Friday, August 6, 2010

I descend to party, only to miss out on cake.

Invited to a birthday party via facebook. Am I a desired guest, a pitied acquaintance, the result of selecting select all? How to tell who on the accepted list will show up? I know no way. It is always a gamble, and I hope the fortune teller in my stomach is not a good one.

What gift to bring? With an ice cream cake in hand, at least I can predict that I will be temporarily popular with those who are easily bought. I take the price tag off; no need to announce that my $5.95 gift is cheaper than it appears.

I don't remember who's day it is, but judging from the facebook lists it is someone from my high school. Strange that I would be invited, I haven't kept in touch with any of them. But maybe it's the same for them as it is for me; thinking about you, just never enough to say hello again. More vulnerability I associate with parties.

I pull my vehicle off the main street of the small town where I bought the cake, slip through a wide and sunny alley way framed by a red brick building and an autumn hill, an fruit orchard in the distant background. I continue around, driving behind a row of three reddish orange brick buildings. Behind the second one sits a farmer dude, wearing a straw hat and jean overalls, nonchalantly sucking on a piece of barley with his back against the wall. I look to the left and nod in acknowledgement; he signals with a near motionless motion of the head.

The quickest way to my destination is down a cliff. Beyond the third brick building, on the same side, the land slopes downwards, dangerously close to a right angle drop into oblivion. A potentially fatal route to take to a birthday party, but I don't let that sway my decision because I know I will be successful as long as I pay perfect attention and keep control over the speed and angle of descent of the vehicle. Without pausing, I sharply cut the wheel towards the cliff, and begin a slow plummet towards the bottom. Once on track, I descend through the gears: down to third gear, and again into second gear. The engine roars loudly as it fights against the acceleration of gravity.

The descent is incredibly long, and feeling the world coming up to meet you in the face is disorienting to say the least. This is no road either; dirt and gravel litter the pathway downwards, and occasionally pieces of lumber, patches of grass and bush, and old fast food containers enter my path, taunting me to turn in avoidance. But I do not, knowing that such a move would likely break my perilous traction, placing me in freefall. Not the way to arrive to a birthday party.

In two spots on the way down, large overpass bridges pass over the descent. I cannot tell if vehicles drive on top of them, as I dare not spare my attention from my road. Five, ten minutes of intensity pass by, more than I can handle. Then the road downwards begins gently declining into a nearly horizontal gravel road, and finally onto a hilly, grassy field. Small yellow buttercups dot the landscape here and there. I release my grip on the wheel, and it feels like I'm taking my first breath in forever.

I mop the sweat from my face, grab my bag and my cake, and go inside. Indeed there are many people from my high school class here: Steve (it's his place we're at, or perhaps his birthday; I'm still not sure), Poops, Adam, Matt, Erin, Leanne, Laurie. Bull and Jeremy arrived just before me, so nobody pays much attention to my arrival. I place the cake on one of the cafeteria-like tables strewn haphazardly around the unlit room, and take a seat in one of the plastic school chairs. I sit and observe. They haven't changed much since back then.

After a while, Maria (not sure when she arrived, or how she knows these people) comes and leads me into a large, dimly lit room with a swimming pool. Strange, it is as if the center of gravity is at the far corner of the room, and the water runs up two of the walls as well as along the main pool in the floor. Some others are already in the water; Steve, Poops, and a few others I don't recognize. I hesitate to take off my shirt. Well, I was never very confident about my physique. But I suppose that I should just ignore those feelings now that I'm older. I strip down to my shorts and hop in.

The strange gravity in the room makes swimming a fun challenge. Swimming up the walls is like swimming up a huge, gentle wave. Some people have floating alligators and pool noodles, but I make do with just my body. The water swooshes every so often, causing the corners of the stationary waves to merge and split off into opposite sides. The others start leaving the water one by one, and I realize how exhausted I am. I reach the water's edge and feel it clinging to my body even as I rise above the surface, as if I had worn a t-shirt into the pool after all. But I look down and see only my body, white, pasty and overweight.

I look for my bag, with my towel and fresh clothes inside. It is sitting next to the wall, at the top of a flight of tall and steep stairs that line half of the room. I begin climbing towards them, but find myself so exhausted that I seriously question whether I will be able to make it to them or not. I devolve into a four legged creature and scramble my way up, quite pathetically. I make it to my bag and collapse against the wall for a minute, eyes closed. After most of the people have left the room, I manage to come back to my senses and dry myself off. I put on some dry shorts and an ugly second hand blue and red sweater. It's not something that I would normally wear, and I wonder what I was thinking when I packed for this.

