His name was Dali Cannon. Dali Cannon was not crazy, however his thought patterns were extremely abstract. Blue. It is for this reason that he is frequently misunderstood. As for his appearance, Dali could have easily been a male model. He was six feet tall, had medium cropped dark hair, flaming blue eyes and a square jaw. His physique was lean and impressive despite a small, well-earned beer belly. Cannon was not at all vain. In fact he was almost oblivious to his good looks. He never wore a suit unless he had to, and was most comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt with messy hair; grubby casual.
Tuesday, at exactly twelve past noon, Dali wakes up with his usual confusion, mystical hangover, and dry throat. Water and then more water helps him to feel something approaching human. He gets dressed in a yellow shirt, recently purchased at a thrift store for two dollars. The thirty year old, unemployed Jungian, places the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat album on the phonograph. He then takes the needle and drops it precisely on the second track of side two. The seventeen plus minute song is his all time favorite, "Sister Ray".
Lou Reed's unintelligible lyrics and feedback distorted guitar produce a unique feeling in Dali, best described as optimistic electricity, or electric optimism. After smoking a Marlboro cigarette, a marijuana cigarette, and another Marlboro cigarette, Dali Cannon heads out towards "Max's Cafe"
The fresh air feels more than soothing on this top quality summer's day. A light breeze caresses Dali's head, massaging his cannabis buzzed hangover. Soon his cracked skull and violent abdomen are transformed. A highly enjoyable state of delusion takes over, perfect. During the seven and a half minute walk from his apartment to the cafe, Dali tries to recall the events of last night. His only success is the vague memory of a smoke filled bar, called "Fiddler's Pub". When he was younger, these blackouts were greatly bothersome. Now they were only mildly annoying, if not necessary.
"Max's Cafe" was a mecca for all the neighborhood's unemployed, unwanted and uninteresting. Its patrons also included starving artists, musicians, and of course, pseudo- intellectuals, and students. Dali Cannon was equally at ease and familiar with any of the cafe's regulars. Regularity, ironically, was what Dali hated most.
"Why do I come here everyday?" he lamented as he sat down with a cynical old man named Charlie Wright.
"Habit," was the reply.
It was a simple answer that could not have been more true. Charlie had a knack for telling the truth, whether it was hurtful or not, didn't matter. It was this flaw that earned him a less than desirable reputation.
"Looks like someone had a rough night," Charlie said while drinking a coffee. "If you keep this up, you'll be dead you know, dead in less than a year."
Dali was a rare specimen in that he did not mind hearing the truth, and rarer yet, he appreciated Charlie Wright's company.
"I know, I gotta stop... I need direction... I need a change."
"You won't change... you're addicted... addicted to coffee, addicted to cigarettes, addicted to booze, drugs, hangovers, gambling. You might be able to quit one vice, but you'll only replace it with something else, probably worse."
"Thanks, I needed to hear that," Dali said with a sarcastic smile.
"Anyway, what did you do last night," asked Charlie?
"I went to 'Fiddler's'."
"How was it?"
After a couple of cigarettes and French dark roast coffees Dali was not feeling so well. His heart was beating in 5/4 time. Now this may be a good thing if you're a Dave Brubeck tune,
however if you're a hollow muscular organ serving as a blood circulating pump, a more traditional rhythm is preferred. Although he was certain it was simply a side effect of his hangover Dali became quite anxious. He was perspiring and increasingly fuzzy in the head. It was time to go.
Once again the outdoors prove to be a competent cure for Dali's ailments. The air still manages to fill his lungs in spite of his best unconscious effort to sabotage them with fierce chain smoking. To any anonymous onlooker noticing Cannon leisurely moving down the sidewalk, it may appear he is wandering aimlessly. In actuality he is deliberately following the distant but distinct sounds of the bagpipe. The melody produced by the drone instrument leads the proud Canadian to the neighborhood park. It is here he witnesses a most peculiar sight. Standing on a hill overlooking the Seine River is a blue, green, and red dreadlocked bagpiper. The kilt wearing neo-hippie-punk appears to be performing for a crowd of graceful swaying elm trees. The medium sized park would be empty if not for Dali Cannon and the mysterious music maker. The pair are mutually aware of each other's presence, though neither feels the need for acknowledgment. Dali is ambivalent about the situation. On one hand it's a gloriously outlandish scene, on the other hand some of the higher pitched notes have ricocheted off the tympanic membrane of his inner ear and caused a painful disturbance somewhere between his cerebellum and frontal lobe. Dali decides the best way to handle his rejuvenated booze inspired brainpain would be with some medicinal smoke.
Alone, in a secluded area of the park, away from the bagpipes and near the river, Cannon finds a seat on an irregularly shaped rock. He rummages around in his jeans front right pocket and produces a small plastic baggie containing close to an eighth of mind numbing giggle weed. From his back pocket he pulls out a half empty pack of Zig Zag blue rolling papers. The task of breaking up the sweet smelling herb is meticulously followed by ten expert fingers twisting up a beautiful doobie. To complete the process he lightly moistens the joint with his lips (allowing for a slow even burn) and strikes a match. The ritual begins. Puff, Puff, Puff, cough, cough.... Puff, Puff, Puff, cough cough.
The bagpipes went silent, and a lazy warmth enveloped Dali as he contemplated the river in front of him. He was quite stoned now, and awestruck at the jumping fish splattering in the brown water. It inspired him to create the following haiku:
Treasures in carp form
from wet home leap KER-SPLASHING
symbols of wisdom
It was now quarter to two. A fact Dali Cannon could sense, but not verify, because he was watchless. While he was trying to decide his next move, a couple of little green stones caught his attention. They felt not only superbly smooth, but also sensuous in his hands. These dime-sized beauties were definitely keepers.
It was hunger that proved to be the deciding factor in Dali's return home to suite 12 of the Rosewater apartments located at 252 Humphrey street.
The refrigerator provides few choices; eggs, bread, milk, and ham. Feeling exceptionally creative today, Dali makes a ham and egg sandwich. As for dessert, a glass of milk and a Marlboro. The mixture produces a caustic reaction and the abundant contents of Dali's stomach are inevitably ejected onto the floor.
"I'm never drinking again," he swears to himself "I need a change... I need direction... I need a mop!" After the clean-up our bi-polar friend puts on some hurtin music in the form of Johnny Cash.
"Don't take your guns to town son-
Leave your guns at home Bill-
Don't take your guns to town"
"Hello?" Dali answers the phone.
"Hey man, what's up?" asks Chet Davis.
"Meet me at 'Max's' at three o'clock."
"I've already been there today."
"So what? I'll buy you a coffee."
"O.K. see you at three."
Chet Davis was an old friend of Dali's. They had met more than ten years ago in an introductory philosophy class. Neither of them spent more than two months in college. By quitting they managed to stay much truer to character. Astonishingly, between the two of them, they had quit forty-three different jobs since their friendship began. The glue that proved stickiest and most important to their long lasting relationship was their fondness; no, their love of smoking pot.
Dali brushed his teeth and noticed that since his vomit attack, he was feeling much better. He also remembered having spent his last two dollars and fifty cents on coffee earlier. His television was already in hock at the pawn shop, so his guitar would be today's sacrifice. The acoustic six string did not mind, for it was the same vacation the instrument had taken once a month for as long as it could remember.
Outside the pawn shop stood a middle aged man adorned in an expensive looking, brand new, gray pin stripe suit, bow tie, and top hat. He carried an umbrella, though rain was not even a remote possibility.
"Would I be able to bother you sir for a little spare change?" supplicated the sophisticated beggar.
"I'm sorry. I don't have any." was Dali's honest response. (The pawn shop had given him three twenty dollar bills to hold the guitar.) This response angered the paradox of a man greatly. He pointed his umbrella menacingly at Dali and spoke these words "Hocus pocus, tontus talontus, vade celeriter jubeo!" The dark composure of words fell meaninglessly on Dali, yet they left him frightened and disturbed. In reality, the spooky sounds and histrionics were simply a diversion to aid the master thief in picking the pocket of our poor pigeon friend. The grifter failed however, and managed only to acquire a half pack of Zig Zag rolling papers.
It's three minutes to five when Chet Davis emerges from the "Max's Cafe'' lavatory and grabs a seat with a fatigued Dali Cannon. They are situated at the extreme left corner of the room. From here they can view the entire cafe. It's half empty, or half full depending upon your disposition. The only unfamiliar face in the crowd is of an exotic looking Chinese man. In Dali's mind every Asian possesses secret knowledge, a profound ageless wisdom guarded to the highest degree. Consequently, he could not help being intrigued as to what the enigmatic Easterner might be writing in that little red notebook. Charlie Wright continues slurping a cup of java, still comfortable in his immovable spot. Dali and he exchange a friendly nod of the head and then politely ignore each other. Curiously, dangling from the ceiling, are three rubber chickens. On the pale blue walls hang an eclectic variety of paintings. The works of art range from children's refrigerator scribblings to monumental experiments in surrealism.
