Lost Resort

Day One

Mean darkness settles on the horizon. Surrounding the entire scene in nothingness. Out on this lonely stretch of sand. Standing in the shade of a poorly constructed shelter. Glancing out at infinity, or the closest thing these failing eyes can substitute for endlessness, wondering if there exists some point along the seemingly unchanging spectrum where things began to go terribly wrong. Was there some sign?...some barely perceptible interruption? Would I, had I been able to feel it happen, have had the nerve to stop the presses and rewrite the day's events?

Things are strange here, though I can't put my finger squarely on the source. Nothing is too far from the ordinary, but everything seems deeply amiss. As if I had stepped onto the stage during a play I'd seen a hundred times, recognizing immediately the familiar characters and situations, but everyone was speaking in some nonsensical verse. Leaving me to my own devices of interpretation and slighted expectation. Smiles are strained. Gestures exaggerated. Friendly voices keeping measured distances. Neutral faces turning in long looks. Sending underhanded hints that I am indeed not what they were expecting. Haven't I always been the master of assimilation? Leaving me to wonder if I have dropped in inadvertently on an annual convention of sharp eyed con men...fresh from hour long sessions on the best methods for sizing up the score. Placing their secret bets on how long I can keep from talking to myself.

This should have all been stopped before. It's gotten out of hand. Bad visions are floating in the sky. Elbowing out the clouds. Weighing heavy on the vista. Foul winds blow through the day, carrying with them the discarded debris from every corner of this forsaken earth, broken down versions of their former selves, unwanted, out in the cold -- piled up against sea walls, stacked in a haphazard fashion in any number of out of the way hovels, looking so lost and pitiful as they skid down the road. Sound familiar? Oh well, we all have a story to tell. Who's to blame when you're left with an unpleasant final few chapters? I'm just here to see how this thing ends. I've stuck around this long. Haven't I? And if you find it too much to bear, then I invite you to join your average fellow man and do your best to ignore my very presence. If only I could join in. Oh well...

How long have I been here? It seems like years, but it must be only hours. The carriers are lining up on the shore. Conveying open-lipped messages I perceive with ill intent. My hands are cracked and bleeding. The map of my face has taken on disorienting contours. I'm running out of time. But it doesn't seem to matter. At least, not to me.

I happen to have lost my way. I'm stranded on the deserted back road of an poorly conceived universe. My accounts are settled and I am full of dirty promises.

I arrived easily enough. Rolling to a halt on the blind side of one final dead man's curve. Seems I'd had enough. And my old six cylinder wasn't doing me any favors. I've reached the end of my line. At this middle point on my way. I've searched the barren terrain of my soul and come up on empty. I'm taking stock of my situation. I am ill at ease.

The tides roll in at sinister intervals. As if they are taking me for a damn fool. It's not my fault I have no place left to go. I know where I am supposed to be and I understand where I've been. And I have no particular desire to entertain either. Perhaps this is as it should be. I'm taking up time. I'm listening to the crashing waves. I'm too tired to offer the slightest assistance to my own cause. It's always easier to simply hang everything up for a while and see what happens. Push the old jalopy into the first parking lot you can find. Square your shoulders and make the best of things.

I'd like to remember the faces that have shared the kindled moments leading up to now. I'd like to think I'm worthy of this life I've been granted. But I'm having trouble. I'm making up stories to keep myself alive one more day. I'm full of plump sadness. I have secured a modest room and a pillow for the night. What else could possibly matter?

The walls are rising against me...surrounding my peripheral vision. Dark figures make their presence well known. An entire world is going about its business in the corner of my eye. I've surely gone hopelessly mad. But it never matters as long as you've got enough currency to pay your way. And I'm loaded with seashells of every denomination. Treasures beyond my wildest imagination. Lying in full view for all to share. The world is giving us another shot. It's letting us know we need to try harder. I'm listening, and I'm going to do my part to spread the wealth. Starting with that bellhop. Slipping him a multi-colored handful of still-wet coins. Giving a wink and an assurance of plenty more where that came from.

He seemed a bit taken aback. But that is to be expected.

Out here.

The end of the road. The point from which there is no easy return. You'd like to move forward. You'd like to make your peace with the past. But it all just runs down the drain. And you wake up one murky afternoon to find yourself on a misty seashore with a passkey in your hand and an open tab at the bar. You make your bed and leave everything else to chance. Misery will be there with its morning wake-up call. Don't you worry.

My version of history is going up in flames. Just one of the many beach bonfires burning in the night. I've got a bottle and my feet are safely buried in the sand. I'm warming myself against the millions of tiny explosions. Grand releases of unspent potential, within and without. I'm keeping as still as possible. The world is swirling around me. Colors tracing luminous paths against the void. The stars are dancing in unsettling patterns. The constellations are moving about, exchanging their parts, letting me know that I have been charting my course with severely bad information...having a little fun at my expense. But I'm beginning to enjoy the madness. I'm actually feeling part of this foolhardy production.

And I don't have a single place in all this vast expanse of universe to be tomorrow. So I'll take another drink, and lay my head against a piece of driftwood.

And keep my eyes open as long as I can.

I think I'm going to like it here.

~ ~ ~

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