43: Comanche

This place wasn't always a diner, it was built for something narrow and urgent. The joint is full of moes trying to smother tonight's drunk under eggs and grits and flesh and fat.
There's only one waitress and she is custom built. Pushing fifty with a face that's still waiting for pretty. Straight back, bony hands, calves like a goatfucker. A name tag that reads "Daisy". No shit.
She hasn't stopped moving. Not in an hour and a half. Maybe more. She jerks along efficiently up and down that corridor with the lunging lushes. The floor is coated with grease and spit. Plates piled high with oozing, sliding sick make it from window to table without loosing a molecule. She's good.
There must be miles beneath her soles already, with miles still to come. This table, then the next, then the next, then the next, then the next, then the counter, the whole lenght of it. Endlessly. The show's a bit too ungainly to be mesmerizing. Fascinating though . An hour and a half already. At least.

"Ready to go yet?" asks Kadrey.
"No," says Evan, "not until something breaks."


44: Videotape

There's a clean line taunting us, pornographic contact of earth and sky. There is nothing to it, it's just a game of knees and elbows. Up, up, up always up, any other motion is a deception, a feint to come back to up, up, and up. Our signatures are stamped in the dirt, once, twice, thrice a second. We're both Neil Armstrong today and maybe even tomorrow, and maybe even the whole week. As long as it takes for the wind and the lizards and the armadillos to erase us, to forget us.
There is immense silence between the moments where our feet slam into the dirt. We are supersonic jets, constantly booming once, twice, thrice a second. Behind us, an invisible wake, and ghosts made of dust and speed, ephemeral like songs on Mars. We are a Buzz Aldrin dream: ships made of energy. We consume what we are to make distance irrelevant. We exhale and sweat the particles that kissed our mothers and held our brothers. We keep going until there is nothing left but the going.


45: Take From Me My Shadow

   Kadrey woke up in the tub clutching a half full bottle of Beam.  The plastic bottle was near empty by the time he thought to check on Evan.  He was face down between the two beds. Kadrey stood there watching for a minute, making sure his back rose at regular intervals; a habit he had picked up sharing a room with his brother for twelve years. 58.66 to sleep like bums. 
   A quick pat down told him he was out of cigarettes.  He made as much noise as possible unlocking the door. Still there he was, outside by himself.  He had no notion of the time, he'd smashed his watch in Virginia days ago.  Weeks?  No matter.  Leaning on the second floor railing he could spot three live neon altars.  He picked the one by the feeder.   
   At the gas station were a bunch of girls. Even wearing their make up like war paint, they still looked like high school.  High school mean.  High school stupid. High school treacherous.  They crowded the entrance.  
   Kadrey stood a long time on the wrong side of the line between the station's bright lights and midnight's void.  But waiting wasn't going to help.  Kadrey would not be transmuted through the power of patience.  The girls were not going anywhere; this was not a stop on the night's journey, it was the nest itself.  Waiting was an affliction he wanted to be rid of.  Actions then.
   Of course they were mean.  Of course they teased him and made the door an unlikely proposition.  Kadrey wanted to prove that he wasn't a tourist. Desperately.  Kadrey said the wrong thing. Repeatedly.  The half jovial ribbing turned all black.
   It was his first fight, and he couldn't help but notice how little pain was involved.  Confusion, a lot of it, and some pain, but not much.  Pretty soon, it seemed that he was only intermittently in command of his limbs.  Vision went in and out.  The girls had disappeared and were replaced by an adversarial entity.  He was not going to "win". 

There he is standing on the feeder.  A truck's headlights envelops him.  In his brain, the chemicals go crazy.  Vision is extended past vision.  Memories are palpable things.  Above all there is the stony understanding that the shadow so quickly spreading at his feet will be his body's last alteration to this world.


46: The Morning Bell


[C-NOTE: Let's try to keep as much of this as we can in one shot. Preferably let's not cut until the electrician walks in.]

[S-NOTE: I've asked Jerry to find something that sounds like Morricone for incidental. I'm thinking more Corbucci-Morricone than Leone-Morricone. The Great Silence, shit like that.]

EVAN walks into the convenience store. Everything is bright and shiny and new except for Evan and the CLERK who is the only other person there.
Evan looks like he hasn't washed in days.
The Clerk is a teenager dressed in black, he's bent over a notebook, I-pod buds firmly in place he's probably listening to NIN.

Evan walks over to the chips aisle and ducks. We can't see him.

[off camera]This must be your busy time.


[standing up] I hope you don't live on commission.

[finally notices Evan. takes one bud out] Do you need help?

[striding up and down the aisle, picking up random snacks and putting them down in the wrong places] Help? I think I'll help myself to a little bit of this, little bit of that. Since I'm in the land of plenty and all.

[putting his bud back in, returning to his notebook] God bless America.

Not one for conversation, uh? Well it's late, your business isn't chitchat.


Evan walks to the back where they keep the beer, crouches down to the cheap, nasty shit, pulls out three cases and with some effort jogs up to the register and slams the cases on the counter.

