What is that noise?
“Get me out!”
Where am I? What’s that banging?
“Ya can’t keep me here, wake up!”
My head throbs. The night light cuts through my eyelids. I’m wet. I drag myself up onto one elbow. It almost slips off the shelf. A thin blue plastic mattress holds my weight. Its wet, too.
There’s a kid stood next to the door. “Who the fuck are you?” I say.
“Who the fuck do you think?” He turns and continues to assault the cell door. “This is your mess, get us fucking out of here.”
“My mess, how?” I scan the old familiar surroundings.
“You should have brayed the bitch.”
“Who?” I ask.
“Mary, who else?” He laughs.
Memory banks fire up as it floods back in. Fuck’s sake, not again!
I remember shouting through her letter box, wrestling with the new bloke. Out in the street, neighbours fully present, digging a key bumper to bumper along his paintwork.
Head still throbbing.
“And him, that goon with the motor, look what he’s done to your face.”
Stroking my cheekbone, yep, it’s sore alright.
A burst of energy. Depressed adrenaline. Quickly covering the nine feet as I hit the buzzer. A moment or two passes before the hatch drops.
A partial face, mainly lips, “Sleep well, did we?”
“What’s there a kid doing in here?”
He laughs, “It be pink elephants next sunshine, needing a little drink are we?” His wrist flicks back and forth in glass guzzling imitation. “No need to act the loon, the desk Sargent will see you soon enough.” He slams the hatch, “You be out before the pubs open.” His parting shot echoes through the steel door.
“Another fine mess,” I say out loud to nobody in particular.
“What about me?” Says the kid.
I look him up and down. Real enough. Look’s almost familiar. I head back to the bench and drop down hard onto my backside. And finally, it comes to me; after all this time, it makes perfect sense. The drink, the drugs, violence, sick sex, every conflict and disturbance. The separation and isolation. All him!
“I know who you are,” I say.
A tear carves a channel down his cheek, “Really?” He replies. “At last, so tell me where from?”
Furious, Im up pacing the confines. I hurl words that cut; reminded of every train crash disaster, I give him both barrels, sparing nothing.
Finished, I slump down to the cold floor, exhausted.
“I should never have listened to you,” I sob uncontrollably.
He stares impassively. A child. His turn; a wordless response, living pictures in my head. I see the laughter and the love, curiosity and innocence, a connection and direction.
“Where from?” He repeats.
“You’ve alway been here.”
He nods, “Right from the beginning, when God walked you out of the void.” He looks up at the ceiling and spins round a full circle, “Im the guide He assigned.”
“Then why all the fucking mess?” I shout.
The night light flickers, buzzing, before shrouding the room with darkness. I see two kids. Laughing. Playing. I sense something wrong. An evil. A temptation. One kid senses it too. He moves towards it, entranced. I want to scream at him to wait, stop, don’t follow it, something’s wrong. He won’t listen, can’t see the danger.
“You had to chase after them, didn’t you?”
“What! Who?” I shout.
He shrugs his shoulders and says, “All of them, every experience, every situation good and bad, you wanted it all.” He laughs out loud, “It was a buzz when they wanted you, but how’d it feel when they ditched you for something new?”
“You encouraged it,” I reply.
“Not so,” he laughs. Heading back towards the door, he knocks gently on the steel plate, “You made me their prisoner. I foretold the outcome.”
“What type of guide is that,” I ask, curling my knees up to my chest, burying my head.
“Mysterious ways type of guide that’s what. I don’t get to ask and neither do you. There was only one bite of the apple, but always two choices.” He sits down next to me and the night light buzzes its way back to life. The door unlocks. “Lets go Rocky,” says the cop. “Time to leave.”
Sunlight stings my eyes as I exit the police station. The kid reaches up and takes my hand.
“Pub then is it?” he says.
Shaking my head as I reply, “What with them crazy bastards, all that performing, no thanks.”
He smiles and squeezes my hand, “Hows about an ice cream?”
Yeah… that sounds good to me.
“And them, what about them?”
“I dunno, maybe its time we learned to love ourselves first and leave others to live their own lives.”
“Ah that type of knowledge is worth a fall,” he states, “Onwards, you lead the way.”
“Certainly,” he laughs, “You’ve earned it.”
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery” ~ Bob Marley
“Take off the E and let it Go” ~ Unknown
“I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me” ~ Matt – 25:36
D&O in Fresno