May 29, 2003
volume i, issue xiv
merging on highways with orange barrels
zink poe

This insistence, this heaviness is suffocating, like a large persian cat upon my chest but with no purr, no softness, no comfort whatsoever. I turn over, gathing no sleep and dreams confined once again to glass boxes scattered in the few rooms I occupy. Classical music weaves its way around my ears, nibbling and makes me angry. Stupid music. Who told it to do that? Tapestry of sound and I can't afford to get caught in it this morning.

Tumbling out of bed and almost landing on the floor like a clean load of laundry, I shake my head to rattle the cage. Fuzzy images fall out and land with a finality on the carpet. Where did it go? Where did what go, echos my mind, the far-away forgotten sort of related entity attached to me. Me. Where did I go?

Last night I was someone else.

Moody and reserved, quiet and slow slide of the eyes, the upturned lashes and the tiny smile peeking from the corner. The unexplored, the sahara, the siberian, the vast emptiness of the breeze near the ocean. I dive in and out with abandon, frolicking...I am a dolphin. Slippery and wet and hard to hold.

Jeff the Doorman looked at me in a weird way, his thick black brows gathered like nervous birds waiting for their food. I had no food. I sighed and moved slowly past him, thinking if only I can make it to the door, I won't scream. Maybe I'll cry once inside. This outfit didn't work for me, either. But the air was cool and revived me, and suddenly I was sharp as an edge of jagged glass, ready to cut into the first face I'd see. And there he was, alone, drinking. Alone and drinking is par for the course around here and hey, take your pick. I chose him because he was oblivious and still. No motion came from him except the slow raise of the tumbler to his lips. Then he would sip even more slowly and then slowly lower the tumbler. A well-oiled soul. I needed to make his acquaintance.

So in my sneaky little way, I silently lowered my self, which already felt too heavy, into the leather barstool and looked him over. I motioned for the bartender and he took my order for a white russian. These little gems tasted like chocolate milk and made me feel a bit like a school kid smoking a cigarette in the bathroom during recess. Naughty but not evil. Evil was reserved for the darker moments in the night when all one had was a wish and no exits. The guy took a quick look at me and then began his well oiled motion all over again.
"Hi." He looked as though I woke him from a mediocre dream. I gave him a little smile and did my own well oiled motion.

"Um. Yeah. Hi." He looked straight ahead.

"So, who do you want to kill tonight?" I thought shock treatment would work.

"Whaaa'???" His eyes suddenly were open full moons with a shadow of shooting stars imminent. Hmmm. Maybe I hit something.

"How did you know?" I gave one those little wise smiles that I practiced for years until it fit. Yes, I knew these type of nights well.

"Well, you had this resolved look on your face. All you need is a gun."

He snorted. "A gun, yes. That would do. That would do well. But it's too late and she's long gone. Thanks though, for the cheer." He swallowed the last of his drink and then turned to face me. "So, do you want to kill anyone?"

"Hmm. Good question. I'd like to kill my curiosity." Now I stared ahead and took a slow sip.
"Oh really? That sounds difficult."

"Yes, My curiosity is a very elusive animal. Hard to nail down. I'm tired though, it keeps whipping me around all the garbage cans at night and then I return home, smelling of rotten food and sour milk. I don't like it."

"Well, get drunk then." He looked like he had discovered the cure for cancer.

"That doesn't work. It only makes it more voracious, more moral. It's a self-righteous little bastard, this curiosity. I want to ride rollercoasters until I die. This is a good thought." I took an ice cube and swirled it in my mouth, deliberately allowing it to rest on my metal fillings and feeling the shockwave rotate through my skull.

"I wonder what Einstein did to take a break." I mumbled.

"Oh? So you're an Einstein?" He looked amused.


"A Silverstein?"


"A gypsy?"

"At times. Give me your money." He laughed but I was serious.

He ordered another drink and another and then I did too until we both were drunk, talking gibberish and understanding one another perfectly. He told me he needed to leave so that he could work on his sermon for the next day. I nodded understandingly and left like a ghost. Jeff the Doorman smiled at me and said something that he thought was funny but I didn't get.

I drove onto the highway, empty as the lanes next to me. Occasional orange barrels lined the side, ready to protect the new road, proclaiming progress. I envied their unity.

Where was I? Oh yes, getting up. Maybe a good hot shower will help. That and a new outfit.

zink poe ©2003