"You would not believe how hot this chick was at the library today!" Chet exclaimed with enthusiasm.
"How hot was she?" asked Dali in his best straight man voice.
"Oohh man, she was so so sexy sexy. I think she liked me. (Chet thought every girl liked him. He definitely liked every girl.)" There was no doubt this was a genuine lover of the ladies.
"So, what were you doing at the library?"
"I was using the free internet."
"What do you need on the internet?"
"What else? Porn. That's what everyone uses it for. You should see some of the twisted fucking shit on there. It's awesome. This one chick had a cock in her ass, her mouth, her pussy, and one in each hand. Lot's of lesbian action too-"
"Spare me the details of your perverted waste of time. You pervert."
"So, tell me, how did you spend your precious time today? Did you get a job or were you too busy helping little old ladies cross the street?"
"For your information, I wrote a haiku today."
"Oh really? Was that before or after you pawned your guitar?"
"How did you know I pawned it?"
"It's Tuesday you predictable dumb fuck!"
They both chuckled. It was their ability to laugh at this kind of absurd banter that demonstrated their closeness and solidified their friendship.
Dali's pupils dilated, his mouth fell open, and his heart took flight. Was she for real? The vision that just floated in from the outdoors retro-actively made right every decision the enraptured Dali had ever made. For it was precisely these choices that allowed him to be right here, right now, enjoying what the French call "le coup de foudre". She was creation's greatest achievement. Her golden blonde hair swung slowly across her face and gently caressed her shoulders in the soft breeze created by the closing cafe door. Her viridian green eyes were speckled with tiny flashes of burnt umber and three adorable freckles added honor to her flawless nose, but the indisputable champions of her face were those two tremendous folds of flesh that surrounded her mouth. These puffy, pouty lips were as heavenly as they were dangerous. In the wrong hands, with the right shade of lipstick, whole civilizations could be conquered with weapons almighty as these. You could not quite make out the angelic form, loosely hidden beneath her translucent, rose colored, Chanel silk dress that stopped three inches above her knees. Lustrous legs and bare feet culminated brilliantly with ten charming toes, painted to match her dress.
"Are you o.k," beckoned Chet?
"Huh... what? Oh yeah I'm alright, but holy shit man, look at what just walked in-"
"Yeah, that Sarah's one fine piece of ass. I'd like to cum in her, even if she is only fifteen-"
"What? You mean you know her! she's how old?"
"Fifteen... that's how I met her... last week I was here and she asked me if I could buy some vodka coolers for her and her friends-"
"So, did you?"
"Yeah, we all shared a couple of drinks in the liquor store parking lot and then they drove me back here"
"I'll invite her over."
"Yeah, good idea."
Chet waved at the gorgeous Lolita and called out, "Hey Sarah, come sit with us."
Dali was in agony trying not to appear too dumbfounded with the innocent siren now sitting a mere two feet to his left. How she made his soul ache with desperate, hungry passion. He would gladly do hard time for a taste of her illegal merchandise.
"Sarah, this is Dali. Dali, this is Sarah," was Chet's casual introduction.
"Nice to meet you," she said.
In his absolute best attempt to charm her, Dali responded, "Enchanted to make your acquaintance, Sarah," as he gently bent over and kissed her delicate hand. She was still too young to be put off by such a cheesy maneuver and giggled winsomely.
"I'm so glad your here Chet! My friend Julia's parents went to the lake for a few days and they left her brother and her alone, so they're throwing a party. Anyway, her brother Tom tried to score some alcohol, but they I.D.'d him and he's only seventeen-"
"So you want me to get it?"
"If that's not a problem... I mean you guys could come too... I'm sure it's O.K. You can talk to Julia yourself, she's meeting me here right away."
"Yeah, sure... no problem, I'll get you the booze," Chet said with a raise of the eyebrows and deviant grin.
It did not take long for Dali to realize sweet Sarah lived in a universe far, far from his own. How could he convince the teeny-bopper that he was cool? First of all he avoided using the word teeny-bopper. Secondly he kept secret his own age, remembering how ancient thirty can seem to a high schooler. Dali was overwhelmed at how little he'd changed since graduation. In no way did he resemble what he envisioned an adult to be. The only sign of his maturity was a single gray hair, well hidden at the back of his head. This did not prevent him from feeling geriatric as the conversation turned toward pop culture. It was damn near impossible, for example, to keep a straight face while comparing the immense song writing abilities of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, or debating which movie is most deserving of a best picture nomination American Pie 2, or Crossroads. The only general consensus was that Shakira should be celebrated (for two completely different reasons, but celebrated nonetheless).
At nearly three-thirty, Julia made the trio a quartet. She was pleasant enough, but at sixteen and lacking her companion's sweltering good looks, offered nothing particularly interesting to the group, apart from a minor titter as she naively ordered a cup of tai chi rather than, chai tea.
"So, are you guys ready to go?" asked Chet.
"I am," was answered in unison.
"Shotgun!", claimed Davis instinctively. Dali was surprised at his womanizing friend's obvious blunder and elated that it would be himself sharing the back seat with Sarah.
It had only been a month since Julia received her driver's license, as was purely evident from the moment she turned the ignition of her mother's nineteen ninety-eight Saturn SC2.
"Look out!", cried Chet as the inexperienced chauffeur narrowly missed clipping a little boy on his bicycle.
"I saw him. Don't be so nervous. I'm an excellent driver," piped out the unaware teen.
Sarah was toying with her shimmering locks, gazing directly into Dali's eyes and said, "So, you guys still haven't said if your coming to the party or not."
The adolescent seductress was making Dali very tense. He was aggressively brawling with his conscience, an earnest battle between good and evil. At this moment it was the one eyed devil between his legs that had a slight edge over the inconsistently ethical cherub in the middle of his shoulders.
"Of course I'm coming," replied Chet, "if that's o.k with you Julia?"
"Yeah, it's cool with me, but I'll warn you my brother invited a lot of his loser friends," cautioned the youthful hostess, "How about you Dali?"
In a moment of exceptional panic, Dali had a flashback to a party he'd thrown at his parent's home when he was seventeen. The horrific image was just enough to tip the scale of his response in favor of morality, "No... ummm... uh... I gotta meet my friend, were going out tonight," was the fabricated excuse he could not believe escaping his mouth.
"That's too bad," sulked Sarah while touching her lower lip.
"Yeah, too bad for you Cannon," laughed Chet.
The underage females remained in the car while the men were inside the liquor store shopping.
"I can't believe your passing up a chance at fresh meat... man, what's wrong with you? It's unheard of man, completely unheard of, "Chet put his hand on Dali's forehead and continued, "You must be sick or something."
"Ironic you'd call me sick. You're the one who wants to corrupt a couple of innocents. Do you remember how old you are. They're half your age-"
"I'm sure they're not virgins-"
"So what, it's wrong man. I don't want to judge, but to me it's just wrong."
"Whatever. Why are you buying that bottle of vodka for them then? That's very wrong you know."
"You're different, half an hour ago you had an eight man tent pitched in your pants."
"I'm afraid not."
"You make about as much sense as a piece of string!"
"Frayed knot," quipped Dali. He felt uneasy being the voice of reason and gave Chet a playful headlock in the middle of aisle three. "I think it was Oscar Wilde who said, 'Men become old, but they never become good.'" The pair bought a forty ounce bottle of vodka for the girls and Chet got himself a twelve pack of "Moosehead" beer.
A Bob Dylanesque busker was playing harmonica and strumming out a three chord ditty just outside the liquor mart. The bluesy riffs of the harp satisfied Dali enough to dig into his pants and toss some change into the open guitar case. Unintentionally he lobbed one of the little green rocks from the river along with the coins. How poetic he thought, a rolling stone for the rolling stone.
"Thanks guys... " Julia said, clapping her hands, "I have to get home and get things ready soon, so can I drop you off somewhere?" Julia asked Dali.
"I need something to eat. Take me to the grocery store please." he answered.
Chet was already cracking a beer, "Eat this. Beer's food." offered the anxious drunk.
"No thanks, I'm still recovering from last night."
They dropped Dali off at the food store. Watching the back of Chet's head driving off with the little party girls he thought, "What a nut job. What a fucking lucky nut job to have no feelings of guilt. If ignorance is bliss, shamelessness must be even better." It was not the first time Dali felt jealous of his hedonistic friend, but it was the first time Dali felt sure in himself doing the right thing.
