Man In Picture v2.0 “We Go To Mexico”

No matter the situation, it’s hard to blame anyone who’s had enough.  We all have a threshold.  I found mine.  I think I’ve just about had enough.  There is longer any joy in anything I do.  I sit with dread.  A monkey on my back.  My neck is a constant thermal knot.

Fight or flight.

I’ve seen the solution in my dreams. The beginning of it anyway.

I can’t tell you about it yet.

Nobody knows how things end.

He hasn’t been around for awhile. You may think that’s a good thing.

I don’t.

The longer he goes missing, the more anxiety I own.

I look for him harder.  I search for him on fast food cups and all other convenience store products.

It’s been three weeks now and not hide nor hair.  Not even an extra in commercials on TV.

Nothing.

Quiet.

No ice trays.  No toilet paper.

I’m as much of a mess as I’ve ever been.

He performs this vanishing conspicuously.  He knows what he does and so do I.  If I’m not thinking about him, I’m trying to forget him.  Either way, he is a Balrog in my mind’s eye.  He sits at a gray metal desk under a bare bulb in the very back room of my dreams.  He sits in there and breathes and sucks back drool and there’s fucking boars stinking and squealing.  Blood pooling.  Violence brewing.

Now the door is closed.  Not a sound.  Like he left.  I hate that.  I imagine some shuffling of paper, file cabinets opening and closing.  Chuckling.  If he’s not in there, he’ll be back.  Shit like this doesn’t just go away.

I still can’t walk worth a damn. My knees and ankles are beyond sore. I fall down sometimes because if I don’t, the low note plucked by my ankle travels up my spine and leaves me dizzy and sweaty and unable to stand anyway.  It doesn’t go away.

He’ll be back.

He owns and operates the opulent lobby to my nightmares. A cancerous entreaty to my darkest places. An invitation I’m unable to resist. I understand that half my misery is my own responsibility. It always takes two.  I’m not sure if I should be more alarmed by the emerging sense that I somehow have this coming or my willingness to acquiesce to it’s inevitability.  I’m so confused.  I’m living fears I could not have previously imagined and beginning to accept it on more than one level.

I am sick, maybe to death.

Do I miss him?

I have to ask, now that he’s gone.

In absentia, he gnaws at me.

I’ve got to get the fuck out of here.

It’s the wrong thing to do but I decide to run.

**********************************************************************************************************************************************

I need to test him.  See if he will follow and show himself.  I need to know if he has borders or boundaries.  This is what I tell myself.  I think I know the answer but tell myself to bear with me.  What if I lose him?  I’ll become a gringo art dealer, sell fake Rolex’s or counterfeit Cohibas.  I’ll do an adobe and cook corn tortillas over an open fire and find a handsome young Mexican woman to take care of.  I’ll learn to do without toilet paper.

Sometimes.
I book a five day cruise to Ensenada.

Last minute, but with help of William Shatner, I get a pretty good deal.  I use that travel service because of Bill.  He’s pretty much the only celeb I’d want a picture with.

I buy a nice cane for myself. The handle is a knife.

You’re not supposed to bring booze on board but I’m successful with a big ass bottle of Maker’s Mark. As soon as we sail, I head down to duty free and pay a buck twenty for a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue. I feel like good whiskey.  The clerk looks at me like she knows I feel like good whiskey.  I leave carrying plenty of good whiskey on two shaky legs.

I look into renting one of those scooter chairs for the handicapped. I tell them I have sprained achilles tendons. I lean on my cane. I think about flopping. I want one of these fuckers.  I’m in pain.  I didn’t think to book a handicapped suite and wonder about price breaks.  I’m freshly disabled I tell them.  I’m not thinking ahead yet I say.  Ultimately they give me one gratis, candy apple red, but still insist on expressing their displeasure at my not having reserved one. I tell them it just happened.  They tell me I can’t park it outside my room and start in with some yellow sharpies and illegible maps.

I snatch the maps and speed away trying disrupt as many ambulatory people as possible.  As I head toward them, I try to look as many in the eye as I can.  My basket contains spendy spirits.  I’m fucking handicapped.  Get outta my way, just got back from the USA.

Pricks.

