Sunday Archive: A weekend, part two
I love this one, because I was reading Moody Food… This was before I had decided to start a publishing company, and before I even had an inkling that I would launch that company with a reprint of that same book.
A Weekend: The Saturday Races
For a brief moment, I was caught between waking and drinking.
I was trapped on the cover of Sgt. Pepper.
Paul is facing forward, so he’s a cardboard cutout like the others. The only living people are the other three Beatles, all standing sideways.
The flowers that make up the guitar spell Paul. The guitar only has three strings.
Shiva the Destroyer is pointing at Paul.
“Billy Shears.” They’re talking about William Campbell, whose appearance was altered so that he could impersonate Paul. Billy Shears = Billy’s here.
Paul is the only one holding a black instrument.
Several references to the car crash that killed Paul can be found throughout the album. “Lovely Rita” and “A Day in the Life” are the most obvious.
No! Wait! He’s alive. I saw him 8 years ago in New York.
This is the rough edge of wakefulness; night and day blending together in the wee hours of the morning. James had slipped in Transformers season one, disk one and we watched with glazed eyes as our childhoods filled the screen. I prepared some Dr. Pepper plus-plus and a bowl of popcorn. That carried us for an hour, and then into the arms of a troubled and bewildering sleep.
When I finally woke up I was face down, back out in the garden. My aunt’s cat walked carefully around me but, as soon as I raised my head, she rushed up the Magnolia and onto the roof in a flurry of bellsong. James was standing up, though still asleep, balanced precariously with one hand through a broken window pane. At least we weren’t on a bus to Chicago.
The cult-culture of the Beatles drifted through my mind like newspaper taxis waiting to take me away. It was madness. It was my brain talking before coffee. I should never speak or think until I hit the second cup.
It took an hour before James could say anything. “Last night was rough.”
“Man I was mean, but I’m changing my scene.”
“I don’t know. Sgt. Pepper.” I shook my head, “I don’t know.”
“Filling the cracks that ran through the door, are you?”
“They kept my mind from wandering.”
“I have to go home and throw up.” James smiled. “Sorry. But, really…bye.”
My weekend job is a cakewalk – a highly-paid eight hours where the hardest thing I have to do is finish that week’s paperback. It started at the dinner hour, so I lay in bed for the remainder of the day and tried to focus on the ceiling fan. Then it was to the suit and tie and a strange, hung-over drive through the weekend streets of Washington. My destination: a haunted mansion sitting placidly on a large plot of forested land, my home until 1am. House and land were rented out for parties and I was the man who put out the fires. I opened the gates, snapped on the lights and passed through the footsteps of 70 years as I moved down my checklist, then I quickly retreated to my air conditioned office with a copy of Moody Food. My duty was done.
From my vantage point, I gazed down at the lawn and the early arrivals. They were all dressed for the party except for one girl, glowing and primal amongst the muted skirts and the conservative blouses. It was worth a bit of reconnaissance, so I sauntered down the great stairs and outside onto the lawn, nearly colliding with my intended target. She wore a black dress and a white top. It was all midriff and shoulders and I tried to avoid staring vacantly at her skin or saying something insane. Especially difficult since the only thing going through my mind was that I should invite her back to my office for 6 hours of rough sex. Working through that thought and still functioning properly is nearly impossible so soon after a debilitating booze-up. A friend once called me a drunk. I didn’t take it seriously because, at the time, he needed three shots of Jagermeister to get to bed and another three to get to work in the morning. As I tried to marshal clear thoughts in the face of this smiling brunette I was beginning to doubt myself.
She was vaguely reminiscent of Leelee Sobrieski, though with smaller breasts. I’ve always been a supporter of the small and pert kingdom and this weakness jarred my brain every time she took a breath. Actually, I’m a supporter of every kingdom. We talked only briefly before I was called away to scoop up a dead squirrel and plunge out the toilet. She was telling me about a daring incident with the police and a bag of drugs – a wild chase climaxing on Canal Street in Georgetown. The cops caught her, smoked her weed, grabbed her ass and told her not to do anything bad again.
I managed to behave myself and asked her to email me, though I doubt I’ll hear from her. I vaguely recall singing “I Am the Walrus” in an attempt to impress her, but there’s no way to be sure. The world stopped spinning at some point on Friday night and everyone but me knew it.
