Monday, August 15, 2005

my weekend with william

It was then, on that weekend when the sun bore down on the house of Camino and its mere triangle of a yard so as to drive a cautious and logical man to the inside of doors and AMC had exhausted its pool of John Wayne films and there were no other activities to be found that befitted a man seeking shelter from the elements, that our Rex happened upon his shelf of books bearing the name of Faulkner and still smelling of the must and tobacco smoke from the old library from which he failed to return them so many years ago, as was his custom to do in his regrettable and unsavory youth. But the question which now plagued him, the very same question which was to plague him this entire weekend and into the proceeding week in which many, otherwise similar men would emerge from their houses and continue about their livelihoods while Rex sat contemplating his shelf of books, was which of the works to choose for re-visiting.

It was a seemingly manageable dilemma, and our Rex took no time at all in whittling the decision down to a mere couple of books and thus distilled a majority of the uncertainty from his plight. He had taken it from a raging summer thunderstorm to a mere breeze that bore no malice nor hint of a thunderclap, and he entered the endgame with confidence and zeal, alternately holding in his sunburned hands his copy of Light in August and then Absalom, Absalom!, complete with its mark of exclamation, as if to fool the reader into believing that it could indeed be the rare example of an Islamic musical comedy, which it is not.

He could do no wrong by choosing either book, and it reminded Rex somewhat of the time he viewed an advertisement for the grand opening of a local car wash that boasted an appearance by Corey Haim for the sole purpose of signing autographs and socializing with the common fan of Corey Haim films. Yet when he attended said event he was surprised to find that Mr. Haim had sent Corey Feldman in his stead. It was no bother to Rex, as all of the Corey Haim paraphernalia that he had brought from his house to the carwash could reasonably bear the name of Mr. Feldman, save for his Betamax copy of Lucas, as Mr. Feldman bore a significant portion the acting load in many of Mr. Haim’s most revered films but the latter.

Mr. Feldman regaled the assembled dozen fans and handful of homeless individuals who had happened upon the carwash with the same brazen tales of Hollywood that one could expect from Mr. Haim, and at the end of the day he troubled Rex for a ride back to the interstate so that he could thumb his way to either Gatlinburg or Branson, both equally suited for either Corey and each being the only feasible destinations for a man who has exhausted his fame and then the subsequent irony that their fame had decomposed into. Mr. Haim would have undoubtedly petitioned Rex with the same request, and Rex thought it no bother, as he could tease either man with the same sarcastic remarks about no longer having the “license to drive”, and it is very much possible that either Corey was equally likely to strike Rex in the back of the head with that tire iron and harvest one of his kidneys to exchange on the blackmarket for monetary goods to be exchanged in turn for narcotics or for the pleasing touch of an unclean woman.

But that was in the past, and no more could be done to alter it than to alter the events that now lay before him or the events that lay further still beyond those events, much as the original Camino male stalking buffalo on the open plains and distilling gin back in the cave, the walls of which were then covered by his many lewd cave paintings, could have no bearing on the actions taken by Rex or the park ranger who eventually caught up with the original Camino and imprisoned him for stalking the buffalo and spray painting those dirty pictures on the cave walls in that state park.

Much time had elapsed, and the mind of the Camino before us, our Rex, had drifted to these many things and much more that he cannot express, and it was only the nauseating gas of his hound Carl Weathers that returned him to the brief moment in space and time that his physical self now occupied along with gaseous remnants of whatever forbidden fruits Carl Weathers had reaped in the yard.

“I cannot think under these circumstances”, he told the hound, who, as if in defiant response emitted more nauseous gas and then sat panting in the heat and giving the appearance of a hound in laughter. Rex wondered to himself whether Carl Weathers laughed immaturely and with the innocence of a domesticated beast at his own actions or at the silliness of the dilemma that now occupied his unofficial master.

“I am going out for some lunch”, Rex told Carl Weathers in a manner that was perhaps too forceful, as if to convince himself as much as the beast that this action was not a retreat, and that it was merely a mission for refueling or to gather reinforcements for the mind tricks that the two books, liberated so long ago from that small town library, seemed to be defending themselves with, as if the act of reading itself drained the essence from them little by little with each visitation until all that is left is nothing more than dead ink formed into dead letters on paper hewn from slain trees.

Rex set all of this aside in his mind as he navigated the crowded weekend roads between Casa Camino and the nearest establishment for fast food, and he did not think of it again when waiting patiently in the line of women, men, and their illegitimate spawn for his turn at the counter. He instead shuffled along with the forbearing of a blank slate, giving no mind to the shrill sirens of unanswered cellular telephones or the primal and thunderous bass notes emitting from modified Fords that crossed adjacent parking lots in the nearby out of doors with the same erratic patterns and lack of common courtesy one expects to find in a herd of feral bull moose that have happened upon a valley of fermented berries.