[catching his breath] Your business is convenience.

[standing up straight, pulling out the buds, and looking really uncomfortable] I can't sell you these.

What are you talking about? I have cash.[he pulls out a crumpled bunch of bills and lays them on the counter.]

[pointing to a clock behind him] No it's cut-off. We're past cut-off, I can't sell you alcohol.

What.. What's the... Who needs to know?

Mister, I can't do that. I really really can't.

Yeah? [he pulls out a beer from the top case, pops it open and starts to sip]

Take it. Take it. I just can't sell it to you.

[very slowly] But. I. Have. Money.

It's not my job to get fucked up. Just... please take it.

Evan tries to hop over the counter slips on the surface and falls at the clerks feet. The clerk backs up, still afraid of Evan. Evan gets up and returns to his original mission unembarrassed. He takes the clock of the wall, adjusts it and holds it up to the clerk.

Now it's eleven thirty. Problem solved.

[pointing to the register] That receipt isn't going to say 11:30.

Evan puts the clock down and goes up to the register. The clerk has noticed a mop in the corner he's trying to disappear into. Evan pushes the register onto it's side. The clerks hand closes around the mop's handle. The door opens. It's some DUDE probably coming from a late shift, he's haggard looking and sweaty. His shirt reads: "if it's not grounded, it's not dead."

[to the Dude] Hey! Hey, you know anything about electronics.

[hesitantly] I'm an electrician.


[Grinning] Almost.

Good enough. You have time for a job? A quick one.

Who's paying?

[pointing to the wad] I am.

The Dude trots up to the register. The clerk is more obviously holding on the mop now, but it clearly functions more as a life raft than a weapon. The two men are not interested in his state of mind.

I want this to say 11:30

[examining the register] But it's past one.

I know. I want the receipt to say 11:30

[still scrutinizing] Isn't there a simple clock function.


No? I don't buy that.

The Dude comes around the counter and produces a small screwdriver and a flashlight from his pockets. He starts prodding the register.

These are your official tools?

You're paying for the knowledge. Not the hardware.

The clerk has been letting himself slide down. He's now sitting on the floor, wrapped around his mop.

You can just have the beer you know.

[looking at the clerk with some sympathy]I know...


The register has started sparking. The Dude makes a break for it seemingly propelled by expletives. The sparks are turning into small flames. The clerk snaps to, grabs an extinguisher from under the counter and lets loose a jet of white powder.

Evan, exhausted and defeated walks around the counter. He's facing the clerk now. Things are back to square one except for the dead register and the retardant still hanging in the air.

You can have it you know.

I know [he grabs one case] It just didn't feel right.

Evan walks out, case under his arm. The clerk watches him leave, waits a moment then pockets the crumpled wad.

47: Hell Is Chrome

If spun hard enough, the wheels let go of the earth,
and for entire moments it does not own you.


If spun hard enough, the wheels let go of the Earth, and for entire moments it does not own you

If spun hard enough,
the wheels let go of the earth,

and for entire moments
it does not own you.

If spun hard enough,
the wheels let go of the earth,

and for entire moments
it does not own you.

if spun hard
the wheels let go
of the Earth
and for entire moments

it doesn't own you

spun hard enough, the wheels
let go of the earth, and for entire moments
it does not own you.

spun hard
enough, the wheels
let go of the
earth, and for entire moments
it does not own you.

if spun hard enough,
the wheels let go of the Earth,
and for entire moments it doesn't matter






48: Side With The Seeds

On his shoes
The dirt from three states
Caked thick
No wind at his back
No wind on his face
No wind
Nothing to rush and fill the voids between palm and thigh

Up above
Empty sky
Cruel blue and hard light
Moisture sucked from every pore
No wind to cool his brow
No wind
No hope for clouds
and shade
and rain

In his pocket
Lousy talismans
Bent cigarette, six keys around a circle
Kadrey's estate
He holds out the keys
His fist a porcupine
There is no wind to make them chime
No wind
To carry the sounds growing in his chest

He smells the keys
Gives them new names in the absence of doors
He presses into the body of the cigarette
Rolls it back and forth
Paper disintegrates
Dry leaves fall through his fingers
Like sand
Like ash
No wind to alter their trajectory
No ladder to bring him the fragrance of tobacco
The leaves gather on his shoes
He is buried


50: Everything in it's right place

The scent of the airbag is surprising, the glow of the flames very familiar, the combination is disorienting. As if he needed more of that. There is probably blood but he's in no hurry to find out. Past the flaming hood of his civic, the road stretches out to a black point, two lines whose intersection harmonizes into imperative rather than emphasis. He reaches for the seat belt before he can remember that he never uses it. His finger traces the empty smile of the clasp, then he coughs. The flesh knows what matters. He is standing on the road envisioning with unmitigated clarity every step that could have brought him here, but unable to actually remember any of them. He starts walking towards the convergence, very careful not to blink.