It was purely by accident that while on autopilot my car ventured to the general location of Freckles new apartment. In front of her place was parked a long black limo. My own less than long black car stalled near by. Maybe it ran out of gas, or some other mechanical failure that halted its ability to move. Night descended upon Amarillo and the long black limo remained in front of Freckles. It might have been ten minutes. It might have been fifteen. I waited with the patience some religious sects exhibit as they wait for the world to end. It didn’t of course. It just got darker outside, colder in my car, and darker and colder in my mind as I imagined who was with Freckles alone in her apartment. What was taking this couple so long to return to the limo.
Suddenly like a couple they exited the building.
There is something about the facile happiness of beautiful young couples that is inherently irritating to the mind of a rugged individualist. There does seem to be many beautiful couples in this world and very few of us individualist left, rugged or otherwise. Most of them like Van Gogh or Anne Frank, have died lonely deaths, having made a few clumsy, adolescent, star-crossed, interpersonal steps toward love before they got run over by trains passing in the night. It wasn’t spiritually best foot forward, I thought to watch too many happy young couples get into limousines. Nothing against limos, of course. They can’t help it if they are sleek, and even if you die in the gutter,they will sometime take you to the bone orchard. I wanted to warn Freckles about walking on Agamemnon’s blood red carpet. I wanted to take her hand and save her from the stranger and the limo.
There is so little human grace in the act of watching a happy young couple getting into a limo. There is more grace and more humanity released into this world when you listen to two whippoorwills calling each other in the dark. “Too bad it was a limo.” as I watched the limo drive away. I’d been cruelly denied the chance to say: “Follow that cab.”
It started to rain. It was raining all over the world. I bet it was even a rainy night in Georgia.
I paced back and forth. I pondered the thought of calling Freckles this morning and making an attempt at opening diplomatic relationships. The feeling was pervasive and foreboding and shunted my senses back to about the time a former lover fell off my stack of High Times magazines. Those were the days when people died dancing. When they died in the fast lane with my latest love letter in their purse. They of course were us, we just didn’t know it yet. Kaci and I never had a chance. Our love conked at a quarter past Cinderella time in the sky on a stage in a building very similar to where I live, and yes it was this one.
So today I kept watching out the window in hopes I might see eyes the color of a hotel swimming pool. One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest a movie that was released in 1975. The title of that movie perfectly described how I felt. like a shell shocked soldier from a long ago war, I jumped at the pounding on my door.
I wandered around for a while before going home, if you could call it that. I walked down the sidewalk and took out my keys to unlock the door. But, the door was ajar.
I’ve always associated the phrase “the door is ajar” with the death of my mother. It has to do with the teddy bear that she left me when she died in 1997 two days after my birthday. The teddy bear had a limited Made in China voice that said s few phrases. One of those being a door is ajar. At that time in my life one certainly was. It has to do with the right things you think about at the sad times. There was a black limo ready to take the family to the cemetary. It sat all alone in the parking lot of the funeral home with all the somber, slightly snobbish, nameless luxury vehicles that typically seem to frequent funerals. When the Lord closes the door, he opens a little window. A door is ajar. A jar is a door. Praise be. My mother, my dad, my brother, Bill, Miss Amarillo 1969, people who’s love never had a sell by date, all in heaven and only me left to drive like hell down a dusty rural Texas road somewhere far inside the secret linkage of the heart.
Freckles was sitting on the couch. She was holding the Teddy Bear. Neither seemed the slightest bit concerned. Freckles stretched her long languorous legs. They were longer and she was hotter than summers in New Orleans before Jimmy Swaggart said let there be air conditioning. They were longer than a lifetime when I’d last seen her. Possibly this was because she was now wearing an extremely short skirt. I was trapped within my walls.
Freckles did not strike fear into me, but she did make me nervous.
“Alone at last.” she said.
If you are younger than 18, or 21 in states inhabited by Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, L. Ron Hubbard or any other really uptight group of people you might stop reading this story here. If you proceed then any resulting loss of sleep, sexual dysfunction, hearing loss is your fault not mine.
