THE FOLLOWING SECTION CONTAINS EXSESSIVE ALAGORIC VOLENCE NOT SUITIBLE FOR CHILDREN UNDER TWELVE. ALSO, IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE THE AUTHOR'S PARENTS PLEASE CALL BEFORE READING FURTHER. HE'D HATE FOR YOU TO WORY.
A car came to a screeching halt. The driver late for work leaned out the window. "Get out of the road you crazy bastard!" The car behind swerved into the curve narrowly avoiding a collision, followed by a spontaneous burst of horns which signaled a morning rush hour juggernaut.
Barefoot and still in his hospital smock, bud stepped up to the curve of Linwood boulevard allowing traffic to resume. His powers of invisibility had failed once again. Humbled, he tried to ignore the drivers' evil stares. His self confidence was fragile enough, he couldn't risk a confrontation with the Devil. Up above the treeline he could see skyscrapers, distant but familiar. He recognized the Liberty Memorial and also the Crown Center Hyatt and wondered what he was doing in Kansas City.
A hour earlier Bud awoke in a small city park. He had slept in a dry fountain basin using damp leaves as a blanket. A passenger jet flying overhead woke him. He climbed over the fountain's decorative concrete railing to find himself surrounded by pedestrians headed to work and joggers. There were also dogs and pigeons. He walked amongst them until he realized he didn't know where he was headed. That's how you end up in strange places, Bud warned himself.
He stood at a street corner and pondered his options. When a young woman with long brown wavy hair approached, he asked for directions. Without even looking she walked by, crossing the street and leaving Bud talking to himself.
"Excuse me." Bud asked the next pedestrian, but she also ignored him.
Bud wandered down the street until he came to a group of office workers huddled near a glass entryway smoking. "Excuse me. Can you tell me where I can buy a cup of coffee." They didn't seem to notice Bud either. 'Damn!' Bud thought, 'invisible again.'
Between two super mega hotels and their luminous casinos, the Sirens of the desert sky lie an eighth mile stretch of chain link fence. A strip of land that once fronted the great Sands Casino is now just a pile of ruble whose ashes wait to rise up into something more magnificent… and profitable.
This neglected strip of sidewalk was prime ground for Los Vegas's seedy trades. Countless solicitor's handed out glossy advertisements selling sex shops, sex shows, sex fantasies, sex acts and plain sex. It was a simple operation: you took the flyer, called the number provided and followed a few basic instructions, easy and legal. The solicitors were paid by volume and weren't particular as to who they gave their literature to. The whole family could walk away with full color brochures of topless women in sadomasochistic poses.
Bud laid amongst the littered brochures, his head resting against the chain link fence. The solicitors ignored the man with glazed eyes, patchy beard and empty bottle of Bourbon on his chest (something Bud had found earlier in the day, empty of course). Bud had no money, he didn't even have pockets. How did he get here? Maybe he hitched a ride or jumped on the back of a freight train. Did it matter?
A family walked down the sidewalk toward Bud. The father held a young boy in his arms. The daughter wearing a blue dress with white lace reached up for her mother's hand as they passed him.
"That man's smelly." The little girl told her parents.
The Eiffel tower, a sign of progress, can cast a dark shadow. In an area of old warehouses on the Left Bank in Paris the sound of a wrecking ball could be heard occasionally. Le nouveau Paris. It was an area populated by artist and small buisinesses, but gradually the old buildings fell, replaced by new trendy places to live and work. Some Parisian fought to save their beloved old warehouse district on the Left Bank, dreaming it could be an artistic center for all of Europe. But the lack of interest in the historic significance to this side of the Seine exposed them to rising property costs and diminishing building values. Beauty fleeting.
Bud sipped on a bottle of red wine a prostitute had given him. "Yea, they tear down nice buildings like this in St. Louis too." He didn't notice the prostitute searching around in his tattered bag of belongings for his passport.
"You said you are American, yes." The prostitute asked.
"Yea, I'm sure. Or I think I am. Where did you say we were?"
She grunted and continued to search for the passport, desperate to get the hit of heroin her pimp would trade for it.
"You ever wake up and find yourself in a strange place?" Bud asked as she was dumping the last of his belongings out. "Because it's been happening to me a lot recently."
Frustrated by her failed search, the prostitute tossed Bud's bag on a pile of concrete rubble, grabbed the bottle of wine, took a swig then slowly slumped down to the earth beside Bud. She let her head fall to her knees and when she lifted it Bud noticed a tear in her eye, he placed his arm around her shoulder. "No really, it's not that bad" He told her. "I'm just not sure if I'm getting any frequent flyer miles for all this travel."
The two sat in each other's arms, finished the bottle of red wine and moved on to a joint, quietly appreciating each others sympathy. Two desperate souls who could recognize the pain in the other's eyes. Clouds parted in the sky above, and they both took it as a sign. Here on this little spot of damaged earth their suffering ends.
How could they have found peace in this least likely place? Was there something special about the other, by chance they just stumbled upon or could hope had always been present. Joyful dancing angels who never left their side, but they had failed to see. Foolish clowns who found that they never lost? Would they be able to rise up from this ruin, walk away with life anew? Forgiveness and salvation granted? Happiness found.
The prostitute kissed Bud
on the cheek and he understood. Then she spoke, " J 'étais
un mannequin célèbre…" which Bud didn't understand,
but he let her finish her story, knowing whatever she said was beautiful,
and she deserved his attention, and maybe she'll buy more wine.
The prostitute screamed and ran down the street leaving Bud curled over on his side.
The midget kicked bud in
the gut. "Get up you lazy bastard."
A crowd gathered on the street to watch the spectacle. The midget rased his voice so the people in back could hear. "Do you know how much it cost to send an entire movie crew to Paris?" He kicked bud again, grunting to emphasize effort he put into it. "If David was in charge he'd kill you here on the spot and replace you with a stuttering albino."
With the little energy Bud had left, he raised his arm.
"Attendez!" Someone in the crowd yelled "Je crois qu'il va parler."
Bud's lips parted and poetry floated out…
I gave her my shoes
…the midget put all his weight into an Atomic Knee Drop, a stunt he had learned on the wrestling circuit in the 1970's. Bud didn't know what hit him. Suddenly he couldn't breathe and he heard the roaring of a crowd. The midget stood over Bud's body which was curled into a ball and told his audience, "He ain't going to use any of that poetry crap on me."
The onlookers cheered wildly
as the midget kicked Bud's head. No one noticed the serial killer wearing
a ski mask as he pulled an axe from under his trench coat and raised it
into the air…