The young man stood in the parking lot of the mall solitary like a lone tree in a forest, like a blade of grass through cement. An odd older man met with him. The man’s hair was a fright of white in all directions, a storm of chaos and white. The older man spoke of storms and light, of past and present tied together by fire and garbage, by an act of forgetting made by something from the sky. He was clearly madness in a jumpsuit.
The young man listened politely in the odd painted geometry of an empty parking lot. He adored the old man for his bottled madness in those gentle eyes, in a kind of suburban boredom snake bite antidote in those crooked yellowing teeth, those odd strung words hanging in the stale summer air like astronauts high above the earth. The suburb may have once been a utopic vision dreamt of fusing a 3 headed beast of farm, city and something skinned of lawns, tiny parks and street signs between, a lava molten notion at the end of that long horrid war but it died house by house, street by street. This town to the young man was clearly its grave and his street that last clutching , grasping spasm of an idea mutated into a dullness: ash in the mouth, guano in the eyes.
The older man rattled on about garbage in a kind of blender defeating physics itself. He oddly insisted it could only run on the back of that failed car made by that criminal cocaine addict, the small run a sort of physical joke on investors, the gull wing doors a middle finger at all who paid in on the doomed machine. The older man was sure somehow Meteorology was a kind of Frankenstinean engine and refuse and stink its gasoline. It was to him as though the skin of storms had veins of fire that were some odd ore, some absurd molten gold that sometimes lit trees on fire, made odd patterns on golf courses, turned sand to a sort of ugly glass. The man saw the storms as the breath of something to do violence to time. It was that simple. It was a million cold miles from simple as well of course. The mad idea is always this way.
The young man listened as though it was recipes for bread, directions to buy groceries in this goddamn town, this dead finger and nail of progress and a once grand idea. He listened as though it was the instructions to build a ladder from this place, an odd absurd stepladder of ions and atoms to reach above those lightning blood clouds and rains to the outer atmosphere; maybe just maybe he could rest up in that grand sublime nothing. Men with guns came randomly and chased the old man as though the moment had opened some cheap magic door to a drug deal crime film like they sometimes played at the sad flaccid screen pathetic little local discount theater that often melted films on aging projectors too hot and smelled like death and socks. Maybe..
He watched the men chase the older man away and it was though time and space dissolved. He saw a storm hit the clock tower in town as he drove the stolen coke baron scheme car with the stupid garbage cuisinart. The thing did nothing of course. The boy knew this. He planned to crash it into the clock out of sheer boredom and that sad lost desire to break something he felt late at night alone in his room and the town like strangling vines seemed to close in, tighter and tighter.
The odd thing is something did seem to happen. The car fell apart on impact, the sad little junk spinner flying off like a cup forgotten on a roof, the silly dials spun drunk in pretty colors on the dash, parlor games of light, nothing more. The thing was there really was something odd happening. The nearby streets faded, paled , lights and floors and signs ghosting lighter and lighter, fainter and fainter, a death of sorts. The town was dying, brick by brick, light by light. The young man was hitting the building full force at this moment, airbag a cloud, steering wheel a rushing great viper to his forehead, then the spiderweb in the windshield glass. The town paled to a blank gash in dirt then away as all went black and cold.
The young man awoke to an odd vision. He was in another town. He was in the same town. He was clearly a ghost, killed in a stupid crash. He ate meals. Was able to stay with a kind woman who he realized seemed very familiar. He helped a gangly awkward man find his way to fall in love with that woman. He played guitar at their prom in an absurd ghost prank. He ate burgers and drank malts and never gained weight. This being a ghost is a kind of sweet magic he thought.
The young man saw the absurd car somehow unharmed in this odd other town. This town was of decades past. The woman he realized as she leaned to kiss him was his mother before he ever was a thought , notion or name pulled syllable by syllable from the air into the dull text on report cards , a library card and those medical records from when he was a kid. She had no idea. He was a ghost. Neither did the awkward gangly boy that was a ghost’s father. It was all so absurd. The car had failed. The old man was a quack that he loved for it as much as his long stories, grilled cheese sandwiches and crazy hair. Why am I haunting the past? Are the suburbs that bad..that even death wants to run far away?
The young man made of ghostflesh haunting 3 decades back before his death again rammed the same stupid car into the same boring old building. Again as his head hit the glass he saw the town pale and die. He came to and was back in that same parking lot with the old man telling his insane story. The town felt even more a noose around his young neck than ever as the man told the same things about lightning and garbage he always did. The young man had crashed a car as a prank and had haunted a disconnected time like some lost digit. He had brought his parents apart and then back together while floating around with a ghost belly full of 50’s diner burgers. It was all absurd.
The force of his boredom and hatred for the streets he felt pinned to by gravity did violence to time, even dragged that stupid car back with him. He unknowlingly crashed it all again, atom by stupid angsty atom right back. There was no time machine. There never will be. Time is plastic, or more like skin, and when wounded deep enough it opens wound.
Little did the gentle foolish older man know that he had not a single clue about time, physics, entropy or death. The young man nodded politely. At least he had this.