This is prose I wrote while serving in the Peace Corps in Bolivia.
Does fire have weight? If it does this match should topple over any second now and drip fire all over my table.
I still have plastic covering on my mattress that is sometimes revealed when I roll and turn, toss and readjust in my sleeping bag.
So I was in a Peace Corps like office setting. I had gone upstairs from buying tickets. I saw bags, nifty and well-sorted for traveling. They were lined up like I’d line ’em up in a wooden cubby. Somebody’s parents were visiting. There were momma bags and poppa bags and sister bags and brother bags. It couldn’t have been my family. I don’t have the latter two and my parents aren’t coming til next year.
I was in a line in a big cafeteria with metal counters made of bars so you can slide your tray along with your hip while you search for your money. The cashier’s always in a good mood. Usually wearing an apron – navy blue. Or black if they’re trendy.
Went upstairs and it was dark. Hard to see my watch because the damn Indiglo is busted. Finally a street light or something glinted across and I could see it was time to go. We were going to miss our bus.
“Tiff! We gotta go,” I kind of yelled, emphasizing her name and trailing off at the end.
“I know. Give me one second,” she said from somewhere distant in my brain.
Then time skipped forward like it does and I was talking to Mark. I didn’t recognize his voice at first. I haven’t heard it or played it in so long. I was on my Nokia phone and suddenly Chris Scott was there rough-housing with me making a conversation definitively impossible. But I didn’t care because Mark wasn’t there when I previously thought my life was more important than his.
I mercifully let Mark go. Chris continued to wrestle me into submission. He’s a lot bigger than me and he’s always been able to handle me physically if he wanted to.
My right hand won’t stop shaking in certain positions.
He’s got me in a vice grip laying on the part you normally sit on on a couch. His legs are propped in the air against the part you usually put your back on. He starts to grow an erection and it’s obscenely touching my thigh, but there is nothing I can do about it. Oh yeah, I made one last desperate move. I wasn’t going down without a fight and after I hung up on Mark I had both hands free so I tackled Chris into the position we were in now. Tiffany was standing on the other side of the coffee table which completed the couch’s tandem.
I was thoroughly disgusted and told him so, but was helpless to move and he just did that Chris Scott chuckle. That makes (made) me want to bite his nose off and spit it back in his face. Can’t even do that now I’m so pinned.
The scene changes like someone turned a page in a book and I’m packing my stuff hurriedly because now I’m making us late.
Something happens here. Spooks me. Can’t remember now. Maye it’s outweighed by what happens later. Maybe Chris Scott’s boner thing was enough to trim me with warm fuzzies.
All of a sudden I gotta go pee. So bad that I can’t quite hold it and little spurts and dribble are seeping through despite my best efforts to hold them off.
One candle just went out!
I reach down and grab myself and run sort of crab-like to the bathroom where I proceed to tap dance while I unfurl my urine-clogged member. Out it comes like a broken and destroyed dam. I’m relishing the release of pain when a pebble or some sort of airborne object that came from an impossible angle due to the geometrical shape of the bathroom. I was sure that it was supernatural and quite vindictive. Being exposed didn’t make things easier. Thus I screamed, “Who the fuck is there, goddamn it?!?” Which woke me up into a room full of unfamiliar, thoroughly foreign darkness. I had just enough time to realize I was laying on my right side in a long rectangular room with the head of the bed nuzzled into one corner. I thought to myself that it was odd to have screamed in my sleep. “Never done that before,” I thought. Just as I began to go over what had happened in my dream that would elicit such an unprecedented behavior a door in the other corner of the long shoebox room opened and a backlit figure came in and walked straight toward me. I thought it was Tiff – maybe I had fallen asleep waiting for her and now it was time to go, but she was letting me rest. After hearing me scream she came in to check on me.
Nope. Not that.
As the ambiguous figure approached, the light from outside started to fill in the room and my eyes began to adjust. Whoever the fuck it was was wearing a black robe and had their face painted like a clown.
It was impossible to tell if it was Tiffany. It was impossible to tell if it was male or female. I didn’t say anything, waiting for some trigger of recognition to fire. My surroundings, this person, something. Nothing. Clown face leans over me, my breathing quickens and puts both hands on my shoulders and gently, firmly holds me down.
“Tiffany?” I ask hopefully.
Just a shake of the head slowly.
I reach up with my hands to its arms. Definitely man. Definitely strong and inescapable. My vision has finally adjusted and that white paint fully occupies my vision. I am overcome with horror and fear.
I open my eyes and I am in Huari. But it doesn’t really click. They close and I’m back. It’s face is even more demented and terrifying. I open my eyes again and my conscious memory spins into action and quickly reminds my mind and body that the first opened eyes did, in fact, see home. My eyes opened for good this time and I breathed, but did not feel safe for about ten minutes. Almost called Tiff to ask if I could come over. It’s after 1am though and I’m a big boy.
A dog barked more eerily than I probably would have normally thought. I finished Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle before going to sleep. Don’t see how that would figure in.
Then rolled on my back to see a black shadow in the corner of the ceiling like a huge bat turn into liquid and slide down the wall reviving my sense of uncalm.
My eyes are my enemy tonight.
Light some candles. Write it out of your system, I commanded myself. Peace can envelop me now anytime. Just gotta fix my bed so the plastic isn’t showing anymore more and blow my nose first.