Sitting at a bus stop bench, the virtuous champion feasts upon a warm deli chicken. Waving the bus along as it approaches, he thinks what a perfect metaphor for life this is. Society's general public impatiently waiting at their bus stops, knowing where they are going, with schedules in their hands. They get on and join the bustling masses. Everybody is progressing towards their unique destinations, while Dali Cannon seems content sitting on an unpredetermined bench and watching the "sheeple" pass him by. He is emancipated. No responsibilities or timetables, no rules or appointments. Dali is completely free. Free to eat chicken, free to drink until all hours of the night, free to wander aimlessly through life and certainly free to feel downhearted about it all. Smoking his last cigarette, he makes his way to the corner shop.
"We're out of Marlboros," informs the pony-tailed clerk. "How about camels?"
"Sure. I can appreciate a nice Turkish blend," conceded Dali.
"Whoa, look what time it is dude," said Jeff, the tie-die wearing employee. Dali observed by the clock on the wall it was four-twenty. "You know what that means." Of course Dali knew what it meant, time to get high. Jeff was the kindest of all Cannon's acquaintances, a real throwback to the sixties, always ready to share his affection as well as his pot. He put this sign on the door and invited Dali to the storage room.
"Why is four-twenty the internationally designated time to smoke grass?" posed Dali while puffing on the psychedelic, dragon decored pipe.
"I'm not sure, but I think it might have to do with how many chemicals there are in marijuana."
"That's weird." puff, puff, "This is some bad ass weed. I really appreciate it Jeff. You sure know how to put the convenience in convenience store."
"And you put the imp in pimp dude."
"Do you have any new jokes for me?"
"How can you tell if a hippie's been to your house?"
"He's still there."
"Ha, good one."
"How about you Dali, any new jokes?"
"Well, it's not really a joke. It's more of a humorous folk story, depicting three separate temperaments."
Puff, puff, "O.k, there's these three guys, a wino, a pot-head and an acid-head. It's midnight and they are all dehydrated from a long journey in the desert when they arrive at a huge wall. On the other side is an oasis paradise. The only entrance is through a solidly locked wooden door. On the door is a note that reads: Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 'What should we do?' one of them asked. The wino said 'Let's smash it down.' The pot-head said, 'Let's just wait here 'til morning.' and the acid-head said 'Why don't we just float through the keyhole!'"
"Float through the keyhole, that's funny dude." They finished the session and reopened the store. Dali got a good chuckle exiting when he heard an elderly woman say:
"It smells kinda funny in here."
With his usual two feet and a heartbeat, Dali moved on down Humphrey street. SPLAT! From out of nowhere came a piece of cherry pie, landing right on Dali's head. The filling tasted utterly sweet, but he was not pleased with the mess it made gushing down the side of his face and staining his shirt. Looking up, Cannon could see a little red headed kid and a twelve year old Leonard Nimoy look alike retreating from the roof of his Rosewater apartment building. He was more interested in cleaning up than chasing his juvenile assailants, so he simply ignored them and entered home.
After washing the jelly off and changing into a green T-shirt, Dali notices his answering machine is blinking. He presses PLAY and hears:
"First message. Beep. Hi Dali. It's Kip. A few of us are going to 'Fiddler's' tonight and would like you to join us. Will be there around nine or ten. Hope you can make. Bye. Beep."
"Second message. Beep. "Dali you there? I know you're there. Come out with your hand's up. Pick up the phone. I guess you're not home. I need to talk to you, I need a favor, well, I'm going to come over later and I'll ask you then. Beep. End of messages."
Dali's pad was a bachelor's suite. A bathroom and one main room that includes a tiny kitchen. The bathroom could use a good scrubbing, but that was nowhere to be found on Dali's "To-Do" list. The kitchen area was simply a stove, a refrigerator, a sink and two cupboards stocked with a can of soup, one plate, and one bowl. He also owned a pot, a fry-pan, a knife, a fork, and one spoon. Needless to say, Dali Cannon did not throw too many dinner parties. The eggshell white walls were bare. The only decoration in the room was a green haired marionette suspended from the stuccoed ceiling. As for the furniture, he slept on a single bed positioned in the far right corner. Next to that was a table barely large enough to hold the lamp, telephone, and answering machine. He also had a miniature bookshelf and a small wooden chair. C.d.'s, records, a pile of clothes and a water-bong littered the area near his stereo. Filling up the rest of the space was his pride and joy, an intricately woven, orange and blue hammock extending the width of his modest living quarters.
Dali was delighted to grab a book and relax in his Mexican hammock. The bilingual slacker chose to reread Albert Camus' "L'etranger (The Stranger)". This time he would read it in its original language, French.
"Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-etre hier, je ne sais pas. J'ai recu un telegramme de l'asile : <
Purple, pink, violet, rose and yellow clouds. Ethereal, vaporous sky. Levitating, drifting, floating swimming. Fantastic hallucination film. "I'm on a beach." "Who?" "You." "Where?" "In our mind." Dali was treading water in the middle of the ocean. No land was visible on the vast horizon. A gigantic wave lifted and threw him way into the air. He turned into a bird and soared upward, ever higher, ever farther. Into the sun he was consumed and a beam of illumination burst upon a Mediterranean beach. Metamorphosing back into himself, Dali was now holding a revolver. Joining him was his best friend Kip. In the distance they could see an Arab. Perhaps because of the shadows on his face he appeared to be smiling. As Dali and Kip approached, he transmuted into the mysterious Oriental from 'Max's Cafe'. The sun beat down relentlessly and Cannon could feel sweat forming on his eyelids. Trying to escape the maddening heat Dali took a step forward. The Chinese man pulled out a knife. The blade was glistening brilliantly in the sunshine's golden rays. A salty drop of perspiration stung and temporarily blinded Dali, as a strong gust of wind brought with it the sounds of Robert Smith and "The Cure." Sand whipped Cannon in the face, burning his eyes even more. He could not take the cutting tool's glare any longer. Feeling as though the sky was about to explode open in all it's splendor, and rain fire, Dali's whole being seized up. He clutched the revolver and pulled the trigger. As the Asian man lie prostrate, Dali let four more shots go. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! was the knock at the door that awoke Dali from his late afternoon siesta.
"It's Daouda (pronounced DOW-OOH-DAH)." Dali opened the door and let the jolly little Kenyan inside. "Wassup? Did you get my message?"
"Yeah Daouda, I got it. You said you had a favor to ask me?"
"That's right. I was hoping you could help me find some weed."
"How much weed?"
"Seventy dollars worth."
"Where did you get seventy dollars?"
"I got a new job cleaning trains while the workers are on strike. It pays fifteen bucks an hour."
"Holy shit! That's not bad. Can you get me a job?"
"Sorry, I don't think they need any more scabs. So, can you help me score or what?"
"I usually don't like to score for anyone because the next thing you know all your friends are calling you all the time and you become a dealer before you know it. I'm way too paranoid by nature to sell drugs."
"How about just this once? I really want to get high. Please?"
"I'll see what I can do." Dali reluctantly accepts. "What time is it anyway?"
"It's six o'clock."
"I can get you high right now if you want."
"Thanks." The duo sat cross-legged, facing each other on the floor. Dali packed his water-pipe with some superior bud. Puff, gurgle, gurgle, puff.
Getting higher and higher, Dali becomes increasingly perplexed by his intense reverie. He was accustomed to analyzing his dreams by looking for meanings in their symbols. Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist put dreams into two different categories: irrelevant folly of the mind, or vital messages from the unconscious. Dali sensed his dream fell into the latter category, but what was the message? He was certain the ocean was a representation of the unconscious. He interpreted the bird as an image of his soul, stripped of all temporary appearances and limitations and at one with the ultimate nature. The Sun symbolized the conscious ego, the archetypes of knowledge and ideas. As for the scene at the beach, it was simply mirroring the climax of the book he'd been reading. Even "The Cure's" music was brought on by its relationship to "L'etranger" (The song "Killing an Arab" is based on "The Stranger"). The Chinese man, as a foreigner personifies the irrational and potentially destructive "dark side" of the unconscious known as the shadow. By shooting and killing the Asian, the mind attempts to break down the illusionary barrier between conscious ego and neglected force of the unconscious psyche. In other words, Dali recognizes his dream is trying to warn him not to rely exclusively on one aspect of his personality. Without a good balance between the ego and the shadow lies extreme danger, manifested in compulsive and fanatical behavior. Taking responsibility for this is the difference between ignorance and enlightenment.
"I am so stoned," said Dali.
"Me too. Let's go get some cookies." Daouda and Dali hovered down the carpeted hallway out into the street. It was a pleasantly warm evening and many people were out walking, nearly half of them with dogs. These people all know I'm stoned thought Dali.
"Quick, follow me," declared Daouda as he pulled Dali into a back lane. "My wife's up ahead. She thinks I'm working tonight." This was not unusual behavior for the diffident spouse. "She'd kill me if she saw me here."
