could find himself in a dark corner with a stranger.

He reminded me so much of The Prophet. So wonderful, generous, witty and kind when sober, and cruel when intoxicated. I asked my therapist today, “Why do the best people I know have to be alcoholics? Is it because they need to balance their own evil somehow? The rest of us carry it around everyday. Maybe they save it all for when they are drunk.”

I was rushing around, I had a call back for a commercial, Baye from work was loaning me some camping gear including a hatchet, I left my damn phone charger at work and then I zoomed (and I rarely use that word, but I zoomed) to Kent’s to sweep up Trent before he was too drunk to deal with.

I arrived and called and called. No answer.

When a minivan left the parking garage, I nonchalantly walked through the garage and let myself in.

I knocked on the door and saw a flicker of movement.

Waited.

Kent opened the door.

He said, “He is in the shower.”

I said, “Oh. I thought you were in San Diego.”

Kent, “Not yet, I have a terrible headache. I can’t do anything.”

He wandered back to his bed and laid down in migraine position.

The water stopped and I shouted, “Hey Trent, do I get to see that legendary donger of yours, or do I have to wait for the weekend?”

I heard his laugh sparkle through the wall.

I sat on the edge of the bed and smoked a bowl with Kent.

Me, “Abe said that a lot of people are abducted in national parks.”

Kent, “Why would he tell you that?”

Me, “Because he is always functioning on a high level of paranoia. Don’t worry, I have a hatchet. But the last thing I want to do is be high on hallucinagenics when someone cuts off my head and fucks it.”

Trent came out of the bathroom looking androgynously beautiful.

Trent, “Oh my God, I don’t want that either.”

Me, “Don’t worry I have a hatchet.”

Trent, “I don’t want to chop someone with a hatchet when I am tripping either.”

Me, “I think it might be easier.”

Trent shuddered, “I don’t. I would just need to go in a corner somewhere.”

Me, “Don’t worry. Abe is always talking about women being abducted and men walking around with slip ties. I mean, I am not a 12 year-old Mexican girl, I think I am gonna be ok.”

Kent laughed, endlessly. “Did you hear what she just said?”

Trent, “Yes, that’s why I love her.”

After some negotiating about what Trent should pack, how much wine he’s consumed and whether or not Kent should join us anyway, they hugged and kissed. Trent was all mine.

We stopped at Target and got beer, food, a blanket and sleeping bag, kindling and a big, black sun hat for Trent.

Then we were officially off.

My car was a disaster again- I apologized but Trent didn’t care.

The windows were down and Janis was on the radio. He said, “This is good. New energy. I need that.”

I said, “Do you want to talk about what’s going on?”

He said, “I am just bored. We haven’t had sex in 2 months.”

Me, “Because of him or because of you?”

Trent, “Because of me. I don’t know, I’m just not interested. I miss going out and just meeting guys. It’s not emotional, I try explaining that to him. When I am done with them, I am done with them. Like, I don’t even care what your name is, Bye. (silence) Just that feeling of being used, I like that. But, I don’t know, we tried the threesome thing and that didn’t work. We don’t know what to do.”

Me, “Well, Dr. Phil says a successful relationship is falling in and out of love. You have a good thing, something I would kill for.”

Trent, “I know, he is so good to me. I am just so restless.”

Me, “What’s the best sex you have ever had?”

Trent, “It was with the Married Israeli.”

Me, “Married to a woman?”

Trent, “Yeah, he had kids. We would meet in these hotels and it was so wrong. We would just have the best sex because it was so wrong. He was so hot. Sneaking around in hotels and just . . . it was really hot. But even that diminished after awhile.”

I listened and thought about how different everything seems from the driver’s seat. Would I be so desperate for love and sex if I had it every day, in my home? Or do I cherish it because I fall for men who live far away, and can only make love on scheduled days?

I said, “And the drinking, do you . . . think you have control over that?”

Trent said, quite matter of factly, “Oh, no. I know I have a drinking problem.”

I gave a half nod. I didn’t know where to go from there.

The night set in when we turned off the 10 freeway and I said, “I think I have come up with a biological reason for rape.”

Trent said, “Oh?”

I said, “Yes, the only way to insure that the man is passing off the most dominant genes available is to insure that he is at least stronger than a female, so to dominate her and rape her would pass strong genes, or at least strong enough genes to be suitable for conception. A weaker man, who couldn’t fight off a female, wouldn’t have the opportunity.”

Trent took pause then said, “That seems like a very logical explanation for rape.”

I said, “Really?”

We laughed.

Me, “Well, I have thought about it.”

Trent, “No, really. It seems quite logical.”

We stopped first for firewood and a flashlight. The first gas station didn’t have a flashlight.

We decided, if we were going to go camping, we really needed a flashlight. So we stopped at the 711 and bought one.

When we got to the gates of Joshua Tree, the ranger said all the campsites were full and gave me the following directions to over-flow camping:

Turn north on Sunfair Road and travel two miles to Broadway. Turn right (east) on Broadway. The pavement will end about 100 yards after this turn. Travel one mile to a line of telephone poles running perpendicular (north and south). This one lane, unmarked dirt road is Cascade. Turn left (north) and travel ½ mile until a single lane, unmarked dirt road is passed. This road is Sunflower. Camping is allowed for the next ½ mile on the east side of Cascade.

I read the directions at least six times as we were driving until we found two other tents.

We found a spot close enough to the other tents, so that we could run to them in the night if one of us was killed by a serial killer, but were still far enough that we wouldn’t die immediately from their illegal campfires.

I said, “How is this spot, right here?”

Trent, “Is that a buck shot?”

Me, “Looks like it. That’s what we will call our first campsite. Buck shot.”

We pitched a tent in the dark and crawled into our sleeping bags with chips, salsa and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Me, “This is like, what’s it called crop?”

Trent, “Crop circles?”

Me, “No, where they pluck the crop?” I am used to my thesaurus.

Trent, “Harvest.”

Me, “Yes, this is where they send us so the aliens can harvest us.”

We laughed, but fell asleep to the sounds of little robotic tweeting. And I am not kidding.

We heard footsteps. Then we heard radio equipment.

Trent, “Did you hear that?”

Me, “Yes.”

Trent, “They are coming for us.”

Me, “Oh well, what can we do now?”

We waited. And I worried about my nightmares.