I drive around on it a little.  I discover that I feel like a bitch on it because I don’t look handicapped and it’s pretty crowded for as big as I understand this boat to be.

I used to sell glass dildos and at my very first trade show there was a budding young porn star in the next booth.  She was hot, I liked her nose.  My first evening there, a gentleman arrived in a wheelchair he controlled with his tongue, otherwise no control of any limbs whatsoever.  I got anxious as he got more aggressive with his chair.  He was pushing the tables back into the the booth with his passionate, powerful, inflamed and only remaining limb.  Tongue.  It got to the point where it was time to do something as opposed to deciding if something should be done.  Heh, put yourself in that place.  Just then, she came out from behind the tables and sat in his lap.  I was stunned.  Impressed.  Logic and common sense on display from a less than likely source.

Chaos over and out.

I decide to hang on to my chair because my goddamn legs are half numb or half searing and sore.

I park outside my room and stretch the cord inside.

I hole up in my suite with my knife cane and some righteous hooch. I get myself a good heat on. I play with my knife and cane, whipping the handle away to reveal a long serrated blade.  I feel armed.  Prepared.  He won’t follow me this far.  He’s forgotten.  Haven’t seen him for weeks.

I drink more whiskey.  Temporary but severe haunting for my many sins.  I take a minute. I’ve got both bottles open now to compare them but there’s no fucking contest.  Um, Johnnie Walker Blue?

The Maker’s tastes like gasoline so I cap it and admire the red wax seal so much that I twist it back into the place where I broke it.

Liquid smoke with a cedar fire nearby.

I light a cigarette and remember I have a balcony.  I can smoke pot and cigarettes on the balcony with a drink and the ocean speeding by.  The moon is out.

So I do that.

It’s wet out.

I’m fascinated with the whole giant vessel pounding through the waves thing.  It feels like my first commercial jet ride.

I decide to look around.

This night on this boat is windy and rainy.  I don’t mind.  I explore her from stem to stern.  Five floors.  I leave my chair and use my cane wherever I need to.  She is a floating city.  Food whenever and wherever you want it.  Drunk people everywhere.  I’m not interested in talking to anyone.  I really just want to observe. The ship is awesome.  It’s huge.

I get a snifter of good cognac and find a way to step out on the bow.  It’s beyond some theater and down some stairs.  Really easy to find for the front most part of a giant ship.  No  light.  Completely dark save for a veiled moon.  I wonder whether I’m supposed to be out here and check the door behind me.  Unlocked.  Yes.  I say a toast  for my rabbit Watership.  My tears mingle with the rain and are taken by the wind.  I throw the glass into the sea.  Then I throw hard and away the martini shaker containing Watership’s remains.

The wind and rain are pissed off but I look back to see what happens as best I can.  He’s in the ocean now.  It was the most grandiose gesture available to me.  I can’t believe I got aboard a ship with a bottle of whiskey and a stainless steel martini shaker full of frozen rabbit remains.

The best and biggest I can do.  I don’t have his ashes.  I have his scrapings.

I’m glad no one can see me climbing these stairs.   I am fucked up.  Harder to figure out the cane going up.  “The smoker you drink, the player you get.”

In the halls, no one can tell the difference between your handicap and your inebriation if you have a cane and it’s stormy.  Pretty golden but I could walk better despite how fucked up I am if my legs weren’t so gluey and thorny.

Back to my suite.  I dial room service.

A grilled cheese sandwich.  I hope the sandwich has an impaled olive and a pickle on a toothpick cause that’s what I picture.  One of those little red cellophane toothpick trees.-  I kinda wake up when she asks if there’s anything else and I say, chicken nuggets, a side of bacon and some chocolate milk.

I remember I want tomatoes and bleu cheese but I think she hung up.

I watch an interesting program on the ships engines.  This is great.

Fuckin crack the sliding glass and there’s real ocean sounds.  Cool.

I remember answering the door and smelling the food. I’m not sure if it was the boat or me but gravity was a motherfucker.  I know I was still dressed.

Black olives stabbed through the grilled cheese halves with a green plastic sword.  Cool.  It kinda makes my night.  Still hot and melty.

I gorge.

