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Ambrosia

More fable than not

1. ANOTHER FREAK IN THE FREAK KINGDOM

Was me hired to scribe for Bazaar Monthly, a posh Los Angeles-based online publication boasting a readership amalgamated of new age gurus, holistic juice cleansers, naturopathic shaman, real estate moguls, Hollywood elite, avant garde architects, entrepreneurial pioneers, Silicon Valley Titans of technocracy, dot com gozillionaires, weekend warriors plus counterculture enthusiasts. Was me, armed with a bic pen and thin, black notebook they were paying what seemed to me a conspicuous, if not outright gratuitous lump sum of $20,000.00 to fly out over the mighty Pacific Ocean on a unique and covert journalistic endeavor, to infiltrate an esoteric subculture shrouded in mystery and ultimately shed light on the obscure underbelly of the Hawaiian Islands, respective. Was also me who (I’m seeing this now, in retrospect) signed up to be airdropped into a mythopoeic landscape, a sociological petri dish akin to a William Golding novel, to bear witness to the vicissitudes of human relatings and be indelibly altered via cultural osmosis; to peak behind the curtain at the inner workings of this soft machine.

Upon my return from the Sandwich Islands, sun-coppered and informed, I flew stateside to a trailer park in Corpus Christi, Texas to pay my dear old mother a visit. She come out to the astroturfed carport porch with near a dozen cats circling round her green polymer Kmart slippers, Wearing a daisyprint nightgown and pink curlers in her hair, she lit up a mentholated Pall Mall 100 and poured sweet tea and rattled a good stretch about the state of the union, shakin her head and crossin herself. She talked about the dopers and the evil of rock and roll and by the time the tea was gone she had moved right on to the Rapture and gettin right with Jesus and “jus when was I plannin on comin back to take up my Father’s (rest his soul) position as the hellfire-and-brimstone-voice-of-the-Lord at the New Life Southern Baptist Church In Corpus Christi” and how etc. et cetera ad nauseum. A man can only handle so much and the morning sun was cooking on high so without much further ado I kissed Mama good-bye and made way my way out of town, intent on a weekend in Las Vegas before returning to Los Angeles to lay my story on the desk of the Editor In Chief of Bazaar Monthly.

Best laid plans being what they are, was me found myself in a Greyhound paperweight 180 miles north of C.C. in the tiny goat-ropin town of Clio, the place of my birth and formative years, untouched by time and impervious to progress. I left the bus driver waiting for the mechanic and walked myself down Center Street and into the Clio Tavern.

And thats how I run into Saskmo Scintilla, septuagenarian legend in the flesh, the good luck bad luck man, at one time the closest thing to handsome and semi-divine that Clio had ever seen. The good women of Clio were behooved to sit whenever he passed and lesser men lived for a whiff of his afterburn, walking as walks a man who is in communion with forces, martially formidable, petroleumly rich and savvily educated, but on whom at some point in his mythopoeic existence the mutability of fortune had wrought emotional damage to such a degree that Sas’ lost his temper and then his mind, in an event known only as Giblet Day, and spoken of only in hushed circles by those too drunk to censor themselves. All the lights never did quite come back on inside of ol Saskmos head. His wife done left him for a bible salesman from Austin, and Shell Oil come up and buy his land right out from under him, set him up on the property in a plywood doublewide, watchin the dust storms roll in, guarding the silent oil derricks as they siphon up the Texas Tea what was once his lawful own.

Saskmo broke his thousand yard stare to greet me as I come up the wooden steps of the porch.

“Thucker Ambrothe, tha you? I’ll be a sthuck pig, cmon inthide, thon, an lemme buy ya a Pabth.”

“Only if you promise to put your dentures back in, Saskmo.”

And so it went I sat down with Saskmo Scintilla, shadow of his former self, and one beer turned to three, and I got to talkin bout the sights and sounds of that green sunstone set in the lapis lazuli ocean, where the air smells of Jasmine flowers and the women all meet your gaze, and if you’re not paying attention you get yourself licked by a coral reef or a surly Kanaka with a deep and abiding lust for laying hurt on a FOB Haole.

