tempest rising





We entered the park like a storm on a quiet bay. We were drunk and stupid: our tongues lagged furiously and in the horror of our inebrieated prose we felt an everlasting love that echoed off the drying branches, the whiskeybums howling their sorrows. The dog park was on fire with brays and laughter, young lovers waltzing their poodles and labrodors. We were grease stained and lined with pock marks from acne, we hadn't any woes but for want of drug.


We followed the path along the green deeper into the park, where it became more forest than city and where loud things happened quietly where no one would ever know, but a thousand questions and memories would linger.


'Where are we going?'


'Quiet down, I know a spot.'


The trees captured the light of the sun that shone through only with the dimmest gleam that faded from white to a deep sepia like a secret to deep to be forgotten. Their branches grew wild and without care as if someone had neglected to return to this land for ages long passed but in the summer heat, these were the places for me. Where no one thought to look and it was too quiet to speak; where all the lively things came to die in the sweetest peace unknown to man.


There was a white stone stairway that followed into nothing: it led the way to ruined cobblestone with cracked and vined effigies to the Holy Mother lining the weed strewn floor. It was as if the Father said 'no more' to the finishing of this monument and his will was done.


Beside the platform of naught was a small gate that fenced an unseen waterfall that could be heard over all but dreams; it was impossibly loud and spoke of nothing but downfall and ruin. Hannity and I looked both ways for the suspicious glare of an officer, but there were none around so we hopped and sauntered into the forest.


The floor on the side of the waterfall was damp and full of life. I had no fear of slipping but I walked hastily and carefully, fearful that the mud would cake upon my shoes and I would no longer have the style that I desperately fought for. I did not have much money and as my parents would hardly allow me in the house, I was very kind to my clothing.


The air was alive, there were many old spirits drifting through the bank. Some were of woe, some were of death but none were of love. As we came beside the waterfall our eyes wide with awe and wonder, the crickets played a choir of braided wings. We thought of nothing but each other; the world was forgotten, as were our mothers and our friends. We were together at the end of the world, the geysers of lust shooting into an endless pool.


From there we traversed the wet rocks which were met with cragged stone slabs that created a canopy above the raucous laughter of the fallen stream that rang into the depths of the pond which we now stood above. As we walked deeper into the wood, the smell of weed and vanilla dutches grew strong until it overpowered us and crept into our t shirts and our pores.


'What's goodie?' said a young Asian boy, about 16. It was Panda. He was dressed in a Ralph Lauren Polo of the most excruciating periwinkle known to man. His hair was perfectly coiffed, and somehow, through all the mud, his off white Nike Sbs had stayed off white.


'Same old, man.' I said. 'You?'


'You know, doing my thing. Smoking this motherfucking weed, not giving a fuck. A day's work.' We laughed. Vincent was silent.


'You wanna hit this?' said Panda, offering the most lipped blunt I had ever seen in my life. It was rolled by a passerby in this life, one for whom life was still an option. I looked to Hannity. He did not approve of marijuana.


'We're good,' Vincent said for the both of us. He had a look of disdain on his face that couldn't be shaken by even the most skilled bartender.


'What's happening with you, though? Haven't seen you in a minute.'


'We're good,' again said Hannity. 'Why'd you even bring me here?' His question was directed to me.


'You said you wanted to get high.' I shrugged. He looked away.


Suddenly my attention was turned beside Panda to a lump on the floor covered with a garbage bag, sticks and leaves. It was rough strewn and grass stained, the force flex stretched exposing it's wide white pores. It looked like a stack of sticks ready to be burned in the praise of a heathen diety.


'What's that?' I asked.


'It's Jackie, look,' he said to me, pulling up the tarp and revealing an unconscious girl of 20, maybe 21. Her legs were bruised and she was very pale, the blue of her veins showing through her white washed skin. Her shirt was halfway up her breast and you could see a grime bemarked crescent upon her mauve brassiere. My heart raced and as Panda snickered, Vincent's face grew grim and pensive.


'What happened to her?' I stammered, too afraid to choose words but letting them fall as a jetisson of angst.


'No idea. She was here when I got here. But look.' He shoved his hand down her undergarments through the holes of one of the torn sleeves that braced her thin arms. He pulled out a wad of cash, about three hundred dollars, maybe more, mostly fives and tens. 'You want some?'


I looked at Hannity. I was afraid to do something foolish.


'You needed to cop, right? You both look broke as fuck to me.'


'Give us fifty.' said Hannity and Panda produced fifty in fives from the stack. He quickly tried to shove the money into his pocket but Hannity grabbed his arm. 'You take fifty. Give me the rest.' Vincent's arms bulged and his eyes were on fire. Panda recoiled counting five ten dollar bills and returning the rest with a shakey hand.


'What are you going to do with the rest?'


Vincent looked down for a second in thought. Then with an arching wave of a Sicilian arm, he tossed the money with all of his might into the murky pool, which caught the dollars, burbling as if with shame. Panda screamed.


'What the fuck did you do that for?'


'For all the ones the park has destroyed. Let's get out of here.'


We once again walked through the mud, once again around the pond. We hopped the fence and walked the path, but this time, it didn't seem as filled with wonder but with stillness. The trees were calling in the evening and we were tired. The carousel was losing it's light and all was becoming silent as rain clouds gathered in the west. As we were once promised a storm, once again.


As we walked toward the entrance to the park, a ridgeback ran off its leash and approach us. It was fat and brown, wide around it's ribs and with maple brown eyes that looked longingly for love and affection. Jack was on my mind, I couldn't bear to look into eyes so full of life. If I could, I would have loved the dog and spoke in the tongue of its master, but my heart would not allow. With it's tail wagging, it jumped upon Hannity's leg, who quickly swatted it's nose.


'I hate dogs.' he said.