Gravel squelched and shook the cold night air. Cretinous cretins craned their necks to glance at me, obviously disturbed by the noise or my visage. But they: sore covered and forever wilting into the barrel fires that they warm their wool sheathed hands in, were far more fearsome looking than I. I was just the glutton of everything. I have consumed and excreted all that can be withdrawn and inhaled. I am the Buddha. I have experienced all experience.
My story had a beginning, but the stories of me will never end. I have lived my life to be a riddle. Someone is playing the saxophone. It’s a dour tune and it makes the spikes of hair on the nape of my neck tattooed with slogans of old gangs long forgotten stand up to try to catch sight of the player. It’s possible the player is just in my head. Except I have never touched a saxophone before.
Those underbridge trolls peered at me underneath their winter coats in the summer heat. They wanted what I had but I had it for me and they knew it. There was that glint about me. Excitement to fly away on the back of an adult maggot with still damp wings. Pin pricks never scared me as much as smoke did. Veins can’t cough. I have a beautiful singing voice.
I found my usual spot inhabited by a religion of rats. Worshipping my old gear. Sipping from the chalice whatever drops of plasma I had accidentally left inside. They grew stronger from my sacraments. Yet they scampered away at the sight of me. There’s no difference between them, those others like me, the cops, or the school children who drop change at me like I need it.
I camouflaged myself in newspapers from a year that never happened. Or was happening tomorrow. Dewey defeats Truman, and health care was going to be provided to jack-o-lantern jimmy who had more sores on his mouth than teeth behind what passed for his lips. I’ve made a fort for myself. I always feel like a child here.
And I intake fully what the rats get the scraps of. Golden brown I feel myself deep fried, too. Stuffed full of stuffing and laying in gravy rather than shit. You have to get to the point where you can’t tell the difference so much that there never was a difference to begin with. Bad becomes good and good becomes bearable. I too remember liking things.
I’ve seen all the things in life that I wanted to see. Not much, really, but what else is there. I’m husk, shucked corn, cleaned fish, empty pudding cup tumbleweed, but with more of a stench. Not even the vultures would want me. And still, my stomach begins to grumble again, and the sun peaks the tops of the buildings. I come down and rustle to my feet. Everything is just as fine as it’ll ever be.
Joe Bielecki is a writer from Michigan working in radio and television. He makes a movie podcast called Sharing Everything with his wife Cady, and produces noise music under the name Ring of Roses. Follow him on Twitter: @Noisemakerjoe