I was glad to be rid of that blasted tunic. Its exotic charm had faded quickly. I was glad for my jeans. I was glad for the feel of the cool tumbler in my hand.
The tan liquid soothed as its familiar spiritual warmth embraced my palate. Balm was much required. The face I’d glimpsed in the bathroom mirror was not my own.
The eyes that peered from the gaunt brown visage shone with a luminosity that could never have been my own.
“What the hell do you think you know?” I mumbled sticking out my tongue at the unkempt specter staring back at me.
Everything seemed slow as if it were suspended in molasses. I felt this profound sort of calm…as if I were a deep and silty lake, fertile, fluid, and self-contained.
The thing that brought the need for balm was precisely this. It produced a sort of tranquil annoyance at the pace of things.
I stared at the large ornate clock hanging in the middle of the lobby. It lacked a second hand. A fact that only added to my Zen ennui.
That hour hand would circumnavigate that disk four times before I could give Thornton a piece of my mind. It was odd. All my ‘spiritual’ or ‘philosophical’ or really whatever realizations, hallucinations…whatever they were. These were still present strongly. Still enthusing me with their tantalizing energy. Yet the mundane was so tightly coupled with these. That’s why I could hate the acrid hotel coffee more than love the grandeur of zero.
Zero was an Indian invention or at least is purported to be. I could see something eastern, something Hindu, being the origin. I detested Hinduism. Its caste system and obscurantism were filth that very nearly nullified the sins of the English. But, I had great love and respect for the central Asian geist, the peculiar genius of that continent, and was not at all surprised that such a people would see such a magic potential in nothingness that they’d give it a name.
This I think was the summation of what we were supposed to realize. A sort of reorienting toward the true north of naught. Not empty in the sense of void but empty in the sense of the next second. Like the missing hand on the clock in front of me, you knew it was there. You knew it in the realization of well…realization. But I digress. At this point, I at least in part fancied that I’d grasped, ‘the other meaning of inheriting the wind.’ I knew much was coming out of nothing and couldn’t wait for the nothing to unfold. So I was, pensive.
Yes, pensive was the proper word. And, I must have telegraphed it. A sin that I found easy to forgive myself because I swear. I swear that 48 hours was never such an aeon in the history of man. They say that a billion years or some equally absurd sum is like a blink in the eye of God. Well, I felt very much like something was a bit lugubrious about the normal procession of terrestrial phenomenon. Was I so full of the Spirit that my mortal coil could no longer bear the constraints of the heliocentric orbit?
I allowed the gauche absurdity of approaching Godhood to wash over me. I chuckled internally. Ah, the calculus of conceit! What a ready folly for the novitiate mystic…Nowhere was I nor anyone else approaching Godhood. A fact that for me was presently highlighted by my obsession with the redhead behind the counter.
I suppose she was more of a brunette than a redhead. Reddish brown was the color. Not that it mattered. I think that I would have been fascinated by anything female after two weeks of boys club in the Mojave. This fixation though, it was different, it was something akin to limbo.
As I said, I must have telegraphed it, my pensiveness, my ennui.
She’d done that thing. The most annoying thing that a woman can do. She’d left me hanging.
I was the liasons officer after all. So it was no surprise that I was the only one in a state to speak after our adventure. I was the one who checked us into the hotel.
At first, she was all smiles and intrigue at the grim-faced ruffians who’d trooped through the posh lobby like so many marauding barbarians. Then during the course of our brief exchange I must have said something to annoy her. Because suddenly for no intelligible reason her effusiveness ceased. She informed me that I looked tense and in need of a drink and pointed in the direction of the bar.
That’s where I’d gotten the tumbler of Scotch. I think that subconsciously I was drawn in her direction. Because I left the bar to sit in the lobby. I had plausible deniability. That’s where the newspapers were. And I was, in fact, waiting for our contact to arrive. Yet, neither of those was the real reason.
I looked up from the corporate rag and briefly turned my eye in her direction. She was looking at me. She smiled coquettishly. Or maybe it was my imagination.
‘Great,’ I thought to myself, ‘two days of wondering if I should fuck the receptionist.’
1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer
Help a Hipster