2. MAUI: MORE FABLE THAN NOT

Well, to recapitulate: I vacated the Boing 747 and emerged into the open-air terminal, bow-legged and caffeinated. It was hot as a Russian bathhouse and my Levis were ridin high and the air was vibrating with the projected needs and expectations of bovisapien consumer-citizens eager to stretch their limbs and wrap their hands, mouths and wallets around anything that resembled the utopian Hawaiian vacation they read about in the travel magazine on the flight over. I dodged two rotund native Iowan barreling with serious inertia towards a Starbucks kiosk.

I moved past kiosks violently stuffed with plastic tiki gods and little dashboard hula shakers and 300 pound Samoans in flower print shirts holding artificial leis and flashing artificial smiles at the fresh import of haole meat. I felt a bout of nausea impending so I hit the baggage carousel and swooped up my pack and 30 minutes later I'm sweating bullets from the 2 mile walk down airport road in direct tropical sunshine. I was nearly run down in the street by a savage native islander in a minivan posing as a taxi driver, barely had time to register the bloodlust in his eyes and specks of froth forming at the corners of his mouth before he was right on top of me and was all I could do to tuck and roll into an accommodating roadside Hibiscus bush.

I hit the highway and worked my thumb and sure enough a Buick town car come to a stop and I move to the front window but the fella doesn't lower it, he throws open the door from the inside and yells

“Do not roll down that window! It'll never come up again.”

I sat down on the pleather seat and set my backpack on the floorboard. He lit a cigarette, turned on the AC and rolled up the windows. Faux wooden trim on the dash, vinyl cracked and peeling due to solar intensity, interior thick with smoke and the ashtray loaded with butts and several marijuana roaches. In the center console lay a fixed blade hunting knife and an unopened Primo sweating in the sun. He wore slippers, exposing toenails that were yellowed and sundered from the skin and his legs were mostly hairless in that way in which men of hard living and poor maintenance are afflicted. He had on black swimming trunks and a white, perspiration stained tank top that was a little too small and stretched tight over the obtuse angle of his gut. His arms, shoulders and chest were carpeted in wiry and chaotically distributed salt and pepper hair and his skin was leathery and deeply wrinkled around his neck like an elephant, of the sort acquired through long unconscious hours lying supine in the sun. Dark wrap Around sunglasses and a baseball hat, cheeks ravaged and blotchy, with dichotomously branching capillaries streaking his nose and outcroppings of stubble erupting from his pores. He sipped from a flask held between legs and as he talked a foamy bead of spittle flecked and was reborn in the corner of his mouth.

He reached across my lap and violently hit the glove compartment with the flat of his palm, causing the panel to drop to my feet and reached inside for a cassette and popped it in to the tape deck.

“You like Blues? I’m a give you a lesson in good music, Muddy Waters man, aint nothin come close. I came here from New Orleans, it was either that or commit suicide. You know there was a guy who put a camera on the Golden Gate bridge for a whole year? 365 days and he recorded 56 suicides, can you believe that shit? I thought about it, jumpin, but you know I thought as soon as I stepped off I’d probably change my mind. HA! Shit, I had a serious gambling problem and coke habit to boot that cost me my wife and kids and since i’m either too chicken-shit or too reasonable to off myself I figured, fuck it, I’m movin to Maui. So I showed up here with 200 bucks, a backpack and a hangover. Slept on the beach in front of the Japanese church for 3 months. Then one day this guy-- You know the guy with the red beard and dreads used to hang out down here-- I came up the beach one night at Littles and I see this flickerin light in my tent, and somebody standin outside it and I think, you know, stay cool, and I pull my knife out to stab somebody and say Hey! What the hell are you doin in my tent! And the gal standin outside says Brandon get outta there!

And I recognize her from the naked hippy drum circle down at the beach and I say Brandon? The grass hat guy?

And she says YA! YA ! He’s just injured, burnt real bad from the propane flame cannon, he’s puttin on aloe.

And you-know-the-locals, he’s like Oh brah, sorry bra, like try one rip for burn em? You got one green bottle? I get licked from da cannon brah, burn em real bad.

And brah and brah and brah, you know?