When his opportunity at the counter finally availed itself, the lazy voice of the cashier, pushing each syllable with only the slightest amount of air over near-dormant vocal chords as if she had rightly realized some time ago that she was paid by an allotment on the clock and not by effort, proved itself less effective in garnering the attention of our Rex than the releasing of by products from the bowels of a mischievous hound.

“Hey! Wha chu want?” the cashier then demanded with a slap of her hand against the counter, its nails coated in thick, heavy fuchsia, each being so long as to serve as a detriment to one whose position in life is too scoop coins from inside a small plastic tray and give them out as change. She pulled that same hand from the counter and quickly surveyed it with a furrowed brow as if to recheck her lifeline and make sure that this career choice was indeed her fate, though her facial reaction gave Rex the impression that she may have accidentally dispatched with a cockroach in her exaggerated action. It was neither.

“You better notta made me break a nail,” she told Rex.

“It was certainly not my intention, ma’am,” Rex said with the half smile and pleasant expression of one who intends to remain chivalrous despite the most uncivil of customer service interactions.

“Would you happen to be still serving your breakfast burrito, miss?” he inquired.

“You talk like you from England or somethin’.” She responded. “And, no, we ain’t got no breakfast burritos.”

“Well, that changes matters considerably, I’m afraid”, he told her.

“Well, they best change real quick, cause you holdin’ up the line,” she said. “And you better put that pipe out cause they ain’t no smokin’ in here.”

“Since when?” Rex asked, though he did not wait for response, as none could be satisfactory to his unregenerate and steadfast belief that no government of men could take from the one-sixteenth of him that was of Creek Indian ancestry the right to burn the red man’s tobacco freely in the white man’s establishment. That full quarter of a quarter of native blood in his veins that ran red as the dry soil of Alabama would turn black as night and cold as the emptiness of the reaches of space were he to vanquish his pipe smoke and thus turn his back on that one Camino in sixteen who he would undoubtedly see from then on in the face of every Indian mascot, with the notable exception of those Indian represented teams who made it NCAA post-season play and thus allowed a brief respite from the shallow cowardice of his action and a few short hours away from the uncomprehending and shame-filled eyes of that fraction of his ancestry, were he to simply capitulate at this moment and present his wrists for a set of shackles in exchange for the right to purchase himself a thickburger.

“Ma’am, I will not extinguish my pipe smoke,” he finally told her. “And you can choose to serve me or not, but I will not submit to further tyranny in the…”

“Hey, Big Alex!” the cashier interrupted with a yell over her shoulder and into the kitchen. “Get off them fries for a minute and take care of this crazy bastard we got up here.” She then turned her attention back to Rex for a brief moment.

“Did you draw that moustache on your face?” she inquired, leaning in so that Rex could smell her layers of discounted perfume.

“That is beside the point, ma’am”, Rex responded, emphasizing the last of these syllables with the stem of his pipe that he now pointed directly at the cashier.

It was then that Big Alex wrapped his muscular arms around Rex from behind and lifted him a full foot off the ground and then cocked his head around to view Rex’s profile and say to no one in particular, “This fool done drawed a moustache on hisself with a magic marker, looks like,” as if he had been paying no attention whatsoever to the conversation before forcefully removing one of its chief participants.

Rex was somewhat relieved, much to his surprise, as he had been hoping that Big Alex had received his nickname ironically, and that he would present himself a slight man and a small and easily defeated foe. Yet as this mammoth drenched in fry grease lumbered with its quarry toward the nearest exit and deposited him forcefully onto the sizzling pavement it occurred to our Rex that the statement was more important than the fight, and that, in the end, the losing of the fight, or odds that allowed him to graciously capitulate the actual fight itself, were all he really needed.
So he merely swore a pox on the house of Hardee and then retraced the crowded miles between himself and the warm, safe bosom of Casa Camino, still hungry in the sense that his human flesh craved nourishment beyond the pot of black coffee and bowl of generic granola cereal that had supplanted his mortal needs shortly after awaking, but no longer hungry in the sense of how to disburse with the remaining hours of the afternoon. For it was in that near concussion rendered unto him by Big Alex that Rex was finally able to appreciate that what was important was neither the choice nor the act of choosing itself, but of the blogging about the inability to choose.


Blogger melusina said...

Wow. Great post!

Although I prefer The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Absolutely outstanding!

I grinned like a bastard through every word. Many gems in this one.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Gracias, Mel and Ryan.

I think I will go with The Sound and the Fury, Mel. I have been putting that one off for a while but think that maybe it's time.

4:15 PM  
Blogger melusina said...

You won't regret it. It's a great read.

10:17 AM  

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