Saturday, January 28, 2012

Out of Nowhere

Out of Nowhere

The crack in the windshield added to the shock of the impact, and with an airbag threatening to smother him, Brett was still able to catch a fleeting glance of the shadow of the man running away as it followed him around the corner. Did he hear laughing? Who falls out of nowhere? And lands on.. of all places in the world.. Brett's car? How? Why? A million questions running through his mind, as well the overwhelming impulse to give chase to the perpetrator, but his pacifist nature won over, or it could have been the futility of the action. The only thought that seemed to matter to Brett was not how this strange man destroyed his car, but how he ran away. Laughing. This just doesn't happen. Even so, he was still standing in the middle of an empty intersection with a steaming, broken down bowl of a car. Alone. No witnesses.
"Just great." spoken out loud to the empty street didn't help. Taking a deep breath, Brett reached back into the broken vehicle's center console, hoping his phone hadn't broke. It hadn't, and he had the 9 dialed when lights turned onto the street. Being only two blocks away, it was easy to distinguish the trademark addition to the car's hood signifying law enforcement. There goes the old adage of 'never a cop around when you need one' Brett thought to himself as he approached the police car with his arms up and palms out, in the slight hope that he would win the empathy of the approaching officer (or at least not be so intimidated). Good thing he hadn't drank anything tonight, not that he really drank much anymore. Still, Brett was especially grateful for his sobriety as the signature red and blue lights began to flash, blinding enough without the spotlight that was now trained on him. Making a mental note to locate and eradicate the source of his DNA code that was the instinct to submit to bright lights. Brett was as still as any soon-to-be roadkill as he watched the agonizingly slow process of the driver exiting the parked police car. He could've turned the spotlight off.