You may not be aware of this, but it is against the law to transport bull semen on a Greyhound bus in Texas. There are many reasons for this restriction, but first and foremost among them is the fact that is very difficult to wash bull semen out of a peach colored dress. Just knowing this information was one thing. Being able to use it effectively in interpersonal relations was quite another. You’d think that a man, a woman, a Greyhound bus, a peach colored dress, and a gallon or two of bull semen would make for a good country song by Willie Nelson or possibly even a play by Willie Shakespear. You’d think these disparate elements could cling comfortably, tragically together like colorfully colored cowboy shirts spinning into each others arms in the dryer of a laundromat at midnight. Unfortunately, there is a fine line between fiction and nonfiction and I think I snorted it in 1986. As events and individuals unfolded.The first thing I wanted to write about this scenario didn’t quite hold up. It almost did, but that wasn’t so bad either.
‘Sorry, I just dropped in like this,” she said as she held the Teddy bear.
“How’d you get in?”
“The door was ajar.”
She leaned back and pulled one bare foot onto the couch so that it nestled directly under a pair of now and again visible pink ladies undergarment.
I poured two rather long drinks, they had to be long. I needed to keep my eyes off the predatory smile and the pink ladies undergarment. I had to think, she came here to seduce me. She was a sexy shark swimming around for the kill.
Life is a game anyway, I figured and you never stop playing until you die trying.
“Why are you afraid of me?” she said as she grabbed my arm and pulled me onto the couch. “We have some unfinished business.” I almost spilled my drink. Any other time I would have enjoyed this little game and let the shark eat me alive but I was suffering from limo envy.
As shadows fell across the room and like a well rehearsed ballet day became night. I kept talking, bringing drinks and the sofa had turned into an extremely passionate magic carpet ride.
Freckles had been my first passenger in a while and I wasn’t ready just yet to toss her off the train. Like the pieces of a puzzle in an out of body experience, I had many irrational subconscious pictures flash briefly across the old-time drive-in-theater screen of my grey matter department. Like life itself the images were jumbled, mixed up, insane, and they vanished quickly, signifying zippo and I’m not talking about the lighter. I, for the sake of decency and respect for the younger readers of this blog will sum up this part of the story by saying all that I remember is a man in a Greyhound dress, a woman in a peach colored bus, and the whole world drowning in a biblical deluge, though it was probably only a gallon or two, of something that appeared to be bull semen.
We said our goodbyes without settling the unfinished business. We vowed to meet again. And neither of us doubted that destiny would bring us together again. Because of circumstances beyond our control, I don’t think either of us looked forward to that occasion. In affairs of this nature, somebody always gets hurt.
I thought of Princess Diana, she was a kindergarten teacher, I reflected so was Golda Meir. And if I really went into the details it wouldn’t be fit for someone in kindergarten.
The whole incident left me in the market for a new laugh. I get a new one every seven hundred years. The one I had sounded pretty much like an old wooden cross between the shriek of a rusty barn door. Fortunately, I rarely used my old laugh, so it never attained the interpersonal irritation value it should have merited. But there was something funny about his mess between Freckles and myself.
She had left enough signals much like a code breaker in a grainy old World War II movie, when in fact the only thing that was in any danger of breaking was my heart, and even that could probably be avoided if I could come up with a new laugh. There was, in fact, some humor in all of this, but just as humor is a very close cousin to the truth, so it follows that it’s harder to laugh when you see the joke is on yourself. And this goes beyond the Freckles of the world, if that notion could ever be pluralized, which I doubt. But I’m talking about the way life impersonally, implacably, yet given the definite appearance of some kind of divine vendetta beats every fucking one of us down whether we acknowledge it or not or just call it religion.
Whether you are an English Channel swimmer who drowns in the bath tub, or a former prostitute that can’t get laid, you probably get the cosmic joke sooner or later and you’ll understand that whether God created man-as most kindergarten teachers believe-or man created God-as most college professors believe-both of them are pretty perverse specimens. Man and God would make pretty good alcoholic drinking buddies, kind of like Van Gogh and Gauguin except without the talent. You parents should tell your children that man is fucked, inescapably fucked. Tell them that God is a British Gentleman walking around with white gloves and an umbrella and two thousand years of militaristic violence and other peoples spilled blood in his veins. Tell them to get a new laugh every few years, trade it in on the old model, don’t use it excessively in restaurants or public places because insightful individuals will recognize almost immediately that they are miserable.
I came from a small, ill tempered family. A happy childhood left me unprepared for life.