"The bakery is that way. How are we going to buy cookies then?" asked Dali.
"Forget the cookies."
"Why don't you forget your wife? She has you frightened to death. I've never seen such a bad marriage."
"I hear what you're saying, but I have to think about my little girl." Daouda pulls a picture out of his wallet to show Dali. "Isn't my daughter beautiful?"
"She's adorable. I'm sorry, I guess I just can't relate to your situation."
"That's alright. I love my daughter. I want to bring her to Kenya someday. I miss my family so much. It's been eleven years since I've seen my mother. My wife won't go, even if we could afford it. I like Canada and everything, but it's never felt like home, you know what I mean? Home."
"How did you end up here anyway?"
"It was a big deal man. I mean a really big deal. The whole community chose to send me here to do my studies. Everybody donated money and sponsored me to go to University."
"Why did they choose you?"
"I was the most promising student. I got good grades and was very popular in my home town. Expectations were high from everybody, but after my first year university, I was broke. Since I only had a student visa, I had to find an under the table job. The best I could do was dishwasher at a Mexican restaurant. That's where I met my wife Maria. To stay here I needed to work too much, so I didn't have time for school. I got Maria pregnant, married her and gained citizenship. I wanted to go back to university but I needed money to raise my daughter. So here I am, trapped and depressed. Sometimes I dream of leaving and returning home to Kenya for good. Everyone there mistakenly thinks Canada is some kind of utopia. I have come to realize utopia is your parents, your friends, and your siblings. The culture is different in Kenya. It's more relaxed. I miss it so much. I miss the coconut fish, sweet rolls, and cinnamon samosas and I especially miss high tea."
"I don't know what to say. I wish I could do something to help," mourned Dali.
"How about you help me score some weed?" proposed Daouda.
"Sure, why not? I know a guy a few blocks from here." The few blocks made all the difference in the world. After crossing Newman street, the considerate, sociable, neighborhood dissolved into a risky, neglected, no man's land.
Throwing a rock at the second floor window of a dilapidated rooming house snatches the attention of its most wretched inhabitant, Gunther Blahzig. Peeking through the curtains he spots Dali and the Kenyan. Pausing a moment he yells out, "Be right down." Gunther fulfills his pledge, and invites the pair up to his cubbyhole of a room. Dali introduces his diverse associates to one another and Daouda is immediately taken aback by Gunther's noteworthy appearance. The fifty-six year old, hundred and thirty pound, unshaven man is wearing a soiled New York Yankees baseball hat. Sticking out of the cap is an assortment of buttons and bird feathers. Rotten macaroni slop is smeared all over his long, greasy, silver hair. The eccentric's beguiling eyes are polished and sunk deep into his skull. He has a junkie's aura, savagely creased animal's hide skin, and nasty yellow ocher nicotine stains sully his teeth, fingers, and untrimmed nails.
"Are you selling anything today?" inquires Dali.
"Not right now. I fucking ran out this morning, but I know where to get some."
"Where's that?" questioned Daouda yearningly.
"From 'Donald The Indian' at 'Sonny Boy's Saloon', but don't tell anyone and nobody else either. I'm not just talking threw my hat when I say he's one bad motherfucker. I don't mind sticking my neck out for you guys, but I want something in return."
"Sure, no worries man. What do you want," obliged Daouda.
"I want a bottle."
"That sounds reasonable enough." And so the motley crue marched through the notoriously treacherous alleys and boulevards in the direction of "Sonny Boy's Saloon".
Disturbingly, two dirty needles, carelessly dropped on the floor did not seem out of place in the dingy skid row dive. The rabble here included some of the lowliest riff-raff humanity had to offer. Dali was nervously fidgeting and Daouda was beyond unsettled. Gunther felt at ease here amongst his peers, or as he put it, "This here is my old familiar stamping grounds. He's not here boys, but no great shakes, I'm sure he'll show up soon. How's about in the meantime you buy me a whiskey sour?"
"I don't know. Maybe we should just leave." said Daouda.
"Keep your pecker up son. You dragged me down here and were not leaving without a whistle-wetter." informed old man Blahzig.
"Alright but just one," settled Daouda. While the odd couple sat at the bar, Dali converted a twenty dollar bill into coins and pulled up a chair to the video poker machines. He was playing a dollar twenty-five per hand. Approximately ten minutes later Dali was floating just above even, a few three of a kinds, some two pairs, but nothing big. He pushed the deal button once again and was instantly dealt all the ace's save one. Closing his eyes, and clenching his teeth Dali Cannon took a deep breath and prayed for the missing card, the ace of spades. Tap:
And there she was to complete the set, the glorious, highest ranking digital image of the spaded ace.
"Four bullets. Not bad for a tin-horn gambler, not bad at all," stated Gunther Blahzig, who was now standing right behind the lucky winner.
"Well done Dali. Now let's go. We finished our drinks, 'Donald the Indian' isn't here, and this place creeps me out man," spoke the shy Swahilian from Nairobi.
"O.k., just let me cash in my winnings and we'll split," obliged the beaming Dali. As he traded an auspicious little piece of paper for one hundred and five dollars, a ridiculously enormous human being swaggered through the saloon's swinging doors. With his goatee beard and "don't fuck with me" expression, the monstrous man looked like an angry buffalo. Judging by the room's reaction, you would think a buffalo had indeed just entered the seedy establishment.
"That's him," pointed Gunther. Much to Dali and Daouda's surprise, "Donald the Indian" was not an aboriginal.
"That's Donald the Indian? I thought he'd be native," said Dali. "Why do they call him that then?"
"He rides an Indian motorcycle, but call off the dogs. He doesn't like questions, especially from strangers. Let's go see if he can help us." The trio approached the biker near the billiard tables and Gunther made the intense introductions.
"Can you sell these friends of mine some grass?" asked Gunther.
"Hell, I could sell them Satan if they wanted," boasted the big man in a chilling voice. Judging by his dark murderous eyes, Dali had no doubt this was the truth. "Donald the Indian" was indubitably the most terrifying person Cannon had ever met. "Don't tell anyone where you got it though. The fucking pigs have been all over me lately. Capiche?"
Feeling as though his soul were being adulterated by the mephistophelian beast of a man, Dali decided to wait near the bathroom while the drug deal went down in the back office. Increasingly jittery, Cannon was pacing back and forth when he observed a table of three staring at him menacingly. Two of them stood up and made a bee line for the frightened hundredaire.
"Congratulations!" one of them said, "We couldn't help noticing you won some money." Dali was panicking and did not trust their false smiling faces. "Why don't you spread the wealth and buy our table some drinks?"
Feeling it to be his wisest choice, Dali assented, "Sure thing guys. What are you drinking?"
The smaller of the two pinned Dali against the wall and growled, "Were drinking hundred dollar scotch. You can just give us the money. We don't mind doing the rest." Ironically this was probably the most Dali had ever felt the need for a drink in his life. So close and yet so far he thought. Cannon's good luck prevailed however, as his comrades reemerged from the office without "Donald the Indian". The minor distraction was enough for Dali to escape the grasp of the weasely bandit.
A man of Gunther's stature and character was no help in a situation like this, but the short, stocky Daouda was more loyal than cowardly, and thus he courageously demanded, "What's this all about?"
"It's about this! Nigger," barked the little thief as he pulled out and opened a six-inch switchblade.
Gunther was slowly sauntering towards the exit while Daouda was controlling his rage and natural impulse to engage the knife wielding racist. Thinking, "easy-come, easy-go" Dali carefully reached for his wad of bills and said, "I don't want any trouble here-"
"Leave him alone!" shouted, "Donald the Indian" from his office door.
"Run!" yelled Gunther Blahzig. Daouda and Dali rushed for the exit. Unbelievably, the mysterious Chinese fellow from the coffee shop and Cannon's dream entered at that precise moment. Dali and he collided with a tumultuous THUMP! Apologizing exceedingly briefly Cannon made his escape from "Sonny Boy's Saloon."
"Step on it!" exclaimed Dali emphatically to the fortuitously at hand cab driver.
"Cash up front," he insisted.
"Go! Here's ten dollars. Now drive, please let's go!"
"Where to?" the cabbie questioned calmly.
Our frantic passengers could not believe how mellow this guy was. Consequently, not only the extremely exasperated Dali, but Daouda also ordered, "Anywhere. Just move for god's sakes."
"Gotcha," said the laid-back carrier for hire. Finally they pulled away from the curb and headed south.
"That was crazy. I hope this dope is worth it." said Daouda
"It better be. That was a close call. I nearly pooped my pants. On the bright side though, I've always wanted to tell a taxi to step on it," admitted a relieved Dali. "By the way, thanks for having my back in there Daouda. You sure are a brave little Kenyan."
