CASPER LOCKETT

FEELING WEIRD

WALKED INTO HIS LIVING ROOM

AND OPENED THE BLINDS.

WHAT HE SAW WAS THIS,

SPELLED OUT IN FLAMES

IN THE RUINS OF THE DEAD CITY BELOW:

“THE REWARD FOR PATIENCE IS DEATH”

what in god’s name am i doing awake

it’s 5:30 a.m. pacific standard time

for god’s sake

i cried for the first time in a year a few minutes ago and it was so great

it wasn’t a sad cry, just a nice neutral one

one of those “look dude you need to cry or your body is going to explode” cries

lord almighty

what do i need to make that happen again

seriously please email me with tips

I guess a lot of people want to have cool sex and own nice things but all I want is for a fucking whale to kill me

you’re asleep in the other room and i’m leaving tomorrow and you’ll never read this anyway so whatever:

a lot of those jerks back home would throw you under the bus in a god damn second but i sure wouldn’t

also they say a lot of cruel things about me and maybe some of those things are true but mostly they’re wrong

good-bye i love you

I want to say to a lot of people, “Please, I’m not a stranger. For god’s sake, just talk to me the way you always did”

I’m always worried that someone is mad at me

I don’t want anyone to be mad at me

A few hours ago I was standing on a bridge overlooking the highway. I had just come from UT campus and was staring at traffic.

In my peripheral vision I saw a police officer in an SUV pull up at a nearby stoplight and stay there for several green light cycles. I figured he was probably on his computer or something.

Eventually he flashed his lights and parked on the curb a few feet away. I looked his way and he motioned for me to come over to him.

“You OK, man?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Looked like you were about to jump.”

“Jump off the bridge? What? I was just looking at the cars.”

“I don’t know, man. Looked bad from where I was.”

“Oh, no. I used to live here is all. It’s my last night and I was walking around. I used to like to watch the traffic on the highway.”

“You going to sleep tonight?”

“Eventually.”

“You know there’s a . . . there’s a 24-hour coffee shop around the corner.”

“Yeah, Bennu. That’s where I’m going.”

“Or Kerbey Lane. You could go eat at Kerbey Lane. But you probably know all the places to go.”

“Yeah.”

“You could go there and think or something.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, we get jumpers is all. Kids jump. It happens. Just had to check.”

He took my license and wrote down my name and address. He asked me if California was nice. I said “yes.” Then he took down my phone number and drove away.

highwaybluez

I am a 26-year-old man

Tomorrow I fly to Austin

Tonight I let someone touch my face

Yesterday I smoked more cigarettes in an hour than I’ve smoked in a decade

Tonight John and I sat in the back of a pub on Telegraph Avenue and listened to strangers laugh and scream about terrible things that couldn’t possible matter to anyone anywhere. I said to John, leaning over the wooden table: “They may as well be slamming stones down on coconuts while the rest of the apes watch on with vacant grins.” John nodded but his eyes were all bad. He’d been out of it all night.

“Maybe that was a mean thing to say,” I went on, not sure if he was paying attention, “but let’s not pretend it isn’t true.”

I stood up and walked over to the door. Outside it was raining like a real bastard. I was glad we had driven our old Fremont police car to get there. The “DOOMSMOBILE,” as we called it, was parked on a nearby curb and I wanted to walk out of the bar and sit inside the damn thing while the rain came down on the windshield.

John said he was going to use the bathroom and I went to the bar to pay my tab. When I got back to the table he was gone. I found him leaning against the windows out front. His hood was up and he looked shredded. We walked down the sidewalk together, not saying anything, and I got in on the driver’s side and unlocked the doors. The two of us sat down and put on some good music.

In the rearview mirror I saw the only sign of aging I had experienced in ten years, the spiderweb crack of flesh beneath my eyes . . . little trails going nowhere. John lit a cigarette and I thought that maybe I needed to either get laid or jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

We drove west in the rain. On Peralta Street I let John out and he put our rent checks in our landlord’s mailbox. I watched half a month’s salary disappear and the rain came down harder.

John got back in the car and slammed the door behind him. He leaned his head against the glass and closed his eyes.

I stomped on the accelerator, letting those cop tires squeal against the asphalt, and aimed the DOOMSMOBILE toward downtown Oakland hoping maybe we’d see a body or at least a few sparks.