Image: A sketch I once sketched.
I can't seem to find my mini hard drive with all of my awesome photos. Big bummer. Still working on a few posts about my travels and recent discoveries, but I can't post them without the damn pictures which are saved on my damn mini hard drive which is still damn missing. Hope it turns up soon or else I might have to revert to emotional eating again. And maybe break out in hives while I'm at it. In the meantime, y'all will have to make do with my uber-OCD-someone's-obviously-got-muchas-problemas sketch. I think I was trying to make a codex but then realized there were 26 letters in the alphabet, but, of course, the grid I made had already been set and I had to complete the series or else bad things might happen, like the rapture might actually be true. Or, knock on wood, Betty White might croak.
Anywho, just in case y'all were wondering, I'm still wandering the world, being a starving artist. Here's an excerpt of another story I've been working on. I think it's pretty awesome. I hope you concur, because then that would mean that I am a swell writer.
I stood at a corner of a tiny town that I had come to know quite intimately the past week, waiting for my ride. Contrary to the idea of the nomad life as romanticized by the likes of Jack Kerouac, living on the road isn't all adventure and self-discovery. In fact, most of it is simply picking up and moving. After a while, carrying what life you can fit into a duffel bag is less an adventure, and more tediously tiring monotony. Perhaps, adventure is reserved for literature and cinema.
I was completely broke. I didn't even have two cents to rub against each other, so they say. And so I finally caved in after I had exhausted my network of friends within the tri-state area, and I called my distant uncle and asked for a bed.
In the shadow cast by a gas station, he drove up in his run down old jalopy of a car. It was a black, beat up Lincoln Towncar. It looked like one of those old gypsy cabs that no one would ever dare get in for fear of smelling like cheap whores and shame. It was my only option at this point, so I drew in a deep breath and hopped in, hugging my duffel bag to my chest.
He wasn't really a distant uncle in terms of degrees of relation, rather, he was as an uncle I felt distant from. Mostly because he rarely spoke at all. In addition to his proclivities for silence, I haven't seen him in years so we awkwardly shook hands and inquired on what each has been up to. We exchanged the normal pleasantries, asking about each's family, each's dog. We discussed the weather as my skin stuck to the fake leather of his car. There was a heat wave these past few days, he said. I know, I said, as I felt my pores ooze last night's cheap whiskey into the unbelievably humid night air. At least I'm detoxing, I tried to justify the ungodly heat in my head.
By the time we got to his house it was late. Everyone was asleep so I was greeted only by his overeager dog, a pit bull puppy with a propensity to urinate where he stood. Uncle showed me to a spare room with a bed. The room was tiny, more a closet than a bedroom, but it had a bed. Ah, a bed. I had the sudden urge to pray, kneeling beside the bed like I used to as a child, hands pressed together and eyes shut earnestly. I thought about it for a moment, trying to count the years that have passed since I last sent a prayer into the vast unknown, until I finally decided against it. I hadn't slept in a proper bed in months, so I was glad and I fell asleep as quickly as I hit the mattress.
This house is the last front to this war we've been yanked into, Cousin said.
Whatever happened to a simple good morning? I didn't feel like discussing politics that early in the morning so I didn't look up from my bowl of cereal, only barely nodding in acknowledgment of his presence.
I'm sure you've heard about our relatives who disappeared, Cousin continued, unable to let the topic go. They just disappeared out of thin air and no one knows how or why, but everyone suspects each other.
My ears pricked up, wait, this isn't politics. This is about our family, the family that I had neglected all of these years. Finally, the evil of this family has reached its brink, and now it was beginning to self-destruct as they fed on each other's misery like cannibals of a sicker kind.
My pops hates talking about it, Cousin said as Uncle walked into the kitchen to grab something to eat before heading out to one of his two jobs. Pops thinks it's bad to talk about it because it will only get worse.
Uncle simply shook his head, clearly disapproving.
Uncle spoke very little, but when he did, his words were always tender in a very calculated sort of way. It was as if within the innermost depths of his soul there stood a single flower. I imagined the flower of his soul stood lonely and frail, protected only by his silence, bending slightly in the great winds of such a vast expanse. It was such an incredibly beautiful flower that I wanted to call it a name that mirrored its wonder even if only in name but my awe would not allow it.
Has Auntie left for work already? I asked in an attempt to change the subject. Auntie was the complete opposite of Uncle. She was brash like crashing waves against the hull of a ship, beating it into subordination while carrying it all at once. They complemented each other well.
Uncle gave a quick nod right before walking out the door in a rush. I couldn't tell if that was a yes, Auntie had already left for work, or if he chose to ignore my question and the nod was a goodbye. Maybe it was both.
Cousin did not want to drop the subject. No one really knows what's going on. The whole thing is a fucking shit show. We used to have three houses on this block, filled with cousins and uncles and aunts. Now, it's just us. Just this house.
I didn't know what to say so I just shrugged my shoulders in response and stepped outside to light a cigarette. Cousin followed me, insisting on discussing the matter, bumming a cigarette off of me. I wanted to refuse. I wanted to tell him that living on the road might be cheap, but only to those with jobs. I wanted to remind him that I no longer earned an hourly wage. I wanted to remind him that cigarettes, with the increasingly skyrocketing taxes on them, have become like gold and diamonds to my eyes. I wanted to tell him of how I cried when American Express cancelled my card. But then I remembered that I was sleeping in his house and eating his food.