Tonight John and I sat in the back of a pub on Telegraph Avenue and listened to strangers laugh and scream about terrible things that couldn’t possible matter to anyone anywhere. I said to John, leaning over the wooden table: “They may as well be slamming stones down on coconuts while the rest of the apes watch on with vacant grins.” John nodded but his eyes were all bad. He’d been out of it all night.
“Maybe that was a mean thing to say,” I went on, not sure if he was paying attention, “but let’s not pretend it isn’t true.”
I stood up and walked over to the door. Outside it was raining like a real bastard. I was glad we had driven our old Fremont police car to get there. The “DOOMSMOBILE,” as we called it, was parked on a nearby curb and I wanted to walk out of the bar and sit inside the damn thing while the rain came down on the windshield.
John said he was going to use the bathroom and I went to the bar to pay my tab. When I got back to the table he was gone. I found him leaning against the windows out front. His hood was up and he looked shredded. We walked down the sidewalk together, not saying anything, and I got in on the driver’s side and unlocked the doors. The two of us sat down and put on some good music.
In the rearview mirror I saw the only sign of aging I had experienced in ten years, the spiderweb crack of flesh beneath my eyes . . . little trails going nowhere. John lit a cigarette and I thought that maybe I needed to either get laid or jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
We drove west in the rain. On Peralta Street I let John out and he put our rent checks in our landlord’s mailbox. I watched half a month’s salary disappear and the rain came down harder.
John got back in the car and slammed the door behind him. He leaned his head against the glass and closed his eyes.
I stomped on the accelerator, letting those cop tires squeal against the asphalt, and aimed the DOOMSMOBILE toward downtown Oakland hoping maybe we’d see a body or at least a few sparks.
Above my desk is a tarot card I mysteriously found in my kitchen a few months ago. It was from an incomplete deck, which I have been told is bad luck. I took the card anyway because I liked the look of it, which is just as good a reason as any other.
On it, an enormous blond-haired angel blows a horn while pale, naked humans rise from their coffins to greet the sound with outstretched arms. They’re so excited, I imagine, because wherever they’re going is probably a whole heck of a lot better than being stuffed inside a god damn coffin.
I look at this card at least once a day and say aloud to absolutely no one at all (no friends): “Hurry the hell up already.”
When is judgement day? I wonder. Is it today?
So I sit here at my desk and wait. I have no wooden box to spring from, not yet, but I will meet the wail of the trumpet just the same. I do not know anything of the process after that, but I will say to the creature in charge of my fate, if it will hear me, “Do what you will, but know this, sir: mostly it was bad, but I really did try my best.”
Daddy took the truck this morning
And with it my bag of 3D Doritos®
Which I had purchased
From some shit-ass dump-hole gas station
I fuckin’ loved that truck
With the broken taillight
And the twisted frame
From all those wild fuckin’ nights
When we’d take it to the river
Ridin’ over rusted oil drums
And big-ass stupid rocks.
Regina and I had fucked
Right there in the bed of that
God damn stupid machine—
Me telling her,
“Babe I think I fuckin’ love you”
And her throwing up
A loaded baked potato
All over my favorite
Some nights I would ride it wild
Playin’ that music real loud
Through the cornfields
And down windy-ass roads
Talkin’ shit on my CB radio
Fartin’ into the seats
Never thinkin’ ’bout no “where” or “why”—
But the truck is gone now,
Daddy drove that bitch away
All four wheels
And the seats and windows too
And with it my bag of 3D Doritos®
Which were so crunchy
And so full of life.
None of us are going to heaven. They’re going to hose off whatever’s left and it’s down the drain we go—to that starless place where no moonlight glows.
What do you want
What do you god damn animals want from me
Let me lie here
Let me die here
Let me eat my god damn microwaveable popcorn