"No worries. I'm the one who talked you into going there anyway."
"Oh yeah, that's right asshole," joked our good hearted friend.
"So, you boys rode the goat today," exclaimed Gunther.
Although he usually feigned understanding of the old man's colorful words, this time Dali demanded an explanation, "What do you mean, rode the goat?"
"I mean I initiated you to 'Sonny Boy's'. You know like how you use to have to ride a goat to be initiated to a club. I notice you didn't thank me either. That reminds me, you owe me a bottle Daouda. Driver take us to the liquor store."
"Thanks, but I couldn't help noticing you slithering away well I was in danger."
"I ain't stupid. At daggers drawn you're on you're own. That guy would of cut both us half in two if I tried to pull something. Besides, I gave you the exit gate and everything worked out."
"That reminds me. You know that Asian fellow I ran into? Well, I'd never seen him before today, but this afternoon I noticed him at "Max's Cafe". Then later, I took a nap and had the weirdest dream. He was in it. In fact I killed him. Now I see him again. It's a bit freaky isn't it?"
"It's even more freaky to see Trarng at the pub," said Gunther.
"You mean you know him? What's his name, Tarng?
"No. It's Trarng. Trarng Lee. It's a hard name to say. He used to be a hard guy, all rag-tag and bobtail, but he's been on the wagon for years. I knew him in rehab, a real opium and junk fiend. Only junkie I ever seen quit. He was really going to the dogs, then next thing you know he's all wool and a yard wide, all respectable and stuff you know. I wish I could've chewed the fat with him. I would've asked what he's doing back here."
The taxi dropped off our three amigos at the River Park liquor store. The younger two were quite happy to now be in the quiet suburbs and Gunther Blahzig was cheerfully elevated to be in the liquor store. The clock read quarter passed seven and Dali was more than ready to start drinking. It's amazing what a near death experience can do for a guy's hangover, thought he while picking up a mickey of Jack Daniel's whiskey. Gunther tried to convince Daouda into buying him a two-six of tequila but he had to settle for half that amount. Not wanting to be unduly found out by his wife, Daouda decided upon a meager tall-boy beer. The small group got directions from the cashier to the area's namesake park.
Sitting on an embankment away from the busy walkway Daouda says "Cheers!" and touches bottles with his mates. They all take a sip or two and enjoy the moment. "Who's got papers?" he asks while pulling out the recently acquired, quarter ounce bag.
"I do," answers Dali as he searches all his pockets thoroughly. "Fuck, I know I had half a pack of Zig-Zags earlier. I don't know what happened to them. I changed my shirt, but I haven't changed my jeans. I must have lost them somewhere. Fuck."
"Well I ain't got none, but bum me a smoke kid."
Dali obliged his decaying companion and offered to seek out some rolling papers. He walked to the main pathway and immediately picked out an adolescent, baggy panted skateboarder. "Pardon me bub, but do you have any rollies on you?"
"Just my board. You know what I'm sayin'? But yo, if you have the chronic, come with me. I know where to get some."
Dali gestured his partners over. Hiding the open liquor in their pants, they all followed the affable teenager out of the park and half a block down Polanski drive. They arrived quickly at a stylish, two-storied home, characteristic of the neighborhood. On the lawn was an accumulation of bicycles, and sitting on the steps was what appeared to be a thick junior watchman. "Yo, wassup G?" called the skateboarding leader of the rolling paper mission.
"The party's just getting started and I'm bouncing for Spencer," replied the guardian, Jay. "I know you, but who are your friends here. I can't quite figure them out."
"Oh these guys are way cool old school. They need some r'zollies's to twist up a blunt. You know what I'm sayin'?"
With hands on his hips and sticking his seventeen year old chest out, Jay says, "Go on inside, but I don't want any trouble. O.K. guys?" His best effort at intimidation seemed rather hilarious to the gang who just escaped "Sonny Boy's", but they were not looking for any trouble. They were looking for rolling papers and so cordially agreed to behave as they entered the house.
Dali could not believe his eyes. Sitting on a couch, between a couple of teenyboppers was Chet. "You made it man! Way to go... wait a second, how did you know where Julia lives? She never told you." asked an amazed Davis.
"I didn't know. We just asked this guy if he had some rolling papers and he brought us here. This is a serious case of synchronicity man. Holy shit! This blows my mind. Of all the juke joints in all the world," responded Dali. "Where's Sarah and Julia?"
Gunther did not know Chet, but Daouda did, and he asked him for some rolling papers. Chet obliged and led the group, including the skateboarder, through a small crowd of excited youths down into the basement. This was the designated pot smoking area according to Julia's brother, Tom Spencer. It was a rec-room furnished with an old sofa, archaic exercise equipment, and other miscellaneous out of date objects. Dali, Daouda, and Chet each pitched in a bud to make an enormous two paper joint that took nearly twenty minutes to completely inhale. During the session, a few of Tom Spencer's friends came up and down. A couple joined in on the marathon joint, while others toked their own. Most of the young partiers were bewildered by the adults' presence, especially Gunther Blahzig's, but more were simply curiously intrigued than genuinely troubled. The skateboarder became oddly quiet and introverted as the cannabis took over his inexperienced, unstable mind. He left the basement and spent the next two hours alone, wandering the streets of River Park in a paranoid state of sensitivity. Daouda and Gunther kept mostly to themselves, drinking their booze in the kitchen. Chet briefly introduced Dali to some of the guests and then brought him upstairs.
"I'm so glad you're here!" screamed fifteen year old Sarah as she put her arms around Dali. It was quite obvious the girl was completely inebriated, and even more obvious that she was still a total knockout. Dali explained to her how he had arrived at the party, including the "Sonny Boy's" incident. In absolute awe of her gentlemanly adventurer, Sarah cooed, "You're so cool. I'm sick of all these immature boys. I need someone mature. I'm so ready to give up my virginity to the right man. I don't want to lose it to a silly little boy." Being about as high as one could be on marijuana, Dali was greatly flustered by the not so subtle come-on. It takes an exceptional pathology to be this attracted to a man twice her age, thought the would be psychologist. Sarah grabbed Dali's bottle of whiskey from his hands and told him to open his mouth and close his eyes if he wanted it back. He certainly did want it back, and so submitted to her demands. She raised the mickey just above his desirous lips and allowed a few drops to dribble out.
"You can only have one little sip," she teased.
"Sarah, come here. Sarah.... Sarah where are you?" cried Julia Spencer. Dali and Sarah rushed over to see Julia genuflected over the toilet on her bathroom floor. "I'm sick. Who's that? You look familiar. Ohhh I'm going to puke again," slurred the pitiable hostess. "Please leave me alone with Sarah. Ohhh... O.K.?" Dali respected her request and went back downstairs to the kitchen with his repossessed bottle.
What a surreal scene this is, thought Dali as he gazed upon a juvenile, baggy-panted, rapper type in the midst of an intense arm wrestling match with the wiry, fetid old Gunther Blahzig. Their rivalry was a natural one as the chunky adolescent wore a New York Met's baseball cap, in contrast to Gunther's New York Yankee's chapeau. In the end it was unskilled weight that defeated experienced feebleness. Taking a healthy swig of his whiskey Dali asks, "Where's Daouda?"
"I guess he felt like a fish outta water and pulled up stakes to go home to his old lady," answered Gunther. "This here is Wayne. We're just shooting the shit. He may not know chalk from cheese but the kid's strong as an ox. Give me a smoke and grab a seat." Dali did as the old man said and kept sipping his mickey of "Jack". Between Gunther's ridiculous and forgotten expressions, and Wayne's gangster rap lexicon, Cannon felt like a disoriented time traveler. His brain was not able to make the journey back and forth through the generation gaps fast enough to digest and interpret anything tangible. Meanwhile the party was gaining momentum, with at least fifty or so teenagers drinking, dancing, styling and making out throughout the house.
Gunther swallowed the last drop of his tequila while Dali had a few ounces left of Whiskey. "Give me a smoke and let's get some more 'to kill ya'," said Blahzig.
"Here's a smoke but I'm not buying you any tequila. I'm just going to say good-bye to Chet and then I'm leaving."
"Don't give me the bounce kid. My drink's a dead soldier and you got plenty of dough."
"I'm sorry but I need food and stuff. I don't get another check for a week," Dali kindly refused.
"On the cuff then. I'll pay you back Friday," begged the desperate drunk. "On the cuff" was one of old Gunther's expressions that Dali knew best and hated most. He had made the mistake of lending Gunther money too many times in the past, so this time he absolutely refused. Being nothing, if not resourceful, Gunther turned his attention towards Wayne. It was not hard to convince the young suburban gangsta' wannabe that a little tequila was a great idea. Gunther was actually kind enough to volunteer his services and go procure the item himself, but the "not as dumb as he looks" Met's fan decided to join in the quest. Once again alcohol creates the strangest bedfellows, thought Dali as he watched the unlikely duo leave together.