But I fell asleep, and slept the best I had in weeks. Occasionally, I would wake up to footsteps and weird computer sounds, and listen. Then I would fall asleep and wake up rested and pleasant again.

We woke up at 6:30am.

I googled campsites.

Me, “If we are going to grab a campsite, we have to do it early.”

Trent, “I am ready.”

We broke down our site.

Later we talked about it.

Me, “I slept better than I have in weeks.”

Trent, “I think they just came to observe us.”

Me, “I was thinking the exact same thing.”

We decided to camp in Jumbo Rock. A) Because Trent told me he heard there is a big rock where the aliens landed once a long time ago and B) It had the most camping sites, so mathematically, our likelihood of finding a spot was higher there than anywhere else in the park.

We slowly drove by the early risers, and Trent said, “He gave us a nod.”

I stopped my car and waited. A boy of about 20 approached. He was in between being a boy and being a man. Tall, with baby soft skin and ruffled bed head. When he looked tired, you saw the eyes of a child waking up Christmas morning, not the man, red, cracked and desperate for more time.

Boy, “22 is going to leave at noon. You can take that spot and we will take 21.”

We followed them to the payment post and both put in our money for the sites.

I saw the plates. Me, “They are from Massachusetts. Fucking adorable.”

We stopped at the head of the campground.

Me, “How much is it?”

Boy, “$5”

Me, “Oh wait . . . it says Senior Citizens are $5. We are $10.”

The boy turned to his blonde male companion, fair and sunburned of about the same age “Dang it! We haven’t been paying enough. I think our manual guide was wrong.”

I smiled.

Trent said, “Seal the envelope so your money doesn’t’ fall out.”

Boy, “Oh, I just close it.”

Trent licked the sticky glue on the inside of the flap and delicately pressed so that my $10 would be safe and we parted ways.

To kill time, first we went looking for Skull Rock.

We followed the path and ran into an older man, hiking alone. His skin was getting leathery.

Man, “Hey, do you guys know Skull Rock? Have you seen it?”

Trent, “No, we haven’t seen it yet.”

Man, “Huh. I have been up and down and can’t see it. Sometimes the light at certain points of the day makes a big difference.”

We politely exchanged backgrounds.

Man, “I live on the road. I have been living out of my truck for 10 years now.”

Me, “How do you support yourself, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Man, “I retired.”

Me, “You look too young to be retired.”

Man, “Thanks. I am 55.”

Me, “That is still young to be retired.”

Man, “Yeah, well, I took my severance package and hit the road. I have never been happier. Life is backwards. You work while you are young, and then get to travel when you are older, when your body is falling apart. It makes it more difficult than if you were young and still can really enjoy everything.”

Me, “That’s why I have been trying to enjoy things as much as possible these last two years I have been unemployed.”

Without looking at me, he said, “Well, enjoy it now. You will be back in the rat race before you know it.”

I stared at the back of his head, as he heavily found footing. I wanted to say, “No I won’t.” But I really don’t know.

♫ ♪ Got a good reason . . . for taking the easy way out. ♫ ♪

We all stopped on the path so he could zoom in on a small lizard with his camera, then lose where the lizard was because he zoomed in too far, then found it again and took a picture. Then we got closer and he wanted a better angle.

When we got to Skull Rock, there was no denying it was Skull Rock.

Man, “That’s Skull Rock . . . maybe . . . maybe its the way the light hits it.”

Trent pointed out the eyes and nose.

Man, “I guess you have to use your imagination.”

Not really.

We drove down to more attractions off the main road, before the sun got too hot.

The men, readers . . . the men were gorgeous. Young men, unpacking their gear, tall, athletic, too young to know what life is like making car payments.

I drove by a tall, white boy who couldn’t be more than 22.

I said, slowly, “Happy Birthday.”

We stopped and I watched a lean Asian man take off his shirt and his friend rub him down with suntan lotion.

We were sitting by my car, drinking water in the parking lot, and I said in a low voice to Trent, “Oh . . . my . . . God. Hot. And I never like Asian men.”

Trent turned to look under the large cosmic radius of his Sunday best.

Trent, “He’s cute.”

Me, “God, my sexual drive is ridiculous. Just driving my car turns me on now. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can feel hot sweat crawling up my neck just looking at that.”

The Asian man stopped to smile at me before putting on his shirt.

Me, “Oh shit, can you hear me from over there?”

Trent, “He is only two cars away. Who cares? Its the desert.”

Me, “Mmmm hmmm.” He turned and smiled back at me.

We hiked to Wall Street Mill and Barker Dam, killing time, eating oreos and talking about ourselves, the men we loved, and where we might end up.

When we got back to the site at 12:30, the previous campers were gone and we erected a tent. I put large rocks inside the corners to anchor the tent and accidentally ripped a small tear in the corner.

Trent, “BE CAREFUL!”

Me, “Shit, sorry. I break everything.”

A woman came up as we were setting up, “Excuse me. We really need a campsite. My dog is very sick and we are putting him down on Monday. This is his favorite campsite and we just want to give that to him before he goes.”

Trent, “Sorry. I know its hard. We got up at the crack of dawn to get this site.”

Woman, “We have been to two other campsites. God . . . I don’t know what to do.”

My first compulsion was to say, “Come join us on our site. I think there are 3 tents allowed per site.”

Then I thought, “This bitch is manipulating me.”

How does she know I am a dog person? The bumper stickers on my car parked right next to our camping spot number.

I smiled, coldly, “Sorry.”

We saw the dog later, it looked like a healthy 3-yr old with lots of energy.

Then we sat down, made some soup, opened a can of beer and split a pill. He put his half in his beer and I put mine in my soup.

There was a bathroom near the campsite. Women would take several minutes in there, and, I assume, not all of them could have had a gratuitous bowel movement.

I would wait, and wait and wait.

Me, “What is taking them so long? (to the bathroom) There is no flusher. Stop looking!”

Trent, “They are looking for the vanity.”

A plain girl with glasses came out and shot us a cold look.

Then we walked behind the site, through rocks that looked like faces and bookshelves. He in his black Sunday hat, and me, in my heart-shaped glasses.

We saw a hare the size of a small dog. His ears alone were at least 2 and a half feet long.

Trent sang out, “Oh Mr. Rabbit . . .”

The hare stopped and stared.

Me, “You are so handsome. I want to grab you and love you. Will you let me do that?”

Trent, “So handsome. You are beautiful, aren’t you?”

