Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In The City We Tripped On The Urge To Feel Alive

Excerpt from Unpublished Work © 2009. Please as always observe copyrights and all that other junk.

Signed, Counselor.

* * * * *

The cops are taking me into custody for the second time this week.  According to the paperwork that was briefly shot in front of my face, it looks like I'm a viable suspect in a second suspicious death.  Of course I am truly guilty of neither, being only an innocent bystander of the first and only an unfortunate finder of the second.  But this week has been a series of wrong place wrong time circumstances for me, and now it seems to have all culminated in the execution of an undoubtedly faulty arrest warrant.

From the backseat of this squad SUV, I can only perceive the city in segments of blurred lights.  My cuffed hands are beginning to cramp and cause me discomfort.  I move to my left a little to alleviate some of the tension.  We still have awhile to drive before we get to the station and restlessness is beginning to ravage me.  It won't be long before the need to kick something will become overwhelming.

I crack my neck and try to focus on the outside clearly as we slow for a signal light.  I note the extravagant amount of billboards that dot this city and mar its otherwise beautiful facade.  Apparently Los Angeles only likes to advertise in grand fashions.  "Go big or go home" is likely the city motto.  I groan in disgust as my eyes fall on a particularly obnoxious billboard that spans the length of a fifteen story building.  It's lit up by a huge light at the bottom, causing a lot of attention that I would deem unwarranted and excessive.  I've never been convinced of a product's utility based solely on an advertisement and I find anyone who has to be utterly pathetic.

Billboards in this city have gotten out of control.  They are annoying eyesores that spark a fair number of complaints.  The rampant commercialization of our world significantly detracts from any natural beauty we could otherwise indulge.  To me that's a worse offense than petty crime.  But I'm not a lawmaker and I've never claimed such a duty.  Accordingly, most of my rants, while wholly and completely justified in every sense of the word, will ultimately be dangerously ineffectual.  Of course by now I've accepted that reality.

We start to pick up speed again, a result of the signal light changing back to green.  I start to worry about losing the focus my eyes have just barely found.  It's hard to see the world clearly when combining recent drug use and unnecessarily high speeds.  But it was working while we were slowing to a stop.

I feel the painkillers I took earlier starting to loosen their stranglehold over my body and mind.  This realization depresses me to a certain degree because it means my high is in the process of evaporating.  At least I'm slowly regaining the privilege of being able to perform the more complicated cognitive functions I've come to take for granted.  However I think as we gain more speed I will lose some of those important functions once again.  Already, things are beginning to blur.  I look out the window and try to wrangle my eyesight, but it's ultimately to no avail.  Soon I decide that it's easier to just zone out.

* * * * *

As I watch billboard after billboard fly by in colorful streaks, I am somehow reminded of a few weeks ago during spring break when we drove down this very same avenue looking for adventure.  I was not alone but cannot recall the faces that kept my company. We dropped at ten after smoking some pot and were on the road shortly after.  I always like to be outside when tripping because there is much more sensory stimulation outside.  In a big way, I feel that a high is mostly wasted indoors.

I remember the faces on the billboards turning into demons and mocking me with shallow observations. I had tried hard to ignore them but they were persistent.  They wouldn't let up no matter how hard I tried to shut them out.  It was a relentless taunting that vilified my state of mind.  I was convinced of the need to put miles between us, but I ultimately settled for only blocks. 

We pulled off the road on Wilshire and parked the car in a ridiculously expensive lot with a very broad definition of security.  But none of us were concerned about that.  After soaking in the warm waves of the Lo-Fidelity All-Stars for untold minutes, we proceeded on foot to The Standard to consume the plushy view of downtown from its lush poolside roof.

We stole waterbeds from other patrons and spilled martinis that were set down carefully on tables.  There was daredevil picture-taking near the ledges and a lot of smoking.  One of the guys with us pushed a lady in a blue evening dress into the deep end of the pool, causing a loud splash and a ruckus that finally forced the hotel staff to get involved.

We were eventually kicked out of the establishment for disturbing the peace so we went in search of other entertainment because we hadn’t peaked yet.  We walked the largely empty streets, pushing over trashcans and laughing at the cabbies hovering around The Library and waiting for drunk yuppies to stagger out.  Businessmen and women avoided us as they fled from their offices after a long hard day of work.  We were constantly looking out for interesting things to inspect.

Outside the Disney Concert Hall, I dropped another tab and marveled at the structure of the silver masterpiece.  I commented that the designer drew up the plans in the midst of a hallucinogenic spell but my companions ignored me in favor of gawking at the building.  I remember sliding my palms over the walls in back and forth motions until my hands felt numb.  It was the strangest sensation.

When the show finally let out, we stood by the exit and mocked the patrons as they walked past us to retrieve their valeted cars.  The concert-goers were not pleased with our existence there and a few of them complained to management.  But we refused to heed the warning to disperse made by security; we knew they couldn't touch us in any threatening way.

It was all good-natured fun until I became convinced that one of the patrons was actually a cop, writing down notes about us on her clipboard.  I tried to take it away from her so I could read what she wrote but I was ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavor.  Finally, we gave up and left the area.  I found out later from the non-flyer that the woman was really just an employee of the concert hall conducting a voluntary survey.  She was not a cop as I had suspected.  I remember thinking that night for sure I had gone over the edge, took my experimentation way too far. Yet here I am.

* * * * *

That night remains a fond memory for me even though I cannot recall many of the details that made it great.  What I do remember and have just recounted is enough for me to hold it in high regard.  Of course that won't be the case with the memory of tonight.  I'm afraid the cops won't be able to understand my urge to feel alive.  They'll see me as an irrational addict with more than enough of a propensity to have committed the crimes charged.  Then it will be case closed.  The same old story.

They can't understand the urge to feel alive.  If it ever existed inside of them, it is long gone now.  They have settled instead for the life of a drone and the salary of a glorified knight.  I sigh and close my eyes tight.  I'm not going to make it out of this situation unscathed.