Time Twinkled On
Down the street in the gutter in front of the neighbor’s house, the black, round, head-sized shadow sat, waiting for me. A stream of dark shiny goop trickled toward it and continued on beyond it. A streetlight’s reflection glimmered in the stream like a moon over a river on an enchanted evening on another planet. I was afraid to pick up the head. That evil fiend would be the type to hang on to his life as long as possible just so that he could bite off my thumb or give me a heart attack by laughing at me. I was afraid to get near it. Probably nothing out of ‘the ordinary’ happened, but what if he had AIDS and I got his vile putrid blood all over me? I didn’t even want any of it dripping on my shoe. But Luke was quickly regrouping, getting everyone to do this that and the other thing so that they could get in the car and get out of here. Podd was dead; the situation was a little different. They had a good number of minutes instead negative seconds in which to depart. There was time to find his wife’s purse, get snacks, grab a few important belongings, like photo-albums and his baseball card collection. But they still didn’t have forever. “Hurry up with that head so you can help me with the body.” Luke whispered commandingly. I was the only one standing around doing nothing.
I started toward the head. I noticed a car about fifteen feet beyond the head; facing me silently and eerily like some character in a Steven King story. I recognized that car. It was the car parked in front of the Meghanopolis Apartments in the video I watched at Darla’s last night. I walked up to the driver’s door and looked in the window. I could see the keys in the ignition, beautiful silhouettes dangling, and reflecting glimmers of green from the dash lights.
This was my car now.
I went back and squatted down beside the head. I looked it over like I was a booby-trap expert. Already it had the first stages of that look poor Mr Barrish had; profound and utter emptiness. His face and skin and hair and color were all still there but the emptiness was already cast upon his face like a shadow. That was proof he had a soul. God have mercy on it now, I thought. Not because I felt sorry for Podd. But because I didn’t want God to get mad at me. I wanted Him to have mercy on my soul too.
I didn’t mean to be irreverent but I had to be cautious; I nudged the head a little with my foot, watching for a reaction. His face was definitely dead. I picked it up by a lock of his longish greasy silver hair and looked at it more closely, but at arm’s length so the blood would not get on me. That head had once belonged to a newborn baby and who the hell knows what had happened to it since till now. And that was the only sermon I could think of. I carried it, squeamishly, quickly, to the garbage can at the top of the drive way. I lifted the lid and dropped in the head.
Like the Tin Man getting punched in the stomach. I put the lid back on.
I felt grim, like I was burying him alive. Grizzly business. And we still had to deal with his bigger half.
Luke and I dragged it by it’s boots up the driveway, into his backyard. I felt like we shouldn’t be doing this. “We should dump this guy somewhere, Luke. It won’t make you look good in the eyes of the law to leave this guy here.”
“Ahhhh,” he swiped at the thought like a pesky mosquito. “We don’t got the time. I don’t want this thing in my car. Fuck it. Just cuz he’s in my backyard doesn’t mean I killed him.”
“You probably have fibers traceable to you all over him.”
“I’ll burn these clothes. I’m not worried. Fuck it. Come on, I wanna close this gate up.” We left the body on the side of the house. “Maybe it’ll be a week before somebody finds this thing,” Luke said, kicking the black boot back into the yard so he could close the gate. “I just need a day.”
I looked him in the eye and really felt like he was my brother. True brothers, since birth. It was a weird feeling. Perhaps the nearness to death and all that, plus being fellow potheads. I felt very bad for what I was putting him and his family through. I was driving them out of their home like they were Eastern European refugees.
I decided to give him Hugo Mogo’s money. I’d keep enough to get me comfortably into the Montana Wilderness. I put the bag down and reached in and grubbed my bag of pot, which I stuffed into my coat pocket, surprised at how small it felt now in my pocket. I’d come of think of it as something that could last me maybe six months; now I felt I’d be lucky to have it last till December. What a scary feeling. I grabbed three bundle of money and stuck them in my other pocket.
“Be careful,” I warned. “And here.”
I reached into the bag and grabbed another bundle of money. I showed it to him so that he knew what it was. I then showed him the inside of the bag, filled with more of those bundles. I stashed the one I showed him into my back pants pocket and handed him the bag. He looked at me with the most amazed and surprised look I’d ever seen on someone not in the movies or on TV. I had just handed him a treasure from out of the blue that he had never dreamed of. His happy shock blended with his guilt and shame about how he had to tell me that he wasn’t bringing me with them. He had been wondering how he was going to break the news to me. He wondered if I knew, since I was saying goodbye without ever having announced I was leaving. He was touched that I would spare him this awkwardness. And the money! He looked in the bag.