I rise to my feet and follow some people out of a door; one of only two exits from the pool. Once through the door, I find myself alone in a dim corridor lined with metal pipes and wires, standing on a greasy metallic walkway suspended over darkness. To the right, the walkway splits into two and heads up some stairs; to the left, it eventually turns around a corner and goes out of sight. I try to return through the door I came in, but it is locked. Unsure of which way the others went, or which way I came in originally, I panic and begin jogging to the left. Nearly at the corner, someone calls out for me from behind; Steve and Leanne are standing at the stairs leading upwards. I stop and listen to them. They say that Poops went somewhere and they were looking for him. I stand motionless; I want to just get out of here, but know inside that I have been volunteered to check down this way. I stay standing still, looking incredulous, for an extended period of seconds. Just as they begin coming towards me, someone else calls out from out of my sight. Poops has been found, and I follow them through the now unlocked door, to find myself back in the room with the cafeteria tables.

Everyone is sitting at or on the tables, talking and laughing with each other. The package from the cake I brought is empty, except for some smeared frosting and crumbs, the legacy of a cake I never tasted. I sit down next to my bag and observe. Nobody is paying attention to me. After a minute I am scheming to leave, thinking of ways to escape unnoticed. Well, nobody will care if I go anyways, so no need for a complex plan. I get up with my bag and quietly walk out the door, hands in my pockets and eyes on the floor.

The sky is clear and blue, the sun high in the sky. I get into my car without looking back and step on the gas, leaving curved brown tire tracks in the emerald green grass. I turn on my radio and tune it to listen in on the party I just left, cautiously wondering if anybody will mention my name despite feeling confident that nobody will. I am right for the time being, but their conversation bores me to turn the off switch. I approach the steep climb home.

My mind is wandering, so I fail to pay attention to the degree that I should. Not one hundred meters up I let the steering wheel slip and nearly lose it. Heart racing, I pull the vehicle back into the proper orientation just in time, and continue straight up. I can feel the front tires practically pulling away from the vertical road, maybe less than one inch away from toppling backwards and downwards to my doom.

I come to gaps in the road, as if I were driving along a bridge with parts knocked out. I speed up to jump the car over the gap to the other side; somehow gravity decides to lean in my favour and the jump works just fine. I make a second jump, and have to readjust the steering wheel on the other end. The third jump is final, yet there are still miles to go. I drive underneath a bridge, not confident that I will ever make it to the top again, but somehow knowing that I will in the end.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

They call me the ladies man

I found her on the Internet. It is my first time meeting her in real life. The apartment is massive; well, she lives here with eight guys, so it's gotta be huge. She isn't here yet, so I am greeted by one of her friends: a skinny guy, with shoulder length greasy black hair, a short beard, and glasses, wearing baggy old clothes. He takes me to sit down and we talk for a while, but I feel out of place. I only care to meet her.

I persevere; eventually she arrives, along with more of her friends. She is short and pretty skinny. And pretty. She has medium length blonde and pink hair, and she's wearing a black and pink flannel outfit. Everyone sits down with us, and she sits close beside me, invading my personal space bubble. I could kiss her, but that would be awkward with all these guys here. I wonder how many of them have kissed her? They are talk amongst themselves, while I talk with her. I say stupid things in stupid voices, but she doesn't seem to notice.

Some people get up and go to another room to do drugs. Uh oh, I realize I don't have any and get up. She stands beside me, still so close that I can't shake this feeling of intimacy. I think about kissing her, but smile instead. She smiles back. I see us from outside of my own body; not only have I been sounding like a dork, but my hair is completely messed up. I quickly leave by myself to find a washroom to use a mirror. I get there and see that the front of my hair is spread apart to the sides, revealing sparse hair and a nearly-bald scalp. I wet my hands and mess up my hair with water, then smooth it forward to hide the baldness. It works ok for now, I just hope it doesn't go back after it dries out. I notice huge gobs of eye goop in the corners of my eyes; I wipe it off with my hands and put on my bright blue reflective sunglasses. Wet hair and sunglasses, the look of a cool person. Time to go back to everyone, back to her.

I return to the now empty living room, wondering where they have gone. One of her friends approaches from behind; he is a short, fat, middle aged Mongolian, completely bald on the top of his head, and wearing an open shirt that exposes his gut. He is gets drugs from some containers on a small table, and I ask if I should do the same. He says yes, but tells me to weigh them out. They sell the drugs, but I'll just pay for them later. After he is done getting his, I take a look in the containers. One of them has strange blue hockey puck shaped cakes of different sizes, with smiley faces drawn on them. I assume that these are hash cakes. I grab a small one to weigh out, but a huge one falls on the floor and shatters. Embarrassed, I put the small one back in the container and scoop the pieces into my hands. The strange looking scale has a tiny metal cup to place things in for weighing, so I can't weigh everything at once. I put as many of the chunks into the metal cup as I can. The scale says 7.5. I hope I don't lose a lot of money over this...

