Giant sun chips bag, framed and hung over a desolate pew, like a god to the orphans splendor.
Ducks dogs and other feathery furry insect loving munchers, in rows, compulsively marching within the confines of their lines. All red, maroon, magenta, and creamy whites, atop piles of similarly candlewax Christmas dead leaves, eggs.
Hover over my pals, not to stop as so long as I don’t lose touch of them, tap of the heads, lift of the shouder, and I, magnet boy, asfault repulsion, taking a hard left leer at the open wall houses down the street, a two story Victorian with a parade of geesey corsets tip toe touch down the stairs, lipstick a everywhere.
Derek lost his grandmother, and I never hugged anyone as strongly as I did Derek. Thick musk of his sadness collecting heavily in the scratchy wires of his mighty golden coat, a smell that locked me in with a rush of tears and turmoil as the rest of the boys walked up, unfazed, emotionless forever. Derek’s coat was a perfect scent.
Dusktime is spent kicking pebbles into the street from the curb outside Kevin’s new place, head in my hands, down, beat, bewildered, bummed out that the night before didn’t work out all that well, because I had taken too much time, and was taken too much by the television and books and nicknacks and memories, but never the moment, never aware of the present, of the starry face, of the nightglow, of the real actual presence that sank next to me, shoulder into shoulder, on the cushy hotel bed. And for all those moments I should have been staring off into their eyes, I was staring off at the planes passing by the small window that faced east over the twinkletown runway of the airport. Everything snagged me, took my attention from them; every scuttling insect, every page to be turned, every flashy deal, every single headline that danced by was an excuse for me to fall deeper into my own self consciousness where it was warm and welcoming and I didn’t have to try or strive for anything. So they left, distant, distance, far away now and I didn’t think I was ever gonna have the opportunity again.
And out on my desolation curb is a man, balding, squinting, with a smarmy smile and a box of kittens that he drops to the right of me, and I look up at him and he’s gone. A darkness comes over me, a black wisp, a smoke, and the ghost of my great grandmother is weighing heavy on my conscience, so I am given the task to take care of these five kittens, each one the twin of the next, exact in every way but the color of their fir, which is green, red, blue, yellow, and grey. I waited with them, and the street without lights became darker and I was blind to the world, and I look down into the kitten box and they are gone.
I found them at the base of a rotting tree trunk.
I’ve got a few days to rest at Kevin’s joint, and boy am I just taken with it, ‘cause I’ve got this mad obsession with spaces that have a groove about them, and everything goin’ with this place is perfect and pristine and I oggle and drool with every step and minute spent here. The place is just white walls and light wood, a maze of flights and banisters, pockets and alcoves, and small doors and crawl spaces that open up to other portions of the house, and at the very top, about three or four “floors” up, there are two rooms, and all the color and life and vibrancy exists in these rooms, where the walls are a dark earthy wood and it smells of plant life and conifers and my jealousy.*
Alex says he has something of mine, and even though I never lent him anything, I don’t say a word, I just smile at him, upside down, as I hang by knees on the banister over the entry room. His face moves from in front of mine, and I go back to looking at the art on the walls and the girls passing by. I smile as they smile, and one girl with dark lipstick and dark hair and a dark grin almost gives me a good knock on the head with her own as she leaves the kitchen. I spend a time there, hanging from the banisters, wondering where all the little old wood trap doors go.
The air got all misty for me as I biked down the street on my last days away from the swanky pad. The street that whizzes by resembles an old one back in my time in the previous city, and I ran into two kids on the path, probably early teens, pedaling along, one of which had this wicked multi speed that caught my eye. The kid was scrawny, his white shirt hangin’ as loose as his attitude, his shaved head as bald as his arms, with just some fuzz and determination on his face, and I challenged him to a race, the full circuit, a course with biking, and climbing, and stairs and all. He accepts and we take off. Like expected, I haul ass in front of him, but one of my pedals starts to fall apart and I’m swerving this way an’ that across the asphalt alleyway, and I make a turn down a street that’s just fresh dripping with art and graffiti. I run into this old man, white tuffs of hair struggling to hold onto his head, and he’s got this bright smile with wrinkles in all the right places and he says “Now there’s a nice bike.”, I thank him, kneeling by the curb, struggling with repairing my pedal, and I quip off something about how it looks alright (even though I thought it beat), but it rides better, and maybe a short sentence ‘bout my philosophy on life and he takes it to heart, thinks it inspired, and we part ways.
Around the corner I get some whistles and hoots from the boys on the balcony, and the same old man is with them. I throw my bike over my right shoulder and climb up the stone steps, and the bike clangs against the metal banisters once every five or so, and I see the smiling, playfully taunting faces of some pals I know, namely Stephen, Polo, and JC, with a small gang of other boys lounging on an old Victorian couch that leaves scrapes on the sandy wood floor of the overhang. Stephen leans against the doorway of a darkened motel room, tattered with a dirty face, those white teeth of his gleaming with a story to tell. I ask around for an allan wrench after taking a second to repair my pedal, and the boys start hollering and yapping at me again as I raise my seat post. “Ah don’t do that!” “It looks ridiculous, what are you doing? “Ah, shoot!” and I’m down on the sidewalk again looking up to their calls and I yell back, “What are you talking about? Polo, you’ve got that seat of yours 10 feet in the air!” and I start to run with the bike and hop on my raised seat, and the first few strokes take some getting used to and I’m still wobbling a bit, but it ain’t the pedals and it ain’t the seat, but these cruiser bars that make it impossible to steer, and I’m at this awkward angle with my ass up high and my arms spread out and upwards, and I struggle with the hill that curves along the motel.