Chet Davis looked out of place but comfortable among the high school crowd of revelers who were in the living room dancing to the pounding and hypnotic beats of hyper-electronica trance music. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The floor was vibrating as the dozen or so dancers hopped around like possessed kangaroos high on Mexican jumping beans. Strobe lights added to the intensity of the experience as Dali approached his friend and shouted, "You look like your having a good time."
"Ecstasy can do that to a guy!" Chet exclaimed without missing a bounce.
"So, you took some E. That explains your perma-grin. Where did you get it?"
"From that guy with the blue hair and piercings."
"The one in the black shirt or the orange one?"
"Orange one. It's pretty good too, I mean look around you. Everybody's having a blast. Except for Julia. She's passed out in her bed upstairs."
"Is she alright?"
"Oh yeah, she just drank too much. She should have taken some E like everyone else."
"Did Sarah take some?"
"I don't know, but that reminds me, Sarah was just here and she told me to tell you she needs to talk to you in private. She's waiting in the bathroom upstairs."
Benefiting from the weed and alcohol, Dali was slowly starting to enjoy the bizarre world he had entered, and decided to stay until his whiskey was finished. The incredible coincidence that brought him here must have happened for a reason he thought. It would be foolish to leave without pursuing the significance of such a miraculous event. Fate obviously wanted him to hear what Sarah had to tell him, and so he climbed the stairs and knocked on the bathroom door.
"Who is it?" came Sarah's voice from inside.
"Just one second...O.K. come in"
And there she was, standing bent over in front of the mirror. With her white cotton panties at her ankles and her dress pulled up high, she stuck out and wiggled her bare little ass. "Fuck me," she cried. Her sumptuous backside ignited a wild burn throughout Dali's entire body. He wasted no time in taking off his jeans and slapping her silky bottom. Sarah had been masturbating with some Vaseline jelly and was well lubricated as Dali entered her from behind. It was a soaking wet fire inside the tiny opening. "Slowly... ohhh... gently... ohhh... slowly," she moaned. Dali grabbed her well-developed breasts and pulled her in deep. In the mirror, he could see a look of severe pain and enjoyment on her face. She stopped him from taking off her dress and said, "I only like seeing myself in small bits." He continued thrusting and could feel her pussy clenching his throbbing cock as she tightly squeezed her bum cheeks. "Faster now... ohh yes... harder... mmmmm... just like that," Dali was nearing climax when he felt her left arm reach back and firmly grab his balls. She jiggled them around as he kept fucking her savagely. He was a primitive beast banging into her with an animal's ferocity. "Don't cum," she begged. The whiskey helped him prolong the ecstatic agony awhile longer. Slowing down just a little, Dali rubbed her clit with expert velocity. "Ohhh....Fuck!...Ohhh......Fuck!....Ooooh yeah!" she screamed. Dali felt a quiver than a tremble than a quake. "Cum! Cum inside me! Cum now!" she howled. He grabbed her by the waist and vigorously pounded into her pulsating cavern. His legs shivered, his toes curled and every muscle in his body seized up just before the tremendous explosion that sent him into a primordial rapture.
"AHHHHRRRRGGGGHHH!" Dali howled uncontrollably as he experienced his greatest and longest orgasm.
"Did you like that?" asked the enthusiastic sex goddess.
"Did I like that? Are you crazy? That blew my fucking mind. That was the best sex I ever had. Where did you learn to screw like that?"
"From porno movies, and I practiced with a shampoo bottle." Sarah explained. Before putting her panties back on, the intoxicated lover wiped a hand between her legs and with a combination of the creamy juices, she used her index finger to write Ahhhrrrgghh on the mirror.
"That's the noise you made when you came," she giggled. Dali also laughed and took a closer look in the mirror. He noticed there was still a little bit of cherry pie in his hair. I'm not afraid of symbols he thought to himself. He also remembered the words of the African artist "Samba wa Mbimba's" painting, "Think before you act.":
Man has three legs(two long
one's and a very short one.)
But he never follows three paths at once.
Dali also remembered a Robyn Williams quote, "God gave us a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run one at a time." As the blood was transferring power back to his mind, Dali looked at Sarah, and for the first time he saw past her deceptive exterior, into her actual essence. She was just a child. A sad little girl cursed with a fatal beauty. He knew she always had been, and always would be seen as a sex object. Dali tried to rationalize that Sarah would be fucked by a million guy's who had no feelings for her. The only difference being, he was the first, and she would remember it forever. His guilt was overwhelming as he perceived correctly what he believed to be an extremely lonely soul weeping behind her false smiling eyes. In his head, Dali could hear James Mason's voice repeating over and over, "Because you took advantage, because you took advantage," as the movie star had spoken in Stanley Kubrick's film "Lolita".
"What's wrong?" asked Sarah as she saw tears well up in Dali's eyes.
"Nothing's wrong. It's just that I've been drinking and smoking pot and that always makes my eyes water," he fibbed. Downing the last of his Jack Daniel's, Dali had a panic attack and said, "I've got to go."
"Home. I'm really sorry, but I have to leave right now."
"Take me with you. I told my parents I was sleeping here tonight, so I don't have to be home until tomorrow." Since Dali's only reason for leaving was to escape the object of his shame, he kindly told her no.
"You're such an asshole!" she screamed while pounding him repeatedly on the back. "I can't believe I make love to you and you're leaving me. You dirty fucking asshole!" Dali took the well-deserved abuse and tried to calm the hysterical teenager down, but she only became more enraged and ran away. Cannon splashed some water on his face and cleaned his hair in the sink. He dried it off with a big beach towel and exited the bathroom.
"The cops are here! Follow me," advised the blue haired kid in the orange shirt to Dali. Quickly thinking it best to avoid the police, Dali follows the kid out a window onto the roof. They laid there silently crouching out of view of the two policemen who were adamantly telling the kid's "Party's over." Everybody in the house, including Chet Davis was scurrying away in all directions. Rather than attempting to stop all the fleeing minors, the police just let them go. They informed Tom Spencer that the neighbors had complained about the noise. The police also warned him if the party started over again there would be severe consequences. Gunther Blahzig, however, was not so lucky. They hauled him away and kept him in the drunk tank over night.
It was about eight forty-five when the police left, and the blue haired kid broke the silence by saying, "That was a close one. I got illegal chemicals on me."
"Oh yeah, I heard you were selling E," said Dali. "Can I buy some?"
"Sorry, all I have left is some kick-ass acid. I can sell you two hits for ten bucks if you want."
Feeling the courage of thirteen ounces of whiskey, Dali decides to buy the L.S.D. and take a trip. He places these two pieces of square blotter paper on his tongue and swallows:
He then goes back in the house, gives his thanks and regrets to Tom, and heads back to the liquor store.
"I may need this to take the edge off later," thought Dali as he paid for another mickey of "Jack Daniel's Whiskey." He left the store and decided to go meet up with Kip at "Fiddler's". The sun was just setting, and provided a beautiful atmosphere for the thirty minute walk. By the time he arrived at the pub, Dali was not feeling the dose and was certain the acid was fake. He did not mind however, and decided it was better this way. After all, tripping alone on L.S.D. at a bar was not always the most fun thing to do. And so, hiding the whiskey bottle in his pants, Dali vigilantly entered "Fiddler's Pub".
"What was that?" inquired Dali.
"What was what?" asked Kip
"That sound. It sounded like one hand clapping."
"I see. Well, I'm not sure what one hand clapping sounds like, but I didn't hear anything. By the way, I can tell you're drunk, but are you stoned too? I mean you're acting kind of strange. Even for you." Kip Lyons was Dali's oldest and most reliable friend. They had met for the first time at age seven in the playground of their elementary school. Despite taking completely different paths in life, the two blood-brothers had remained solid for the past twenty-three years. Kip was now a mechanical engineer who had gone to work straight from college for a prominent motor company, whereas Dali still had never even owned a car. They complemented each other perfectly. Kip's pragmatic nature helped Dali from completely floating off into the universe, while Dali's chaotic method kept Kip from turning into a robot.
"I took some acid about half an hour ago. At first I thought I'd been ripped off, but now I'm not so sure," Dali confessed. "Does my cigarette smell purple?"
"I would definitely say you weren't ripped off, and no, your cigarette does not smell purple," informed Kip. "Come upstairs, I'll introduce you to a couple of my co-workers, but try not to behave too wildly O.K. They're nice guys but a little conservative if you know what I mean and what are you doing taking acid on a Tuesday night anyway?"
"Well I won a little cash today, and you know what they say; A fool and his money are soon partying."