Suddenly, everyone funnels back into the room, and she is again beside me. She sees what I have done; I feel stupid for breaking the cake, but still just want to kiss her softly. She takes the broken bits from my hands, and I notice that the inside of the cake is actually a compacted white powder. I wonder if it is a hash cake at all, and why I thought so in the first place, but am immediately distracted from my thoughts as she produces a large flask of clear liquid, labelled "methanol". She uses a glass pasteur pipette to suck up some of the methanol, and mixes it with the broken up cake which now looks like a pile of white powder. White feathery swirls appear in the methanol as it absorbs the powder, but they go away when the absorption is finished. She sucks up this methanol with the pipette and puts it into another flask. It is a fascinating process to watch, I hadn't known that you could handle drugs this way.

"There." she says, "Now you can do these drugs. There probably isn't too much methanol left in them."

I dryly reply, "Good. It's not like methanol makes you blind."

I emerge from my mind fog. I'm sitting on a bed in a bedroom of a small apartment. My step-brother Christian is with me, sitting on a rocking chair with a small black dog on his lap. We're chatting about something, when a woman comes in. She isn't particularly good looking, but I get the impression that she is a PhD student. She is tall with black hair, wearing glasses. I say something funny and everyone laughs. She leaves the room, and we follow her shortly after.

If this is Christian's apartment, then he must have gotten a better job to afford it. We walk into an open kitchen area with brand new furniture and several people just chilling out. I take a seat at the table, just as the dog pees on the floor. I get up from my chair and walk across the floor with the intention of reporting the pee to Christian, being as careful as I possibly can to not step in the pee yet somehow still getting perilously close to dipping my socks in it. I go over to tell Christian that he should take the dog outside, but he tells me that the owner is very strict about how often it can go outside. I ask how much he gets paid for taking care of the dog as he dials his big blocky cell phone to call the owner. He says I don't want to know, but after a moment adds that he is getting paid an air force commission for it. Not entirely sure what to make of that, I decide it means that someone in the air force is paying him all their money to take care of this dog.

While he is chatting on the phone, trying to find out if he is allowed to take the dog out to pee, I notice my sister across the room. Suddenly she has a seizure and starts falling over against a table. Her skin turns white and she is dripping sweat. A sick feeling of terror rises in my body and I rush over. I hold her up as she stares straight ahead, and I frantically tell Christian to call 911. He immediately hangs up on his client and calls. Other people are gathering around her too now. It seems she is becoming aware again, and she mumbles something to me, but I get the horrible feeling that she is about to die in my arms. I tell her I love her, and kiss her on her blood-drained cheek, through the wet hair sticking to her face with sweat. I close my eyes.

In a voice that is not hers, she lets me know that she is fine. As I open my eyes and pull back from her face, I am shocked to see that a purple crystalline horn has sprouted from her forehead, curving upwards to the sky. Her face is caved in at the middle and her skin glows gold, giving her the appearance of a demonic alien. A powerful desire for this strange creature washes over me. I kiss her on the lips and my arms snake around her waist and find their way to her ass.

The ambulance arrives; a 747 jet with flashing lights on top. We are outside on the tarmac under a darkened night sky, and I am helping a girl with light brown skin and dark hair up the stairs to the door. She has striking blue eyes and is wearing baggy black gothic pants and a black tank top. She seems perfectly fine, except that one of her hands is a lumpy grey club made of something like ash. The flight attendant stops us at the entrance; the girl cannot ride with the other passengers.

We find ourselves in a chamber deep within the center of the airplane. It is as tall as it is wide, but very long, and the surfaces are flat and sharp, made of shiny white blocks stuck together with black glue. There are no doors, and it is bright despite the absence of any lights. Crawford is here with another patient, who is mostly covered with a dull green sheet and strapped down to a stretcher. The atmosphere is one of nervousness; everyone is fidgeting but nobody says a word. The jet suddenly begins moving, and Crawford loses it. "We're going down!" he exclaims, even though the feeling of acceleration tells me we haven't lifted off yet. There we go, I feel the plane angle upwards as it rises from the ground. "It's going to crash!" he cries, causing the two patients to become noticeably more anxious. "Can you hear people screaming? I can hear them screaming that we're going down!" he wails. Trying my best to ignore it, I feel helpless inside this chamber. It doesn't feel right, as if the back of the plane is falling downwards. The fear starts to get to me. I leave my body and get a glimpse of the plane from the outside.

The sky is blue and we're flying over a city, but the plane is completely upside down and curving its way downwards, towards a busy highway! The pilot keeps pulling the plane around and we find ourselves right side up, flying just a few meters off the ground. What a dangerous way to turn the plane around, I think. Why wouldn't he just take off in the opposite direction in the first place, or at least turn the plane around by going left or right. Planes are incredibly dangerous compared to flying carpets.

