Lateral Move

There are lots of things I’m missing in life.  I know this because other people are happy and not all of them are lying.  They can’t be.  I look around the bar and, for the most part, I think they are liars.  Increasingly, I’m starting to believe that they all are either figments of my imagination or in the employ of a greater force that can only destroy me through roundabout tactics.  But I know – see, I’m not crazy – that such thoughts are simply part of an ongoing delusion.  The people do exist, they are not trying to kill me, they are not all in the employ of a cosmic force aligned against me, ergo, they are not all liars.

I may not be using ‘ergo’ correctly.  Or my punctuation might be off.  I’d check on that, but the Wifi’s slow tonight and, when that happens, I start to truly believe that there is a cosmic force out to get me.  One that’s based in 1995, reaching out to me across the great expanse of time, screaming like a modem as it bears down on me, stops to load, continues bearing, stops to load, continues bearing…eternally closing in – blip…blip…blip – and I’m unable to get away because I’m trapped and also moving at whatever the fuck disgusting internet speeds we tolerated a decade ago.  What a savage world we live in.

The time has come for another move.  Bouncing out of the family “homestead,” a little five bedroom three bath rancher in upper Silver Spring on a wooded acre lot.  Sweet paradise every morning as I wake up in my 10×12 room.  Wraparound windows show me nothing but trees and flitting birds, like the final scene in Star Trek II where we’re going through the sun-drenched forest and settle on Spock’s coffin.  As with all such things, I eventually have to leave the room and the rest of the house is like in Labyrinth when Jennifer Connelly bites the poisoned apple and looks down in horror to see the rotten, maggoty core.

No, too romantic.  It’s more like the face peeling scene in Poltergeist.

But the crazy family thing’s a tired old saw.  I talk about it all the time.  Hell, I talk about everything all the time.  So we’re, collectively, a million dollars in debt.  So my grandfather confessed to a twisted Ghost Story style murder and disposal of a hooker.  So my grandmother’s slow and hideous food-oriented suicide is quietly tearing us apart.  So my cousin and my aunt are… Well, let’s call them eccentric.  Satanic, perhaps.

I hate the family story thing because other people always go oh, yeah, Uncle Leroy once threw a toilet out the window.  What a weird family!

People want to outdo each other on that stuff, which I find deeply insulting because I spend every Christmas peering sadly through cheerful windows like Scrooge.  I’m jealous of people who have a mom and dad even if they’re being raped and beaten.

The time has come to put the old folks away into what is called a “community.”  My grandmother’s really sort of faded, and she needs professional care from what are called “care specialists,” and my grandfather is going to go back to his roots in West Virginia and, doubtlessly, murder a few dozen hookers before his time is up.  My aunt is being exiled to a home somewhere down near the high school where she teaches retards for the public school system.  She and her demon child are renting a big house from a conservative ex marine.  By “demon child” I mean that “men’s voices” tell her to murder animals when the lights are out and she crawls through hallways speaking in tongues.  Really.  By “conservative ex marine” I mean someone who has been sold a bill of goods by my grandfather – single mother schoolteacher!  She’s a darling.

My aunt and cousin are famous for destroying everything around them, and that includes mortal souls.  Nobody actually cares except that we learned my grandfather is co-signing with her.  And when something goes wrong – which it will – then there’s going to be…and…oh my god…with…and the…


I don’t care.

I’ve served my time.  I’ve attended to the family, saved my money, and been nice to the madness.  I have done whatever it is I’m supposed to have done, whatever that was.

Moving’s easy.  I don’t really live.  I have no woman, no hobbies.  I watch movies, read books, listen to music, download stuff all the time, drink coffee in the mornings and alcohol from midmorning on.  And I complain, quite often to my plants or the occasional stuffed animal gifted me by any number of failed girlfriends who (because they’re in the employ of a cosmic conspiracy centered in 1995) maintain contact with me.

I’m moving to a smaller space, and more urban, with less of a view, and I’ll have a roomie.  Being near a person is both calming and…well, tempting.  Not like stand over their bed with a katana in my ninja Halloween costume from 1988 tempting (why do I still have that outfit?) but more like push off the balcony tempting.  You know, just to see what happens.  Because the men’s voices I hear in the dark tell me that people fall up!  And, if that’s true, where do they go?

The new place is wildly convenient.  It’s within walking distance of the Metro, all the shops and movies, and dozens of bars and restaurants that put on airs, service yuppies, shy away from real drinkers, and are fearful to serve a beer anytime before 4pm.  I swear, I think we’re finally getting to the point where raping a four year old in the street in some sort of faux Wild West dusty street lynching freakout is more favorably looked upon than getting a comfortable drunk up.

I know, I know.  Now all the puritans are saying how the comfortable drunk is what leads to raping four year olds.  I’m not going to argue.  I’m just going to say that smokers know exactly what I’m talking about.  And so do pederasts.  It’s tough living with a taboo, I know.  I’m with you, my brothers.  Fist to the heart.  Recognize.  Hispanic shit with my hands.

I’ve been trying to figure out what this move represents.  For the last week, I’ve been thinking that it represents panicked desperation.  But, well, everything in my life has a sort of desperate edge to it.  So does it matter?  I think it’s more like stopping off at the space station before I go on to Venus and buy a house where, ultimately, financially and spiritually speaking, I’ll be like that girl in the story where the sun only shines for one day every however many years and the bullies lock her in the closet and she misses it.  That Venus story.  Whatever it is.

Ah, Venus.

I’ve found great comfort in living in desperation.  It’s the only way to survive, actually, because everything is just so terrible and heartbreaking.  These words are spoken by a man who is living his last few weeks in a house where pentagrams have been formed outside each door using the bodies of mutilated mice and birds.  Really.  Did I mention that?  Come closer.  Okay, it’s the men’s voices in the dark thing.  Queer, huh?  We all don’t mention it.  If you don’t acknowledge it, then it doesn’t exist.  That’s easily done because we’re Americans.  Poof – into the ether.

Or maybe into the black tar knotting in your stomach and shoulders and slowly burning behind your eyes.  The only way to extinguish that kind of burn is a sort of shamanic Wages of Fear journey – 200 miles of jungle road with unstable dynamite in the back.  When I get home, I’m going to tell my wife that I–KABOOM!

I think that’s what this move is.  I think the next year is going to be the first 50 miles of the Wages of Fear journey, where everything is kind of tense but it’s working.  This is gonna work out.  We’re gonna be cool.

Then, at some point next summer, there’s that rotten timber reinforcement along the side of the washed out mountain road.

By that analogy, my life will end horridly because I’ll get cocky and drive too fast.  But, at least, there’ll be a pretty girl forever waiting in my time of dying.