At the all-you-can-eat Asian buffet joint in a college town, I’m watching a pregnant lady move across the floor as she exits the bathroom door and passes by the long steaming racks of spring rolls and chili shrimp and lo mein.
I watch methodically, sizing her up, exhilarated by a welcome shot of lightning bolt lust zapping up through my 42-year-old bones.
“Hmph. She’s actually pretty f#@%in’ hot.”
That’s what I tell myself in my Brain Voice.
Maybe eight/nine seconds of peaceful moments pass as I observe the lady as she stops and peeks down at the dim sum stuff. A bottle rocket shoots out of my guts and bounces off of my skull and the sound inside me is loud and, I’m dead serious, I stop shoveling food in my mouth for a minute as I just take in the fact that I’m gawking at a fine, fine woman who is wearing high boots that I would gladly let walk all over me even though she is way knocked-up.
Life is so odd. It’s so poetically insane. Even when you think you know the near future, even when you are a thousand-percent certain that it’s a fastball coming down the pike, you still get the wicked curve. Some you hit. Most, you miss.
“MILF,” I declare as I drop the old jaws on a piece of sushi which contains like six different ingredients, none of which I could identify in a court of law. “Gorgeous.”
But you know how it is with dudes like me; we’re all talk, no action. The world passes us by and we watch across a field of fried rice. I don’t have the guts to get up and walk over there and tell her what I’m thinking. I don’t know why, I just don’t.
She starts moving my way with a plate of food and at my table, she just sits down across from me as if she lives here.
I stare at her through the buffet air.
She cranks a pair of chopsticks apart, breaking the crotch of a tiny man as she rips his legs from one another and the violence of the act and the way she just does it so nonchalantly, in the middle of my hotness for her, it throws me, dude. For a weird loop.
Then she talks to me, in a calm tone, like she’s just talking to herself.
“Hey, if someone ever walks in here, or you know, any place like this when we’re eating or just shopping or whatever and they start shooting, grab the kids if they’re with us and just go, hard. Go through the front glass if you have to. Just go.”
What the hell is she saying?
“But don’t worry about me. Ever. You get the kids and you go hard.” I look at her, her blue eyes are all up in mine now. My heart is sunk, I guess. I feel sick.
My wife. My kid in her belly. And this is what it’s all come down to, huh? A trillion years of evolution or whatever the hell you want to call it, and here we are, planning our escape. Hoping against hope that, when the time comes, we can just leave our sodas half-full/half-empty and shatter through the enormous panes.
Bursting out into the parking lot, a kid under each arm, alive. That’s what she’s asking me to do, my pregnant wife, as a spring roll disappears into her mouth.
I turn away from her and look out the window and I see me out there looking for her, the shattered glass all around my feet; I’m frozen in a scream, holding the kids/crying like a bitch, and I’m all in black and white like some Pulitzer photo the whole world will see in less than an hour.
The Ultimate List of Reasons for Everything in the Whole Entire World:
-The gun didn’t fire the bullet.
-Mental health is on the back burner.
-The war on drugs is lost.
-Look at the economy.
-The government is a mess.
-You’re getting fat. (Have you seen your own ass lately?)
-Someone is waiting to ‘Like’ your next Facebook thing. And someone else is waiting to burn it the hell down.
No one is doing anything much anymore.
We’re wasting away, as a people, like we’ve got some kind of a bone cancer that starts to runs through the marrow of the Appalachians and just goes and goes for days and days, like a wild sick river of poison, flowing under the cornfields and the city streets and the small towns, beneath middle schools and garages and football fields, under meth labs, under deer in the suburban dusk and mountain lions in the deep heart of the wilderness.
Things are what they are, I guess. Nothing lasts forever. And countries, the whole idea of nation-states and flags and Presidents or Kings or Prime Ministers, all of that stuff just crinkles up eventually and blows away in a certain headwind that has been blowing itself this way and that way since the very start of this whole thing we call life, I suppose.
So many of us, just gnats floating around on the forever sea, we get to thinking that what we think, that what we want and desire, that that’s all that really matters in the end.
We want what we want, you son of a bitch. And we want it now and secretly, inside of our hearts, we don’t really care if it’s still around thirty seconds after we die, because at that point we will be on to something else. Or nothing else. But either way we won’t need what we wanted so bad back then.
What does a nation dying under the weight of its own bloated freedom sound like, you ever ask yourself that question?
Is it the sound of a hall full of chatter mouth liberals flapping their gums?
Is it the sound of some conservative blowhard filibustering the night?
Is it the sound of a coyote talking to the moon? That would be kind of cool, huh? So, that’s probably not it.
Or is it that rat-a-tat sound coming around the bend, like the old steam locomotives from long ago?
Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat-tat. Getting louder.
Breaking glass. Crying. Sirens. If you’re lucky.
Silence, if you’re not.
Someone needs to invent a goddamn machine that will dig up Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin and George Washington and get the truth once and for all, that’s what the hell has to happen.
All this money we waste on stupid crap.
Dig up the main dudes for God’s sake.
Spend some cabbage and invent the crap out of this machine that has like a little metal probe on it and you rub it up against whatever brittle bone chips you can find from the Founding Fathers and you ask them point blank.
We could Pay-Per-View the thing and charge 65 bucks to watch it and you know damn well it will make bank. Who’s not going to order that, right? Have people play at it, too, bands and stuff leading up to the ‘big question’. Get Kanye West. He’ll do it. Justin Bieber will do it, I bet. Lady Gaga. Country bands for the people who like that stuff; get Confederate Railroad, is that still a band? Get whoever you want, the point is that the American people will pay big bucks to watch this.
Invite politicians to be there too. Ted Cruz. Invite him, he’ll say crazy stuff, you know that.
Sports guys. Get Shaq. Everyone loves Shaq.
Then, at like 11pm, after a couple hours of fluff and Ryan Seacrest and Coldplay doing ‘The Scientist’, you zoom into the ‘expert’ with the probe standing in front of that exact same weird column that they use to hold the roses on The Bachelor, except this time it holds the Founding Father bone chips. And you have the freaky music playing and the suspense is crazy because everybody is watching this thing and there is a ton riding on it, you know? Whole careers, hell, whole dynasties and legacies are at stake.
The camera pans across the nervous faces of the live audience. You see the Obamas (nervous), John Boehner (smoking/nervous), Chris Martin from Coldplay (talking to Dane Cook, not really paying attention).
Then, the probe rubs the bone and somebody asks the question:
“Oh Founding Father, some of our guns are being used to shoot little kids at school sometimes, maybe like thirty-three times or something, it’s not every day or anything, but still: aren’t we supposed to hold fast to what you guys said about our right to ‘bear arms’ and all?”
We zoom in on the little screen made exclusively by Apple, where the answer from the Great Beyond is finally supposed to appear once and for all.
It’s freaking silent, dude. Tense to the millionth degree. An advertisement for memorabilia will go crawling across the bottom of the screen, $40 t-shirts and whatever.
And then it will come. The answer will appear like the most important text message of all time.
“We meant ‘bear arms’…
“We meant ‘bear arms’ as in black bear arms, a delicious wholesome frontier snack for the entire family, you assholes. Now piss off and let us sleep!”
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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