Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Corpus Christi, Mustang Island, Laguna Madre
I have taken you along with me through my novella, which you have graciously read. As with writing it, I reach the last chapter with the great pleasure of completion and a tinge of sadness for leaving this world in which I spent so much time. I still remember finishing this particular piece of writing when the Superbowl was in Detroit. During the course of the game, I had the flash that Josette would end up five years in the future for the last few pages of it and went upstairs to write it. For the next three days, you'll get the final installment. Thanks for all the kind words and comments along the way!
Builders of Boys, Makers of Men
I was hypnotized once at a bar with a college girlfriend. The bar, Moonrakers, sat a mile away from the beach and the owner set out peanuts soaked with jalapeno juice to keep everyone drinking. Not that we needed help -- spring break at South Padre Island in Texas did not promote moderation, even before it became the popular destination it is today what with the Girls Gone Wild videotapes. I don’t know why I went -- I think it was at the recommendation of the David Koresh-like therapist who said that some time away might from Detroit be beneficial to all family members and while the sun and ocean might appear ill-advised for someone as fair as I am, the ocean itself was, for lack of a more accurate word, magical, what with the girls shaving their legs in the Gulf of Mexico and wild horses running free. Even the names of the places were beautiful -- Corpus Christi, Mustang Island, Laguna Madre.
The hypnotist didn’t make us do the usual tricks, quacking like a duck or kissing people we didn’t know. We’d all done quite enough of the latter for a lifetime. Instead, he asked us what our greatest fear was -- my friend said spiders, which I knew to be true and here we were in Texas, home of thousands of spiders that couldn’t exist in Michigan’s climate, black widows and brown recluses and tarantulas, and I thought her brave. I said champagne corks, an answer, that according to witnesses, made everyone laugh. I remember nothing of the actual event beyond being forced onto the stage. The funny part is that champagne corks terrify me -- I have to leave the room when a bottle is being opened and cover my eyes even when I’m in the other room. I have always hated weddings for this reason.
When I got back to my seat, the show was over and a young guy said to me, You must have had a pretty easy life if a loud popping sound is all it takes to scare you. He began to hit the table with his open palms. I didn’t flinch, and after a few minutes of getting louder and louder, he reached over and broke my jaw. He tried to run out, but a man in a green jacket that had a map of Vietnam on it with "We Were Winning When I Left" embroidered over the map, took after him and beat him until he didn’t get up off the floor. I tried to thank the guy, but someone had already called an ambulance and was rushing me toward it. He didn’t have but one tooth left in his head, and I suppose that’s what he meant when he said it was nothing, he didn’t have anything to lose.
The important thing in life, I think, is not to flinch. I’m still glad I didn’t, although the jaw gives me trouble to this day. I suppose if I’d given him the fear he wanted, we’d have had sex that night or been friends. But what about respect? What about pride in one’s self? I’d already given up a lot and as everyone knows, you can sometimes do things on vacation that would never be possible in your real life. I suppose that’s what I was for Kevin, a vacation from his real life, and when I showed him Josh’s blood on the walls, he flinched and realized that his vacation wasn’t going as planned. I never forgave him the weakness and even now, five years later, I still see fear and disgust in his eyes. I had to wipe those walls. Not him.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'm not usually where I think I am. It's kind of spooky." Laurie Anderson
Drinking gift suggestion: Witch Ball -- these are great glass objects designed to protect against evil spirits -- I have four; I guess a fair amount of people feel that I need them!
Benedictions and Maledictions