Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Word on Greece

I spent six weeks in Greece last spring, and as I was walking along the street between the row of shops and the sea, I suddenly had to pee worse than I ever had before. I stepped off the street and into one of a dozen tourist shops that all sold the same thing—olive wood masks, and olive wood cock bottle openers. I don’t know what it is about the Greeks but they have an affinity for penises like I’ve never seen before. Everywhere you go there’s a guy trying to sell you a cock shaped something, or a mural of a naked man painted on to the side of a building. There were no naked men in the store I stepped into and the cocks ended with the bottle openers, there was just one old Greek sitting behind a counter with a little electric fan that tossed the collar of his open shirt.
“Yasu.” I said
“Hello my friend” the Greek replied in heavy broken English
“Do you have a bathroom?”
“Eh? What you mean?”
“A water closest. Do you have a water closet I can use?”
“Oh, oh!” The Greek began to laugh and he slapped the table hard with his hand. “You’ve come to see my snake!” I thought he misunderstood what I had said and I tried to explain more, but he pointed me to a white door in the corner of the room with a blue sign that read “WC”.
“Thank you.” I said. I walked across the shop and opened the door to go in, but when I went to step a pure sense of shock shot up through my entire body starting at my feet and fizzling out the tips of my hair. “What the hell is that?” I yelled. There was a shiny black ball of tar oozing out from between the toilet and the sink like it had been wadded up and stuffed back there.
“This is Malinda!” said the Greek who had appeared behind me.
“What is it?” I said. The black mass suddenly grew a head the size of an avocado and began flicking a little black thread from its mouth.     
“She is a py thon!” The head began to creep forward and stretched part of the mass out into a body as thick as a birch tree. “Please go, go! She is very nice, step right over her. Go!”
Malinda stared at me with her black marble eyes and whipped her tongue in and out as if she were daring me to step in and whip out mine. I stepped back, “You know, Malinda took away me need to go.” I turned and began to make my way out of the shop.
The Greek began to laugh again, “Whatever you say my friend, you come back tomorrow and we drink wine. I have best wine in whole village!”
“Sure.” I said as I walked out past the wooden penises.

When I stepped out of the shop the sun had just nearly finished disappearing into the Mediterranean, and I still had to pee—worse than before actually. So I walked out into the water on a little stone walk while the last bits of sunlight faded away and pissed into the sea once it was dark.    

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Please Do Not Read

Leaving things unfinished is one of the most despicable things human beings are capable of. That’s why I paid all of my debts  bringing my net worth to a total of twenty-six dollars and thirty five cents, completed the two weeks’ notice before quitting my job, and respectfully waited until my apartment lease was up, and then and only then did I climb to the top of Jumpers peak. I had sold my car to help with the debt because dead men don’t need cars, so I walked the eight miles from my former apartment to the edge of the Wasatch Mountains and then another mile and a half up to the peak. It had snowed the night before and though the main road had been plowed the rest of the mountain was covered in white, and if it wasn’t for a pair of crisp tire tracks cut into the path to the peak I would have never been able to find my way up to the fence that was put up to stop people from killing themselves. It didn’t do much good; I climbed the fence easily, though I did cut my wrist pretty badly on a rusted piece of jagged fence. I even stopped to worry about getting rust poisoning, but I remembered what I was climbing the fence to do and felt stupid when I saw a gaping hole cut into the fence right where I had climbed over. So I just went on bleeding into my shirt sleeve.
I had pictured myself stepping up to that ledge plenty of times before. I always wondered if I would be afraid and stand there for hours before actually doing it, or if I wouldn’t feel anything and just jump right off. Any way you do it I guess it doesn’t matter because in the end you get same exact thing, but when I was actually there I thought I would just walk off. Not even stop to think, just one final step then nothing. I didn’t want the thought of cops and old woman who read obituaries dissecting me and deciding why I would kill myself stop me from actually doing it. I couldn’t even tell you why I wanted to kill myself. Not because I didn’t know, but because there’s no rational or logical way to explain something like that to someone. It comes with a general feeling of melancholy sadness that becomes what’s normal, and a sense that you’re reliving the same day over and over again as weeks roll into months into years without change, and you realize that the closest thing you have to joy is sleep because at least that stops everything for a little while and punctuates the mundane. I thought about all of that and God as I walked to the ledge, where the snow and the sky met at a white and grey boarder. I couldn’t help the lump in my throat that grew tighter with every step, and I had to close my eyes to keep moving forward towards the boarder. I took two more steps and on the third my foot snagged what I could only imagine was a step up to the ledge, and I fell forward with my eyes still closed. I saw myself falling, falling, falling, until finally I hit the ground and splattered into an abstract puddle of blood, or maybe I would impale myself on a conveniently placed stalagmite and my blood would drip down onto the snow in little droplets. But when I did hit the ground it was face first into the snow and accompanied by a shrill screaming. When I opened my eyes I realized that the ledge was another ten yards off, and the only blood I left in the snow was from the rusty cut on my wrist. The shrill scream persisted in gasps and sobs, and when I turned my head back on my prone body I found the culprit lying at my feet wrapped in a wool blanket and crying its lungs out in the snow.

                I stood and looked in awe, trying to comprehend how and why and who would leave a goddamn baby on the edge of a cliff in the snow to die! I picked it up out of the snow and brushed the frost off of it’s face. It’s face was like ice, but when its hand broke out from the wrapping and grasped around my finger I felt how warm the palm was. It couldn’t have been there long; it would have been dead if it had been out there over an hour but it was alive and screaming. I thought about the crisp tire tracks that carved out the path, and the large hole cut in the fence. It couldn’t have been coincidence that all of those things were there at the same time; there was no way they could be independent of one another. I took off my coat and wrapped it around the baby, covering the spot where the wrapping had come undone as a cold wind began to blow and I made my way back, through the hole in the fence and down the mile and a half mountain path, walking within the tire tracks. The mountain path led off to the main road, where the parallel tracks curved off to the left and then disappeared into the plowed road—opposite the way I had originally come.