It’s no big deal. The federales rescued me. I needed them more than they knew. Leslie was out there in the east and we had a dog named Bubbles, imagine that. The dog’s name was Bubbles and it was a little thing some trinket in Hollywood would carry in her purse to a club before passing out and using it as an unwilling pillow. There was a bell on its collar.

There were a utility or two in my name but I was smart. That college flat was hers and I feel bad; it’s expensive. But distance is the same as time.
 
I moved here and things are different. When the federales were bi-monthy placing a few thousand in my checking account, this woman at yoga said: “and now we’re going to relax our minds because soon the aliens will return and bring with them the fourth dimension.” This women was serious. It known but it was a joke. Now it was a known and serious. This is the type of thing when we say ‘east’ and ‘west’. One of many types of things.

I was practicing the Science then and felt a kin with what I should say, “the fourth dimension’s here. It’s time.” It was like that but she was like the hoof of a deer and that’s it… The people bent and their muscles were lax. I’ll give them that. West is different than East. And Mountains are different than glacially flattened space.

But I drove and started working and we kept in touch and I didn’t love her. It was only circumstance and Steinbeck was the first thing I read, long ago. His California’s dead. So is Kerouac’s. It’s a little sad but now it’s my California, right?

Affluence everywhere. I didn’t have these thoughts then but I had their consequence and Les’ dad is a lawyer and I’m from DC and politics and money. You know? Maybe you don’t… there aren’t too many royalties. Anyone read Kosinski? My California would be like his, I guess. Even though his California was more like a privileged Manhattan.
   
The Feds, by the way, fired me, or refused to hire me, after they did. And my only guess is that my friend’s are terrible references. I’m sure I passed the drug test. It was the rest of the investigation that failed. Perhaps it was because I lied about never being in jail. I had actually forgotten and I thought that record was purged. So many truths have been ameliorated because of this nepotism.

So what happened? I went in and these people liked me. The secretary gave me a hug and the boss shook his head. It was out of their control.
   
“Who’s control?” I asked. “No. It doesn’t matter.” I looked out the window
   
A younger kid had already thought of that. He was excited. “It’s not People. It’s words, written down as laws. It’s LAWS. The PEOPLE have been taken away.” He showed passion.
   
“It’s ok.”
   
“I’ll give you a good recommendation.”
   
“It’s ok.” I said and gave them a hug, left and put in my notice for the rent on my house.

Next. I could have gone out and moved boxes or cut lawns or wrecked body and mind in one way or another. I could have gone back to Les. But shit, there was something different and money is self-perpetuating. It is a faith in others. Mexico is corrupt and this faith is lacking. They have their candles and Virgins, though.

I wandered around with sit-ups and push-ups, running in circles around palm-lined blocks until I was able to think like this: ‘Nothing is here to stay. Even the sun will dry up. We’re all taking advantage of something. We’re all already something else. Infinity is real. Everything is a combination of something. I will become every combination given infinity.’

So I bought a big van and got Mexican plates to fit in with that special breed of hatred down there. Oh, and it’s not hatred, it only looks that way from the glow up here. It’s a beautiful benevolence but the bandit here and there that’ll push a log on the road and rape your dog and rob you as you pass will be more likely to… pass. This is even truer in Guatemala where Reagan and the CIA did what they did. You know?

So I gave it all up and the federales helped me. To put icing on the cake, they allowed me to collect unemployment and that’s the most beautiful piece to the blurred puzzle. I collected, after they refused to hire me. So they stopped me from being able to do the job and then continued to pay me for not doing it. Even though I was willing to do it… is that not great? Those are the things that bring the smile to the face.
   
It’s hot. Waiting? I don’t know. I’ve stopped and sit. Sit for what? A reason, perhaps. There is no reason but there is desire. There is desire but not explanation. Where does love come from? A silly question. The options lead me to diseases. Morals are sighed away. Without someone to judge… instruct…

I remember a friend (perpetually) cheated on his timecard, took 2-hour lunches and claimed half hour. Brought the night’s party in with him. Left early. I asked him his solution to the jefes and he’d say he’d fill out the timecard once every pay-period and say he couldn’t remember. A planned ignorance. But this is not planned. This is only being alone and comfortable. 