He flickered his tail but ran off before we could get a picture.

I walked by a plant and it left one perfect puncture on my forearm.

Me, “OW!”

One bead of blood formed.

Me, “The desert wants my blood.”

Trent touched it and said, “ouch.” His fingertip sent a wave of warmth through my body. Was the drug here, yet?

It took about an hour for our stomachs to break down the fine powder and flood our brains with color.

The first symptom is mad fits of laughter. At about 50 minutes or so, we had ourselves in fits of giggling.

I accidentally swept my foot through a cactus, and the cactus fell apart into green goo. I fell down laughing, “Oh no. Oh no. (quieting down) I am sorry, cactus.”

Trent, “Are you ok?”

There were spikes from the cactus sticking out of my shoe.

Me, “Yes, but look what I did to the cactus. He is dying.”

I tried to fold the pieces of his body back together.

Trent, “Oooh. Feel how gooey it is inside. Its . . . gelatinous.”

I felt it, it was fleshy and warm.

We sat and gave the cactus a moment of silence. Then Trent said, “He understands.”

Over the rocks, the afternoon sun got weaker. A cool breeze found us up high, and a cool, rocky heat kept us warm below.

Trent, “Ughhh, I just want a man. I just want to fuck!”

I texted Abe that morning knowing that sex would enhance my trip. I started thinking about when he would come so he could touch me. Then I thought if I would ever make love to Trent, and figured I would given the opportunity.

Trent said, “I have made love to men and women. Both are nice, I just prefer men. I will have sex with a girl, if a guy is present. I have done all of that already.”

I said, “I saw your tattoo when you were drying off in the shower. I didn’t know you had Billie Holiday on your shoulder.”

Trent, “Oh . . . yeah. I got that tattoo when I was 18, before I knew portraits weren’t the best tattoos to get.”

I said, “It’s good for a portrait.”

Trent, “Yeah, its hard to do tattoo portraits. Oh well.”

Me, “I like it.”

Two men passed us with white socks stretched to their mid calf in khaki long shorts.

I lifted my nose up to catch the salt of their sweat.

Me, “I smell them. I can smell them.”

I lifted my torso up to the sky so I could fly into a cloud of pheromones.

Trent, “You know there is something on the tip of your nose to attract you to mates. A sensitive part of your nose picks up pheromones.”

Me, “MMMM, white man.”

Trent, “I just want one right now, to come along and fuck me right here.”

Me, “I don’t know about men in these parts, I would get raped and you would killed. And I am the winner in that scenario.”

He broke down laughing.

His phone was always out, he was trying to catch a signal to tell Kent he was ok. Nothing came.

We crossed the highway and discovered designs of animals and people outlined with a collection of rocks. A turtle. An endless spiral to Pi. A man with the words, “Feed Me” spelled out in rocks around his head.

Trent bent down and put his hands on the rocks that outlined a human head.

Trent, “Put your hands on him. Feed him.”

We put both our hands on him and I pushed energy into the mouth.

The sun was fading and we were back at Skull Rock.

Me, “Hey, Trent. Have you seen Skull Rock?”

Trent, “No. Maybe it’s the way the light hits.”

Me, “No, just use your imagination.”

Trent, “Let’s take lots of photos of lizards.”

Me, “Wow, my hands are really big right now.”

I held them up, they looked to each be about the size of my head.

Me, “That’s why its so easy to climb. My hands are huge. Look!”

Trent looked and laughed.

Me, “Use your imagination.”

Trent, “Maybe its the way the light hits.”

I sang, “♫ ♪ Dayyyy tripper ♫ ♪

Trent continued the tune, “♫ ♪ It took me so long to find out . . . I found out. ♫ ♪

As the sun set, we made our way back to our campsite.

Trent said, “Oh look! There she is . . .”

I said, “Who?” Then saw the girl from the bathroom.

Me, “Oh, Miss Hygiene.”

She saw us and immediately collected her things and her friends and ran down the hill. I don’t know if it was the drug, but it certainly seemed like she was running away from us.

Trent, “Look, she is running away.”

Me, “She wants to be as far from us as possible. Geez, what’s her problem?”

We scampered down the hill, Trent in his Sunday hat and me, in my heart shaped sunglasses, laughing wildly at everything.

The campers kept away from us. They cooked their barbeque, and drank out of their water bottles, put on their State College Sweatshirts and kept far, far from us.

Trent and I negotiated on how to build a fire. We had a starter log and one of those push button lighters, and eventually it got started. I went back to my car and smoked a cigarette, then realized I lit a small fire in my car.

I don’t know how exactly, but the empty cigarette box turned into one big flame. I held it up, and blew on it, but flares of plastic and paper blew into my car. So I threw it outside and stomped on it.

Trent came around the large bush supporting our tent.

Trent, “There you are.”

Me, “I stopped a fire . . . in my car.”

Trent, “You have got to stop smoking.”

There is a dry bush, found in the parts of the desert, with long arms and fingernails waiting to scratch out your eyes and make you bleed. There is no life on her, no leaves, no flower, just the bitter daggers of a naked brush we named “Bertha.”

We only bought 6 logs for the fire at a nearby gas station. As we started our fire, and the night came upon us, the winds picked up and we realized we needed more wood.

I grabbed pieces of Bertha, who was reluctant to give any part of herself to us. The woman is just a bitch.

I broke off a couple branches and dropped them in the pile with the rest of the wood. When it was time to throw in more wood, I picked up her arms, and she grabbed a hold of my new purple, fleece blanket and whipped it around like it was a flag on the mountain of Iwo Jima.

I saw her arms, and those fists of rage reach around both sides of my blanket, and I fought. Trent sat there laughing as I broke free of her violent embrace.

I threw down the blanket and broke her arms with my foot.

Me, “Bertha. What a bitch.”

I used other kindling, and decided Bertha wanted more respect before being thrown into a fire of sacrifice.

So I sat across from her and ate some soup.

Trent came back from the bathroom and pointed at the fire.

Trent, “Is that Bertha in there?”

I said, “Oh no. That’s Bertha, right there.” I motioned to the standing brush across from me, over the fire.

Me, “Its the only damn plant I have ever had to take to dinner before using in a campfire.”

I spoke to her.

Me, “What more can I do for you? Would you like some of my soup?”

She stared at me. Stubborn. Dry.

I turned away from her and saw our tent flapping in the wind.

