Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Note to Self

That's all.

p.s. Never mind.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Yeah Ya Tryin' ta Tire Me, Tire Me

"I can see you in front of me, front of me
Ya tryin' ta tire me, tire me
Why don't you get from in front of me?"

That's right. I delete span tags to Rage Against the Machine.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What Should Have Been

I can’t stop thinking that this is all happening over a bag of carrot sticks. We were driving to get carrot sticks. An ‘84 Chevy Monte Carlo was not in the plan. Neither was its license plate cover. “I’d rather be golfing,” it said. I must have read that twenty times before it hit us. Me too, I thought, which is funny because I don’t even know how to golf. It’s important to keep your sense of humor at a time like this. Trust me I know.

“I’m sorry, what was that? No, I said we were going to get carrot sticks. A bag of carrot sticks.”

The police are always asking me questions, ever since it happened. What does it matter where we were going?

“Huh? Oh, right.”

Sorry for the interruptions. He’s right though, I’m really not supposed to sit up. “Sir, you need to lie down,” they keep saying. Who says sir anyway? Sorry, where was I? Oh right, golfing… You want to hear something else that’s funny? The biggest lie I’ve ever been told came from a Volkswagen Bus in the intersection outside Piggly Wiggly. I mean, that just sounds funny. I was almost eleven when it happened. My father was headed to a hardware store for wood stain—my father was a carpenter, you know, just like Jesus, except that’s where the resemblance pretty much ended. Three days after he broadsided that Volkswagen in the intersection, my father was still very much dead.

I got my first birthday cake that year, by the way. It wasn’t until later that I found out you’re supposed to make a wish before you blow out the candles, but that was okay; I’d already gotten everything I wanted that year, and I thought I’d learned an important lesson—that lie I was telling you about—that red means stop.

The trouble is, I stopped. According to the Volkswagen, Tiger Woods and his Monte Carlo over there shouldn’t have hit us. I mean, Charles and me.

You’ll have to excuse me again.

“Yes I can hear you, officer. Of course I know I’ve been in an accident. I’m pulling glass out of my hair; I’m very aware that I’ve been in an accident. No, I don’t want to lay back down. Why don’t you stop worrying about me and arrest that man? He should be in handcuffs, not on a stretcher. Whose idea was it to give him a license in the first place? I’m telling you, I’m fine. Are you going to arrest him or what?”

This is ridiculous. It’s hard enough sitting here without having to tell these people how to do their jobs. That man is obviously drunk. It’s barely three in the afternoon. What’s a guy got to go through to be flat out drunk at three in the afternoon?

“Excuse me, officer, what time is it?”

Three forty-five. Not even four and the guy’s so plastered he doesn’t know where he is. And what’s worse, I’m actually not that fond of carrot sticks. No particular reason that I know of, but I haven’t liked carrot sticks since I was five. They were for Charles. I guess in a way I can be glad we never made it to the store, because I’m not sure what I would do with a bag of carrot sticks now.

They aren’t going to tell me, by the way. Charles is dead and they aren’t going to tell me, as if I didn’t already know, as if my arms weren’t still tired from holding him. You’d be surprised how heavy a five year old can be. I couldn’t believe how heavy he was—I’d forgotten how heavy he was.

I know this sounds strange, but I—I don’t remember… ever holding him before the accident. That might sound odd but you’ve got to understand… I loved Charles. I just—I didn’t want him to get hurt. We all have to let go eventually, so why put him through it any more times than necessary? Why rehearse the inevitable? I couldn’t put Charles through that again.

I don’t know why I’m telling you any of this; it’s not going to change anything. But I guess I’ve got to explain myself now. I don’t want you to go away thinking I’m a bad person.

I was Charles’s age when my father started ruining my life. “Father/son bonding time” he called it, “just in case.” On my birthday, nonetheless.

He took my measurements first. Thirty-eight inches long, he said, and twelve inches wide. “A little small for your age, but that’s fine; we’ll save wood.” I remember we always added a few inches to allow for growth. Better to play it safe, he’d say. Five years old and I spent my birthday in the garage with my father, helping him build my own coffin.

Normal families mark off their children’s height on a doorjamb or something. I found out how much I’d grown each year on my birthday, based on the size of the latest coffin. “You never know when your time will come,” he would say. “It never hurts to be prepared.”

I’m sorry, but it’s getting difficult to see and I really need to do something about this bleeding.

“Excuse me.”

I think I’ve ruined this blanket.

“Excuse me. Yes, I think, do you have a bandage or something? It’s just that, the blood keeps running into my eyes. Oh right.”

They don’t want me walking around right now. I hadn’t noticed that’s what I was doing. Just trying to see what’s going on, is all. I can’t seem to find Charles. Did I already tell you about him? I hope he didn’t hear me telling you about the coffins. I’ve never told him about any of that. Only good stories for Charles. Only what should have been. I’m almost certain he was with me a minute ago. I’d hate to think anything happened to him. Hang on; here comes someone with another bandage.

“Thank you. I was just having a hard time seeing, that’s all. I’m looking for someone. Have you seen a little boy around here, five years old? His name is Charles and he was with me in the car but I can’t seem to find him. We were going to get carrot sticks. They’re his favorite.”

You have to excuse me. It’s just that I’ve been in a very serious accident and I have to find Charles. He’s the closest thing to family that I’ve got. If something has happened to him I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. Actually, I think I hear someone calling him now, the policeman over there. He’s coming this way.

“You found Charles? Oh, of course, yes my name is Charles, but I’m looking for Charles. He’s never been on his own and I’m afraid I can’t find him. What’s going on here anyway? Officer I believe that’s my car in the road. Where am… I should be at the store by now.”

I don’t particularly like the way everyone’s looking at me, just so you know. It’s like I’m on display or something. Do you hear sirens? I hope no one’s been hurt.

“What was that? I don’t need you to call anyone for me. No, I don’t need to go to the hospital. I’m actually feeling better than I have in a long… oh never mind, you’re right that looks pretty bad. No, I really don’t have any… It’s just me and Charles. It’s been just us for, what… 30 some years now. What? I just told you; he was with me a minute ago.”

They’re not listening, I can tell. Geeze, they sure can fit a lot of stuff in these cars. Is that what you would call them, cars? Vans? What is an ambulance anyway? Oh wow, all right, I guess the needle goes right in the arm there. I expected a warning or something. I hope you don’t mind but I’m probably going to pass out soon, if I haven’t already; It’s been a long day and I can’t hardly think straight anymore. I’m pretty sure though… that I’m not stuck anymore. If you see Charles, tell him it’s okay to grow up now. Tell him I’ll be fine on my own.