Monday, August 24, 2009

Dream sequence

He sits in long, evening-dew-wet grass with a mortar cannon between his legs... less of a mortar cannon than a small modified tennis ball launcher, packed with sand and a golf ball. Pow. Sand and a golf ball spray outwards. From over the rise it has the appearance of nothing else like somebody playing a chip shot out of a sand bunker. It is cold.
There is a photographer. Is it Denzel Washington? This is a movie... Ace photographer Denzel Washington tries to capture the perfect image of a chip shot from a sand bunker, golf ball in flight in a sundog of sand. Golf ball and sand in the brilliant red of sunrise. Golf ball and sand in the dazzling noon day sun. Golf ball and sand in the brilliant red of sunset. In the hazy twilight now. Little must he know of the web of intrigue and danger he is about to be drawn into (It is Denzel after all).
Now it is dark. The assistant, an obscure actor who will probably be killed to give Denzel some psychological depth, stands. Perhaps they are lovers, maybe friends. Most likely they are ex-Vietnam buddies (It is Denzel after all).
“Those ants that navigated up my trouser and been eating my butt all afternoon...” begins the assistant, “Well one of them just reconned my left testicle.”
Denzel pouts knowingly. Perhaps they are ex-Vietnam buddies and lovers. Now they are no longer actors, they are me and someone else. Someone else and I are in the long wet grass in the dark.
Impossible street lamps flicker. Psyche lamps. There is always one.
We are surrounded by tall tall dark trees and the daisy chain of flickering psyche lamps leads out of the clearing and into the trees. I am cold.
Someone else says “Want to go through that entrance?” Who the fuck is that? Now I am aware of a clear area. A backlit portal, wet and steamy.
“You mean that hole that looks like the scary part of the Pet Sematary? Why not.” I am hopelessly ironic.
“Ain’t never seen Pet Sematary.” says Denzel’s assistant. Through the portal I can see a herd of deer. Are deer harmless? Now the cold takes a form like dark water, begins to flow in through the hole like the blackness when the boat sank. Like the blackness that sucked the chief engineer in and away like a big, strong but helpless rag doll; filling the space between him and reality with a cold watery veil. But the engineer did not die when the boat sank. He was the only one.
Who would you sell your soul to, in that cold and dark place, to survive?

Go Forward

What am I doing here? It can’t be that I like the smell of cigarettes and stale beer-stained discussion. How do I get pulled in, floating on the current every weekend, and trapped in this eddy with the rest of the dregs? The married, the prepared, the beautiful: they all stay at home paying for the SkyTV to come in like a lobotomy, through the eye sockets, and take a small piece of their happiness away. Downstream, down the road, downwind, flow the dregs. Here the TV is on too, the score always in the top left, the sponsor’s name always on the screen. See the sponsor, buy the sponsor, drink the sponsor, and swallow the sponsor. We’ll watch, of course, here or at home. We’ll watch at every awkward angle, even watch the ads. Otherwise we might catch each other’s eye, have to communicate. Save it for the toilet. Resting my forehead against the cold yellow tile above the urinal, steeling myself for the conversation some guy will come in and start.
“Jeez, you’re tall,”
“Yep.”
“Must be over six foot three or four or something…”
“Comin’ up six feet,”
“Must just about have to duck… in the doors, in the doorways.”
“Just about.”
A sparring contest. Full contact vernacular gymnastics. I don’t even know the rules. One day I’m going to get caught out, become another beaten-up men’s room statistic. On the way out I catch sight of a real looker, bit blurry, in the cracked mirror over the sink. Wonder he doesn’t pull more, I reckon.
I get in the last shot, “It’s these springs that’re hangin’ down I have to watch”
The smell of smoke and beer closes on the reply (if there even is one). Find my beer, find my seat, and resume paying attention to the sponsor. The little clock under the score marks off the moments of my life flowing by. Time surgically removed under self-administered anaesthetic. The tally etched into my cell wall as I serve my self-imposed sentence.
Where else would I be? Where would any of us go? We’re akin to the strugglers on the screen: the ones with the lowest score at any rate. Not enough go-forward, that’s our problem. We need to get our heads together and work this out. I look around, catching nobody’s eye. Where should I start? Drink more beer, miss the only person I’ve spoken to tonight leaving the toilet, don’t know where he’s sitting, didn’t even get his name.
Suddenly the clock stops. The time has run out and the score is all wrong. All around me grown men are crying into their beer: the athletes whose lives they subsist vicariously through, it turns out, are just the dregs too.
Time to break out of here while the sentry clock is switched off. I’ll wash up on my own shores tonight. Chop it, walk out. Wake up tomorrow with the same question in my throbbing head.
What am I doing here?