I fought. I fought hard. But I got that nasty woman in the fire and broken down for the flames. I even heard a bitter cackle from her, as her arm disintegrated in ash.

Trent, “We need more wood. I am really worried now.”

I went over to the campers two sites over and asked if I could use their wood. What I saw was at least two trees they cut down and stacked next to the fire, and a case of vodka bottles.

The two men looked Mongolian in nature and didn’t speak English. I kept repeating the one word I thought they would understand, “Money?” “Money. “Money!” They said, “No money. Take”

So I took a piece of a tree back and it kept us warm for awhile.

We sat there.

I pointed to the lone tree next to us.

Me, “Look at him. I think he wants to be called Freddy.”

Trent, “Pete.”

Me, “Petey. He just wants a little warmth from the fire. Just wants a little hello.”

His head was bobbing in the wind, like a shy, tall kid at the school dance.

Trent, “He is so polite. He doesn’t want to intrude. Please, Pete. Join us.”

Me, “Yes, you are more than welcome.”

He bobbed his head, his bark looking like a skinny tie between hunched shoulders and just the hint of a smile.

There was no time to enjoy this. We needed to think about the future. We needed more wood.

I grabbed the hatchet Baye gave me.

I said, “Let’s do this. We have to go out there and kill a tree.”

Trent obediently followed. Giggling. Shivering. On his own trip.

I touched the edge, “Hard to believe they used to scalp people with this. I guess the Native Americans weren’t perfectionists.”

We ran up the hill and I raised the hatchet to a tree, then shouted, “Psyche!”

The tree was not amused.

I said, “You look too healthy to kill. Just kidding.”

We ran further up and I started frantically bludgeoning a piece of a tree. We had no flashlight, only the flashlight app on Trent’s phone.

Then we heard the hiss of a zipper. A tent was 20 ft away, and they were getting out!

We ran, higher up the hill.

I said, “Here, let’s do this one.”

Trent, “Aww. He looks healthy.”

I said, “But he has 6 heads, and we only have one.”

He held it steady while I decapitated one of its bobbing faces.

I looked back, panting, holding the hatchet like an animal, like a beast. Something in me changed. I was an asshole. A self-serving, tree mutilating, hatchet wielding asshole.

In the dark, under the wind, I whispered a, “Sorry, but you will grow back.”

We went back to our fire. Bertha was almost gone, but let’s face it, she is everywhere all the time. The wind really picked up and the fire whipped my blanket over flying embers.

Trent was getting frustrated, “Be careful! You might catch fire.”

I said, “The desert will keep us safe.”

After 15 minutes I said:

“We have to go inside the tent.”

Trent said, “I know, the wind is just too much.”

We crawled inside and split another half of a pill. We poured each half into the synthetic, vegan creme of our oreos, and chased it with a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Then we fell to silence. The tent whipped. Our neighbors showed up and chatted. We shivered in our sleeping bags and I felt odd to be with a man I liked and have no sexual tension.

Car lights.

First white.

Then Red.

I looked out the open flap of our tent. Trent was asleep.

Abe was in a hoodie walking towards the small group of college kids chain-smoking over their fire.

I sent him a text earlier, before entering the park.

“Camping at Jumbo Rocks. Get map before coming.”

I didn’t think he would come.

What time was it?

I screamed a whisper, “ABE! ABE!! Over here.”

He turned and saw me, then walked around.

Abe’s big head thrust into our delicate little tent. The wind was still violent. It wanted Bertha back.

Abe, “Hey, how’s it going?”

Trent said, “Who is that?”

I said, “Abe.”

Trent said, “He actually came?”

I said, “I am staring at him.”

Abe said something to me, I don’t remember.

The stars in the sky were green, red and white. They weren’t shooting, but they were definitely moving. The whole universe was out there and alive in a rainbow of colors. I couldn’t focus on one thing, everything was in constant motion, varying in degrees of color and focus.

I said, “Oh my God, the sky is . . . moving. There are red stars.”

Abe, “You took those pills huh?”

Me, “Yes, we have been tripping since noon.”

Abe, “Cool.”

I retreated back into the tent, “It’s freezing out there.”

Abe smoked a cigarette.

I moved my sleeping bag so my body was inside the tent, while my head hung outside.

I saw Abe over the fire, he had a great fire going. The end of his lit cigarette smeared across the night sky, with what looked like a torch.

Trent, “What is he doing out there?”

Me, “He lit a torch.”

Trent, “A TORCH!?”

Me, “YEAH. He is waving it around.”

Abe leaned into me, with menacing eyes, “Bertha smells good!!”

Me, “He has Bertha in the fire and on his torch. He just comes in and dominates her, then gets what he wants. That’s the secret, isn’t it? Take what you want. Nature doesn’t want apologies. It wants domination.”

Trent, “He beat Bertha?”

Me, “YES!”

The orange from the flame on the end of the stick he was tapping left orbiting circles around my red and white stars. It was around this time, the ground started breathing white light. It lifted off the ground like fog, but it was thick, heavy like his headlights.

The manic fits of laughing ensued. Trent and I were a chorus of hysterics. Abe heard us from outside and chuckled.

It was around this time, the woman, probably around my age, who was in the tent next to ours with her 3-yr old child and husband, stomped over and said, “Its too late for this. I mean . . . enough is enough now. We have a child in our tent and its very late. You are ruining our trip.”

Abe apologized on our behalf, then stuck his big head back in the tent and said, “Ok, we have to quiet down now.”

Trent and I laughed hysterically, with our hands over our mouths and our abdominal muscles crunching with fits of gasping laughter. Tears were pouring down my face.

Me, “Ruining her trip? SHE is ruining OUR trip.”

Trent, “That’s right.”

Me, “Tomorrow morning, I want you to go see that little girl and say, “Sorry for ruining your trip, but you ruined my birthday.”

My voice lowered, almost into a bad Nixon impression, and I said, “If I want to go to the desert and use hallucinogenics, that’s my God damn right as an American citizen.”

Abe tried to reign us in.

We were laughing. The wind was blowing. The kids behind us were still chattering.

I knew we were being assholes.

But . . . come on. Its MY trip too, man.

Me, “And why didn’t her husband come out to talk to us? I’ll tell you why. CAUSE HE’S SLEEPING!”

Abe said quietly, hoping we would follow, “She won’t bother us again, ok?”

I turned to Trent, “It’s your birthday.”

