I am hurtling past rooftops, chimneys in the company of Jesco White, Hasil Adkins - heads lolling, spooling drool - when we hit a fork in the path ahead. A box elder stump with a 7 ½ lb axe embedded straight through its knotted heart.
Spitting feathers. Gravy. Entrails.
The ghost of last night's Chicken Pathia.
Well. I just about piss myself when White hops up on that bleeding peg and proceeds to dance. Flat foot, bounce and shuffle; the soles on both stockings kicking up a frightful mess.
I fall back in a stupor. Painted soapbox listing in the ditch with its left door hanging. The antenna bent. Beyond repair. The radio pushing in and out.
Adkins sets to cackling.
This is it. There is nothing between the floors in my skull. The soundproofing is so abysmal you can hear a carpet beetle fart in those unoccupied rooms upstairs.
Well. Let me tell you this, cowboy. If you have have a problem with me, bring it on. Come on over here and I'll jam my foot right up your motherfucking ass, you pansy jackass Roy Rogers wannabe.
Got something to say ? No ? Well, shut your fuckin' mouth. Someone has stopped taking their medication, and that someone isn't me.
That unhinged sound again. A scraping set loose among the shavings. A scrabbling on shit pocked corrugated tin.
When I come to they are gone.
There is a disembodied whistling. A beating of pygmy breasts back there only.
I jump down in the ditch and make a decision to strangle the gospel on the vine.
The spirit is wasted and my stomach is hurting. I sit the bottle on the tree stump. Vomit in the ditch until my gut is emptied too. My eyes smart. Bulge like yolks pricked on a plastic fork. I find a half smoked cigarette in my pocket and smoke it down, glad for that. I can feel an insect, some kind of fly, lapping at the sweat between my neck and shoulder.
A truce then. I have no heart to swat at it. Chase it away.
A vehicle passes on the way to somewhere else. It smells of farm. A smear of a face peering out at me. Two raisins jammed in a sullen tray of lard. A tongue like a dog. I fold my chin on my knees. Make the hair in front tumble low as a wing.
Move along. There is nothing to see.
Well. Twenty minutes or of this and I am ready to straighten out.
I climb back down in the ditch, pop the trunk, and the girl is pretty much as I left her.
Hair the colour of yard leaves, rust, the skin of arms and legs dusted with freckles. A mole, a birthmark flowering, above the bunched up panties. The flesh so pale it is almost blue, and with the sky beginning to bruise it is hard to tell if she is still breathing.
I listen to a crow sing on the wire running overhead and stab her with the kitchen knife - that taut space at the back of the knees - and the body flinches. Just a little. Enough. She moans. Into the parcel tape wound all the way around, twice. Three times. Maybe I ought to loosen it. Rip it away. Let the murmuring flutter up.
What's that ? I can't make you out, what with all this quiet.
The blade on the knife is bloodied from earlier. A preliminary carving. The blood is not red, not even where it coagulates, it is dark. Muddied. The colour of split bark. Caramelised onion.
Juices sweating in a skillet.
I am very tired. And the ride can not be salvaged.
It is not too far, I don't think, to make it on foot. When I am done. If I am considerably more cautious than I have been up to this point, let's face it.
If I make it home in one piece, I promise to avail myself of healing. Maybe splash a little water in that cup of gin.
Some Quinton Claunch. Bill Cantrell. No more hot dogs.