A Hell of a Vision

And so I met this girl.

She was this little ball of sarcasm, slouching and smoking the same way, with a casual insolence, on a filthy couch in a little black slip. She didn’t look particularly elegant.

I was rolling out of a tumultuous and turbulent relationship with a girl who, to me, balanced trashy and classy at a perfect level. She was languid, and radiated a sort of Deep South sweaty glow that I found terribly enticing. She seemed taller than she was. She had one of those long necks, I guess. I was heartbroken when she showed me the door, not that I didn’t deserve it.

And so I met this girl. I wasn’t much more than a boy myself, though at 23 I certainly thought I’d figured out everything worth knowing. I met this girl who teased me mercilessly.

She came across as brash, as testy and sassy. She knew the city and she knew the country. She drank tequila sunrises in class, and Bushmills from the bottle. Her coloring was impossible for me to figure out- was she pale, or olive complexioned?

“Oh Will,” My mother chided me. “No one can be pale and olive skinned at the same time.”

But she was. And yet, and yet- and yet there was a sort of ruddy glow to her features at the same time. Her nose fascinated me. Her chin, this perfect little point beneath a mouth that always looked a little sad, except when she was smiling.

I wasn’t going to fall for her, of course. She was fun, I enjoyed the teasing, I enjoyed that she caught me off guard a lot, kept me off balance. But I wasn’t going to fall for her. For one thing, she was too young. She was only 19, and four years seemed like a long time when I was 23.

After I had fallen for her, I met with my Ex for a beer. She knew I was involved with this girl, but until we talked that day I don’t think she knew how involved, and I don’t think I knew how much either, until that moment. My Ex seemed a bit miffed that I had fallen for this girl.

“I hadn’t really planned on it,” I admitted, exasperated. “It was an accident.”

“Well,” my Ex said. “I don’t ever notice you having accidents with ugly girls.”

She was paraphrasing a quote from Lonesome Dove. It is one of my fondest memories of my Ex- because now I can look back and see the door that closed. I closed that door when I fell for this girl, this girl I wasn’t going to fall for.

I don’t mean that I “chose” to take one path or another- or one girl or another- I mean that by falling for someone, my life changed. I look back at this moment as point where the game changed.

Now it is 12 years and some since I met this girl. She’s a woman now (the only girl in my life is almost 4 months old and drools a lot) and she is still pretty sassy. I still look at her and smile.

The mini-series of Lonesome Dove ended with Tommy Lee Jones agreeing with a young newspaperman who has told him that he is “a man of vision.”

“Yes,” Tommy Lee Jones responds. “A Hell of a vision.”

She still is.

God’s Gonna Cut You Down

Last night I dreamed I was riding in the backseat of a car. My wife was there, and her sister, and we were listening to a Jesse Dayton song (one that I dreamed up, apparently) that was about a guy who kept getting locked up in prison, and then breaking out to go see his girl, and the funny ways he kept getting caught.

“that could be a great movie,” I said. “Or at least a cute one.”

“Yes yes,” my father, who was driving, assured me. “What we need to do is get you a motel room out by an old abandoned prison or something, that way you and your wife can write that pitch!”

We drove past an eerie church, all black rock and covered with dying ivy. It had a sign that said something like “Evil Church” and I thought: “Huh, that is an eerie, evil looking church.”

Then I was at this old abandoned prison, outside of Pittsburgh. I saw it once from a boat, where my wife and I were having dinner with my parents for my mother’s birthday. I remember the food was mediocre at best, but the music was good and it was neat seeing Pittsburgh from the water. The prison was in a rural area, mostly surrounded by barren trees.

In my dream, I found the prison shortly after the Zombiepocalypse kicked into overdrive- some survivalist guy had fully stocked it with canned and frozen foods, rolled in a couple huge industrial generators and a fuel truck, set up a radio transmitter and antenna and filled the armory with weaponry- then he got bitten by a zombie when he opened up the back door to let the cat out or something.

So I have this fully stocked massive place to live, to wait out the zombies, but I’m lonely, so I started broadcasting radio transmissions like: “Hey, I’ve got beer and a really kicking sound system hooked up. Any ladies out there, bite free?”

At one point, I had to open up the big front doors (they had a huge crossbar, strangely enough) to let in some survivors- an old couple in tourist clothes with handguns, an Asian woman about my age who spoke little English and probably was hiding a bite (I wasn’t gonna let her seduce me, I decided, in case she turned while we were making out) and more…

I was carrying a World War 1 era pump shotgun, with a bayonet on it, and when a zombie lurched out of the underbrush I stuck the blade into the soft rotting flesh of its cheek to hold it steady while I shot it in the brain.

I remember climbing into the bulldozer with the enclosed and reinforced Cab and driving into town to loot the liquor store. I didn’t like having tourists in my prison.

A college-aged girl kept arguing with me about wearing a pancake holster inside of the belt, it was just more comfortable than wearing a tactical leg-drop holster I said, she said I was basically carryong concealed and what was the point?

Everytime I drove the bulldozer past the old motel in the middle of the woods, I wondered what the hell I was doing back in Pittsburgh, and where my wife and kids were. Sure, the college girl was nice, and it turned out the Asian woman hadn’t been bitten- she just was afraid of me at first- but I sure did miss my family.

Eventually, I’m pretty sure one of the tourists had been bitten, because the other kept making excuses for why the other wasn’t coming to meals.

College Girl thought we should play more upbeat music on the radio show, that all the Cash, Cave, Waits and Glasseye I was spinning was a bit “grim”.

“It’s the zombie apocalypse.” I told her.

“You could at least play some Horrorpops,” she said. So I played Walk Like a Zombie, but really wanted to play Hitchcock Starlet, but I didn’t have it and the internet wasn’t up, so I couldn’t get it out of my email.

The problem with dreams is the waking up part, because then you aren’t sure if the weird slobbering sucking sounds you heard was Zombies chewing the flesh off the people in the prison, or the baby nursing.