Cue the Birds

We sat in our own quiet personal panics at first, Simon the incongruously bulky bodyguard-type folded into a tiny sort of pretzel on the hearthstone, giggling to himself as he finished off the turkey slices he’d brought to wrap his share of the LBM caps in.  It was a quiet summer night on Capitol Hill, but for six people it was the birthday of a private culture that has never faded.  Gabe wore mismatched socks – she was the trip controller, the grounding force; she was the sober one.  I was lying on the kitchen floor, legs in the air resting my heels on the refrigerator when her mismatched socks came by to talk.  They…she…giggled at me.  I had a lot of hair then, and it was turning aggressive.

In one visit to the bathroom in Ross’ tiny apartment, a tremendous event occurred: I blew my nose and gave birth to the Dark Moose.  It swims in legend with the airfish trapped in the shower curtain.  Cliff huddled himself in a corner and drew.  He drew for hours, between poking holes in the universe (my black t-shirt) and ogling monkey-stones (pieces of curiously-shaped lava rock).  He drew pictures of tormented faces drowning in molten cheese.  He has a very clear style, no sketchy lines, and no wasted movements.  Somehow psilocybin amplified his determined pencil strokes, as if rather than drawing he were simply peeling back the onionskins that hide such images from our eyes when we are burdened with sobriety.  I lay my head backwards over a footstool and watched the Dark Crystal upside down.

 

When the sun finally relieved us from our nightlong shatter, I was holding a sheet-metal screw – a lynchpin if you will – with the single notion that I had somehow survived an elevator ride destined to crash into the depths of hell but for the tenacity of a single screw, now spent.  Tod said, “Fuck the holy brilliance.  Cue the birds.”