That has nothing to do with anything. This is not about any religion. This is about that great sigh and circumstances that nudge. “Leslie.” See? No response and when I say, “Tecate?” they say viente instead of diez y cinco and I smile at them to let them know I know. ‘Oh, yes,’ my reluctance on the colorful money says as we tug a game with the cash. I watch them feel guilty and they are simple folk (like our fathers) and it’s only circumstance for my rich white face in this shaggy country smothering Latin America (it’s a ladder of smothering, no?). But they tug the money free and I wink. It wasn’t my money anyway, is the point. It’s yours. For sure. It’s yours. Understand? And I give it to them.

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I’m not really sure what happened but I grew a mustache. A fat black turd of a thing crept up from the 70’s like an Oreo fart on a road trip through Utah heading south into the arid red.

    But it showed up when I hit the breaks. And boy did I fucking hit the breaks. I was on a year long high, I came back and I was almost 30, it might have been more than a year… who knows?  Had little to show for it, too, besides memories and a few pictures.

    Time had turned to nails on chalkboard and these people around me were jacks lifting the fingernails from the skin.

    There was a marine and he talked about bowling. I pressed him and he would say one-liners. There was a story of doggie style with a female (marine?) and, rocking back and forth, then a finger punched to the asshole and she bounced forward and hit her head, on the rebound it was the same thing and she knocked herself out. He pulled out and left. I asked more and there were training stories, spraying this chemical in the face to check this equipment.

    I told him about how the Khmer Rouge would put Thai babies in plastic bags and hang them from trees. In Africa they wear Chicago Bulls t shirts.

    The hours are unreal. Before they were a continuous sexual apex. I would climb and surf and write an article and take a picture. I would follow and Jen would hand me a ticket and we’d sweat together and I’d taste her salt and we’d drop from the sky and the surge would pull my toes and remove the sand from under me.

    Mongrel dogs would stray with necklaces we’d put on them. They puff loudly with their huge tongues dangling and their desperate faces turned up in a smile.

    The boats were upturned and I’d never seen them used. We went north and the jungle crept down from the hills and extended over the ocean. Bits of coral were sprinkled against the dark and the stout palms provided shade. The air was thick and being shirtless was no where near naked. Being naked was a natural condition.

    Certainly there were animals that crawled over us and sniffed and maybe nibbled but the beach is a relatively dead zone. Things pass over in pursuit or search. We are the only ones wise or conditioned enough to be able to spend such majestic hours lounging on the long flanks that snake up each continent. I tell Jennifer I will never stray from the ocean’s necklace.

    It faces northwest and they come in with power. It’s overhead and afterward I sit with the image and the feeling reeling. There is beer and Jennifer is something perfectly aligned for me. She does her thing, writes her article and it’s a different stance than I’ll take and a different niche. These senoritas? She’ll ask them and talk and she’ll make the world better. I’ll be on standby and through proximity I’ll make the world not worse.

    There is another plane and what is Mexico City? She looks to me and I smile and the passport is a colorful oddity. It’s a city with people living in it surrounded by lush hills and mountains. Is that all? No. one day we’ll know more but never enough. It is what it is and it’s adequate

    Jennifer holds my hand on the plane and there’s a movie and it’s odd. I like to feel odd with these things.

    There is India for no other reason than to investigate the most squalid and revolting conditions. Honestly? There is a pipe leading form the city and my friend in San Francisco curses these people for doing what he would do. AOL cuts through the grease and it is only the way it is. Jennifer changes things and I frame trash and children and dead cows and wet sewage and the stench is not able to be captured. There are movies and we are in hell. But it is fine. That child is smiling and this is his life. I wear a Cuban shirt and reefers. I should have boots to avoid the horrible bacteria that is untouchable to them and devastating to me.

    Does everyone have AIDS? I am content with monogamy. There is a hut and the sewer is huge and in San Diego Tony Hawk would spiral around the massive concrete with his skateboard. We have pictures and we leave as much money as we can because we are using their conditions to earn a wage. We are taking their wage but we are capable. We pay 750 dollars in rent when not in transit and they earn 2 dollars a day.