I started thinking maybe I needed a little more for myself. I reached in and grabbed another bundle, and then another, and stuffed them into my pocket with the weed. “Just to be on the safe side,” I explained. I would have grabbed another but I was really starting to feel cheap and petty and wishy washy and less generous than I wanted to pretend I was. He’d end up offering the bag back and I’d end up taking it.
“That’s his car right there,” I said, pointing down at the small burgundy box shaped car. “I’m taking that.”
“You can my Mustang. It runs good.”
“I’d rather take his car so I don’t feel guilty about dumping it anywhere I feel like. Besides, I’m curious about what I’ll find in it.”
He looked at the car. Then he looked at the bag I gave him. He put it down and opened it up and looked inside. He took out a bundle of money and looked at it up close. He dropped it and reached in with both hands and grabbed three or four bundles with each hand and looked at it all. He dropped all but one and flipped through it to see what the denominations were. He grinned dreamily. I was very happy for him.
“There’s a movie camera in there. If you can, have Clyde down load the movie to U-Tube. There’s a gun in there, too. Just in case. Throw it in a river if you want. I don’t want it.”
He didn’t hear what I said about the gun. He was just thinking of the money. I thought he was going to start blubbering. It made me feel happy about handing over to him the money that got me into this whole mess in the first place. But really what I was looking for when I stole that money was an escape from my old life and I had certainly found that and I would never be able to lose it.
I shrugged. “I dunno. Cuz you need it more than I do. You’ve got a big family here. And cuz it’s my fault that you’re in this mess. And cuz I promised God I’d do something good with this money. Cuz the first time I saw you I felt like we were brothers. And cuz I don’t even know what the heck I’d spend it on. I couldn’t even smoke that much pot. I got enough money here to get into the mountains with a year’s supply of food and hopefully somewhere — maybe some Indian kid in Montana can help me score a pound of that good stuff. I’m home free. I’m happy to give you this money.”
“Here man, take this.” He reached into a pocket and handed me his baggy of fresh green bud.
I probably gave him the same look of surprise and amazement he gave me. “Wowwww! Man, thanks!” I said. “This is great. This insures at least another week of interesting and safe adventures.”
“Well, maybe I’d better…” and he reached into the baggy and picked out three or four buds, each one was like a kick in the nads. “Thanks for this,” he said, showing me the bag, as he zipped it shut. “We’ll go somewhere and start all over again. I’m pretty clever when I have to be. In the navy I got away with all kinds a shit all the time. We’ll be okay,” he said. He suddenly looked into the car to see if his wife heard him say that. He looked at me and nodded that his secret was intact.
“Vio con Dios, amigo,” I said to him.
“You too,” He said to me and got into his car and closed the door. He gave me a thumbs-up and started the car. He backed out and turned and stopped. I stood in the street and he was a few feet from me looking at me out the window.
He nodded. I nodded back.
He took off down the street. Maysong leaned out the window and waved an open palm and flashed a big beautiful happy playful smile. “Goodbye, whoever you are!” she called out sincerely. That made me feel nice. I blew her a kiss. She kept waving until someone told her to climb back in. I stood there and watched them go, the red lights growing smaller, and then disappearing onto another street, and then the wind was all that was left of the Woodhollow Family.
I stood there a moment, soaking up the silence, the cool and enchanting fresh October air, staring up at the stars. I noticed the sound of cars whizzing by. There was a big wall behind a thick forest of little trees and big bushes just on the other side of the tiny street. That was the freeway over there. Podd got his head chopped off and we got rid of his body with about a thousand people going by non stop just fifteen feet away. It’s a weird world, I thought.
I walked over to Podd’s car and got in. I reached for the keys.
The keys weren’t in the ignition.
Robert Crabtree is working on a novel that will, if published and,
mind you, successful, change the world. Sadly, it will cause great
unrest and revolution and “The Cause”, (True Freedom), ultimately,
will fail, and we will all be enslaved or killed. (It’s gonna happen
anyway, of course; the book just speeds up the process cuz it warns
the masses and “the mob” will not be permitted.) But you gotta try;
right? Order your copy now, only $50. (It’s very long.)
Copyright © 2012 by Robert Crabtree