Trent mumbled an intoxicated, “It is?”

Me, “Yes.”

Trent, “Time for a birthday drink.”

He opened a can of PBR.

Every 20 minutes, Trent and I were stumbling through the two campsites between us and the restroom, or, more suitably called, the big fucking hole in the ground.

Abe whispered, “You and Trent are going to the bathroom to pee a lot.”

I said, “I am not peeing. I just need to go somewhere and sit down for awhile.”

Abe, “Oh no.”

I said, “I think I have dysentery.”

Abe, “If you had dysentery on your diet, I would be amazed.”

Trent came in and collapsed on the ground. “Have you looked at the sky out there?”

Me, “I know.”

Trent, “It is so beautiful. I have never seen that many stars in my life.”

Me, “And they are all moving.”

We were lying in a pool of spilled beer.

We didn’t have the light or the energy to really do anything about it but complain, laugh, and open more.

The wind tore at the top of our tent.

Trent to the sky, “OKKKK, we get it.”

Me, “Jesus, is this about Bertha?”

Silence.

I turned to Trent, “It’s your birthday.”

Trent mumbled an intoxicated, “It is? Time for a birthday drink.”

The wind slapped on us more sporadically as the night stood still. Trent got quiet and his breathing became rhythmic.

Abe reached over and manually gave me an orgasm. When I came, I felt like white water was bursting through a door. The moment was so intense, my mind went blank in the spilling salty foam of adrenaline and serotonin. I lost my voice. My throat tickled and my body twitched in one epic convulsion. I didn’t care that Trent was right next to me. I didn’t care about the bitchy woman whining about our laughter in the middle of the night.

The floor was breathing white light, almost like a strobe but slow.

Long heartbeats of white, glowing light rising off the ground.

I said, “Do you see the white light?”

Abe said, “No.”

I said, “There is white light all around us. Its coming off the ground.”

Abe said, “Well, we are on sacred land, so that makes sense.”

His breathing slowed, and his responses stopped.

Both of them were asleep on either side of me now.

I laid there.

I couldn’t sleep.

I closed my eyes. Even the college kids were asleep now.

Voices came in my head. Male voices.

Men I never met before.

They were writers.

I could throw out names that came to mind, but I won’t claim I was speaking to them. I was high, let’s not forget.

Trent and I were discussing the beatniks earlier in the day, so Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg felt familiar.

It’s not as though I heard words ring through in their voices, it was more like a feeling being psychically communicated.

“Welcome” and “Enjoy”

Then I saw the corner of a mouth.

I knew it was Hunter. He was on my mind since my date with Buddy, and blogging about the duel suicide attempts. I never really noted that coincidence before. Of course, it connects my ego to greatness, but more importantly, he gives me permission to live the way I am called to live.

Recently, I have been writing publications in search of work and noting in my cover letters that I practice “Gonzo Journalism.” I have gotten no response.

From Hunter, this night, the message was more personal, again not in words, more in some kind of psychic greeting card I heard, “You gotta live like an asshole . . . at least some of the time.”

I thought to him, “But I mutilated a tree out there.”

He said, “Sometimes the freedom to live looks like an asshole carrying a hatchet.”

I thought about how Abe came in and made this beautiful fire in what felt like seconds, no apologies. He just took what he wanted and it made everything simpler. I have been apologizing for so long, I don’t even know what that feels like.

Now, if you read my blog, you might conclude that I am full of shit. An apologetic life is hardly prancing around Los Angeles with pit bulls and drugs, avoiding anything resembling a normal life. I have been doing what I want, but I have also been apologizing for it.

To be continued . . .

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Run, Rabbit, Run. Dig that Hole. Forget the Sun.

 

After a day of sleeping and eating Thai Food, I had yet another day off. I knew I had to clean. Someone gave me some pills, as it was explained to me, half speed/half MDMA. I thought this would help me focus on organizing my space.

I was plowing through the Best Oscar nominees for Best Picture and had started “Tree of Life” the night before. The thing is, my computer is short on a little memory, so the picture and audio smear and stutter when I have too many applications going. You play a surrealist film by Terrence Malick when you are just half asleep, and you don’t know what the hell is going on.

Playing it again after taking a hybrid narcotic was . . . indescribably confusing and oddly fascinating.

Now, before the pill had sunk into the cushioned hull of my lower torso, I had realized someone who commented on my reused profile pic had since defriended me. When? I don’t know, but I liked her. I thought she was nice.

I shot her an email:

Me: Just noticed I am no longer a friend? I always accidentally offend people.

Sorry for whatever it was.

Her: Hey,

You didn’t do anything specific, its was more my trying not to offend you.

Me: Its hard to offend me . . . but we can keep it vague if you prefer.

Happy V Day

Her: I can be honest with you if you wish but I imagine you have heard it all before.

Huh. Well . . .

I wrote: Wow. That sounds . . . um, not friendly?

Gosh, its a shame, cause I really liked you. I guess I am just an asshole.

If you read my last post, you know I was already in a dark place about everything social and professional. Basically, anything that has to do with people. You know that knot that forms in your stomach, to help prepare you for a real punch to the gut? It was forming.

Luckily, something else was growing faster . . . the drug.

I laid down on my bed and watched as, from what I remember, a soul ascended from the Earth and spun back into the energy field of our universe.

I felt warm tears spring down my face, and I felt good. I felt right.

One pill makes you larger,
And one pill makes you small,
And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all.

Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.

 

The video player indicated I was only halfway through the video, despite feeling like the entire day went by and this movie was never-ending.

The room looked dirty. Piles of clothes in opposite corners.

I looked at the keyboard. Was it really that dirty?

When logic and proportion,
Have fallen sloppy dead.

Another email from my defriend:

“;-) I’m not sure if its friendly or not.
You aren’t an asshole, there is just a little too much self imposed drama in your life and a lot of days it was taking all myself control not to tell you to knock it off and grow up. I didn’t think it was any of my business nor did I think it would make a bit of difference in your life but I also was having a hard time watching it without butting in so I defriended.

Thats all. I still read your blog sometimes and I do hope u get published someday….

So there it is…I’ve officially done what I was trying not to do, I hope you aren’t offended.”

Well . . . again, another person who has trouble tolerating me personally liked my blog. Jesus Christ, thank God for this thing or else my self-esteem would fall through the floor.

I wrote:
Not offended at all. I could use more friends like you, honestly.

