On 18th and K-Street there was a man weaving through all the insufferable Northwest D.C. suits, walking resolutely in the rain, and stepping into all the puddles with force and purpose. “MOTHERFUCKERS!” he kept yelling so loudly, I could hear him clearly across four lanes of lunchtime traffic. “MOTHERFUCKERS! LIFE AIN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY. MOTHERFUCKERS!” He kept bellowing, almost with disbelief, at everything that enveloped him in that moment. He walked hard and with a mission. He was definitely aiming to get somewhere. The suits kept away from this man; if anything, so they wouldn’t be splashed with putrid, standing, city rain water. Three of us stood glued to the façade of the building, hands in pockets, watching this man push through a blanket of absurdity and heavenly deluge. None of us laughed. We took from this man’s howls whatever was appropriate for our lives at that time; we took it and we dressed our bleeding cuts with it. Mikey D lit up a menthol and finally sighed: “Something’s bound to happen sooner or later.” And as an answer to Mikey D, a fellow with a black box tugged on a suit hurrying by and said: “Excuse me, sir…you’ve dropped something.” The suit stopped and looked behind, and the man with the box said: “You’ve dropped your shine!” and then opened up his shoe shine box and set it up quickly on the street while the suit recoiled with anxiety, making an exaggerated gesture and convulsing like a hen freshly decapitated, gyrating savagely. “What about you fellows? I do tennis shoes, too” the shoeshine man said to us.
After my shift I went to a Greek bar next door and when I walked in, the place was literally shaking. The speakers and sub woofers were pumping “Man of Constant Sorrow;” a few patrons were standing on their tables, stomping their feet, and in a corner, sitting alone, was a midget…a little person with his left arm missing, pounding on the table to the beat of the tune. “Mind the puddles” the barkeep screamed and pointed to the floor, but I didn’t see any. He was an Asian kid wearing a baseball cap turned backwards and when I asked for a whiskey neat, he served it in a pint glass three quarters of the way filled with ice. “Crusoe’s weakness is that Crusoe is Crusoe and is unable to be anything but Crusoe,” said a man looking at me. “Crusoe is so happy Crusoe will meet Crusoe and will finally be able to express Crusoe’s love for Crusoe. The Crusoes were separate too long. It’s almost unbearable to look at you, you are so wonderful. I need to get better. You know, we can talk to we whenever we wish; your TV I’s …”
“Mind the puddles,” said the Asian barkeep on my way out and pointed again to a dry floor. “Next train’s at midnight,” he said. “Have a good night.”
I walked through a group of cackling housekeeping staff having just finished up second shift, on my way to the underground station. They were so loud, their words and laughter bounced off the abandoned office buildings and came back to double up in a weird, savage auditory illusion. One of the maids was a Latino transgender, or a transvestite. “Goddamn mafacka,” she said startled. “Next time you come at me you better come from behind, papichulo,” she said, and the rest of the group exploded in over-exaggerated laughter, which reverberated off the concrete parapets all around us.
Later, when they check the surveillance cameras, they’ll see me entering the Orange Line station with a maroon backpack. And in the next frame I’m gone. One-thirtieth of a second.
100,000,000,000 neurons in the brain get switched off suddenly. And you do feel the pain. One trillion connections.
Processing power = 100 trillion instructions per second:
Where’s my Big Mac you idiot?
How many fingers am I holding up?
Why didn’t you change your name?
How I feel is…the ally of my ally is my enemy.