The rain starts to build up along the tires, and I’ve had enough with the wonky cruiser handlebars and I double back to the balcony boys and their calls, but climb an adjacent balcony before theirs with a pair of vending machines open and free with no one around, just boxes and boxes of candy and rice krispy treats toppled over and spilling onto the floor. I take a peak around before I snatch up a few treats but drop them when I see Simone’s gleeful face coming up over the stairs, but she’s there for the same, for the free treats, and tells me to grab em while I can! So I stuff my pockets and embarrassingly wobble down the hill and here come the woops of the worn gang of guys and I give ‘em a playful word or two ‘bout the prank they pulled and demand my handlebars back and there they are, hanging on the railing, so I trade ‘em for some treats and they hand over the bars.
The same old man is sitting on the arm of the couch, surrounded by boys, soooo many boys, and he let’s me in on his secret of the day, he’s gonna be spreading the word, my word, on some late night show in a few hours, and I wave him off, saying I got nothing worth spreading over the tv, but he is still so inspired by this thing I said ‘bout my bike earlier in the day. I just smile, blushed and concerned, and keep to myself and try not to think too much about it, even though my head is swirling with big ideas of big breaks and big exposure.
Stephen drops in our conversation about bikes and asks me, “Oh, like a Colnago bike? Thats the same that did this.” He is still wearing the blood-stained white shirt with the red collar, holey and scraped from the accident. I knew he had some story to tell, and I slip into the coma he came out of a week ago.
A story is spun for me about his unconscious state and his journey through the inner forests of his mind and his eventual escape from the forever sleep. The tale is told through a stop motion picture, the whole thing flickering like an old time movie, that features mostly woodland creatures like raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and rabbits, made of clay and wood and fabrics. Stephen narrated his journey with the critters and his grandfather, a soul lost in the same endless crossing into the afterlife, and Stephens acknowledgement that he was indeed dead kept him in the coma state, in the ethereal aftersleep afterlife. But his death thoughts are disrupted. The wooly vision of his afterlife becomes heavy nylon, heavy nylon that opens from the center, split, and so pops through the pasty face of a pretty Japanese girl, smiling, wearing a green sweater over a brown shirt with white trimmings at the ends of the sleeves, and I see Stephen, sleeping, beard setting in, gruff and dirty and shadowed, under the soft protection of a green tent, in the idle of the woods, like where he saw his himself dead. And she smiled at him, smiled at him for eternity, and he remembers this in his afterlife, in his minds eternal woods, and he spends more time with the crafty vision of his grandfather, and the children of the trees, and his very real memories of her are woven into the the stop motion, her fingers ever so often prying through the yarn, opening the background of the dreamstate like tent flaps, peaking, smiling. The real world, the smiling girl, overcomes the vision and over a time Stephen comes to with the realization that his grandfather isn’t dead, that he’s alive and the critters are just dream critters, yarn, and sticks, and strings. And he follows the unraveling of his grandfather’s figure, while fabric becomes flesh and faces of family and friends emerge, and then fingers pry through the images and that tent is pulled open again and Stephen is lying on the ground, covered in blankets and firs, and I see his gruff smugly face, with specs of light laying softly here and there, light coming from holes in the trees above him, and the deep grooves of his tired face tense and his two eyes open, blinking mad, and they look up, watered and red, and there’s the girl’s face, smiling, wearing that boyscout cap she always wears.
And then the credits, a red wool shirt with a few band pins near the collar, laid down upon a blue table of scratchy fabric, with packing peanuts at different distances from the lens, creating a snowy, starry depth, and in stop motion, on the chest of the sweater, letters appear all on their own: a Tim Manns Creation, and Tim’s head appears in the collar, looking off to the left, blinks twice, and three more sweaters appear underneath the red, around his neck, which makes some serious Tim Manns sense.
*The layout of the house is like this: the entrance to the house is on the first floor, as you walk in there is a window to the immediate right, sharing a wall with the door, that looks over a bricked off flower bed that creeps up the glass but not enough to block the view of the grassy yard hazy with sunlight, and the street and homes across the way. The right wall is bare, save for a stage like ledge tucked into the far right corner of the room about a foot off the ground, made of the same wood as the floor, about five feet by six. The view from the entrance, above the room, a balcony lines the opposite wall, curves around the corner above the stage, rises, curves around and above the window by the door and rises a bit more until it ends at the corner where the door meets the wall. Above the winding ledge, sharing the wall with the door, is an impressive window that lets in so much sun that it makes it impossible to see out. The ledge births from a doorway at the upper left corner of the room and it leads to the main hall of the house, where three various ledges maze across the fifteen foot wide space, the uppermost of which lead to the two bedrooms of the house. The second ledge suspends over the first and cuts underneath the third making way for the entrance to one of the bathrooms on the left side. The third ledge that leads to the rooms hugs the right side of the hall and rises upwards to the final balcony that shares the hall wall at the farthest end, with each room on either side of it. The first ledge leads simply to the ground floor and all the crawl spaces tucked into it. Doors that lead to other parts of the house are littered amongst the walkways, and they all remain a mystery to me.
Back in the entrance room, across from the front door, is an open arch that leads to the kitchen. I could only see what was visible from the entry room, as I never went into the kitchen. Some cupboards hugged the wall to the left, and in the distance, behind the smiling girl in the white dress and black hair, was an island bar with a few stools, and the rest of it all just disappeared into the light that I could only assume came from a backyard.