Saturday, August 28, 2004

On the road between El-Azhr and Al-Ybi -

Tonight, as I make my way to my next destination, supper consists soley of a 250 gram bag of Smokey Bacon Lays Potato Chips procured from a shop in a dark corner of Old El-Azhr's bazaar.

I’m swaddled in traditional peasant robes, and hunkered down in a wagon buried beneath sacks of waste cloth. It’s night, and peering out from my hiding spot, I glimpse a shot of the moon in the navy sky as the clip-clopping of horse's hooves fill my ears and the stench from the beasts invades my nose. I’m wondering if this is the best way I could have found to travel. I briefly consider jumping out and walking the rest of the distance.

Then I come to my senses.

To wile away the time I decide that I should puruse the nutritional facts on the back of the chip bag. At first I'm dismayed to find that by eating the entire bag, (five times more than the suggested 50 gram serving), I've already consumed 125% of my suggested daily fat intake.

Moving down the list, however, my spirits are lifted as I find that I've also consumed 20% of the suggested daily intakes for Vitamin A, Niacin, and Iron - and a whopping 75% of the Vitamin C. And this at a cost of only 45% of my daily carbohydrate intake!

Upon discovery of this information I immediately resolve to eat more Lays potato chips.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Bazaar in El-Azhr -

I purchased a replica crystal ball so that I might see replica futures. As real futures hold no interest for me, I thought this only sensible. Tomorrow evening we leave for Al-Ybi. My heart sinks to think of this.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Vondervotteimittis 2 -

Sick of meeting ghosts in alleyways, I decided long ago to stick to well-lit streets when traveling abroad. Things are just better that way, really. And meeting the undead isn't even the worst thing that can happen to a traveller down little used lanes.

"...a traveller's life is one that includes much pain amidst its enjoyments." (M. Shelley, 1818)

I write things down only to remind myself that I, one day, will remember no more. A life reduced to a box of scribbles and a stack of cluttered hard drives.

I sleep late in the day only to remind myself that I, one day, shall sleep forever. And what a luxury it is to be able to get up at all - even late.

Naked as a Johnny Cash lyric,
Asleep atop my covers,
Solid and liquid,
I dream of this.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Vondervotteimittis -

I suspected the chauffeur was a little too drunk to drive, but the drag queen said he was fine. Bordering on convinced, I piled into the backseat with the others and we sped off towards the hotel. Let me think - there was the drag queen and myself, the Norwegian heavy metal band we had picked up back in Valhalla, a septuagenarian couple and their annoying chihuahua, and one very talkative mime named Jake.

"Keep that stuff hidden, man. There're cops everywhere."

Jake was also annoyingly paranoid. The stuff he was referring to were the three dozen quaaludes I had secreted away in the lining of my coat, and the big bag of posh I had sitting in my lap.

"Seriously, man. Put that stuff away."

As the light turned green we took off, and the chauffeur's eyes met mine in the rearview mirror.

"Say, traveller," he said, his English rough, but better than some, "it's a very different time we're living in, right?"

I nodded my agreement.

"It used to be that the first letter to become worn out on a computer's keyboard was the E." He let out a wet chuckle. "And now it's the W. Crazy times, boy, crazy times."

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Just east of Antillia -

There was something about the way things ended last night that reminded me of how I've crept out of way to many backdoors in my short lifetime. Always trying to get away. Always trying to escape unnoticed. But how does one escape from a boat? How does one escape when you're out at sea?

We laid out on the deck for what seemed like hours, watching the Northern Lights trip across the sky, a chimerical curtain of phantom green fluttering, crackling, whispering.

The sound that a smile makes when it's wrapped in plastic and stolen from a ghost.

I must have said these words out loud, allowing them to slip out of my mouth, up her forearm, and into her ears. No, in fact, I know for certain they took this very route because I felt the tiny hairs on her arms stand on end as each word passed.

Where do words go when they're spoken, when they're brought into creation? Do they age and ultimately die like everything else?

She must have said these words out loud, for I felt them infiltrate my ear, stealing past the pinna, slipping down the canal, and rap, rap, rapping on the drum, causing my hammer, anvil, and stirrup to sit up and take notice. The cochlea then passed these vibrations along to my brain which, in turn, decoded the message, and passed the communiqué onto me.

But I didn't have an answer, so instead feigned sleep.

(Voice recorder) Somewhere above Atlantis -

She's down there somewhere. Right beneath me. I can feel her.

I close my weary eyes against the pitch-blackness of the ship’s cargo hold, feeling the aged floorboards stir beneath me, as the massive hull of the elderly vessel squeals and groans with each tired roll through the ocean’s waves. A balled up moth-eaten sweater atop my battered briefcase serves as a makeshift pillow beneath my head, and my loden coat, a blanket.

Uncomfortable, I attempt in vain to adjust my bedding, and then flop over heavily, exhaustedly, onto my other side only making matters worse. I shake my head to clear it of the ghosts robbing me of sleep, but I can not blind my mind’s eye. With the rolling waves my dreams come and go. More often, the latter.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

El Dorado -

After the most unfortunate incineration of my automobile at a truckstop just outside of Timbuktu, I thought it best to simply leave the vehicle's burned-out husk on the side of the dirt road after removing what was left of the licence plate and scratching off the serial number. Subsequently, this changed my travel plans somewhat, as I found I had no choice but to resort to hitchhiking - something I said I'd never do after that most ill-fated encounter in Xanadu.

In case I forgot to mention it, I thought it best to quit my job after a rather unpleasant/pleasant incident off the coast of Dougherty Island involving the foreman's yacht, a gaggle of Coors Light girls, and an obscenely large bottle of booze. I spent the past month in some kind of transient haze, wandering here and there, not really knowing which was which - in fact, barely knowing whether I was alive or dead. (Though the two are really so close, it's hard to differentiate between them at the best of times.) To be certain, all I know is this: I can never go home again.

Because one never can.