There was a time when I would have spent a great deal of energy chasing this one down. Now it just seems inevitable that something will go wrong in a matter of weeks anyway, and I'm better off maintaining distance.
I could have gone there, but I'm not gonna fucking beg.
Some of this means a lot to me, more than I let on. I'd tell you, but then I'd just be another pancake in the waffle house. Nobody wants pancakes when you can have waffles. Waffles are fun, pancakes are for when you're hung over and need comfort food, or to feed to your dog when you make too much batter.
Sometimes the phone rings and there's nobody on the other end. I pretend it's you, and I tell you everything that I've ever wanted to say to you but don't have the courage to tell you to your face.
Today the phone rang and nobody was there. I listened to the silence for a while, and then I hung up. I had nothing more to say.
Sometimes I wonder if I died and what I think of as this life is actually just the final spasms of my brain before it winks out of existence.
I first read William Gibson in WIRED magazine. It was a short story, I don't remember which one, but I think the guy died at the end, frozen in neon and lucite. This image gets corrupted in my head and becomes one of a man hanging suspended from the ceiling of an office, the skin from his ribcage peeled back to form angel wings.
I thought about going out to a sleazy strip club tonight and getting drunk. I didn't. I just really don't want fucking illusion and lies anymore. I've had them, lived with them all my life. Sometimes I think that's all I had. Was any of it real?
A long time ago in a land far, far away, there was a troll that lived under a small bridge. He was usually out foraging for troll chow, so we could cross the bridge with impunity.
One day I was walking across the bridge by myself when the troll leapt out from beneath the bridge and growled menacingly. In a gruff voice he said:
"Answer me these questions three
And the other side you'll see.
But if you get one answer wrong
I shall smite you with this bong."
In his hand, he held the biggest bong I had ever seen. Four feet long and glowing with elvish runes like liquid silver. It was beautiful.
"Dude. Nice bong."
"Really?" asked the troll. "You like it?"
"Yeah, totally. That's like the most awesomest bong I've ever seen."
The troll straightened up and smiled a shy smile. "Hey, you don't happen to have any weed on you, do you?"
"No dude, sorry. It's been dry here for months."
"Tell me about it." The troll sat down on the stone arch of the bridge. "I've been looking to find something, man. I can't think straight anymore, it's like there are a bunch of weasels in my brain chasing themselves around all the time."
I laughed. "Yeah, but I like to think of 'em as sorority girls instead of weasels, and they're having pillowfights instead of chasing each other."
The troll looked thoughtful. "And they're wearing really skimpy lingere, aren't they?"
"Yeah. Totally." I looked at my watch. "Dude, I gotta go. I gotta get to class."
The troll stood up. "But wait, you still have to answer my questions!"
"Dude, I already did. Three questions, right?"
The troll looked shocked, then crestfallen. His shoulders slumped. "Shit, you're right. You won fair and square." He stood straight and tall. "You have won the right of passage with cleverness and honor. Pass, friend."
As I walked past him, I heard him say "but dude, if you find any bud, look me up. And thanks for the sorority girls thing, that is fucking awesome."
I never did see the troll again. I think he got a new place closer to the lake where he could more easily chase ducks.
Good night Mrs. Calabash.