Tuesday, November 07, 2017

the long goodbye

Enveloped by the silent moan of night he took a gulp of beer from a tepid Colt 45, “You say you don’t care about anything, Blasini, and to an extent that may be true. But, you are by far the most kind and intelligent person I have ever met. You always have interesting topics and project a positive attitude. You’re always so calm, nothing I seem to say – no matter how horrible or perverted – seems to faze you one bit. I do enjoy our talks.”
I glanced up toward the imposing San Diego skyline, sniffed the stench of urine from a thousand hobos, “I have a million experiences. I have lived a million lifetimes, it seems. More so than anyone.” I paused, reflecting. Reflecting a dire truth. “I should be dead. God knows almost everyone I knew is…yet, here I am. Damned to some purpose I have yet to grasp.”
He looked at me, smiled, blue eyes glazed in crimson with pupils dilated so big I could see his brain inside, “I believe you are destined to accomplish great things, man. You don’t realize it…but, you are going to accomplish a lot. Especially when you go overseas. But, when you talk to me, though you try to hide it, I sense so much pain in your voice. So much sadness and pain. You’ve told me of all this travelling…What are you running from, anyway?
“I…I really don’t know, anymore. I suppose I’d rather live than merely exist. I do enjoy travelling. Once an acquaintance wrote that he compared me to an outdoor cat, not an indoor cat. I suppose there is some truth in that. There is a whole world out there and I want to see and feel it…”
“But, what are you running from? I sense the loneliness in you, that yearning to have human contact…” He stops as a scrawny tweeker materializes out of the gloom. He casually asks the tweeker, “Hey, man, can you sell me some meth? I got three dollars.”
The tweeker, an emaciated, toothless and bald man in gym gear, looks at me with canceled  eyes black as night and then him, “I usually don’t sell nothing less than a five, but for you I’ll do it.”
I take two steps back so as not to interfere with the transaction. My friend says, pointing at me with a nod, “You don’t have a problem with this?”
I smile, “Problem? Not at all.” I exclaim in dramatic jest, “I wrote a fucking book on it!
He turns toward the tweeker who is busy shaking an obscene small amount of powder into a cigarette cellophane wrap, “Yeah, this is my friend, he wrote a book about meth. He’s published ten books.”
It was obvious the tweeker didn’t care. I didn’t mind, it was the usual response I received. After the transaction, the tweeker evaporated into the night. I grabbed the can of Colt and took a swig as passing car headlights caused our shadows to dance across dirty warehouse walls.
“Well,” I stated, “I best be getting back to Tijuana. The last trolley to the border is in twenty minutes. Goodbye, Ray. It was a pleasure meeting you.”
He flung his arms around me in a tight embrace, “You take care of yourself, man. You definitely made an impact on me. Goodbye.”
I didn’t want to let go. It is too far and few in between I meet someone on the same intellectual and emotional frequency as myself. Once again, I hardened my heart, turned it to ice, my face as blank and cold as a poker dealer. I lit a cigarette and left him to his own madness under that dull lamp post in the middle of a dark and dangerous city to return to my own lonesome road…

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