Table of Contents
A Wedding Toast For Daddy's
_ By Miriam N. Kotzin
_ By Debbi Pless
_ By Rachel Miller
Hearts Without Armor
Angela P. Markham
Mental Constipation and Brain Vomit
My Best Subject
Requiem For An Author
Sometimes It Pours Only Dogs
The Black Tape
A Slave To Time
Death By My Lover
I Am A Pineapple
Lament For the Lost Soldier
Left Silent To Dream of Wine
Ode To Microsoft Spell Cheque
Reminiscent of Society As An Individual
The Raven and the Dove
David C. Clarke
Angela P. Markham
Two hours out of Vegas, in the middle of a desert. The kind of
town that has no reason for existing. As I come into town, I pass
the local mechanicís place, a pathetic excuse for a garage, with
cars in varying stages of decay surrounding the business. One of
them is a sports car with the front end completely totaled and
most of the glass busted out. I recognize the car and am grateful;
itís the first confirmation I have that Iím on the right
track. Since yesterday, Iíve been thinking Iíve been sent on a
wild goose chase. I donít stop at the garage. Thereís no sign
of human life. The particular human Iím looking for would not
stay at a place like this anyway.
I pass the garage
and proceed into town. I pass the houses first. Trailers mostly, singlewides that look like
theyíve seen their share of natural disasters. No oneís
outside, though a few assorted articles of clothing are strung up
on laundry lines. The whole place seems dead, like
something out of a western right before everyone starts shooting.
I canít help but think people are staring at me through cracks
in their Venetian blinds as I drive past. Itís a creepy feeling.
Iím already uncomfortable, and itís not because of the heat,
which is bordering unbearable. I pass a sheriffís office, which
is frightening, for it means this dust bowl is the center of
whatever county Iím in. Thereís one cop car outside that looks
like it hasnít moved in a while, as well as another dusty truck.
As I near the other
end of town, where more trailers lie on the outskirts, I finally
see who Iím looking for. Iím grateful. I can finally get out
of here and back home, where I should have been in the first
place. Iíve put a lot in jeopardy by coming out here.
I pull up to the
curb and stop the car, shoving the gearshift into Park. For a
moment, I only stare. Iím not sure what I expectedóno, I
expected someone immersed in desperation, borderline suicidal.
Still, as always, Eddie surprises me. Heís sitting on a wooden
bench, the kind thatís all hard wood and right angles. His face
is buried in his hands, the last two fingers of his left hand
covered in gauze and bandages. The fingers are bent at the joints,
though only God knows why. No one bends a joint to set an injury.
The bandage is bloody. It wouldnít have been a big dealóit
wouldnít have been as big of a dealóexcept for the fact that
Eddie is left-handed. His dark hair is in disarray and drenched
with sweat. As always when itís wet, thereís a slight trace of
curl, and thereís dust from the streets in his hair. Hell,
thereís dust all over him, on his black shoes, on his black
pants, on his white business shirt (which is ripped at the
collar), and on his black jacket, which is draped across his lap.
The whole town is nothing but dust and Eddie looks as though
heís been rolling in it. The bandage on his bleeding hand is
filthy, not a good thing, and the blood is fresh. I canít see
his face. I donít have to. He is probably bruised, cut in a
place or two, a tooth might even be knocked out. Eddie is accident
prone, so to speak. He attracts trouble without ever inviting a
Iím usually the
one to bail him out; Whitney is repulsed by him when he goes on
his self-destructive binges. Eddie never tells Dana when he gets
this fucked upósheís got the baby to worry about and thatís
enough to handle. Eddie has a lot of friends. Even the people
whoíve beat the shit out of him would probably admit to liking
him. Heís a popular guy. Still, he knows Iím one of the few
people who really care. Sometimes, times like these, Iím the
only one who cares at all.
Iíve helped Eddie
out before, and Iíll no doubt help him again. Iíve been called
out to some pretty weird places at some pretty weird hours to pick
him up and bring him home. Today is different. For the first time,
Iím wondering what Iím doing. For the first time, Iím
wondering why I always come running. Iíve got my own problems.
Iíve got too many of my own problems to be worrying about Eddie.
But Iím here and I canít turn around. Iíve come too far.
Iím parked right in front of him.
He still hasnít
noticed me and itís been a while. Iím still sitting in the car
watching him and the car is still running. I rented the car at the
airport in Vegas, which is another story (one Iíll no doubt dump
on Eddie as a reminder of how far out of my way Iíve gone yet
again to help him out). Itís a black car, a convertible. The top
is down. The windows are down. The air conditioning is blasting.
Itís a million and a half degrees in the shade. Iím not in the
shade. Iím in the sun. In a black car.
I pick up the car
phone thatís located between the seats. I start to dial
Whitneyís number. I should let him know Iíve found Eddie
alive, if not necessarily well. Eddie isnít well. Heís a mess.
I put down the phone. If I call Whitney, Eddie will hear me
talking. The last thing he needs to hear is me bitching about his
current condition to his judgmental older brother. Eddie trusts me
For the first time,
I wish he didnít.
Iím not sure how
to get his attention. I sit in silence, hoping heíll notice me.
Eddieís emotional highs and lows are legendary. Iím probably
better acquainted with them than anyone. Right now, heís so low
that I donít want to mess with him. Heís probably straight,
too, or getting there. I hate dealing with him when heís
straight. Heís too honest. Eddieís a smart guy, good-looking,
too. But heís been strung out and strung along for too many
are people out there who call him irredeemable. Eddieís not
irredeemable. I donít think he needs to be redeemed at all.
Heís one of the most essentially good human beings I have ever
known. His only problem is that heís been so far gone for so
long that normality, for him, is what societyís morally elite
call "a dangerous, self-destructive lifestyle that will lead
straight to the depths of Hell."
lot of these same people, Whitney included, think Iím assisting
him on his journey. Those are the people who are trying to
"save" him. They blame me for encouraging him with my
unwavering support during his fuck-ups. Iím not trying to
encourage Eddie. Iím not trying to save him, either. Unlike most
peopleóunlike WhitneyóI can see Eddieís point of view, where
heís coming from. More often than not, I like his perspective
better. Eddie doesnít bullshit. Everythingís either black or
white with him. Those shades of gray that everyone else uses to
justify their crap do not exist to him. I justify a lot of crap
with shades of gray.
what people think of Eddie, and what I think of Eddie, and
Eddieís perspective on life donít explain why Iím in
Divinity, Nevada. Why Iím here is irrelevant. The only thing
that is relevant is getting Eddie out of Divinity and finding out
how he wound up in Divinity in the first place. To do that, Iím
going to have to get his attention.