Brett managed a theater, and did well if you asked the other employees, in his view, this gave him experience in reading people. His honest face and unassuming nature usually allowed people to warm to him easily, but it was hard to turn on the charm and explain the events of the night to the cop who might've been a stand in for any crime solving sitcom Brett had seen, mustache and all. How was he going to explain that he was the victim of an unknown assailant who either caught a strong wind or might've beamed off a ship with faulty coordinates. Whatever he said, there was no getting around the awkwardness of the situation, so Brett dove right in, hoping honesty would win the law to his side.
"Officer, you being here only makes this night stranger, but you gotta-"
"Hold on.." His tone was firm, but polite. A tone use to giving commands more than taking them.
"Are you alright? Do you require an ambulance?" His tone reminded Brett of the time his coach asked the same question after he'd taken a ground ball to the face. It still stung every time Brett thought about it, making him wonder briefly what emotion the recall of this nights drama would induce in the future. Brett winced, "Yeah, I'm fine. The guy that smashed-" unnecessarily he gestured, "my car ran that way." Pointing and waiting for the reply, Brett was surprised he'd left out the laughing. Even more so when he decided to maintain his secret. He'll think I've lost it for sure if I say the stranger was laughing like a maniac, but he's never going to believe me anyway Brett's thoughts were as loud as the officers footsteps as he made his way around the scene, investigating with the finesse of a finely tuned actor, buried into his character. His tone betrayed his doubt when the officer finally broke the awkward silence with the usual question form.
"Have you had anything to drink tonight?"
"No Sir, not a drop."
"No Weed?"
"No Sir, sober as a sponsor," Tonight at least.
Taking a breath, the officer seemed decided to bite, "Can you tell me what happened?"
And Brett did, as articulate as the nonsensical situation allowed. Still, when he was finished and settled into silence, the mustache never twitched. He was a stone. Instinctively, Brett wanted to start his story over, but a slight tilt in the cops head pre-empted the move as efficiently as any Kung Fu master disarmed his opponent. He felt helpless, and unable to explain why. Maybe it was the spotlight.. Fortunately, Brett's morbid thoughts were interrupted when the cop spoke.
"Do you have the number for a tow truck?"
"The City can tow it, but I doubt you'll want to pay the cost recover it AND fix it" There was something strange in the cop's tone, but Brett's relief at the tone of freedom implied was enough to not question what it meant, instead he listened as the cop continued, unaware of the change "I'll need you to stay until I finish my report and I can get your signature, but after that, you're free to go." Just like that the officer decided it was something too weird to get involved with. Cognitive dissidence was a term Brett had read about, but never truly seen till now. Oddly, it made him feel better. Settling into his drivers seat as the cop retreated to his car to fill in the paperwork, Brett contemplated his fate as he waited in the still empty intersection. If he hadn't been driving this route for so long Brett would have found the vacancy eery, but tonight he was grateful there would be no witnesses to mock him later. With a groan of understanding, the reality of the situation began to truly settle in. He was screwed. Maybe his mom would let him borrow the car, and he had some money in his savings, but he'd been saving it for a reason, and it definitely wasn't this. What good does liability do when someone falls out of the sky and lands on your car, then runs away? There goes his new camera, that was for sure, and his insurance was going to go up too. The situation was strange enough Brett was too afraid to ask 'why me?' though his thoughts yelled it loud enough to compensate. He was gripping the wheel with white knuckles when the office finally approached. Standing several feet away from the car, it seemed a subtle non-verbal for 'exit the vehicle' Brett assumed, and obliged. The cop's formality implied the hesitance he must be feeling, but like a good poker player, he hid it well as he spoke.
"I have the incident filed as a Hit and Run with the evading party assuming guilt by departure from the scene. Unfortunately," His pause with the word made Brett's heart skip a beat. "Unfortunately with no witnesses it will have to be a civil suit to be recompensed for any damages." Handing Brett a large metal clipboard that held his paperwork, the officer looked around once, and leaning closer to Brett said in a much milder tone. "If it was me, I'd just sign it and convince yourself it was just a lunatic hopped up on amphetamines."
"I wish I could sir."
"Do you need an escort home?"
"No sir, I think I've had enough of vehicles for one night, and I'm only twelve blocks away." The cop nodded as if expecting the reply, and after receiving the now signed paperwork and separating it with professional efficiency, handed Brett his copy and walked back towards his car, where lights approaching soon formed into a tow truck approaching. Driven by a man that had to be aware and using the stereotype of his profession to his advantage, from the potbelly and stained denim suspenders, to the greasy hat that barely covered his equally greasy hair. The tow truck driver wasted no time with words, but went to work as only a master of his craft could. After only a few minutes of working chains this way and that, it seemed sudden when Brett's car was in the air and on the back of the truck. He felt like he was attending a friend's funeral as he watched the procession take the corpse away, and stayed in that spot long after both the metaphorical pallbearers and his new pal (Officer Lopez is what the signature said) turned their own way. Still, not a single car drove by.