Work, itself, was easy enough. Like with all my jobs, I just pretend that I’m digging graves and that usually helps the hours spin by. I terrorized the Hispanic caterers, then grabbed a six of Sam Adams and wandered into the woods.
The Washington Summer was upon us all and I sat in the shadows of a Hemlock grove, beer in hand, staring across the meadow at the line of trees. The fireflies had been late this year and it felt to me, on some primal level, that all was not right until they arrived. Tonight was their night and I let myself slide as I sat amongst the yellow star field. The party at the house pitched into high speed, music echoing down the lane and into the trees. The house itself glittered like a jewel on the hill and dancers cast obscene shadows against the walls. Sparklers trailed through the night as I watched the silhouettes of women, the beautiful people always in the distance.
I let my mind wander to the important questions in life. Where was my next six pack coming from? How could I murder my office mate and get away with it? Or, at the very least, how could I make my office mate mute and get away with it? How old, exactly, were those frosted oatmeal cookies I found in the fridge? If a girl were to appear out of the woods right now what would I do with her? If I had been born in a different era, past or future, would I still be wasting my Saturday, drinking alone and at work?
I thought about my regular weekday job and stalking the hourglassy girl co-worker. With summer in full swing, it’s all about the hourglass. I could suck on her hips for days. I’d share all of my Honey Nut Cheerios with her if she asked. But, whenever I try to speak to her, I tend to switch from English to an ancient and incomprehensible language which died out shortly after Atlantis sunk. I don’t see why I have to talk. She’s supposed to put a finger to my lips and say, “Sshh,” then slip out of her tight clothes and begin feverishly undoing my belt. Oh, but, no, that never happens.
I was shaken from these misty thoughts by a frightening crash up at the house. I finished my beer, took out my clipboard and slouched up to the side porch where a Spanish bartender manned a lonely bar.
“You hear a crash?” I asked.
“I heard a crash.”
He muttered something.
“Well, I’ll sit here and see if anyone complains. Can I have a Cuba Libre?”
The catering captain melted out of the bushes and stood next to me. He stared at the glass the bartender handed me, then turned to the bartender and ordered a Cuba Libre for himself.
“The stupidity of people never fails to amaze me.” He said to me.
I perked up, “Aha! So I did hear a crash?”
“What? No, I just had a run in with the DJ.”
“He’s a fucktard.” I replied casually.
There was a stunned silence, then the captain edged away from me slightly. “Yes. Yes, I suppose he is.”
The bartender laughed nervously.
I was speeding up again, “I deal with stupid people every day. It’s come to the point where I spend a vast majority of my time at home, behind closed doors, weeping at the knowledge that I’ll soon have to leave and encounter another fucktard. If I’m not running into fucktards, I’m running into their refuse. Traffic circles, suburban sprawl, overzealous private security, surveillance cameras, fast food chains, traffic-choked streets, copies of USA Today. We’re a nation of fucktards. 80% of everybody here is a fucktard. Personally, I’m intensely disappointed whenever a giant asteroid misses the Earth.”
The catering captain’s hands were shaking and the bartender looked like he was about to cry. I stared at them for several heartbeats, not sure what the problem was. Finally I spoke again, softly,
“I know I heard a crash. What happened?”
Before I knew it, 1am had come and I was cruising through the city’s lonely streets on my way to an air conditioned room and a late night viewing of Sexy Beast. It’s all about Ben Kingsley, really. I just sit there and marvel at his on-screen power.
I continued my rum and coke abuse and thought of the girl in the black dress. My hand drifted down to Nacho’s Hammer and, just then, I heard the tinkling of bells in my closet. Before I could react, the door opened and my aunt’s cat leapt onto the computer table, then onto the bed, then onto my chest. She hissed, stilling me, and then shook her head. The bells rang. I knew what she wanted but, if I were to assist her, the entire house would side against me. It would be mutiny. She shook her head again.
“I can’t,” I whispered. “They’ll know.”
She squeaked a quick meow, then jumped off my bed and sat in the shadows beneath the computer table. The bells went silent and I saw her eyes turn to me, reflecting the moon.
“I can’t help you!” I shouted.
Silence. I pulled the comforter over my head and let the night take me.