The bug was talking to him through the windshield and it was distracting, but he had to answer. Politeness was involatile, unlike his body.
Dealing with people is the worst. Don’t you agree? Maybe, but at least the transmissions take weeks to come which gives us time to bounce around on the surface. Keep moving or stop on the sidewalk, either way look at what passes for reality. Regard the way people occupy their space in your own way.
Please tell me, what exactly do bugs know? We know a lot of stuff, for example the head, hands, feet, torso…they are insistent, forcing against the pressure of the air. The elements confine the space; drawing the outline with a sharp pen like a closed electrical circuit, and it is an unrelenting barrier, turning tightly down, squeezing around the body and the mind.
The mind? Yes, even the mind is contained. Surely that is obvious to the thinkers and the sleep walkers who fathom the depths below the surface. They always come to the darkness and there is no light and they are lost. How sad, don’t you agree? I don’t know. I need to think about it and consult my books, my map of the potentials. After all, you’re just a bug.
Suddenly the wind caught the wings of the bug and it was gone: finally, a little peace and he pushed one corner of his mouth upward. The mind; he wondered about the mind. If he were to have a religion, it would be the mind and the colorful surface that invited him below every night. He didn’t like the hammer and saw of thinking, those were daylight utilities. No, he was thirsty for the color and feeling; the chemistry of the mind, the warmth, happiness, and sadness of how he thought. Other people had rejected him as too depressive, no fun. Old friends had closed their doors. They thought him too analytical, but he didn’t care since he was keeping notes on everything around him and ultimately that would be very useful.
His time was well-spent and he certainly didn’t mind the mind. He pushed up both corners of his lips and gave a short ironic laugh.
How was he going to explain these kinds of thoughts to his blind date? He’d been talking to the bug for the past twenty minutes. The I-5 traffic was weaving around him like the outlines of the body, herding him into smaller and smaller spaces, and the spaces appeared to be moving at increasing speeds, and then there was the miracle, his exit sign, and soon enough he was safe on a surface street.
Be that as it may, the street was filled with accidents and death. Drive-by killings, hit and runs, rapes, beatings, stains in the street that the normal eye could not see, but he did, he saw and felt it all and he came to a stop. He looked both ways and then straight ahead.
Seattle was mostly unknown to him, but the sparrow that went back and forth between her house and his had carried hope on its wings. The rapid heart of the bird had patterned a new foundation, something suitable to construct a loving planet upon. His tendencies were fragmented moons, ruby walls, and sandy climates. She was similar, but with one caveat: she wanted rain at least twice a month and a rock garden. She simply could not live without wet rocks. Fine, that would be fine, and so he told the sparrow to set a day and time. In about fifteen minutes, if a bomb didn’t fall out of the sky and blow the car into a thousand pieces, he’d see her and then they could go for a picnic on the sidewalk in front of the liquor store. A space like that with those kinds of intentions would really give them a chance to figure out who they were.
When he knocked on her door, he could feel the vacuum quickly envelop his body. It felt good as he closed his eyes. He visualized her.
It was a blind date, but he did have a mental image. She’d sent him a poem about who she was. Her history had been sad, but understandable, and that was a first step. One always needed the beginning, because next came the middle part, and that might be quick or elongated, one never knew. Then, if you were lucky, a meaningful ending. He liked the endings when they crashed around. They were eventually sad, although not always.
One thing he had learned early on was timing. Which was funny since it was invisible and really only a thought. No one knew how to capture it and since everyone was in the present, there really was no past or future. He wondered why no one could figure out time. It was so easy if you had the right point of view.
He woke up in her cool bed. The sheets were satin and the pillows marble. He was shivering and didn’t know where he was. Outside he watched the sparrow feed a worm to a chick. There was a battle being fought on the hillside and a castle was on fire: warmth was moving upward from his spine and working its way along his neck and past the back of his head and finally to the top, where it burned and fell down upon his ears.
Her greeting and kiss came back to him. She was an overwhelming blind date and the memories of taking her to the liquor store began to rush over him. They had packed a basket with sausage, apples, cheese, and at the store, they bought a bottle of red wine.
I didn’t think you would be like this, she said. You know, neither did I, he replied. What I was going to be was a real mystery to me, but here I am occupying this space and there you are. They both smiled as they breathed in the exhaust from the internal combustion engines.
They spread a checkered cloth on the sidewalk and sat down. Police cars passed and the friendly officers waved. A bum came over and told his story. He was a Duwamish who liked to whittle and drink. He wasn’t sad. They gave him ten bucks and he went into the store and came out with another bottle of wine. It was better than the first and they complimented the Indian on his tastes.
After the picnic they went back to her house and built radio crystals for a few hours. He filled his eyes with her and then asked if he could use some of her parts in the crystals. She smiled and said yes, and he quickly lifted her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist. The deconstruction took place on the table top. He drove a screwdriver into her heart. Letters got stamped “Not At This Address,” calls went unanswered by the long, black lines, and he walked with his mind down a lonely path.
After he finished, he stretched out on her bed and slowly disintegrated. It seemed as if a year passed in some other ecozone. When he regained consciousness, he watched the castle burn on the hillside. He wondered about the difference between the mind and the body and then he saw her plastic skin draped over a chair. He wanted to cry, but realized he couldn’t. It just didn’t feel right.
Nothing mattered now. He didn’t want to remember, but transmissions were coming and in a fit of panic he closed his eyes and dove beneath the surface of his mind. He pushed his hands forward and then stroked back and went deeper until he reached a pure, comforting darkness and there across from him sat an old friend. They sang a song about how only borrowed lungs could breathe below the waterline. To become a god, one needed to remember that bit of truth. Their voices made waves in the water. The riddle compounded and turned everything into an infinite scratch and the grip of a million monkeys: his curious reality massed into the song and the tiny bubbles.
Harmony swirled with the unique color of an unseen order and he knew the ships were out there, making their way silently, and with purpose.