over time, a mask is recognized

Foxtrot’s tractor beam halos the sidewalk slug trails. We linger in limbo near the antique fan house. It is night. There is no reason to dispute this is the time when I feel safest. Moving in shadow, yellow light spilling across the floor. Motives murky. Fiddle and banjo sound like always during this brief time. In Rhinoceros Eyes the props speak to Chep. He’s not happy about it, mind you. But what can he do. He’s an idiot savant, after all. Or is he. Maybe if you look hard enough at any one single thing, it will begin speaking to you. Dim light, that’s what I’m about. Except when reading. of course. I like a bright light on the page, but dim light everywhere else around. Smoking oil lamps and waning firelight.

The antique fan house intrigues me. They are everywhere. So many fans, none of them moving. It’s pleasantly absurd. I like walking around late night and there is some light in the houses but you don’t see anyone. God, if you saw just one person it would wreck it all. Maybe. I take the corner to the alley and wouldn’t you know it those dogs are out on the deck. We disturb a man and his cigarette, the dogs caterwauling across the way. The city’s branding iron on your eardrums. There is no quiet.

There are others skulking with their dogs. There always are. Skulk, skulk, skulk. We slither down the sidewalks, following the faint slug trails, glistering in the sodium glow of street lamps. Chep has trouble talking. He is awkward and what has built up in his mind is another world not fitting right with this one he’s operating in. It doesn’t matter what those props tell him. Maybe it’s all just a bad dream. Sometimes it is. Sometimes you wake up relieved. And not just when you’re aging, the days running off like lost sheep on the edge of fading summer pasture. I mean when you’ve seen the bottom of the haunted well in your dream life and lived to wake the next day. Morning looks so good then, like a doctored photograph.

It’s happening again. A man in a smiling bag. New shoes. Ha-ha…it’s all still there. The repetitive inputs of our lives, be they intentional or not. You can’t rip out hard wire. But you can open the window and let in the night air. You can do that. And what does air do but move through you. It moves through you like the shadows of night and does no harm. Not like a person. Not like a talking prop. But like the song playing down the credits. And the yellow light all around. And the glass in your hand. Like that. It moves through you like that and there’s nothing like it in the world.

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