After we buried the trendsetters alive (just to hedge our bets) we wandered about aimlessly alike the great unwashed. By the time we had realized our error they didn’t rouse from their dirt-naps and instead fell like meat off the bone. We were “between the shit and the stink” as Monroe has so eloquently and presciently forecast. Ruggles said, “It’s all over but for the crying” and we seized him immediately consigning him to the same earthen slumber given such other leading lights. It was getting late by then and the food was running low. We had seen many long dark nights and this one seem to bear the brunt of oncoming darkness with a mischievous grin.
Of course by then we had been installed and Reitkopp persuaded us to merely torture arrogance rather than extinguish it. I felt this was a form of arrogance in and of itself but kept my hungry mouth closed. We allowed him to set the pace and just over the ridgeline as the hungry night yawned into the diluted day we were suddenly, each of us, accompanied by our own respective magpie flying right alongside us flapping its wings subtlety sounding like a heavyweight contender bitch-slapping a tuft of cotton. It was another day thankfully. Another one, goddamnit.
It made me recall the time I had nothing to do and kept thinking about things, everything, all the time. 3:12 am and I would wake up from a nightmare the kind that can only be stilled by rising and walking it off: I was lying in the back of 1965 Chevy El Camino hurtling through time and space like most others until we entered a green, protean valley moist with the tears of a thousand mea culpa and every fifty feet or so a black-hooded harpy would materialize out of the verdant ether to scrape her white calcified nails along my right shin. I was rescued by Consciousness only to be subjected to the peregrinations of a world beyond my control flickering dimly at 3:25 am, my throat dry, nose congested and the eyelashes of my right eye sealed shut by a desiccated torpor that danced sanguinely in my peripheral vision. We were tracking towards the ocean or what was left of it fashioning knives from abandoned railroad lines and suburban clotheslines to pry what saline we could from what was it once, the Pacific?
We were on our way to raze a capitol.
“No,” said Sokolov, “To praise a catapult.”
“But I’ve already written it in ink,” I retorted.
“So it’s a fait accompli?” The Russian conjectured.
“No,” I said raising my index finger to balance heaven on a chewed nail, “No, it’s a raison d’être!” I declaimed.
“It’s a trompe l’oeil!” shouted McCormick from way, way in the back.
“Shut up”, I admonished him and the entire phalanx reminding them it is sheer pleasure to annihilate capital. To find, raze, clear, sculpt and hone the last of the last frontiers like some idiot-savant in medical school while a coterie of disinterested slaves falls fast and hard by your wayside, roses clenched in their teeth, who now must forget the crack of the whip just as they learned to love it. But we always meant to engage the zombies and pulled no punches when conscripting them so shed no tears when they stand aside idly. Lost amongst them like a contagion may be someone you once loved or muttered something to about cigarettes or washing the car or inexorable love over falafels but they’re dimming, the photographer manipulating their presence with a technology not yet named. This is exactly how you feel, exactly what you are doing, here, one step away from the edge of the world.