On the Second Day Yet: Interlude
Whichever way you end up going in this cruel universe, Up or Down, you’ll never be able to stand the pressure.
— Jeronathon’s Abridged Codex of Human Ideas
Emerging from shadows, Arnold Palmer in full regale, followed by, or is he following…, a sharp spotlight from the darkness, as if a planet’s veil were Salome-lifted for just a moment — the Rubicon of en-dicement, an alternative to the craps of Damocles’ sword in this carnival of white hedonism where for each David Lynch there was a David Hume, slow-clapping flesh on one leather glove, putter under his right arm.
He strokes the brim of his open-domed cap, worn as defiance to the magisterial God-father — as if to say: The color of Your pure light is the color of my skin, and I fear not the font of your meager Wisdom; it shall not infect me. I have immunity. And You now have a problem, because I have the power.
And as he holds out his palms to greet You, the snitching sound of thousands of bills tear through the air. Because he is telling you something faster than the speed of sound. With the weight of trillions, he’s able to sneak through the corporate veil of time and speak to you.
— I didn’t think you would find me here, or at least… not this soon!
Arnold winces and tries again to whisper something into your ear. Leaning down, he glitches and crackles.
And there’s the echoing snap of spotlights doused.
But on the wind, undulating, a tone. He can feel its reverberation come beating against his chest, this subliminal note that caught His fear before His thought. Like an ocean’s wave, this note pummeled Him to His knees, and encouraged a nausea in His gut.
He felt like He was about to vomit a world into the Void, this swirling noxious toxicity shutting His eyes, which, too, sparkled with day and night. As if, on the inside of lids, marionettes danced astumble and puppets bore bats to humped backs. The Light was being filtered as the Void got fat off the mutton. And the whisper became the shiver that froze the clouds and made them drive forth to market.
…I said: “Do you need anything else?…”
She looks down at her shopping bag, so many times stitched, they don’t make that brand of thread any longer. It’s empty, with her groceries rumbling in the conveyer. They must be hers, she is standing in line, blank-staring into the emptiness of her favorite bag, the one her daughter first gave to her years ago.
“I… How much is it, then?”
The cashier’s gum snaps aggressively, amplified by the open cavity of her agape exasperation.
“Twenty-four, seventy-seven.” She tips her head, clacking her lip ring against her teeth in annoyed sarcasm, “I can’t zoom in any closer.”
In fumbling for her purse, the brown burlap satchel drops to the supermarket tiles. It is a chipped patchwork of cart-tire smears, so stark and severe it evidenced a long history of brakes slammed desperately in near-miss vehicular catastrophes, into Neutrogena infant sunscreen displays, with streaming globs of oily goo and chunks of smashed melon everywhere… and apple juice box sticky stains. If You touched the tip of the sole of Your shoe to the larger staindrops, You would feel a slight magnetic pull as You tried to remove Your foot.
But her hands are becoming mittens, and now she can’t hold on to her purse and open wallet in stooping down to retrieve the bag.
Loose change clatters to the floor, but for one penny that lodges directly in a pool of fresher juice, and the cacophony of chaos writhing all around her embarrassment, she begins to cry and wet herself.