Then I updated my status: “If I knew today was the day I would discover the origin of life and man vs. ego, I would have never sent that email this morning asking why someone defriended me.”

It was getting difficult to type.

I pinged back Abe:

Abe: So –can we have some time together today

Me: I need you here
right now
I took the pill
3:32 PM I AM ON SOME OTHER PLANET
please come here
now

Abe: just one

Me: that is all I need
I can not distinguish fantasy
from reality

Abe: come on

Me: I need a fucking cigarette
but I cannot drive
I am very happy
actually
but I am not at all in control
of anything
I need you
3:33 PM serious
ly
HURRY MAN

Abe: ok
relax

Me: Come to me
now

Abe: if thats possible

Me: I comandeth thee

Abe: come to me now?
haha

Me: NOW SHE SAYS

Abe: sexy

Me: I need you here now
seriously
like right now
3:34 PM I was hoping you got the psychic post it and were already here
I seriously need you
;like seriously

Abe: I got my car done

Me: I need your help
please come here now

Abe: I need you help with what?

Me: my perception of reality
the walls are moving
I am hallucinating
and laughing
3:35 PM and I think I have tapped into a million answers
but I might just be losing my mind
the keyboard is floating

Abe: OK just chill

Me: Abe
here

Abe: dont go anywhere

Me: NOQ
NOW
I cant
I need help
come here
pleasure me
tell me this
I see things
this movie
like is it the computer or my mind

Abe: OKOK

Me: making this movie do this

3:36 PM Abe: write it down

Me: I cant see my hands

Abe: Im leaving soon

Me: they are vibrating

Abe: Do you have any food?

Me: no
cookikes
I have COOKIES
they are almost gone
I need a cigarette
COME HERE
I NEED YOU
COME
ABE
ME
TREE OF LIFE
\
3:37 PM Abe: You better chilli and not go baserko on me
Im about to drive throught a shit load of traffic

Me: hurry
3:38 PM I am breaking through
to another plane of thought
but I need American Spirits
I wont make it to the 711
I ham FUCKED
IIPPPPPPPPP

Abe: You are tweeked out– got that

Me: happy
come here
co,me now

Abe: Breath slower and chillax

Around this time, I walked out to smoke a cigarette to steady my mind. The steps were bright and crooked, just like my little apartment.

I climbed into my car, dug through and found a cigarette butt to use up.

Looking around, trash on the ground with 3 empty coffee cups, mail on my dash, clothes from a shoot in the back seat by the foot rest with chewed up tennis balls.

I laughed, “Is this your low? You are ridiculous! Who lives like this? A new low. Ok, why not?”

I went into the upper apartment to shower off the smell of smoke, and wondered if I should not trip where my roommate killed himself. The fact of the matter was, my toilet was in there, so it would have to do.

I stuck my key in the lock. The lock got large for me, so I would have better aim. When the key was inside, it shrunk again.

And if you go off chasing rabbits,
And you know you’re going to fall,
Tell em’ a hookah-smoking caterpillar,
Has given you the call.

Go ask Alice, when she was just small.

On the toilet, I sat across from a new roll of toilet paper that was fluctuating size as veins formed in the walls. There is a boombox Alan gave me with one CD inside of it, “Nirvana UnPlugged.” He gave it to me last August. I am still haven’t changed the CD since I am not sick of the album.

The grain of the cement in the walls surfaced out of the dull yellow paint, and I felt warm water all over my body.  I listened to Kurt Cobain sing and the accordion in “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” crank notes out all over the bathroom, like the Earth was contracting and grinding.

The next track was a cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World”:

“I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home
I searched for a foreign land, for years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazeless stare, we walked a million hills
I must have died alone, a long long time ago

Who knows? not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the Man who Sold the World.”

I thought about Kurt Cobain and what an icon he became. I thought about Jim Morrison, “This is the land of the Pharaoh died.”

Was the Pharaoh Kurt?

Egypt.

What about Egypt?

I could see it in my mind, as veins pulsed throughout the shower and the walls slowly, calmly convulsed.

We are from Egypt. There we understand it didn’t matter who you were. Celebrity is bullshit. We are all here to spark movement in the a dragon . . . in a beast. To promote the evolution of life. To enlighten.

I went back downstairs to my apartment and laid down on the bed. I could feel Egypt. The work, how hard we all worked there.

Then I thought, my dogs were there with me. We were all buried together and now they are here with me again, in the next life.

*Footnote: Throughout the history of Ancient Egypt, animals were highly respected. In no other culture have animals been as influential in so many aspects of life, nor has any culture depicted animals as often in their artwork or writing. Egyptians believed that animals were crucial to both physical and spiritual survival—vital to physical survival because they were a major source of food and to spiritual survival based on how well a person treated animals during their life on earth. The Egyptian religion taught of life after death. In order to determine a person’s admittance or denial to the afterlife, the gods would ask a series of judgment questions. One of these crucial questions would be whether they had mistreated any animals during their life on earth. Because of this religious belief, the killing of an animal was considered a serious crime punishable by death.

-“A Few Remarks upon the Religious Significance of Animals in Ancient Egypt by H. Velde

Where the hell was Abe?

I got up and looked out the window. Light kept chasing over my window, like headlights brighter than the sun.

 

My head pressed against the window glass, but it was open. There was no glass. There was a liquid film between me and the rest of the world, and I knew I couldn’t go out there.

Remember, what the dormouse said . . . Feed your head . . . Feed your head.

So I put the movie back on.

And waited.

The light went away, and the cars outside changed. One was there all day. A few left and new ones reappeared down my dirt road. The cool air played with the water in my hair.

My animals were gorgeous. They slept and listened for intruders.

Brad was spun out of gold thread.

Once upon a time there lived a miller who had a beautiful daughter. One day the miller had to visit the king’s castle. While he was there, he happened to meet the king face to face. The king stopped and spoke to the miller. Hoping to impress the king, the miller boldly told him that he had a daughter who could spin straw into gold.

“Oh,” said the king, “that is indeed a wonderful gift. Tomorrow you must bring your daughter to my castle, so she may spin some gold for me.”

Then the miller was sorry he had lied, but he had to do as the king ordered.

This particular king loved gold more than anything else, so he was very pleased at the prospect of turning straw into gold. He led the poor girl into one of the giant castle rooms. There, in the middle of the room, stood a spinning wheel, and near it was a great heap of straw.