Fortunately, Brett was a lazy student, and therefore lucky enough to habitually leave his bag in his car. "saves time," was his rationalization, but now he was grateful for his ability to carry his belongings with him. Being mostly games, movies, and music (he'd left his film gear at home), it wasn't heavy, until about the fourth block. His shoulders burned as his grim thoughts assualted him one after another. Even Shakespeare would have a hard time articulating the confusion Brett was feeling effectively. Then again, the term 'star crossed' seemed to ring in a new tone when he thought about it. He'd have to read more Shakespeare. By the eighth block he had a solid stride and a mind made up on the brand of alcohol that would soon be sending this night into oblivion. Fortunately, his favorite cornerstore only two blocks farther just happen to sell it. Katie sold it, hopefully. Tonight was just the kind of night to break this three year long crush he'd been unable to verbalize. Damn DNA always rebelled whenever he tried, and by some force as yet unseen, kept his tongue still despite all his best efforts. Even the sparkle Spartacus achieved dulled to Brett's infatuation (which is what Spartacus suffered from, HE just didn't know it) with Katie. Yes tonight was the night, the plan was full proof and had all the drama of any feet-sweeping drama. Confidence itself barged through the entrance to the cornerstore, and was immediately shot down, unless he wanted to cuddle with a big Hawaiin named Maka. He was drinking alone tonight. Maka, of course, somehow knew everything and blew Brett a kiss when confronted with Brett's disappointed face.
"Be'r luck nex dime Bra.." Maka winked.
Brett had learned to take Maka in stride and had his response ready, "I'm tellin ya, she's gonna marry me.."
"Nah bra, I put da flower in da ear, bra.."
"She just too scared say no bra," Brett had a decent Maka impression, though Maka didn't think so. Dodging the Hawaiins mock lunge, Brett made his way to the alcohol, and was almost to the aisle when he began to hear a ringing sound, one he couldn't locate the source if his life depended on it. It was getting louder too, but the source was everywhere at once. A strange whistling sound, like a ring of trees in a strong wind, but bottled up and directed straight to his brain from everywhere, and it was still increasing.
"Hey Maka, something broken?"
"Dunno bra.."
"What's that sound?"
"Dunno bra.."
How could this night get any stranger? Brett thought to himself, then suddenly regretting the thought form in the first place, should the night decide to take it as a challenge. The sound was loud enough now he'd have to yell for Maka to hear him.
"Maka, what's going on?"
"Dunno bra.."
Then the light appeared. A glowing grain of sand hovering six feet away at eye level to Brett. Noticing the alcohol closest to the tiny orb, he was only shocked enough for a small grunt when he noticed it was, in fact, the brand he sought. Only tonight would this make any sense, Brett thought, unable to concentrate with such a dis-orienting sight in front of him added to the whistling sound infiltrating his brain. The sound seemed to abate slightly with the arrival of the light, but the shift in tune made as the orb began to elongate into a hair thin line was truly a new sound to Brett's ear drums. This tone seemed to alter space in a way he'd never have thought possible, though now listening to it, it made an instinctual sense that Brett could only attribute to some other nameless contributor to his unique double helix. It was more than an orchestra could achieve, no matter the size, and it seemed to emanate as much as vibrate, making Brett begin a serious round of internal inqueries on his level of sanity. His sore shoulders denied him the luxury of believing it was a dream, though watching the light move back and forth in a rhythym as it grew bigger, was more dreamlike than many dreams he'd experienced. Most dreams actually. The sound was taking on a wave-like quality with an ebb and flow as eternal sounding as waves on a beach. The shock had worn off slightly, whether it was the trance inducing movements the rapidly growing line of light made, or maybe he'd finally tripped a circuit breaker in his brain thanks to the surreal circumstances that were playing out tonight.

The complexity of the motion was growing as fast as the line itself was, from serpentine to stretching, it's movement grew more exaggerated as its shape lengthened. Growing seemed more it's concern than harm, giving Brett the confidence to allow his brain to say one thing, and make his body do the other.
"Run!" his brain screamed.
"No." his body replied.
Cliff diving, rock climbing, running a packed theater on a Friday night, always educational, never easy. So too was this night and it had something to do with that shadow. The shadow that laughed. Attempting non-chalance, Brett continued his journey, toward the alcohol, not the light, only inches away. With each step, he enjoyed the tones he 'experienced' more than heard, it seemed that he was stepping through the sound though, rather than hearing it. The Light had continued to grow as Brett approached, and though it couldn't be conscious, it did seem to shift slightly in harmony with Brett's movements. Stretching now from eye level two less than two feet from the ground and growing, he had to reach around the light to retrieve his prize. In his business, he had to know a good plot when he saw one (so he could give it the biggest theater), and this plot was one of the greats. In honor of the many that had tried and failed, Brett bore all the ceremony any great movie could create as he reached out and retrieved the treasure of liquid courage. The bottle itself was more lit by the line of light than the overhead flourescents, and the sound that was pulsating in his mind had the angelic overture tone that made this moment his Excalibur. Retrieved, Brett stood in place and watched as the line of light reached the floor and straightened. Brett looked back to see if Maka was watching this strange scene. He was. The line had stretched higher until it was over seven feet tall when suddenly, out of the center, millions of lights shot outward in every direction that was two dimensions from its starting point. It was soon clear it was forming into a circle, a perfect circle that glowed on the outside in a bright white and the inside a deep black. It looked like an eclipse, only a foot and a half in front of him. The sound had changed to a tone that was like a large drum, but constant, making Brett feel as if he was humming unintentionally. It wasn't unpleasant, Only new.