"Fiddler's" was a British style pub. On the first floor their was a bar, many tables and chairs, and a bathroom. It was a perfect place to just sit down, have a few relaxing drinks and enjoy some good conversation. The upstairs had a bar, dart board, pool tables, a few places to sit and a small stage. Tuesday night's featured a live Celtic band called "The Cold Blooded Kilters". It was almost nine-thirty, so the band would start playing in about half an hour. Kip's associates, Robert and Neil, bought the group a round of Guiness and challenged Cannon and Lyons to a doubles match of eight-ball. Dali quickly downed the pint of Guiness and refilled the glass with his mickey of whiskey.
"Tails," called Dali as they flipped for break. Tails it was. With a Camel cigarette dangling from his mouth, he bent over, lined up the cue ball and closed his eyes. SMASH! The rush of interior pictures of fractionated spheres rapidly changing size and color was enough to convince Dali he was now tripping on some serious lysergic acid diethylamide.
"Good shot!" exclaimed Kip. "We win." In an amazing stroke of good luck, Dali had sunk the eight-ball off the break, thereby winning the game." Everybody had a good laugh as they racked up for another..
"Care to put down a little wager this time?" propositioned a confident Dali.
"What kind of wager?" asked Neil.
"Five bucks each."
"That sounds reasonable," agreed Neil. "As long as we shoot first this time." Dali accepted and handed over the cue. He could see infinity in the black, number eight ball. In fact, he could see infinity in all the balls. Poor Dali felt like he was dissolving as he watched the whirlpool of colored infinities bumping and rolling all over the vast green field of felt. He was greatly alarmed at the speed the balls were sinking into the pockets' eternal abyss and soon concluded that the mechanical engineers, with their expert knowledge of angles, had a decided advantage. In no less than 5 minutes, Neil had yet to miss a shot and was eyeing up the eight ball to finish the match. "Corner Pocket," he called. Plunk. The eight ball sunk. Plunk. The cue ball followed it in. "Damn!" cried Neil. "Double up?"
"Sure, double or nothing it is," agreed Kip on behalf of his team. Robert racked up the balls and Kip broke. His break was perfect as he managed to sink both a stripe and a solid. For his next shot, he successfully downed the number two ball. Dali was enjoying the scene much more now that the brilliant shooting was coming from his "angle expert" partner. Kip made another two shots before missing the number six ball. Up next was Robert. It was quite evident he was the weak player on his team when he missed a very makeable bank shot. For his turn, Dali could see little red arrows pointing a direct path from the five ball into the side pocket. With utmost certainty he struck the cue ball with a little extra English and watched in horror as it took flight and hit Neil in the head.
"Fuck!" yelped Neil as he held his bleeding head in throbbing agony.
"Oh man, I'm so sorry," apologized Dali. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm alright. Fuck. How does it look?" It looked like a bleeding purple and red billiard ball was protruding from his forehead.
"It doesn't look too bad," lied Robert, "but we should get you checked out by a doctor."
"Fuck, I feel dizzy. Get me out of here." requested the injured engineer.
"I'm so sorry," Dali apologized one more time as Robert and Neil left the pub. Kip and Dali decided to stay and grabbed a table near the stage.
"That was one nasty looking bump," observed Kip
"Yeah, it looked like he had two heads." added Dali
"Well, Neil did say he wished he got more head."
"Careful what you wish for," laughed the two firends.
Dali excused himself and headed downstairs to the bathroom. The urinal was apparently designed by a midget as it hung lower than any other in town. On the wall in front of him he could read:
He was a wise man who invented beer
Dali felt like two days had passed in the time it took him to empty his full bladder. He exited the bathroom and rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn't hallucinating when he saw the mysterious Asian, Trarng Lee sitting near the pub's entrance door. It had to be more than a simple coincidence that Trarng seemed to be everywhere thought Dali.
"Hey! You," called Cannon, pointing at Mr. Lee. "Why do you keep following me?" As if in silent movie fast motion, Dali watched Trarng get up and dash out the door. Sitting there glowing on the table was the Chinese man's little red notebook. Dali grabbed it, headed back upstairs and rejoined Kip. He quickly recounted the day's many appearances of Trarng Lee and opened the notebook.
"I can't read this. It's written in fucking mandarin or something," groaned Dali.
"Let's see. It's written in English. Your just holding it upside down," declared Kip. "It says:
12:45 Dali Cannon leaves apartment(looks hungover)
12:53 Dali has coffee at Max's Cafe(With older gentleman)
1:15 Dali leaves cafe
1:25 Dali arrives at park(bagpiper is playing) He sits by river and smokes joint.
"Wait a minute. Let me see that," demands the L.S.D.dosed, subject of the notebook "I might not have noticed him following me to 'Max's', but how did he see me at the park. I'm certain I was alone when I smoked that joint. This is really messed up and why is this Trarng Lee charcter following me anyway? And why was he in my dream this afternoon?"
"So let's get this straight. You've never seen this man before and today he's been following you around taking notes of all your activities. And you say this stranger was in a dream of yours today?" asked Kip.
"Yeah, this stranger was in my dream today. Ironically, it was right after I dozed off while reading "The Stranger"; while actually, "L'etranger", I was reading it in French. You were in my dream too. We were on a beach and I shot and killed Trarng Lee." Dali could see the letters of the words he was speaking float out of his mouth like cigarette smoke rings. As they lingered in the air he had an epiphany. "Holy shit! Trarng Lee. If you rearrange the letters in his name they spell L'etranger. The book. The fucking book. That's it. He's not following me, He's creating me. I only exist because he's writing a book about me. That explains everything, I mean why today's been so crazy. He's been fucking with me. First he has some nut-ball in a suit cast a spell on me outside the pawn shop. Later he has me fucking a fifteen year old girl, and he even tried to kill me at 'Sonny Boy's Saloon'. And that's not all; my real name isn't even Dali Cannon, it's Daniel Lebrun."
"Whoa. Slow down there. You're right about his name being an anagram of L'etranger, but the rest is just your paranoid mind playing tricks on you. I mean what the hell are you talking about? He's not creating you and your name's not Daniel Lebrun. And even if it was why would he name you Dali Cannon"
"I don't know, maybe he likes surrealist artists and antiquated weapons of the civil war, but I'm positive I'm right. In his authorship, he is my creator, and he's going to kill me."
"Stop right there. Now you're telling me he's going to kill you?"
"That's right, and the only way I can stop him is to kill him first, like I did in my dream."
"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard you say. You're beginning to scare me. I know you've been delusional on drugs and alcohol before, but you never thought somebody was trying to kill you. Listen to yourself, you just said you have to kill somebody. You, Dali Cannon, a man who would normally never even hurt a fly. Try to think logically for a seond, even if this Trarng guy did control you, he would know what you're thinking and what you were going to do. Wouldn't he?"
"You would think so, but he made one fatal flaw. Trarng Lee underestimated the power of two hits of L.S.D. I've broken through the other side. He no longer has control over me, as long as I kill him before the acid wears off."
"Now you're really scaring me. It's you who has underestimated the power of L.S.D. You have broken through the other side alright, the side of complete paranoid madness. It's quite understandable though. The potently hallucinogenic synthetic compound known as L.S.D is very closely related to several alkaloids found in the primitive fungus ergot. It's a parasite on the grains of rye. In the middle ages, in Europe, ergot was sometimes accidentally ground up in the flour mill and ingested as bread. The unlucky people that consumed this bread were poisoned and highly intoxicated, leading to insanity much like you are right now."
"Thanks for the chemistry lesson, but I've done acid before and I know its effects very well, and I'm telling you I'm Daniel Lebrun. I'm a famous guitar player and thedifference between me and a mad man is that I am not mad, at all! Now wait here while I go roll a joint in the back alley so I can mellow out and figure out what I'm going to do."
Dali made his way outside and into the alley beside a large garbage bin. He pulled out his little baggie of marijuana and opened it. Looking inside Dali tripped and fell into the bag. He was only one inch tall and trapped between two buds of pot like a fly in a web. As he struggled to climb out he cried, "Save me! Save me!" His voice was that of a one inch man(extremely high and quiet), but a good-hearted passerby heard it and asked:
Dali was normal size again and answered, "Oh nothing, I'm just having some trouble rolling a joint." The passerby rolled it for Dali and they both smoked it quickly. Cannon went back in the pub and retook his seat. The band was now on the stage tuning their instruments. "The Cold Blooded Kilters" were made up of a fiddle player, a singer-guitarist, a bodhran drummer, and a tin whistle blower.
"So did you figure anything out by smoking that joint, or are you still insane?" asked Kip.
Dali answered, "As a matter of fact I did figure something out. We should go look for Trarng at 'Sonny Boy's Saloon'. That's the last place I saw him before seeing him here."