The king turned to the miller’s daughter, and said, “There is your spinning wheel, and here is the straw. If you do not spin all of it into gold by morning, your head shall be cut off.” Then the king left the room and locked the door.

That’s a bummer.

Very clever to spin my little dog into gold and give him to a poor girl like me.

What?

Esther went to the window, and came back. Her cropped ears moved like triangles independent of her body. Her big Disney eyes watched me as she paraded back and forth. Triangle horse.

Abe arrived.

I said, “Thank God, I need a cigarette.”

He handed me one and I went outside. The sun was setting over the mountain across from my apartment. I smiled.

He said, “What’s going on?”

I said, “I am tripping BALLS, man!”

He said, “Did you eat anything today?”

I said, “No, but I have had 6 cups of coffee.”

He chuckled, “Great.”

Then I added, “I have been trying to talk myself into getting that box of cereal out of my car for the last 6 hours.”

He laughed, “Just calm down, alright. I brought some bread.”

I said, “I am calm. I am happy. I mean, I have so much to tell you. This day started with me sending off an email to this girl who defriended me. And I asked why.”

He groaned, “Awww.”

I said, “No, its ok. It really is. We only ever had this very awkward Thanksgiving dinner with her husband so it really doesn’t matter. But thats the point. None of that bullshit matters. And I can see it now. It doesn’t matter if people don’t like me.”

I forgot about the one other time we hung out, she and her friends met me for a pedicure and left before paying the bill. So I had to make the salon call her and tell her to come back, since I wasn’t going to pay for everyone’s pedicure. They said it was an accident, but it was a bizarre, and unforgettably awkward accident.

Abe, “I think people do like you, they just . . . don’t want to get caught up in the storm.”

I nodded.

I said, “Its ok. I am used to people avoiding me.”

Inside, I laid out on my bed. With all the dogs and my balance, I was having trouble not sliding off of my bed.

Abe pulled out the folding chair across from my bed and sat down.

He said, “When you were young, you were dealing with emotionally mature things around other people on a different level. So, you got on their nerves. No big deal.”

I nodded and slid off my bed. I laughed, and kept trying to get back on, but Maggie wouldn’t move.

I laughed, “I mean . . . this is ridiculous . . . living like this. I am on a pile all the time. Piles there, a pile in my car. I mean .  . . this really is a low for me.”

I slid off again and we both laughed until we couldn’t stop tears.

He said, “Its good to laugh with you. Release, that’s what it is.”

I climbed back on and slid back on the far corner of the bed, behind Maggie, Esther and Brad. All three of them stared at him.

Abe, “They are protecting you.”

I smiled.

Me, “Alan said Brad protects my sleeping body.”

Abe, “Good!”

I said, “I have discovered that we are from Egypt.”

He said, “What did you take?”

I said, “I was told it was half speed and half MDMA but . . . I am full on hallucinating, man. I mean, more than I ever did with LSD.”

He said, “I don’t like you taking drugs from people. You have to be careful.”

Me, “I know, but I trust this person.”

He cut a pill in half and swallowed. Then he combined the discarded half of fine white powder into another capsule. He forcefully reminded me not to forget which pill was disproportionately more than the others.

Me, “This is pretty strong, I am not sure you should take it.”

He shrugged.

I said, “I have been trying to watch this movie for the last 12 hours.”

He said, “You have been doing other things, that’s all. And pausing the movie.”

I said, “But I deliberately kept myself from pausing . . . I thought.”

I played “Tree of Life” and the characters sputtered across the screen and odd, distorted screaming bombarded the soundtrack.

Abe, “Turn it off! Turn it off!”

I did.

He was feeding the dogs bread.

Maggie’s face looked drawn, with her huge caramel eyes staring up at Abe and long stretches of drool falling from the corner of her mouth to the floor.

Abe fed her one piece after another, and we laughed at how desperate for food she looked. (please note: she is on a diet)

We laughed so hard, he ended up handing her the whole roll and said, “Just take it, Maggie, take it all.”

She did and we wiped tears from our eyes. The laughing was deliciously mad.

He laid down next to me. We lay next to each other as night quieted the delightful shadows dancing around my walls. A web formed over my ceiling, turning red and green. Nothing was scary.

Abe, “Am I going to have to beat up all your ex-boyfriends?”

I said, “I don’t think any of them want to fight you.”

He thrust out a few ninja chops in the air then put his hand on his chest and I saw that he was about to cry.  In the two years I have known Abe, I have never seen him get emotional.

I put my arm across him for comfort and whispered that everything was ok.

He said, “I just felt all the things I had done wrong and all the things I have done right meet at a seam. And I felt ok about it all. Like I was dying.”

I nodded, “I felt that, too.”

Then he said, “I let down your Daddy. He trusted me. And your Mom liked me. Now, they don’t.”

I said, “Well, my father said I should stop sleeping with you, because you are wasting my time.”

He nodded with his eyes closed and squinting. Like the answer was in the back of his eye lids, if he just concentrated hard enough.

I shook him, “Don’t worry. Its life, that’s all. I am changing my whole name. I will be Rita.”

Abe, “Thats a terrible idea.”

Me, “Not Rita. All . . . All Things.”

He laughed and repeated it like a song. I can still feel his throat vibrate against my cheek.

He sat up, “Is there heroin in this? This is intense.”

I said, “I don’t . . . think so.”

He got up and started shaking his head and his body, trying to put his soul back in place.

I sized him up, “Hey . . . Shaman up! You gotta shaman up! (silence) I can’t give this drug to anyone. This is too intense. You need to really know how to keep your head. Luckily, I know what the hell I am doing.”

Abe shook again, “I’m alright.”

He offered me another cigarette and I said, “I can’t take cigarettes anymore. They are hurting me.”

He stood outside as my dogs urinated in the dirt pile that we call ‘My courtyard.’

Abe, “I can see into your little world. Brad does look like a little Prince. (he started laughing) And Esther looks like . . . a horse.”

Me, “That’s right! She is a triangle horse. You are on my trip or something.”

Abe chuckled, nodded, sucked the end of his cigarette, “I see it.”

Then he said, “I wonder what Trent is doing tonight?”

I said, “People always like being around Trent and me when they are on drugs, I think because we make people feel comfortable. Then they sober up and somehow its all our fault they are who they are, or they did what they did. Like . . . what the fuck?”

Abe wondrously chuckled again.