Chocolate milk is moco delicious.

I dream about following my dad through some bar or restaurant and he disappears.  There’s a door in front of me so I push through it.  He’s in front of me kicking some huge guy in the ass or the backs of his legs when he misses with his own short legs and small feet.  I can’t stop my my dad, he’s furious, but this guy is huge, my dad is 77 but doesn’t realize it.  I lock my arms around him and pull him back.  He is very strong but not nearly strong enough.

There’s no way I can take this guy.  He’s fucking huge.

I wake up slow.  The ship isn’t moving. I look out the window at what must be Ensenada.  Gloomy but pretty.  I go outside to smoke and hope to puke so I can get that over with.  It’s a nice view.  Peaceful and colorful even in the gloom.  I can’t see how we get off the ship and realize it’s on the other side.

On my step back in, a humid and cloying cloud of whiskey does the trick.  All I’ve got is bile and it emerges with violence along with the snot from my nose.  Sensing a pattern here?  I’m used to it.  I’ll rehydrate and get some protein and a little fiber.  Some grease.  A balanced diet.

No sign of him the first night.

I’m on my first Gin Mary by twelve thirty.  Haven’t eaten shit.  I ordered some fries.  I asked for a lemon, salt is already on the table.  It’s overcast and a little drizzly but warm in the tourist section of Ensenada.  Strange place. Stray from the obvious path and it gets weird in a hurry.  Flies on meat and shoeless kids selling Chiclets or Wrigley’s.

I left the chair behind.  The shuttle drops me right in the middle.  My legs are killing me until I find a place to sit but I look around and see that it would have been an embarrassing clusterfuck in that chair. What if it ran out of juice?

When in doubt, wear boots. I did.

I can’t help but pay attention to how heels crisp and clack on the muddy sidewalks.  The texture of grit and composition of heel become three dimensional because of the delicate differences in sound.  A brief soundtrack from everyone walking by.  It informs how people stride and what they are shod with.  The scrape and click are a melody today and I am of it.

There’s a man who’s feet make no sound though his shoes appear ordinary enough. He strides with an umbrella as a walking stick and I’m sure he’s not an American.

I only hear his umbrella.

Must be some sorta crepe soles.

He wears a long coat and his hands are very old.  A simple ruby in a gold band on his right middle finger.  I see it from here.  His suit underneath the coat is the color of vanilla ice cream.  The coat is the color of desert sand.

Both pant legs clean, even the cuffs despite the weather and mud.

I see him walking across the street.  Again and again. Back and forth.  He has Colonel Sanders facial hair yet his face is very young.  Hardly any lines at all.

No matter how close he gets, I can’t hear him.  I can’t hear his umbrella anymore.

I’m nursing the mother of all dumbovers.

Eventually he makes eye contact.  Fleeting but I clocked it.  He acknowledges me without any sort of smile.

Within seconds, he’s at my table extending his hand and asking to join me.  Despite the weather it is crowded.  I smile and invite him to sit.  He says his name is Carlo Tarcisi.  He says it like that, I am Carlos Tarcisi.  I wonder if that’s Northern Italy.  I can’t tell by looking at him.

He’s odd.

He’s distinguished but generic.  Charisma but maybe a ghost.  A paradox that I just can’t put my finger on.

I tell him my first name.  He repeats his.

After the third drink, I forget all the rules.   What time the boat leaves etc.

The gold and ruby ring sounds the same note against his glass every time he sips from it.

His charm is Burt Lancaster.

Carlo doesn’t mind buying and we seem to be hitting it off.  I barely think about the boat and how hard it’ll be to get back on two half useless legs while shithammered.  When my mind does wander there, I feel like dropping a deuce, so I table the notion for further consideration once I’m back on the boat.

It’s all in the mind.

Carlo excuses himself for long enough to make me wonder if I lost him somehow.

I sip my drink and close my eyes.

I dream of a knife.  It’s not the first time.  The hilt is silver. The blade is hollow glass.  Inside is a liquid.  It looks like absinthe.

I dream that he’s waiting for me.  He knew what I would do and he’s ahead of me.  I dream he has the glass blade filled with emerald green acid.

Running is one thing.  Hiding is another.

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