Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Good Egg

Taken with Holga Camera loaded with 35mm

That same morning, another of God's creatures, Chester, was finally awakened by having rolled over into the drool he had busily secreted, with septum rattling, mouth agape, for the last half hour or so. There were no dreams to haunt Chester this morning. He tormented himself quite well enough thank you. But truth be known, he seldom dreamed, or at least, he seldom remembered any. Indeed, he seldom remembered anything be it waking or dreaming. Subliminal phantoms, bitter recriminations, scathing self-doubt... all of these dark and cerebral harbingers, were relative strangers to Chester.

As he rose from the edge of his futon, careening without balance, his left arm extended forward, bracing against the thin tapestry depicting the Tree of Life. Legs stepping across each other in a thick-blooded rush, his right hand massaging his scalp, where his hair was hurting him. As it often did the morning after the night before. Slamming his shoulder into the frame of the door, he was off to the shitter. Dry mouth. Numb to the noise from the restaurant churning out omelettes and frittatas below. He clumsily voided his bodily fluids in and around the toilet, all the while bracing himself against the facing wall, plain stucco, again with his outstretched hand. Had he a thought in his head, he would have perhaps given thanks for vertical surfaces. Or he might have imagined himself in a world with lateral gravity, a spaceman who could float along by leaning his body in a given direction, guiding his graceful figure through all manner of difficult apartment floorplans. But he still had plenty of time before any thoughts would see fit to travel across the desiccated mental terrain stretching within the young head of Chester. There was still coffee to make, a bagel maybe if there should be any in the fridge, but first order will be to salt a glass of seltzer water and slam it down, still foaming. Plenty of time before thinking. Involuntary morning habits will carry him clear until he can slump at the kitchen table and hopefully Maro and Sara will have already left for school. A new day. A clean slate so to speak. And reason on such a virginal and promising day may as well be a four-letter word to one gangly, low functioning, no-longer stoned but not quite sober, twenty-five year old.

Now with a towel draped over his head and the coffee maker, reality comes knocking. Chester, not ready to answer, mutters 'oh fuck!' to no one in particular. Leaving reality to straggle away, rubbing its wrist and muttering expletives about Chester getting his and soon. Without aid then, Chester decides it is time for him to reconstruct the events of the previous evening. It would seem that Chester had been to a party. At Brianna's? It would seem that there had been a garage band. And though he wasn't absolutely sure, Chester thought that he had remembered signing his soul over to the devil. Well, not the devil exactly, but it was certainly one of the Devil's clever henchmen, or henchpersons, anyway. While this had been somewhat discouraging at the time, it was all a bit easier to handle in retrospect. Coffee now in hand, brainstem rehydrating, Chester recalled not really knowing anybody at the party. He had wandered over after work because his ex-girlfriend had left him a message about a ska band at her friends place. So, he had wandered in and grabbed a Grolsh from the fridge and posted up next to the basement stairs. Rolling along pretty good, listening to some blue beat while the kids basically bobbed around like pistons, like persons going nowhere and loving it.

Knowing Chester, you may well have wondered why that rascally Archfiend would waste his time recruited this particular young man to join his dark legion, as so far in his young life he had not demonstrated much in the way of Goodliness. Nary a noble warrior trait to be observed in the young stoner. But he has always been a pretty nice guy and following the slippery mischief of the Dark Lord, there must be some longcomings mixed in with all of Chester's short ones.

So, when the young hippie guy came gamboling over, dancing to some other tune, carrying his petition to legalize - what? - legalize something, pot perhaps, and Chester, who had himself smoked a little of the wicked weed, the Devil's very own it is said, sort of presumed that he was cool with this young smiling off-beat dancing guy. And he signed. A few clumsy swipes of the pen and then the wildly smiling young man was gone. Not stopping to ask anyone else to sign, not even looking around the crowd at all really. Young hippie mad a syncopated dancing break straight for the exit. What the hell was up with that? Why me, Chester thought, and his senses were swimming, abstracted, listing their way around familiar ideas, recognizing but never reaching the shores of reason. There were thoughts of the munchies, there were libidinous instincts, articulated smoothly by saying 'Hey' every now and then, there was that guy still grinning but nowhere to be seen, Our young friend was getting a little distressed and pushed himself off of the wall and reeled towards the stairs where the Rasta clad serpent had run to. He wasn't upstairs though. And He wasn't out on the lawn where the keg doled out its own ancient wisdom to some thirty mostly young men, wringing wet, more and more like yard apes with each drink. And the music, drums falling on the second and fourth beats, his heart now in time, our hero readied himself for his eternal plunge. If you had asked him how he was feeling, he might have answered 'Cold.' But this was usually his way and nothing unusual. When stoned, Chester would generally have a hard time acclimating to environment, no matter the temperature. So this thermal sensitivity and these scattered visions of bacchanalian excess, the brilliant clatter of percussive rocksteady. It all was normal enough but where the fuck had that little hippie gone to? And off Chester wandered, hoping that somewhere down the block... at Dos Tacos... at the Back Door... Somewhere...

Some might say that a guy like Chester was simply a tottering folly-fallen congregation of wasted vapors but those people would be unnecessarily wordy. It would likely be simpler to muse upon Chester's plight as something unfair. Why? How? It is so much easier to wonder helplessly how a generally nice guy could be so easily deprived of eternal salvation. Perhaps though, it was only the Devil's weed, and not the Devil himself, that has executed such a cruel and tormenting hoax upon such a good natured, though simple-minded, fellow as our friend Chester. Perhaps, after a little party remorse and a couple of Bloody Mary's down at Millie's, Chester might wander out of these fractured shallows of hallucinatory regrets. And even though it must be said that Chester is to self-awareness what the bucket is to the burgeoning information industry, perhaps, just perhaps, he might be a good egg afterall. And it is a new day really. When you think about it.

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