Friday, February 8, 2013

Sir Mix-A-Lot's Mercedes

            A fire hydrant had exploded down the street, and the cars going by were making that sound tires make when they roll over wet. A helicopter was droning away up above with helicopter sounds, and somebody screamed a scream that sounded just like your usual garden-variety scream. I was up to good.
            For the last time in a while I rode on the rail of a garbage truck while it moaned its groggy way through town. There were signs taped to all the store windows written in red pencil reading, “Temporarily Open.” I played some nearby tubular bells while waiting for a man to stop using the phone. It was not quite by a short-shot worth the wait. Luckily I remembered that I was an adult, and I blanked my face just in time to interact with the phone user. He wasn’t short enough to be considered disadvantaged, but not by much. I decided it was too cold for any of this sense, common or not, and thence decided to go home and give all my pennies to any mail carriers I might meet on the way.
            “Oh, start it!”
            “Mess with me!”
            “I won’t, will I?”
            These were the sort of conversations that were falling through the terrain of my head. I caught things in blood-red satchels. I attacked and bowed out while dreaming of chances taller than swamp holly…
            “…and it’s beer berries to the highest, or, if nobody bids, a blood-red satchel for your breath, at least. More famous than anybody’s name in this town. Noise or no noise. What’s it not made of if not of road-kill blood?”
            “Show me your stars and I’ll show you mine. Un-lick all my stamps. I read that I heard that somewhere-- recently, I think.”
            “Fell in love with a holstered girl, the kind with rhubarb eyes and piano legs. She had hair like corduroy and belly-dancer hips. Etiquette’s for the deviled manners of stuck-up porcupine-coat-wearing losers. At my and your parties Tree-Lobster salads were mostly a hit with most of the passenger-side drivers.”
            “Whose my?”
            I got home before the cabbage deliveryman had arrived. A bi-polar sailor dressed in white flower-print slacks and a government-issued tank top with seals on the front was smoking a menthol cigarette on my porch. I nodded to him a few times while I attempted to fit my key into the front door’s lock. I was less than successful. He nodded back at me and smoked his cigarette.
            Then he spoke up: “My grave’s in the bottom of the sea. Friends of mine, they’re all on that good Rueben James. 44 saved? Sure. But me? I weren’t a one of ‘em. See?”
            He lifted off his face. He dared me to punch. I said I wasn’t thirsty just then, but perhaps later in the eve. This didn’t bother him in the most, and he disappeared like disappearing ink.
            Owls make the worst pets. They don’t help you a darn when you can’t get inside your own home. My key wouldn’t work in the lock that it had always keyed pleasantly into. There was nothing my pet owl could do about it.
            After remaining on my porch for a bad 15 minutes, I put some ChapStick on. I held the tiny cylindrical tube in my fingers and glared at it. I wondered about Dr. Charles Browne Fleet, an old-time pharmacological thinker from Lynchburg, Virginia who invented ChapStick away back in the 1880s. His product was just a wickless candle wrapped in tin foil, really, and it didn’t sell well. But more to it-- I kept on with my wondering-- what transition in timelessness did Lynchburg’s Mr. John Morton make in 1912 when he bought the rights from Fleet for 5 dollars? Or was the real genius some of Mrs. Morton’s doing? She’s the one who took the slabby mixture and let it cool in the family kitchen where she hacked it up into sticks with a sharp knife. That’s when the stuff started really making some sales. People liked the little tubes they could carry around in their pocket. I stared at that famous ChapStick logo, and my wondering moved on to Frank Wright Jr., a commercial artist also hailing from Lynchburg, who in 1930 was commissioned to design the CHET ChapStick logo, the same logo that is still in use today. He was paid a flat fee of $15 dollars for his efforts. And then I thought, ‘Why would a town be named Lynchburg?’ That cut it. I was done with my wondering.
            For the time-- which I was attempting to be in the midst of being-- I strolled west of my porch, then I galloped due southeasterly, then I lolled for a bit in an alley covered in vines which were strung with paintbrushes and foreign bills.                          
            Then I thought this: ‘Not since the Seleucid Empire have the wasps around here felt this way. I hope they build their nests higher this time, and really just go for it. Because, well, you just never know, now do you?’
            Then I said, “Keep it realistic.” But nobody heard me. This didn’t, for somebody else’s reasons, bother me in the thickest, and I kept talking, and then singing, and then talking-- mostly stuff like, “Paula Modersohn-Becker’s self portraits are early predecessors of Muppets. And I’m wrong off, man. Due to circumstances well within my control, and out--inside, of course-- without an eternity’s hesitation, I’m on to hear what the devil’s got to say about the impact of cherubs on tax brackets, or whoever, or whatever, or, hell, I’m no longer interested. Sing the song of an ugly penny, one of zinc and Lincoln and copper, lost brass and bronze, flying eagles and Indian heads, days gone with high seigniorage, and thoughts’ heavens and beyond. The pawnshop’s a chapel, with neon lights like nothin’ you’ve ever seen. When the time comes for a revival, you’ll fit out within what I mean. Together’s just a nightly reminder, to iron and press all my dreams. If I jump ship and into the icy seas of your ways, please don’t drown me in your schemes.”      
            By the time some time had passed I had made my bowing-out way to The Land Of Bifilar Wound Toroidal Transformers. I swayed and bobbed along with the net magnetic field of things in general, which allayed me close to zilch, for then; and for a self-inductance-hinged moment I conceived of all energy as one massive magnetic flux that I alone controlled with my breathing. I belted out one last thing:
            “I am faulty wire to be clamped to the ground by a mischievous diode-- which is also me (in fact even more so)-- so that when others’ primary wires of that great bifilar coil in the sky no longer have voltage applied across them by that fiery switching transistor that seethes farther down than any below, the stray magnetic flux generates a wish’s current in a prayer’s clamping coil with the primary side voltage of life and love appearing across it, causing an equal resilient voltage to appear across all the world’s windings from heaven’s vaulted ceiling to the ninth circle of hell. This will not do. Of this and of nothing am I certain. That is mostly all, folks. Mostly.”