Taking one last look at Maka, Who nodded in his infinite wisdom and flashed him the sacred Shaka (Maka had explained it to him one night while he was not waiting for Katie), and gave him a smile only a Hawaii'n could acheive.
"Be careful bra, no knowing what meet ya on da other side.."
"I know Maka, take care of Katie."
"Like Ohana bra, no worries."
Taking an awkward shuffle forward, Brett took one final look at everything he knew. Suddenly his backpack full of entertainment seemed an unwelcome burden and he shrugged it off without regret. Maka played most of them, he could have them. He probably knew all that already, and had the exact change in his pocket to cover the bottle Brett opened. At least he looked unsurprised when Brett held the bottle up and tried to project over the vibration the eclipse was emanating.
"To things appearing out of nowhere!" Needing the courage, Brett took several swallows before recapping the bottle. The shiver was intense, but then came the courage. He jumped.

Into nowhere. No air, but no need to breathe and maintain what didn't exist. Relaxed knowing became his experience and the concept of 'death' as well his evil sire 'fear' dissolved into a state that could only be described as bliss. The word meant nothing to his former shell, but in this world, it was everything. Knowing from this perspective made it all so simple, mortality truly was a blink of the souls existence, and every soul learned to cry, whether for love lost or love gained, a soul sheds tears that spanned eons. Brett was now one of many names, each of which held a lifetime of experiences and memories that somehow only complimented the knowingness was. Words could describe no more than shadows were men, images racing by as a slideshow timed to his every thought. Watching thousands of years pass by in a billion different perspectives, both individually and collectively simultaneous to each other. Each lifetime was beautiful and radiated individuality. Mortality. So precious to re-learn, but terrible the cost. Worth it. A billion lifetimes could not quench the souls thirst for knowledge, and the flame of curiosity would never extinguish as long as life itself lived, and life was eternal and everywhere. The knowingness that was Brett heard voices carried through the space that was the universe, over and over the same words spoken, never in the same way.
"Who am I?"
"What am I capable of?"
"How deep is my Love?"
Every voice asked differently, but the same passion carried it home and every answer added to the whole. So many lives lived, and all in search of truth, never knowing their own significance. Even his current shell had wisdom to share and found truths that were still hidden to many. Time did not exist here, the knowingness conveyed that with a subtle impression of living a lifetime like one in life would go to a movie. They're not really scared when the monster jumps out at them, they just want to pretend, to be somebody else for a few moments and learn from their mistakes. Even knowing the movie ends doesn't keep people from seeing them, you just enjoy it for what it is.
Life was the souls path to Gnosis, or self knowledge, and Gnosis connects all shells to each other. What one learns, so learn the whole. Billions of perspectives and lifetimes lived and Brett felt more a child than ever. The Knowing would not stay, it was the way of things, and Brett knew what was next.
"Who am I? I am Brett."
"What am I capable of? Completing the cycle."
"How deep is my Love?-"
The answer to that was felt at the core of every point in time and space, and as his shell began to coalesce with the deliberate intent wielded naturally and with the grace of Knowing still a part of his form.

His shell was heavy and luckily still in its formation stage when he fell into the windshield. Brett felt like a new man, literally. Having no idea where he was he was only semi aware of rolling off the car he'd fallen on and it was instinct that pushed his legs into running away from the poor soul's vehicle he'd just annihilated. Laughing at something that he knew he understood at some point, but like a dream was quickly fading. As he turned a corner out of sight of the car, his pace never slowed, and
as he ran he wondered what the other guy was thinking about.

Brett laughed.