    The plane stops and starts and there are sleeping pills and the knees wonder heavily about their position and the ass wants to give the weight to the feet and the Devil Wears Prada and Adam Sandler is getting calmer and more romantic and he’s all about the awkward glances and the half smiles.

    Hawaii is American and a I yelp happily to a fat Somoan with a sick wave at the wrong beach as he puts his toes over the edge as a barrel creeps up on him and he turns with a scowl. Back in the lineup he paddles close and pulls out a knife, cuts the leash and punches out. The waves move and it’s lame but he’s 300 pounds and ‘the SHORE’ is where I belong. Apparently. Bob Marley is calming and we drive to another beach and the waves are overhead and there is Tom from Laguna and Skip from Oz. Jennifer meets us in a bar and we’re calm. Did you ever see, “Blood Diamond?” I ask and half the group has. I just want to know if they have the same types of images in their heads. I don’t have any comment and the surf falls and girls dance in palm skirts. They shake their hips like MTV tries.

    I read a book and the next day is a competition and I have a camera and Jennifer talks with looks and I’m out and they’ll carve at me and the wave will drop and I’m more about the ancillary. It’s best when there are combinations of things. But the NY Times wants the thing. The smaller flukes want the combination. Perhaps the bright Bonita casually searching under the shadow of Raj from Indo. A context, they want a context, Jennifer does, and she’ll look at the shots and smile and we’ll make love in a shack on the dry side of the island and look at the lava roll like a pillow into the sea and I’ll play with her feet cause she’s my princess and kiss the ankles and one day I’ll marry her and what next?

    Antartica? She says and there is some professor she knows studying zooplankton as the ice melts, they are the pillar of food and their assemblage will change, plus, as the ice retreats new communities are showing themselves, or, we are able to access them –freshwater lakes inside massive ice cubes and what not. We will join him and she will write an article on the verge of tragedy about rising sea levels. The Maldives are 6 feet above sea level and they will drown. I will highlight the new discoveries and professor Hersean has a thick beard from months at the bottom and the penguins are his neighbors, the seals are his clock, and the myriad of equipment and boats are his fingers.

    I shake his hand we’re back. Jennifer has to work and I have a brother who makes heart pills. He has connections and I hit the wall. My face hurts from metaphor.

    I want to learn something but I can feel it better from the media. Long assumptions are false and it’s a dry riverbed. The media is a wet sludge moving from rain to rain. He can tell me nothing.

    “B was the only one to give me a raise the entire time.”

    “Walter Reed’s making news?” I respond and everything is contradictions. It’s enough. I have to at least wait a paycheck. Jennifer is fine, she works on a computer in our flat 8 floors up. There is a window and she looks to the ocean all day. I drive down then up on a mesa and now a kid with dreadlocks tied back comes in to join us.

    They want me to spray this green solution on lab benches and wipe it up with paper towels, for eight hours. I have agreed and the marine has nothing unique and that’s fine. The most horrific has long been heavily highlighted. I know Abu Ghraib as well as him.

    The Dread finds Special K in liquid form and he stops working for the day. It’s only been a few hours and the time is moving at this obstinate speed. I look to my watch every five minutes and it’s torture.

    Everything has to go here. In this lab. It has run out of money and the amount of trash could fill India. But we can take care of it. We have faith in each other. We have infrastructure and say what you will about what you will… Everything will get incinerated at an insane temperature and there is nothing that will enter a landfill. This biotech will pay out the ass for it. But they’ll sell their pills at a premium and perhaps the government will give them assistance and where does it ultimately come from? Jennifer, she supports me and she’s the one essentially creating something where there was nothing. But she herself creates nothing essential. They buy her product after it’s said and done with. They support her after they’ve eaten, while they’re sitting at the coffee shop and wondering what to do with themselves. After they’ve spent the day working where they do.

    It’s all the earth and this is nothing profound. There is one farmer for every 100 or so people. 200 years ago there was one farmer and his wife, who had children who helped in the field. As this ratio changes so does society. Clearly, there have always been soldiers. So that’s nothing to consider. It is only me, with time like toothpicks under the eyelids. One paycheck, at least. Spray and wipe with paper towel. The pay is good. I’ll shave the mustache when I have time. Or, at least when time is more rational.