These rainbow kids are alright but you gotta be firm with em cuz they just don’t understand proper personal boundaries. They tend to live in clusters. That guy Brandon is dead now. He got caught in somebody else’s tent, a Karate black belt who aint as magnanimous as me and the guy round-house kicked him square in the throat, dropped him dead on the sand. Shit like that happening all the time around here.”

We came to a stop suddenly and he threw the car into park and got out and ran across the street to grab an orange safety cone and ran back and put it in the back seat.

“I been lookin all over for one of these. You might want to get out here. This is Paia town. Good place to network. Watch out campin on Baldwyn beach, ice heads are damn near cannabalized.”

I took his word for Gospel and evacuated the car in a hurry an he throw me a haggard shaka and tear off down the road.

And there I was standing in front of the Mana Foods Grocery public bulletin, doing my level best to decipher the collage of flyers pinned to the cork board: acroyoga; reiki massage healing; tantric breath workshop, holistic deep colonic purification, dolphin telekinesis seminar--

“Dolphin teleke what?"

Telekinesis. That's not even the tip of the iceberg.

Saskmo took a foamy swallow from his PBR can and raised his eyebrows in resigned acknowledgement of this being obscure and esoteric territory, beyond the scope and ken of a Texan such as hisself.

So anyhow I'm standing there all squinty eyed at this board of hieroglyphic phenomena, and just above a advertisement for inverted kankle yoga I spied a small, handwritten piece of paper seeking hard workers on a farm near a spot goes by Twin Falls. $12/hr, it said, cash daily, call Blaze.

So what the hell, says I, an I call the feller up. He answered inside of 2 rings and tol me to hustle up there, starts right away. I was hot to trot an got out to the hwy with my thumb at the ready, an inside a 15 minutes I was in the bed of a rusty ol pickup headed east toward Twin Falls. The driver pulls over like with a suddenness and violence that leads me to suspect he's been stung by a hornet or likely experiencing cardiac arrest, and yells out the window that this is the spot.--

“Twin Falls ya mean?”

--Ya that's what I'm alludin to if yad pay attention.-- So I get outta the truck and thank the man and now I'm standin there like a green-horn GI in front of a fruit stand.

“A figurative fruit stand?”

No, Saskmo, a literal fruit stand. But not any kind you've seen aroun here. They don't grow things like apples an peaches for lack of frost, but buddy let me tell you they've got all manner of other esoteric tropical fruit to keep a homely east Texan busy for a spell.

"Like bananas and avocado and stuff?"

Ye of little imagination. For one they've got breadfruit. Which counterintuitively is neither a bread nor a fruit, other than by virtue of its nomenclature and habit of growin on trees as it does. Breadfruit is big, and ugly, like your head, but more so, on both accounts. See, breadfruit is best baked, not unlike your yellow squash, and when it's done proper it comes out moist and steamin and when you add a little butter and salt and pepper, buddy, it'll give your mamas' grits a run for their money.

Saskmo let out a long slow whistle, from high to low, indicating the gravity and implications of the comparison. He put his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chair. I took a swallow from my PBR and let the silence do its part before I continued.

Anyhow, I paid 3 dollars to a swarthy fella of geologic proportion, who in exchange, reduced a 3 pound coconut down to its essential constituents before I could spit or say thank you. Held that nut in one meaty palm and wielding a 2 foot machete in the other like it was a butter knife. He presented the nut back to me complete with miniature umbrella and I tipped him five dollars on account of his display of swordsmanship and my inclination to be in the good graces of such a benevolent, benign and potentially irritable juggernaut.

Saskmo pulled a pack of Marlboro reds from his dirt-frosted, Pendleton flannel shirt pocket and packed it on the weathered plywood table as a few more idle onlookers caught wind of the exotic summation that was currently underway and slid their chairs in tighter for a listen.

Was me told Saskmo how I plodded into the dense subtropical foliage, coconut in hand, and observed a burlesque nature show, a Darwinian manifesto, starring all walks of insectual and reptilian classification: geckos, chameleons, eeguana and tree frogs, miniature dinosaurs doing battle with winged creatures of nefarious and iniquitable design; spiders big as your hand an quicker than a New York minute. Was me told Saskmo how I came unto a clearing an beheld a Chevrolet pickup truck of recent manufacture parked amongst the cane grass in a manner which provoked my natural interest and curiosity.

