Creative Non-Fiction

Number 371

One time, I wrote to you from a provocatively celestial, windy night.

I.

Two dust-speckled birds lit on the mulberry tree across the street. The tree still had some dark green leaves on, it being the middle of November.

I heard a low and mournful whisper coming from the train yard. It weren't a ghost; just a locomotive breathing out its coarse diesel discourse into the obscure hours.

Before long, those two nightjars commenced their song; caliginous chirps and whistles followed. All of those sounds combined. And once entwined, they spirited themselves away into the upper atmosphere.

There was a buzzing sodium lamp burning nearby. The light it made caused nearby objects to appear yellow and sharp. Purple shadows blossomed beneath the cars and plants and cats located within the circle of its electric radiance.

I spied Polaris setting in one place, way up north. The rest of the stars and planets churned around it like the maelstroms that take unlucky boats down to Neptune's hidden garden. Seeing how that idea gave me an unfamiliar but welcome sense of ease and well being, I laid myself down and fell into a dream.

II.

It is naturally bright but the air is sullen at the same time. I let my old yellow Volkswagen—the one I bought from the fry cook at Fred's Bread—do the driving. That car carries me with all of the benevolence its chugging engine can muster, across empty mesas and up into foggy foothills.

The road gets hard to manage and has been flooded with paint the color of water so I climb out a side window. The city of Albuquerque is glowing beneath me. It looks just like I imagine a vast space station might, if I were an astronaut.

I tell the Volkswagen (whose name I cannot pronounce when awake) to wait while I investigate the geometry and nocturnal animal life in the mountains ahead.

A pack of coyotes is breathing out howling noises aimed at the moon and vinegaroon skitters through the arroyo, whipping its tail and snapping its black claws. Somewhere east of Supper Rock, I find a wooden door has been craftily installed into the face of a cliff I used to climb.

I pull it open to discover the Sandia Mountains are mostly hollow. A pale blue light seeps through from the other side. Inside, I notice that someone built a ramshackle fence—made from saplings and multi-colored telephone wire—around a great green meadow that seems to extend for miles. Sheep graze here and there. My old dog Arnold bounds up to say hello, wagging his tail. He starts carrying on about the beauty and serenity of nature

III.

The sun came up just about then, just as I began to notice the telephone wire fence was really constructed of lunar soil and leaden capacitors.

Yawning and shaking my head at the impossibility such things, I sat up in bed, activated my personal levitation device, floated into the kitchen and processed some coffee beans into a stimulating beverage. I swung the backdoor open in a gesture meant to reconcile myself with reality and did not bother to look for my shoes before deactivating the machine and stepping into November.

A cool breeze was wafting through the air. The whole place smelt of water and autumnal relief. Two fellows were working on the swamp cooler next door and cursing a clogged copper pipe while the neighbor's cat patrolled the fence tops, prowling for Inca doves.

I blinked my eyes and the radio came on as I tumbled back into the house. An announcer was telling about the war and how it might make things like miniaturized nuclear fuel cells scare, how growing one’s home victory garden ought to be balanced out with proper and diligent Geiger counter use.

The presidential show was coming up, the on-air voice continued, and it looked like Oprah was still in the lead because Justin Beiber might be pretty, but his foreign policy skills needed lots of work. 2024 would be a helluva year I thought to myself, even if I do have to learn to walk again.

IV.

The alarm went off at seven that morning and I jumped out of bed like my life depended on that simple act. Three cups of coffee and two bowls of Rice Chex later, I began my daily drive to work. I smiled broadly and had a good laugh when the oldies station played that one hit song Franz Ferdinand had when everyone in the rocanrol press really believed they were gonna be the next big thing after Radiohead was done conquering the earth.