The last post featured the Washington Avenue Bridge connecting the East and West Bank Campuses of the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities across the Mississippi River, which makes an unrelated appearance here. Well, mostly unrelated. Flash Fiction Month continues, hot July experimental flash awaits your reading pleasure here. I’d love to see some comments.
Out for a Walk
The boat streaking down the river, spewing a fountain of water behind, interrupts his reverie as he strolls across the Washington Avenue Bridge. A newspaper blows across the pedestrian deck, launches into flight and slowly glides over the water, spiraling down into it near the shore. The clouds remain indifferent to the fact that the news has gone.
A ghost of unwrapped fish, the newspaper floats until it absorbs enough water to drown the sorrows of its pages. It sinks slowly as the current carries it south, toward the ever distant Gulf. A bicycle coasts by, two students debate some ephemera of a course as they stride passed, three birds swoop to the railing and land.
Where had the frightened night gone, the one weaving dreams through each flowing day so that he could no longer tell mine from not-mine and read minds of passersby? What name, whose number, could look him in the eye and not hear the evening welcome up above the world so high.
He stands still, another tripper, thinking, please, please make it easy, a way out of the Sunday driver steering his thoughts on a sight-seeing tour without benefit of trampoline to catch his horses as he fell through the hoops.
The hogshead opened its mouth, let the apple drop, and played fair tricks with cards. The kite soared above him as he jumped on the trampoline, the horse jumped into the ring, and the public failed to rise to heed the call of the changing times.
Oh, let me walk and talk, he thinks, like normal people do. I’d like to eat a bowl of rice, put pennies in a jar, wash the dirt out of my socks, without thinking of Eleanor Rigby or Father Mackenzie as he walks from the grave duty of visiting the sick-in-the-head man he never knew.
Well, with only forty-six words in his vocabulary he prompted a revolution among tattooed gymnasts trying to find the right moves to unlock the Kabbala on a good day. No miracles can save lives now ready to depart their orbit, a polar shift, the axis pointing to Texas as his mind races to understand new meanings for the woman with the beard.
Who can float in a river and not absorb the news that the course of time eddies and swells to the rhythms of unconscious rocks and debris strewn across the bed like his clothes the night he started to pack to travel to the Holy Land. Anointed by olive oil and dancing on the head of a pin, he realized the words of the messiah were his own.
That’s when he noticed that his voice was not his own, but belonged to the argot of Beatles songs, New Age tricksters, Holy hucksters, and frequent flyers enlarging their portfolios. Call me Legion, he thought, hybridity of socio-cultural construction work signaled ahead in the traffic lane below.
Meanwhile, he dog-legged logic, coming to a hypotenuse conclusion in less time than it took for the tail to wag the dachshund: entangled light provides synchronicity through inter-woven troughs and peaks of critical curiosity. He need not move for generations, but his message would change instantaneously with each quantum shift and the legions of messiahs would speak in unison.
That was then, this is definitely not now. He continues to stroll across the bridge, headed to the West Bank, watching the sun set over the city. The flow of the Mississippi so far below him soothes his anguished beast of a mind with its seductive siren call.
He read in the newspaper that the Palestinians and Israelis might sit down to talk again, sometime soon. One of their agents was overheard saying “let’s do lunch” to the other. Hollywood is never stable, and not even a stable could produce a sure thing.
Hark, the Herald newspaper continues. Another article reported that still too few people observe Shabbat. The Messiah has yet to come.
The comics weren’t funny, but the editorial page was.
And Nobody, the only politician to have kept a promise, prayed for peace, knowing it would profit Nobody.