Cane grass, I said, isn't your average Kentucky blue, no sir, stuff 'll shoot 6 feet up whilst your tyin your shoe. An you'd best think twice about runnin your hand through it like some dandy in a shredded wheat commercial, cane grass got a seer-rated edge what cut ya clean open with hardly a tug.

Showed Saskmo the thin white puffy scar on my left palm, to remove any doubt mighta been seedin in his mind.

So my natural curiosity led me over toward the veehicle and it was from my vantage point a few yards uphill that I observed a pair of legs protruding from beneath the driver-side door of the pickup.

Saskmo’s fleshy eyelids widened from their prevailing half mast position as he chortled and snorted an unswallowed portion of PBR.

"Jesus heck! Just the legs?"

I shot him a glance that’d wither a summer Poppy.

I observed this pair a legs lying supine in the matted grass, and further scrutiny revealed they belonged to a bandy lookin’ fella whom was busy hackin away at something in the undercarriage of his recent model Chevrolet pickup. So I ambled over and announced myself.

Howdy, I said, anything I can help ya with?

He emerged to take a gander at me.

“Uh, nope, unless you’ve got a blowtorch, a machete or a beer.”

He ducked under and continued hackin.

No sir, I said, but i’m on my way up to a farm hereabouts to lend a hand, assuming I can find the place, might be able to send someone down. He popped back out from underneath.

“You the guy who called?”

I nodded.

“Well alright you’ve got supernatural timing buddy, you can start right now. Cane grass is wound up around the driveshaft, stuff is like steel-braided cable when it gets bundled up.” He emerged from the underside of the pickup to face me.

He stood about six feet, thin bandy arms and legs, pony tail tied back from his sunbeat brow, swarthy skinned and leathery lookin. Every square inch of skin that I could see was covered in faded red and orange flame tattoos. I reckon he was about 40 years of age, with a strong jaw and pronounced Roman beak of a nose.

Tucker, I said, and extended my hand to him.

3. WAS THEN I TOLD SASKMO HOW I MET MY BOSS

Was then I told Saskmo how I met my boss, Blaze, and how he placed in my outstretched hand a small but sturdy Japanese wood saw and set me to work cuttin away that God forsaken cane grass, and how I told him it was a fool’s errand workin this kinda desperately quixotic and woefully inappropriate tool, seein how the cane had wound so tight it twisted the recent model pickup’s driveline in two pieces, twisted it like it was a empty aluminum pepsi cola can, told this to Blaze and then he got to thinkin.

“Why don’t you get on back of the quad and ride up to the farm with me.”

And so I went, off to the farm.

At this point, the bartender hisself had wiped and polished his way over to our dusty corner of increasing gravitas and polished his steins with an ear perked for possible gratuitous and parrotable information, such stories bein the bread and butter of half-horse towns like Clio.

And so it went that I told a now increasingly slack-jawed Saskmo, a cleft-lipped but polite bar patron and a passively attentive barkeep of my journey through the feral jungle on the back of a creaky all-terrain Honda motorcycle-- having coincidentally collided with my intended target and source of future financial and ipso facto spiritual security: the leathery, tattooed enigma that was Blaze, owner and Lord of the land through which I was presently traveling.

Was me that told my captive audience how Blaze brought me to a farm the likes of which I had never seen, a veritable cornucopia of tropical fruits and nuts, such as only previously described in the verses of the King James Bible in reference to the garden of Eden, though I doubt that even Adam had ever seen the sort of eclectic biomass that was then demanding my attention: Coffee beans, Macadamia nuts, pineapple, guava trees, and interspersed amongst the bounty were fully naked men and women cooperatively harvesting the fruits of their labor amidst modest wooden huts and canvas structures tucked in to the landscape, and carnivorous plants and vegetarian insects and unidentifiable species of all make and model, masticating and copulating in great clouds of bilious nasty and generally flippin the bird to any assumptions or psuedoprescient notions of mother nature that I had packed along in my consciousness.