"As much as I dread the thought of that skid row dive, it might not be a bad idea. If we find him we can ask him about the notebook, then you'll see how deranged you've been acting. So, I'll take you on one condition; no more talking about killing somebody and especially no more talking about Daniel Lebrun the famous guitar player. Agreed?"
"Isn't that two conditions?" asked the smart-assed Dali.
"You know what I mean. Now are we in agreement or not?"
"Sure thing. Mum's the word."
Leaving "Fiddler's", Dali took the glass of whiskey with him as the band loudly repeated the chorus:
You'll have to excuse me,
I'm not at my best,
I've been gone for a week,
I've been drunk since I left
"You can't bring that whiskey in my car. That's open alcohol. I could get a fine." said Kip.
"Relax. It's fine. I'll keep it hidden. Let me bring it. I need it to help calm my nerves." pleaded a slurring Dali.
"Alright, but if I get a fine, you're paying for it."
Kip drove his silver Mustang convertible extremely fast with perfect control and precision steering. The high speeds were playing tricks on Dali's eyes as he perceived himself to be travelling through space and time in a silver rocket. The car stretched nearly a mile long as they approached the necessary speed to make time travel possible, the speed of light(186,282 miles per second). Kip Lyons who was normally a handsome thirty year old blonde man of average build and height now took on the appearance of a tall and gangly Albert Einstein dressed as a futuristic space-cowboy. The chaotic blur from the area's multitude of neon lights further led Dali to believe Einstein was navigating the silver rocket to the year two thousand and seventy-nine.
"We're here," announced Kip.
"So, this is what the future looks like" stated an awestruck Dali.
"I'd say this looks more like the past. A terribly run-down and forgotten past. The city should really fix-up this area, it's an embarrasment. What do they spend our tax dollars on anyway?"
Kip returned to his normal self in the here and now as Dali said, "That was quick. Let's go in and see if we can find that asshole whose been manipulating me with his writings."
"Hey! We agreed you would quit it with the crazy talk."
"Well, it's the truth."
"Whatever. Just stop saying it and promise me if we locate Trarng you'll politely ask him what the little red notebook is all about. I'm sure there's a logical explanation."
"Yeah, there is a logical explanation, he's playing me like a fucking puppet with his stupid ideas and words."
"And you're going to kill him right? Isn't that what you said you had to do? You demented son of a bitch. Well, I'm leaving then. See you later."
Dali was scared to enter "Sonny Boy's" alone and quickly appealed, "Don't leave. I'm sorry. I'll quit talking bullshit. I need you to help me find out what this Trarng Lee is up to. You're my best friend, you can't leave me here. I promise I'll stop the nonsense right away. Come on, please?"
It was true, Dali was his best friend, and even though he knew he was lying, Kip decided the best thing to do was keep an eye on his blood brother. "Alright, I will help you, but only because I'm frightened what you might do if I let you go off on your own in this condition. But remember, this is the last time I babysit you. You need to make some changes in your life. You need to stop wandering. You need to find some direction." These words sounded awfully familiar to Dali as Kip and he entered the seedy saloon together.
Trarng Lee was not in the dingy dive and thankfully for Dali, neither were the pair who'd roughed him up earlier. The only difference Dali noticed about the bar was that the desperate clientele was now even more drunk. Sipping on his weary glass of whiskey, Dali instructs Kip to wait at the bar while he talks to "Donald the Indian".
"Hi, remember me? I was here earlier with Gunther Blahzig," asks Dali.
"Yes, I remember you. I thought you were going to shit your pants when you took off outta here like a scared little bunny rabbit. If you're looking for revenge on those guys, you're outta luck. I kicked them out right after you guys ran away. I can't have people stabbing each other in here or else the fucking pigs will shut me down," replied "Donald the Indian."
"Actually, I'm looking for somebody else. Have you seen a mysterious looking Asian guy here tonight?"
"No. Unless you mean that guy you bumped into when you ran away like a little girl."
"Yes, that's the guy. Has he come back here tonight?"
"Nope, you must have scared him off. He didn't even stay two minutes after you left. Anyway, I'm done answering questions. Now, did you want to make a purchase or are you just here to waist my time?"
Dali was staring directly into the supremely evil eyes of Lucifer. The fiery prince of darkness was ablaze with all the fury of one thousand three hundred and thirteen raging infernos. Serpents were crawling around their dark masters feet while furious demons hovered above his horned head. The frenzied and piercing sound of ten billion screaming souls burning and sizzling in hell's eternal torture filled the room. It was then he remembered what "Donald the Indian" had mentioned earlier.
"Do you remember when I was here before you said you could sell me satan if I wanted?" asked Dali.
"Yeah, I remember. So what do you want?" replied the huge biker.
"I want a gun."
The two men went inside the back office. Dali lit his last cigarette and took a look around the room. Pictures of naked women adorned the water damaged walls and beer caps littered the blood stained floor. On a couple of crooked shelves sat a dozen or so cartons of cigarettes. Against the far wall stood a steel filing cabinet with locked drawers, and from behind a metal desk in the middle of the room, "Donald the Indian" sat directly across from Dali.
"So, what kind of weapon are you looking for?" asked the illegal arms dealer.
"I'm not sure. Something small I guess. Just a basic hand gun," answered the unbalanced buyer.
"Well, you're in luck my friend. A couple of guys in my gang just pulled a B. and E. at some sleazeball drug dealer's house and they scored a small arsenal of firearms. So, tell me, what were you looking at spending?"
"Can I get something for a hundred bucks?"
"Hundred bucks eh? We should be able to work something out." Donald got up and walked over to the filing cabinet and unlocked a middle drawer. He pulled out a large black briefcase and laid it open upon the desk. "Even though it's Tuesday, I'll let you have any of these 'Saturday Night Specials' for a C-note or less. Take your pick." Dali was in an opressed state of panic, tamed by a truckload of shock as he viewed directly in front of him four small pistols.
"To be honest, I know nothing about guns," Dali confessed. "What would you recommend?"
"I would recommend if you're going to carry a piece, you better damn well be ready to use it. You here what I'm sayin'?"
"Yup," Dali answered with a frog in his throat, or maybe it was a North American desert toad.
"Good." Donald handed Dali a Lorcin Engineering L-25 Pistol and asked, "What do you think?"
"I like the way it feels," said Dali as he gripped the black handle of the 5 inch silver gun. He also tried holding a Raven P-25 and The Sundance Industries A-25 pistol.
"Those are all .25 caliber. The Sundance's trigger is a little more inconsistent than The Raven's, but overall both of them perform better than the Lorcin."
"What's the caliber mean?"
"You're fucking joking me," Donald said shaking his head in disbelief. "The caliber is the size of a bullet. You got your .22, your .25, your .38 and your .45. The bigger the bullet the bigger the hole, and usually the bigger the price. So, like I said these three are all .25s, but for about the same price, and almost twice the power, I can sell you this Davis Industries P-380." He gives Dali a 5 1/4 inch, black alloy metal pistol, "It's a .38 that should meet all your basic needs." Dali is amazed at how small and light the 23.3 ounce, single action trigger pistol feels in his hand.
"I'll take it," assents Dali with schizophrenic certitude. "How much?"
"For you, a hundred bucks, and that includes a full clip of 5 cartridges."
"It's a deal." They exchange the cash and weapon. Donald shows Dali how to use the thumb safety and points out that the serial number on the back of the grip area is filed off and unrestorable. "Can I get a pack of Marlboro's also?" Dali asks as he puts out his Camel cigarette.
"On the house," Donald says as he tosses Cannon two packs of Marlboros. "The last thing I recommend you do is forget where you got your piece. Anybody asks, you found it in a dumpster. Capiche?"
Dali left Donald in the office and rejoined Kip at the bar. Kip was not pleased at having waited alone in the hell hole for ten minutes and asked, "What took you so long? And who was that monster you were talking to?"
Dali knew Kip would freak out if he told the truth, so he replied, "That's the owner of this place. I just asked him if he'd seen anyone fitting Trarng's description. And then what happened was he said he thought he knew who I meant and made some phone calls for me. Turns out The guy he was thinking of is named Tom Lee, not Trarng Lee."
"Likely story," said the ultra observant Kip with sarcasm. "Anyway, neither Tom nor Trarng are here now, so let's get out of here."
"Let's just wait a bit longer. That way I can finish my drink and we won't have to break the open liquor law." Kip was not a fan of either plan but decided he'd give Dali ten minutes. Dali lit a cigarette and continued sipping his intoxicating beverage. Staring at the pool table, he is a little surprised to see a rotting donkey. Taking a pen from the bartender, Dali writeson the back of the red notebook: I hallucinate quadripedsssss
in the bar
Usually from Left Right eye