34: Pretzel Logic

is written
on skin
turns to

is written
on skin
turns to

is written
on skin
turns to

36: I Bombed Korea Every Night

"Goddamn man, that's gotta be one hell of a rock with the new sun on all that granite."

It's three in the morning and the sign reads "Keystone City Limits". Suddenly Kadrey remembers a bit of middle school history. He convinces Evan to stick around and see the sun rise on Mount Rushmore.

"No I can't remember where I'm from, and no I don't blame the chemicals, I'd guess that place didn't lend itself to remembering"

They find a picnic table to lay out their black coffee and ground beef tacos. In between four and five they are joined by a young man with way too many stories for his twenty eight years. He has the grace to leave before the silences start filling in the gaps of his autobiography.

"It's settled then."

They spend the morning tallying up at the picnic table. Every dollar, every assist, every rescue, every piece of bread or drop of blood. Things are almost even between them now, but they agree that Kadrey owes Evan a shirt. The button-up kind. With long sleeves.

35: Handshake Drugs

At first light, it is often obvious what type of opportunities a day will offer, and on those days that offer neither the option of making nor breaking, Evan and Kadrey will somehow find themselves in one of those gigantic hardware stores.
They prefer the Home Depot, definite article always included, because it gets the scent right. That odor of eager wood with its metallic accents and plastic finish; it's the same in Maine, Georgia, or Wyoming. They must get it from a bottle kept in the back.
They'll walk those deep, bright aisles for hours, gliding from thrill to thrill as raw materials whisper new promises. All that potential animating every piece of wood and stone, every color and fixture, it's dizzying. A man will go light in the head and his knees will tremble and a shopping cart will be the only thing keeping him upright.
Evan and Kadrey haven't built a thing. Not yet. But the trunk of that Civic is slowly filling with hammers and levels and tape measures, and it is often their pleasure, between these two oceans, to correct or clarify a thing or a person that needs correcting or clarifying.

37: Black Friday

SCENE - Lobby of an abandoned building. Three chairs and a broken table emphasize the desolation of the place. An inch of dust covers everything. It is pitch black.
[Evan and Kadrey run into the room holding flashlights. Kadrey stops suddenly]
Kadrey: Wait. Wait! [whispering] why the fuck are we running?
Evan: [Stopping. Catching his breath] I don't... I don't know. That was a real ruckus.
Kadrey: Quite the commotion. Quite the commotion. But I'm not looking to get my throat slit.
Evan: What are we looking for?
Kadrey: Only the correct exit. [he shines his beam on the floor] What's this.
Evan: [augmenting Kadrey's beam with his own] I think it's blood.
[Kadrey is still. Evan moves his beam along the crimson trail. It goes into the next room.]
Evan: What do we do?
Kadrey: The correct exit.
Evan: We leave? Now? What if someone needs us?
Kadrey: That question only has the one answer. I only have the one life.
Evan: What's that worth?
Kadrey: What?
Evan: A life.
Kadrey: That's not fair Evan. I see no life here demanding consideration. It's curiosity. You want me to gamble for your curiosity.
Evan: You're no kind of man.
[Evan goes into the next room. Kadrey is left alone and in silence for about two minutes. His beam stays fixed on the spot where they first saw the blood]
Kadrey: Evan, damn you, make a sound.
Evan: [Coming out of the room, looking queasy] There's most of a man in there...
Kadrey: My God.
Evan: Alone. Whoever, whatever did this... He doesn't have much of a face left...
Kadrey: What can we do?
Evan: I don't know. I don't see a whole lot of options.
Kadrey: Can we take him somewhere? Or do we have to...
Evan: Damn it Kadrey! He's not some fucking horse.
[There is a long silence]
Evan: You get our shit packed up, I'm going to drive down to that truck stop and make a call.
Kadrey: Are we going to wait with him?
Evan: I've got no answers for cops.
Kadrey: For a little bit then.
Evan: You do what you want. I'm not going back in there.
[Evan leaves. Kadrey raises his beam to the entrance of the next room. As we hear Evan's car start up Kadrey starts walking towards the entrance. He turns his flashlight off and goes in.]
Kadrey: Hello?


38: West of Hollywood

Evan is sitting on the trunk of the civic blinking at the sun. He's hungry, but he's not yet ready to do anything about that.

Kadrey is twenty feet away, crouched down to create a shield against the wind. He sees the sparks and smells the gas but the fire won't come.

The cold is past the skin now and burrowing into muscle but Evan refuses to get off the trunk. He sits up and holds himself.

Kadrey, unlit cigarette between his lips, is standing defeated. He says something but the wind allows no bridge.

Evan sees Kadrey, twenty feet away, saying something. Or maybe just moving his lips. He wonders how close they need to be to beat the wind.


39: Street Spirit

Words rush up and bottleneck right behind my voice-box
Collisions and fusions confuse meaning
My body refuses me
Pressure builds
And right there
Like a joke
I growl and cough and shout
An impostor
Obscene and vicious
Propelled by my own two lungs
Is poured into the world
It's not today and it's not happening
It's not today and I shut it in
It's not happening not today because I shut it in
It's staying in today
I won't let it happen today
Today I shut it in
I shut it in
I shut it in
I close it down
So it won't happen
Not today


40: Gravity Always Wins

Perhaps this would have been a good place to begin.

This might have worked just as well.

And this. It would have been appropriate.

Perhaps first steps are best taken with eyes closed, in total darkness, with no anticipation of solid ground.