A man in an oversized, deep trenchcoat with matching fedora fabric beckons slyly, his bulging eyes moving his menacing eyebrows side to side as he glances to ensure he is not noticed. His face is ugly, like a knot on an old tree that is disfigured and stuck there. The trenchcoat is open and he is dressed in black. His large, arthritic hands suffer the same fate as his face, disfigured and large, looking painful in their oversized, swollen form. He breathes heavy and erratic. One step away from a cardiac event that never comes. One step between purgatory and hell. His breath smells overpoweringly of cigarettes and coffee, the van door is open and he again, hurriedly motions to her to step inside. The girl is scared, uncertain. She wants to run, but is frozen to the spot. The fall, after-school wind sways her dress side-to-side. He takes a step forward and girl flinches, turns her face away, afraid. Suddenly a siren, and the evil spell is broken. He bolts back to the van, frantically looking around before shutting the door. The gas pedal pressure is a frantic acceleration, steering wheel making waves like it’s being held from the tip of a crayon.
A green stalk grows taller now. Out of the ground pops a blossoming head out of the dirt. Intention: To grow taller under the sun, wind, and rain. Soon it will be an adult cornstalk, silky husk protecting golden yellow kernels. Raw. Raccoons. Old Yeller. Remembering movies and VHS tapes. Well, now I am an adult cornstalk. And it’s husk yourself or be husked. Logistics, transportation, light blue barrels. Subsidized farmhands. Iowa crop circles. A middle America I have heard and read about but have never truly known. Perhaps we are too big to be connected, to strange to be compassionate and understanding. Here Internet is air; I breathe it and consider it as given, as a sixth or seventh sense. Transporter accident where I am neither here nor there, but in-between states. Stuck in-between states. Tractor, green grass, shrubbery, waste, donkey, cotton. Aliens, gin, straw hat, tablecloth, pigs, rakes, haybales. Knock three times. Red barn –
The scarecrow has been decapitated on Halloween night. Its stitched smile lays lopsided, sideways. Triangle eyes, sewn black border, seem to squint in perpetual play. Straw stuffing scattered all over the farm. Was it human or animal who did this? A crow caws, no longer deterred by making a mess of thing, by the potential of wrecking this barnyard. The hooks of the overalls have left imaginary shoulders. And if the scarecrow is dead, then what the fuck will Dorothy do? He is her first threshold guardian in Oz. The magic has been sucked through a turkey baster. It tastes like shit without it. Now there will be no story. And Dorothy will be stuck in Oz forever, eating apples and being homeless, terrorized by the trees and winged monkeys and Wicked Witch of the West. Her murder for nothing. Tin Man will stay rusted, Lion stay scared. Oz stay a liar. She gets high on poppies all day where she dreams she’s back home in Kansas. Toto goes missing and there is no happy ending. Disaster zone, caution tape, sepia sky and clouds. The orchestra violins never stop playing, L. Frank Baum ensnared in some literary sabotage.
Start the clocks. Oaken, wooden, walnut. Mahogany-lined grandfather clock ticks away miserable hours and minutes. I am sorry I said so. Dreams lined with thick-walled anxiety about subway cars and too many people. Onward! Miserable Existence! Trapped within the own poisonous, toxic confines of our own mind, my own mind. Ladyfinger laid, espresso soaked, cream topped, tiramisu consciousness. All I wanted was a waiting room that didn't deceive me. We are all failing the test, the group project. Soul feels ripped out and ripped in half with no way to repair it. I just wanted a moonbeam; Something to hook a hope onto. Like we were skyfishing for stars. Modern redux. Do-over. Modern Baseball. Skeletons and eggshells, always feel like they should come in succession, one after the other, respectively. Self-pushes seems to feel more like shoves and before I know it, I want to quit and want to go to sleep; Go back to bed and start over. Mild Salsa, sweet boredom of Life. I've tried to make sense of it all and now I quit. I am lost and unmotivated. Nothing means anything. Trapped forever, with no desire to swim dirt to the surface. I'll just lay here and decompose under torched skies and dry earth. Sucking up all the moisture I can until I become a flower. Until the door closes. Until the keys stop typing. Clacking of keyboards in some 1950s call center.
Spoiled food, spoiled goods. Oregon Trail and full-blown Windows 95 format. Dysentery, green type font. That little hovering underscore awaiting the next keystroke. Primeval graphics, 8-bit soundtrack. Wagon wheels in an imperfect circle. When computers would freeze up more often, when viruses were more of a threat (computer viruses, that is). Spoiled child, bad temper running away with her. I see a little girl in a pink dress with matching shoes and frilly white socks. And she is crying and quickly stamping her feet on the move as her mother is attempting to pay for something at the register. She is upset because she wanted candy, and mama said no. Something about the playful, colorful wrapper, and the sugary sweet promise that lay within generated the impulse, generated the desire to have it. But this warden stamped her foot down, using her parental authority. Now she quickly closes up her wallet and takes her plastic bag of just-purchased goods, and runs after her daughter, snatching her up into to arms as she screams and wriggles and cries. It is a war to put her into the car seat and belt her in. A common soundtrack played from the backseat as she continue to runs errands, rubbing her temples at a red light to will away this on-coming headache.