Blackbirds | Squat the Planet


  • Thread starter Deleted member 28239
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Deleted member 28239


Once you told me a story about an apparition. You made camp down in a canyon, next to the river. As the sun set you watched a distant railroad bridge and thought you saw the silhouette of a man walking across it. The silhouette tripped and burst into a cloud of blackbirds. No stranger to hallucinations, you blamed your nightly chemical cocktail and fell asleep.

You found his body the next morning. An old, road-worn man. You didn't have a phone to call the police. He was probably like you, anyways. No one asking. No one caring. You left him to rest.

We met in an Arizona parking lot and I admired how you effortlessly ran across slickrock with a beer in one hand and a rollie in the other. Your journey started on a kayak down the Ohio River after waking up to intestines spilling out of your horse and shooting a mercy bullet. You recited the miles with a grin and West Virginia drawl. I wish I could remember the number. You hopped trains, started fights, got shot at, got fed, watched people die, started a family, indulged in addictions and battled them. You saw the worst and the best and kept rolling.

You weren't religious because when you ate something it became a part of you, and that was good enough. You claimed to never worry because if you were alive, it was a good day. And if you were dead, you wouldn't care. Wisdom nuggets fell between stories of eating cats, setting tunnels on fire, and Rube-Goodberg machines relocating piss out of tweaker camps. And one thing you didn't know was when to shut up.

One night you got drunk and said something mean. You got drunker and fell on your knees, buried your face in my stomach and slurred apologies. I silently planned my exit. Last we talked you had finally seen a doctor about your back pain, something with your liver. I pictured your grinning face tinged with yellow. You said you were running out of prepaid minutes and never called again. Both your numbers recited disconnected messages.

You made me a dream catcher out of cat ribs and dental floss. It swayed dutifully from my rearview mirror for a year, held strong by the bread tie you hung it with.

It fell. The other day. Plunked down at a redlight and I felt a presence pass through my car. The floss and bread tie were intact when I checked them. My stomach sank.

Tell me,
did you turn into blackbirds?

Deleted member 28239

This is now an art/writing dump thread


"Sea Pizza"

You've had those little moments. Thinking about someone before they call. Being in the right place at the right time. An impulse to check on someone right when they need you. Or greeting a stranger named Oak Motherfucking Two Feathers and finding out you're both headed to Washington. Situations benign enough to be coincidence and magic enough to stay in the back of your mind.

Me and Oak paused our rush up the California coast to rest at a seaside pulloff. There were lots of them, equally empty and peaceful. Why would someone stop at ours? But as we stretched and wondered aloud what to eat, a little white car pulled in and out popped a girl holding a pizza box.

She waved.
We waved back.
"Are you guys hungry?"

We hopped off our picnic bench and walked towards her as quickly as politeness allows. I felt like a blessed apostle of serendipity being rewarded for my faith in the unknown.

She had bright blue eyes that stared through us. "It's my friend's birthday. They're on their way," she said while opening boxes of half-eaten pizza and bottles of flat soda.

I thanked her while Oak chewed his first slice, already aware of the situation. "Should we wait until your friends get here to eat?" I asked.

"Happy birthday," she said with a gentle smile. "They got her blanket. Yeah and ocean." I nodded as she said nonsense words with the cadence of a midwesterner talking about the weather. Technically she looked me in the eyes, but I felt like she was watching inivisible waves behind me.

She walked back to her little car and I started eating.

"You handled that well," Oak said.
"What do you mean?"

As the girl opened her car door a paper bag fell out, spilling orange prescription bottles across the pavement.

"She's batshit crazy."

I watched her pick up the bottles, unsure if I should help or respect her privacy. She looked so small against the cliffs and speeding cars. She flopped into the drivers seat, vaped, and stared at the steering wheel.

We finished eating and walked over to thank her again and ask if she needed anything. If she did, we couldn't tell. She offered her vape while mumbling words vaguely related to birthdays, her friends, and the ocean. I tried to suspend my knowledge of language in an attempt to understand her inner symbology, but no luck. Her THC cartridge wasn't helping.

We walked back to our side of the pulloff. I hoped someone would come for her. How does it feel to exist in that place between lucidity and insanity? How did she get here? Where did she come from? Why did she stop near us? What if she's more sensitive to the pulling threads of the universe? What story can I tell myself to cope with the quiet sadness in her eyes?

No one came. She packed everything back into her little car and drove off into the mystery she came from.
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