Blaze came to a stop in front of a small, canvas covered building I took to be an outhouse, mostly through olfactory stimulation as opposed to ocular recognition.

A young interlocuter leaned in close to ask in earnest, “Whats that ya said? Olfacterer?” Somebody in back yelled out, “It means it smelled like a shit house! Quiet down now!”

Detailed to Saskmo and company how, after pulling a mass of tangled ferns and junglevines from the formerly indistinguishable rain gutters of the boss’ personal lavatory--risking grievous bodily harm and painful inflammation of corporeal extremities via entanglement with a displaced centipede-- I found myself in the afternoon sun with a polaski in hand, prepping the soil for the foundation of a communal living structure, commonly labeled a Yurt.

Now listen closely, Saskmo to that word, yurt, keep it handy for your referential deployment, as it is a reoccurring source of experiential learning in the progressive unraveling of this narrative and of central importance to the communal new age movement.

Saskmo's left eye had gone glossy and grey, the color of wet basalt, his head askew to his neck and shoulders and a bead of spittle had coalesced at the right hand junction of his upper and lower lip, preserved from breaching the angle of repose solely by the long spent wad of chaw tucked haphazardly betwixt his teeth and gums. Without raising his eyes from his mug the barkeep paused from his labor to deliver a perfunctory slap between Saskmo's shoulder blades and then resumed polishing. Saskmo pitched forward and coughed as though the Lord had touched him and ejected the aforementioned chaw in a parabolic arc across the horizontal plane of the weathered plywood table, its flight perturbed and cut short of geometric perfection by a sudden change in air pressure as the tavern doors swung wide and in walked the Sheriff of Limbo County-- Six four in gator-skin shit kickers with a 2 pound brass belt buckle that read "Giver" on the front, the two time state championship MVP fullback for the Clio Coyotes (got a bronze casting of his cranial bust down at the county courthouse) and Purple Heart recipient--earned whilst savin the collective ass of his entire platoon from certain calamitous end and discorporeality in Viet Cong country (still walks with a limp on account of the mortar shrapnel what made its home in his backside as he dusted the jungle floor with a barrage of biblical retribution)-- sauntered along the the length of the bar, the syncopated knock of his Tony Lamas causing sudden and acute correction of both posture and attitude of anyone within kicking distance.

"Tucker Ambrose, I heard you were long dead of malaria an general lack of vertebral fortitude, and despite the good news it seems my glee was premature in fruition because here you are now, polluting the air and fouling the hearts and minds of our peaceful and politically docile citizenry."

Sheriff.

He pulled up a chair and removed his mirrored Rayban aviators, reaching for his corncob pipe he settled in and ordered a rolling rock.

Right, so there I am, back bent, puttin' plow to field, the maximal light of the equatorial sun ridin my shoulders when out of a nearby hut appears Blaze, sans clothing an glistening in the afternoon air like he just run a 10k, only he ain't sweating he's just covered in oil from head to toe.

Head to toe, I said, and gestured with my hands to illustrate the totality of my description.

"He was nekkid?"

As the day he was born, sheriff. He come outta that hut all shined up, fresh from a shitzu massage, and began dictating his approval and continued vision of the work to be done, one hand on his hip, the other gesticulating for clarity and emphasis. Standing there, as Moses on the mount and without a single hiccup or latency in oration he began to urinate in my general direction. Hands free. An unchecked stream of urine issued forth at random like a loose firehose and I strained to keep my poker face.

The boys around the table had nothing to say at this. Saskmo was upright and keen.

Now, mind you, I've seen a bit of strange in my time, and consider myself an open minded individual, but this is the first time I've encountered any thing thing of this particular nature or savior fair. I figure it's his land, he can do as he pleases; an i’ll do my best to maintain eye contact and not betray my inner consternation.

“I wouldn’t stand for no man pissin in my general direction, nekkid or not.” Sheriff said.

The men nodded in silent affirmative.

The man paid cash daily, Sheriff. On time every time. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Thats all I’m sayin.

