ON HE RODE — Chapter Seventeen

Hanging out bareheaded, baldheaded in this sultry summer sun, gentle

sea breezes tickling my ears, I think maybe there really is something

to this fresh start idea and that just maybe those old worn-out and

dying follicles will be inspired by this fresh open-ness to nouveau

riche lushness, excuse my French. And isn’t that what I’ve hoped from

the beginning, that a retreat to faux babyhood might be the perfect

stimulus to the start-all-over-again genetic infrastructure that

resides in all of us, just waiting to be called forth to strut our

best stuff all over again? Isn’t that what we all secretly believe

most of our lives? Until we don’t?

I’m parked away from the docks in a kind of mixed neighborhood,

residential and small business. The sun is setting leisurely to my

left, and my elongated shadow casts its darkness eastward. Suddenly,

from out of nowhere, I’m sharing the sidewalk with young,

fresh-looking women gliding in monklike silence toward me, singly and

in pairs. It’s like they’re wearing variations of the uniform of some

religious order, each one different from but related to their sisters’

lightly flowing robes.

They do not make eye contact as they pass toward what seems a most

uncertain destination, the uncertainty heightened by the fact that

each one of them has exposed her breasts in her own coyly artistic

manner, like a hair style or hint of fragrance. A teenager’s wet

dream: They’re there. And they are so beautiful.

Incredible as it seems, it really is happening, really did happen, and

I’m leaning here limp-dicked against my car. Wondering, you know.

Slack-jawed, no doubt, like any credible bumpkin. Finally I decide

it’s none of my fucking business, drop into my overheated Chevrolet,

roll down the windows, and head south. By the time I get back on the

highway, the sun’s gone down and the horizon shows only a dim line

dividing ocean from sky.

Why didn’t I figure it out sooner? I should have followed them. My

country-boy guesses had taken me to sex cults, ruined mansions, murky

rooms. Well guess what, numb nuts. Those lasciviously exposed young

ladies are anything but cultists, nor are they employed by seedy

houses of ill repute. No, my experience-deprived friend, you once

again removed yourself from the very action you presume to seek. Those

lovelies are employees of the NO-NAME, no doubt. Bartenders,

hostesses, private purveyors of cannabis, and, perhaps, should

circumstances coalesce appropriately, of affection. Your country-boy

failure to pro-ceed in time to suc-ceed strikes again.

But wait. If nothing succeeds like success, maybe we should take a

look at success. The old “Success is counted sweetest by those who

ne’er succeed” could be at play here. What is success? Does failure at

one thing open paths to success in others? Was Emily Dickenson a

success? Did her contemporaries think so? Will I succeed at finding a

place to sleep the night?



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