Why was he walking through these woods thinking good things happen in threes and bad things happen in threes? He saw the numeral in his mind then thought of The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. A guy and two chicks. Saltines, peanut butter and milk. Joplin, Morrison and Hendrix. He got the Father and the Son. What the fuck was the Holy Ghost? Or what is who? Then he fell.
He woke up freezing. In the creek. Freezing in the creek. His eye opened on the clear stream rippling in winter moonlight like it was the world. His eye and the stream. Two worlds. His one eye opened on two worlds. Itself and the moon on the water. He exhaled and the moon disappeared. One had to go. It wasn’t going to be him. Not now. Not tonight. He clamored up the banks. Each step forcing his weight back into the stream. His arms would wave like he was dancing his way off the stage. He would his stamp his foot into the frosted muddy bank. He stomped it into the sucking mud. He felt each tiny ice crystal being corrupted through the toe of his Chuck Taylors where the sole flapped opened. The mud leaked into his sneaker. It invaded his sock. It infested every available opening. There was no defense when the assault occurred on such a microscopic level. He found a cold slick root. He shook hands with a cool slick root and hauled himself up until it burned through his grasp. Burned through his grasp on a night when it 20 degrees outside and he was outside. He grabbed again. He waved as the root shook avoiding his hand. Finally he grabbed it and pulled himself up out of the stream in one lung-emptying lunge that filled his windpipe with coarse sandpaper going down his gullet and he vomited. He vomited again his knees pitched into the bank. He prayed. He vomited. He clasped the loamy earth, scratched at the lip of the world. Got up to his knees. Penitent. Then fell face first into his own pool of steaming vomit. This time he said. I’m not going to open my eyes. If the moon wanted to shine go ahead and let it. He didn’t care.
He slept a peaceful sleep that started to blur at the edges. The edges of his sleep were blurred with frost. His blood ran cold. Colder than the stream yet not frozen. He expelled the crystallized air from his lungs and woke up tasting a faint hint of peach schnapps in his nostrils. He told himself two more breaths and then he would stand up and walk home to whatever awaited him there. One more breath and he would stand up and be on his way home to catch holy hell.