4. COCONUTS, THE OCCULT, AND TANTRIC DISPOSITION

And so it went I passed along the facts and figures of how I wrought a reliable working wage from the fat of the fertile soil deep in the Jurassic thicket of Twin Falls. And how since having successfully satisfied a primary Maslowian need, I set out to find a humble place to rest my head, and how for almost a fortnight I roamed the countryside, laying out my bed roll in the dehydrated and woefully thorny Kiave groves of the southern slopes of Haleakala, Hitchhiking with Farmers and observing the ebb and flow of daily life as it concerns the passionately unemployed.

Kiave, I told Saskmo, is likened to your Texas mesquite, an equipped with hellacious thorns that will do deep and abiding damage to your self perception, I heard they were brought in by the Missionaries to encourage the natives to wear proper shoes, though I doubt anyone could verify it personally.

Said to the Sheriff, They are not my people, I've never been much predisposed to herd mentality, don’t seek to follow them or integrate into their circles, but while bartering with the rainbow children and chasing off feral cats and fidgety ice-heads I ascertained a few essential points on which the underbelly operates:

When rich and affluent people descend on an area, a glut of resources and amenities will soon follow. One can stroll through a million-dollar beachfront neighborhood in Maui and find clean drinking water and shower stalls at every beach. Because the wealthy own homes built on several meticulously landscaped acres of tropical flora and host a plethora of edible fruit trees irrigated by water piped in from wetter areas,-- plus rich folk never seeming to be around to enjoy these accoutrements since they must be jetsetting to other exotic locales for shuffleboard meetings and such-- You will find not much more than a 6 foot fence between you and a literal oasis where the inspired backpacker can easily camp inconspicuously in their own private eden. There is simply no need to pay $8.59 for a coconut when you can, with a bit of effort and tempered disregard for interpretive signs, climb a palmtree in the neighbor’s yard and relieve from it nature’s bounty..

I professed to the Sheriff, a slate-eyed Saskmo, the aloof barkeep and a row of civilians about 3 deep how it came to be that I found a home in the upcountry of Haiku on the north side of Maui. Came to negotiate a contract with the property owner, a forty-something corporeally phenomenal French woman, epitome of pulchritude, tantric master and reiki massage practitioner, plus Medium and telepathic communicator with sea going mammals and the like (she can speak to whales, so I'm told). She showed me the property and I paid her two months up front an then she jet off to France with her bandy, coconut-carving boyfriend weren't more than 20 years old.

Coconut water, I said, is the closest thing you can get to hemoglobin. They say it's nutritive as Mother's milk, plus tasty.

A nearby patron covered her sons ears at this.

You'll want to keep those ears shut, ma'am, for the duration here on.

Was me told how it turned out there were 12 other folks living in this big old house; vegans, freegans, fruitarians and pro-biotizers. Plus a swarthy Madigascarian fella who lived in the ravine below the house and often over dinner would detail to me the relative strength and duration of his auto-stimulated tantric orgasms. Truth was that the yurt/yoga studio deep in the backyard, which I often used for calisthenic exercise was in fact the focal gathering point for a bi weekly Kama-sutral orgy plus pyrophilial convergence that was a regular whos-who of local shop owners, restaurant managers, hotel clerks and State workers. I never was invited directly but I come down one evening after noticing a fair amount of foot traffic through the backyard, folks in velvet robes and elaborate headdresses with feathers comin out at all angles, plus a caterwauling dirge carrying on the wind. I stepped into the yurt, overdressed for the occasion and bore witness to a mythopeic flesh circus which appeared both primitive and futuristic simultaneously.

“They was Fuckin?”

If brevity suits you, Sheriff.

In the center of the yurt (a radial 60 feet) was an elaborate altar, with edible fruit and massive crystalline gemstone offerings, animal skulls and sea shells and a massive bowl of green paste what looked like guacamole but I later learned was in fact peyote cactus. Candles of all sizes were lit and cast amorphous shadows on the dionysian doings of the occupants therein. There were fully grown men and women crying and laughing and wailing and vibrating and some sedentary and some chasin eachother and some engaged in acrobatic coital postures requiring no ignoble amount of flexibility in both body and mind, inclined to exhibition and such. To put it in layman speak it was a clusterfuck. I zig zagged across the room, high stepping over a supine dwarf who was feedin grapes to a Scarlet Macaw and slipped out the back door to behold a sight what indelibly seared itself into my retinal apertures.

