When I’m up in Maine I like to ride my bicycle late at night. Should ever you bear witness to one of these events you’ll see for yourself my midnight transformation–how this man melds with his machine, the chrome and the rubber and the swim-trunks. Be sure to watch for the faintest bit of light, nimbus-like ’round my head, as though of some trans-substantiation.
Standing there in mom’s driveway, the ten-speed upright at my side, I’ll tense my body and hiss breath from the back of my throat. Looking up to the sky as I do this I’ll invite you with fleet flitting of eyes to their corners to see what I see through those stretched slits.
It is like this:
We mount. We push off, sandal from asphalt, legs cyclic in piston-like circuit.
I’ll take you on the path through the woods–don’t be afraid: the course is well-trod and, besides, I’m not currently seeking new victims. Tonight you’ll find no bodies left out for the wolves to feed–the moon is all fucked up, it’s out of phase–it’s not my time to eat.
Feel how the energy generated by the thrusting of the pedals redounds unto your form. How you become infused with something dark but demonstrably alive, like the night. Imbue yourself with it, this gift of the dark and its demons; we want you here. For it is now in the shadows that we find ourselves in another world stranded. Be warned: it’s a long way yet to the morn, which, when it dawns is like itself coming out of a dream–or else a movie-theater in the middle of the summer: inside it is dark and cool, and acclimated as you are to where you’ve been, you’ve become credulous to all that you see. You accept it.
Well accept this: I want you to identify with my characters. Try to guess at the twisting of the plot. Feel real emotions and undergo authentic empathic responses for the on-screen personalities who, at the right time, and still in the movie, will shed their thespian facade…and begin to talk to you.
And this is all real, you know. Yes, this is no artifice, nor trick of the light. No flight of fancy or commercial strategy from some far-off studio on Mars, no, these “actors” are really talking to you. They want you to see the world they live in, the struggles they’ve endured. They want your approbation for the optimism of action or at least thought that yet remains available to them as they undergo yet more travails, more of their world’s vicissitudes. They want you to know that everything is going to be okay, even if really it won’t. They want you to know that I’ve tried.
They have their world, just as you have yours, and damned if they aren’t but two of many, many…we’re still in the dark. The chain sings liquid-metallic past still foliage layered in shadow.
Talk talk talk.
A silenced pistol’s shot.
She cries, but we know her lover’s not really dead.
The code for the bomb is the director’s nephew’s birthday.
I want to take this opportunity to discourage you from the practice of piracy–your presence here is living proof, wouldn’t you agree, of the success of our business model. All the candy in the lobby and the games that you can play, to say nothing of the flashlights borne by the ushers down the aisles as they search under the seats for the dead actress’s body; she disappeared shortly after the premiere; the leading man’s alibi is air-tight.
Our business model: we’re going to sell them bits of themselves, though in vignettes heightened in drama and attenuated in length due to time and space constraints. Space on this ship is at a premium, and circling the sun it shows no signs as regards such scarcity of abating; they breed like rabbits. They’re killing all the wolves, though, mirabile dictu, that species in particular is showing signs of bouncing back.
But you, on this bicycle, leaning forward to seize the night, breathing it in and allowing thoughts dark and otherwise to course as they may: you already know how this all has to end. But play along anyways. Enjoy yourself. You’ve paid good money for this experience, as your soul in transaction comes out to be a bit more dear than a song. It’s yours of course, but, there are limits to this trust…”fees” to be rendered at the end of each sojourn…
You’re sucked into the movie, and then just like that—boom—that’s it. Show’s over, everybody get the fuck out. Please and thank you.
And now you’re exiting through the dark-carpeted hallway, let’s say that it’s red, with the lights turned down low and nobody seems to be talking; and you push through the double doors and it’s all: over-exposure in the light for a minute;
the acoustics screw with the sound for a minute;
and for the briefest of moments, the parking lot seems flat and without depth; as though all this were taking place on a screen, and I’ve always been watching.
But, out of habit you push forward, until finding yourself somehow driving it all comes back to you, the part you’re supposed to be playing, where and when they say that this is.
But let’s not bullshit. You knew. It was over in an instant and ineffably sinister, smoke through glass, but you knew. You might never admit it to yourself, swearing up and down and making protestations whenever the occasion allows as to the part played by simple disorientation, yet as surely as a dream too lucidly lived bears the power to cast doubt onto whatever world it is into which you wake, so too did that movie, in subsequent comparison to the sun, offer to your senses some pale shadow of truth.
You knew, and you know that you knew.
…and later that night, standing on the patio while drinking blood amidst pine trees massively looming in Moon-limned silhouette, the air redolent of undergrowth and rot, then I will know.
Because I lied. I just wanted to lure you somewhere safe so I could kill you. I like how you do your hair.
Brrr…it’s cold here on Earth, but still shorts and flip flops are the order of the day. Legs bare under the moonlight, the bike’s parts going flash, I go from block to block, tracing the streetlights, my head brought down low near my hands, pumping and picking up speed, feeling a degree of power over the empty streets–each window dark with captives having fled this realm for sleep–and baying under my breath through the night.