Then we made out to the “Ten Commandments” and he said, “I just want to see the Pharaoh die.”

I said, “That’s right. Land of the Pharaoh died. What Doors song is that . . . I know it. Now listen to this, I’ll tell you about the Texas . . . tell you about the Texas .  . . radio. WASP, that’s the song!”

I played it off YouTube and a live performance came up with them, on scratchy black and white film with faulty audio.

Jim Morrison held the microphone close to his mouth like he was waiting for a kiss. We listened to the song:

I wanna tell you ’bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
Comes out of the Virginia swamps
Cool and slow with plenty of precision
With a back beat narrow and hard to master.

Some call it heavenly in its brilliance.
Others, mean and rueful of the Western dream.
I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft.
We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping.
This is the land where the Pharaoh died.

The video would end abruptly. The browser would spin and a new Doors video came up.

I said, “Its funny, I have never seen these videos. All this time, I never thought about watching old videos of them on YouTube.”

He said, “Are you done? Are you not tripping anymore?”

I looked at my computer monitor. It was a close-up of Jim and he winked, then smiled right at me before continuing the song.

I said, “No . . . I am still hallucinating.”

Abe said, “You work tomorrow. You should sleep.”

Me, “I am fine. I will be fine tomorrow.”

It was 3am and the songs spun through old albums. The Doors looked happy at times and out of their element in others.

I sang song after song and said, “I know this music better than anything now. That’s strange.”

Its not as if I am an expert or have a photographic (or lyrical) memory of every note, but its fair to say, I know their music better than anything. And I totally blanked on the lyric that led me on my pill induced journey.

I turned it off and put on internet radio. A Doors song came on.

Me, “See? They follow me everywhere.”

Abe said, “She has good taste in music.”

The fourth hour passed and my eyes got heavy. Abe held me and told me he loved me.

I can see and understand that men love my experience, not necessarily me. The reckless abandon . . . its a fun place to visit.

***

What wert thou, dream-Alice in thy foster-father’s eyes? How shall he picture thee? Loving first, loving and gentle: loving as a dog (forgive the prosaic simile, but I know no earthly love so pure and perfect) and gentle as a fawn: then courteous—courteous to all, high or low, grand or grotesque, King or Caterpillar, even as though she were herself a King’s daughter, and her clothing wrought of gold: then trustful, ready to accept the wildest impossibilities with all that utter trust that only dreamers know; and lastly, curious—wildly curious, and with the eager enjoyment of Life that comes only in the happy hours of childhood, when all is new and fair, and when Sin and Sorrow are but names — empty words signifying nothing!


***

Later, I found out the pill didn’t have speed but rather 2ci. I feel it is the responsibility of the person handing you the pill to be upfront about what is inside it, but he admitted he never wanted me to be the guinea pig.

Thank God, I didn’t give it blindly on brief description to anyone else.

***

We fell asleep and in the morning, we hiked the dogs up the mountain behind my place.

I said, “I can forgive the strippers remark. Its that you are holding out for this girl from your past.”

He said, “No, but you two are connected. Her numbers are 201. Yours is one more, 202. Your names are the exact same numbers. And I thought she may be in Simi Valley or someplace north.”

Me, “Simi Valley?”

Abe, “North county. And you are here. Its like I manifested it.”

Me, “You haven’t kept up your side of the promises, either. I asked you in the beginning, my kiss comes with the promise of a timely response. You went days without contacting me again.”

Abe, “I know, I know, I am a shitty boyfriend.”

Me, “Yes you are. Which is why I am seeing another ex, because neither of you are good enough as one fulltime boyfriend, so both of you must be combined to make one whole boyfriend.”

Abe, “Great, so you’re seeing Alan and you are seeing Frank.”

Me, “No, Frank isn’t an ex. I saw Alan again. That’s it.”

He was quiet.

I added, “Nothing is serious.”

***

We went down to the closest cafe for a mediocre cup of coffee. Sitting together in the sun, we smiled at each other. I felt broken out of my depression. Liberated from all my mortal neuroticism.

Then, I asked about his cousin’s wedding . . . I knew it was coming up.

I said, “In two weeks? That’s soon. And who are you taking?”

He said, “My brother and I decided to forego our plus ones so other people could go to the wedding.”

My lips tightened.

He said, “We weren’t together when we got the invites. (silence) I can see you are upset about this.”

My voice was cracking, “I really believed you were going to invite me.”

I took a moment and really just kept repeating that.

He said, “Don’t take it so personally.”

I got up and paid the bill. As I walked to my car, he shuffled to keep up and I said, “You don’t want me to be apart of your family. Same thing with Thanksgiving and Christmas . . . you don’t want me as a girlfriend. You just want me as a mistress.”

He said, “Come on, don’t get upset.”

I looked him in the eye and said, “I never want to see you again.”

I opened my car door and said, “Give me a cigarette.”

When we worked on a film set together, in the beginning, before I ever knew that Abe would be a major love of my life, he came out to me during a night shoot and asked for a cigarette.

I gave him my last one.

He said, “No, I don’t want to take your last one.”

I said, “Please, it will help me quit.”

Two or three weeks later, my flirtation had grown and I was determined to get a date with him.

When we wrapped that weekend, I asked for a cigarette. He only had one left.

We both recognized the moment and groaned.

I said, “Keep it.”

He said, “No, this is about fate. You have to take it.”

So I did.

Now, two years later, in a parking lot in Sylmar with nothing left, he opened his pack and there was one cigarette left.

I said, “This is the perfect way to end the story.”

My fingers plucked it out of his hand and I drove off.

The fury, at myself for letting my mind get wrapped up in him over and over again. Its fucking insane.

Not to mention, he totally killed my New World buzz.

How quickly we slip back into life’s little box of small ideas. I tried so hard to remember what it felt like, to float over my worries about who thought what about me, but all my self-hatred just struck me again like hard light in a dim room.

Someone this afternoon said to me in the Doggie Daycare break room, “Its the difference between logic and emotion.”

Your name, your personality, your identity is all really irrelevant. Its what you inspire. Its what others learn from you and alter, so there is improvement.

Its the love that ruins me. I am smarter than this. Abe is a fucking waste of time.

Higher thought, Alice!

Then I got the text:

“Will you come to my cousin’s wedding with me, move in with me and your pack of dogs and have a magic baby with me?”

http://youtu.be/AxgGAnLvMwQ

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