I'm on my flying carpet now. It is dark out, and I'm flying precariously along a harbour parking lot, floating up and down as I very slowly make my way along a strip of buildings and parking lots, avoiding power lines and road signs. Flying carpets aren't like you imagine. Mine is a small, flimsy, thin square of navy blue cloth; it doesn't look like anything special. It's just large enough to sit on cross legged, but the damnest thing is that I have to keep my balance or I'll fall over. It's like riding in a canoe in that respect. It's really slow too; I could walk just as fast, but there's something about riding a flying carpet...

Up and down and forward, wobbling to and fro, my scanning eyes inspect the debris laying scattered across this abandoned landscape. A skinny brown cat chases after an empty bag of potato chips. I see an old clunky black telephone laying on the ground, and it rings as I pass by. Hovering over the dirty grass I pick up the phone and press the button. It is a christian on the other end, oh brother. He spews about 15 seconds of his opening spiel before I politely interrupt and tell him I don't believe in any of that. "Why?" he asks, feigning incredulity yet obviously used to the response. "Well there simply isn't any reliable evidence that any of it is true." I hear him start into whatever tired nonsense he has memorized as I hit the button again. Now, sally forth on my carpet!

I go a ways further before seeing a large and interesting looking two piece sign standing in front of and between two of the buildings on the strip. I step off the carpet and stretch my legs, yawn, and rub my eyes. I start going into the building on the left, but then stop abruptly and read the half of the sign that corresponds to it. The words are big and strange looking, but make sense. However, when I look away I cannot remember the words, just like looking at a watch and then realizing you still don't know what time it is. I look again; although I don't remember the first meaning, I swear that the words are different this time. After two more confusing attempts to read the sign, I give up and go into the other building instead. The letters on that half of the sign aren't as colourful or interesting, but they clearly tell me what lies within: a women's health center.

I'm walking up some stairs with metal railing that wind their way around a hollow square room towards a wooden door at the top. The walls are wood too, and dirty; not the kind of place you would expect a health center to be. I'm walking quickly as usual, but find myself stuck behind two women who are slowly trudging their way towards the door. They have what I would call a pentecostal look to them: they're both wearing jean skirts that go down to their ankles, and have long dirty blonde hair. Both are plump and neither is particularly attractive. One turns her head slightly, giving me a suspicious look from behind her glasses, but she doesn't say anything to me. They go through the door and I follow, feeling only slightly creepy.

The health center is much nicer on the other side of the door. A short set of stairs leads down to a wide hallway with lockers and cabinets lining the walls between doors to large rooms filled with desks and chairs. The surfaces are metallic blue and grey, and the lighting is comfortably mild. I sense people in the rooms leading off from the hallway, but see only one new person. She is a tall and pretty lady, with curly shoulder length brown hair and dark eyes. She is wearing a very light summer dress that reveals almost all of her legs, and a significant portion of her large round breasts. She is heading towards the stairs, and looks up towards me. I'm wearing baggy camouflage pants and my black and grey pirate hoodie; perhaps not the best outfit for passing myself off as a professional health care provider.

I squeeze by the two homely ladies on the staircase and approach her, reaching into her dress to cup her right breast with my hand. I look her in the eyes and offer her a free breast exam. She smiles almost knowingly, and follows me as I put my arm around her waist and lead her deeper down the hallway, looking for a private spot to give her an exam while mentally contemplating the possibility of just doing it right here in the hallway. I mean, it is a health clinic, so this kind of thing should be common. I find an open blue door to an empty office. I look both ways down the hallway; the coast is clear. I lead her inside and sit her on the desk.

Babbling some nonsense in an attempt to sound like I work here, I turn around and close the door quietly, silently convincing myself that the owner of this office is unlikely to return. I twist the lock and turn around. To my surprise she has her back towards me and is already pulling her skimpy dress up around her body, revealing pantyhose but no underwear covering her bottom half. She stops with the dress half-way up around herself, turns her head, and mentions something about making it easier for the exam. I agree as I come up behind her, grabbing the lip of her pantyhose and pulling them down too. Strange, I notice a small triangle of coarse hair just above her ass; dismissing the oddity from my mind, I pull down the garment with a little effort. She turns around and sits back on the desk, revealing her sexy body in it's entirety. I smile my best smile and tell her that I am going to start by examining her clitoris. She spreads her legs, and I lick my fingers to begin the exam, while wondering what kind of phony medical test requires the insertion of a penis instead of a medical probe. Well, we've come this far, so I suppose I probably don't need to keep going with my lame facade.