“Retinal What?”

“His eyes, dummy! Quiet down!”

On the lawn in front of me was a bonfire of Hadean reference and feeding it was a man near 7 feet tall dressed in full fur regalia and ram horns comin right outta his head, coulda told me he was Pan himself and I wouldna fought you bout it. Around the fire was a circle of nude drummers poundin away on wooden djembes and congos and some were clickin spoons and blowin on didgeridoos and all together contributing to a trance-inducing atmosphere. Outside of the drum circle were men and women martially manipulating weapons of medieval aesthetic, swords and whips and chains and staves with kevlar wicks dipped in kerosene, and all of them on fire and burning hot and bright and further adding to my ocular amazement.

I sat down a tic to check in with myself and roll a cigarette and temporarily check my dogmas at the door, whats seen bein not unseeable and such. It was at this impressionable time that I observed none other than Blaze (of the unrestrained urethral flow) emerge from the back door of the aforementioned yurt, face painted and totally nude save for a leather and fur underwear contraption that I can only describe as a strap-on kevlar dildo. He emitted a highpitched simian shriek and descended towards the fire, the crowd parting for him as he went. From out of the melee came two women carrying an aluminum pole archway 8 feet at the peak an 5 feet wide at the base and all along it were kevlar wicks dripping with kerosene. They placed it and went about setting the wicks to light. Blaze, in an awkward pushup-position, ceremoniously dipped his phalic wick into a can of kerosene and then set it ablaze, no pun intentional. He danced in wild circles around the perimeter of the bonfire, passing through the flaming hoop as he went. I couldn't even pause to blink before men and women were pushing through the crowd towards the fire and Blaze and his bobbing, flaming appendage and now he was leading them, dancing in circles with drums beating and women and men following him like some Pagan Pied Piper and, well, I just plain succumbed to the drama of it all.

The sky darkened a shade outside and the wind picked up as thick, bruised clouds rolled in on Clio's small horizon. The tavern was silent now, folks steeped in malt and hops and counting their trespasses, some taking solace in the fact that there were others in the world far more eccentric than themselves, and surely the gates of Hell would be bottlenecked with all the new arrivals and in light of this maybe the Lord would look kindly on the dust-ridden souls of Clio, Texas.

5. MY NAME IS TUCKER AMBROSE.

Was me supposed to tell you how, fueled by ambition and the promise of financial insulation to the tune of $20,000.00, I set off with a little black notebook in hand to capture and annotate the subtle vibrations of the most isolated and beautiful rock in all of God’s green earth. Was me also whom, one humid evening in the subtropics, got spiritually aloft and metaphysically uplifted, and was wooed by fire and the flesh and the spirit, and passed hand over hand the cup of Ambrosia, vinted by Pan Hisself, and in no small way did become unfettered by the passing of great swathes of time, and I became the creator and the creation, a dream character in someone elses dream.

It is not certain to me that I ever left that fire, nor is it evident that I returned for that cash payout. To be perfectly honest I’m not certain that was ever the point of this yarn as a whole. Some things is best left priceless I guess. And as for me and my little black notebook well I can only say that the best writing often happens while one is busy living, and the buds of truth brought forth in a fiction often bloom out of the manure of human relatings. Best keep your eyes on the road if you wanna catch the good stuff.

I looked up from my whiskey and observed a faint disturbance of the air, like heat waves rising off blacktop. The sky outside the tavern windows began to crumble and dissipate, pixelating and fading into the void, and then the street and the windows and the tavern itself began to hum and vibrate and the fabric of the air itself separated into its atomic parts, its geometric architecture. The Sheriff and the civilians and the barkeep all fading, till there was no telling where they stopped and the rest began. I looked Saskmo deep in his forsaken eyeballs as he sighed out his last breath and disappeared into blackness.

As you see me staring at the back of my hands, watching me watch myself discorp-oreate, you go ahead and ask yourself how much stock you place in your own self assured physicality. Ask yourself just who it is that might have dreamt you up. Go on. Ask.

fact or fiction
Ian Wilson
Ian Wilson
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