November 24, 2005


By ScubaSteve © 2005

"When you believe in things that you don't understand..."

My Walkman should have died hours ago. I mean, I’ve been walking on these tracks all day, listening to Stevie’s Moog over and over again, you’d think the wheels would stop turning soon. I stole these batteries yesterday from that old man's store in Saugerties. It took me ten whole minutes to wait for him to drop his cigarette and finally look away from me. How can I swipe things if he’s watching every move I make? I bought a fifty cent can of Coke and walked out the door with five dollars worth of double-A’s in my pocket.

I think it was Saugerties. Who the hell knows? I’ve been walking for about two weeks now with no destination. If it wasn’t Saugerties, then they really seem to be into Woodstock. They were selling those two-birds-on-a-guitar-neck tie-dye t-shirts everywhere. They even had them hanging up at the post office. When I slipped that postcard into the big blue mailbox outside their front door, I saw one swinging stupidly in the breeze, like some Jersey shore tourist-type crap that no local would be caught dead actually wearing.

I probably should have packed more than a couple t-shirts and a carton of smokes. Even though the corners of the carton dug into my back as I walked, the cigarettes were pretty important. After getting bleary-eyed on Buddha, nothing is better than a Marlboro and a Mountain Dew. Man, what I wouldn’t do for a Mountain Dew right now. It’s probably 100 degrees with nothing but sizzling hot iron lying in front of me, further than I can see. All I can see is the heat rising off the ties and millions of rocks doing the best they can to make me twist my ankle.

So long as I don’t stand still, I’ll be okay. I can’t stop moving. There’s no point in sitting on the side of this path to give the devil a chance to ask me where I’m going. Right now, my biggest enemy is reason. One hesitation is all he needs to completely destroy my compass. Just keep walking. I’ll know where I’m going once I get there.

My Electronics manager can figure out some other way to move the Sparkomatic car stereos. As far as I am concerned, in Lancaster, there’s nothing going on but the rent. I am not about to root down in that town. Going back there would be like admitting defeat, and I won’t give anyone the satisfaction. I don’t need walls. Though, they would be nice right about now. I think I just felt another drop.

I haven’t seen a house in about three hours and it’s teasing rain. I’m not so stupid to think that the indestructible me is immune to catching a cold. That’s all I need. A nagging cough is a real drag when you’re born with lungs like mine. I was under the jaundice lamps for about a month after I entered this world. Besides which, I smoke like I’m on death row.

Thankfully, I can just barely make out a switch house about a mile or so down the tracks. As I learned when I was a kid, they never seemed to lock those rust-caked doors. So, it looks as though I’ll be resting for a bit in a mold farm.

Lucky for me, I have some shelter, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, half a bottle of stale water, and enough green to make the time pass by nicely.

Just as the rain began to pick up enough where I could feel it behind my belt, I reached the door to the bunker. Locked, but not in any serious way. A few quick shots with a nearby rail spike is the key I was looking for.

The rain was hitting the tin roof like a can of nails, loud and angry. Upon entering, it only took a few moments before I noticed the smell of not showering for way longer than is probably healthy. It’s probably pretty severe when the smell from your body is outdoing the microbial stink that nature likes to put in confined places. I don’t think you could have beat that odor off with a stick; sort of a mix of salt water and pepperoni.

Inside was a small table littered with paperwork. Upon closer inspection, I noticed these papers didn’t date any later than 1974. It’s been awhile since this place has had a visitor. It didn’t seem to have any official business since before I was born. Cool. That means no interruptions.

On the floor was a small wooden crate branded with some crude-looking bird. It looked like the kind of wood burning project a fourth grade Cub Scout carried home from the pack meeting; a real treasure worth burying.

Who would care if I looked? Employing the spike once again, I pried the lid open. Keys. There was probably about a thousand unique keys in that box. Exactly the sort of package Goodwill loves to find lying next to their big red dumpsters. Oh boy, a box of pre-cut keys… Gee, thanks.

I don’t think I realized how tired the walking had made me. I sat down on the floor with my back against the wall, hit my dugout twice and passed out behind a stack of broken chairs. While I slept, I dreamt about my mom’s finger. It was the last thing I saw before I left. She was shaking it in my face and telling me what a disappointment I had been, how I would have to start paying rent, and that my only hope was joining the military. I just needed some direction in my… WHAM!

The door flung open, nearly falling off its hinges, slamming against the brick with an unapologetic clang. It was pitch black outside, save the dark form standing in the doorway, heaving.

ScubaSteve is a DJ from the outter suburbs of Philly. He spends equal time annoying and pleasing his listening audience but always entertains.

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