I’m sick as all fuck. Liver blown to hell from inhaling stuff that looks like water but isn’t, knees all busted from being on them so damn much, back wrecked from the weight of the world, all that and more. I’m old. I’m not even sure of the exact age, but it’s been several decades since the flood, the tribulation, the day, the time when everything changed forever and it’s a really big deal and we’re all the witnesses to it. Truth is, nothing really changed that day, but that’s the voice of experience and ruined internal organs speaking. Back then, I thought it was important, too.
The death of civilization, that is.
I went for a lot of walks after everything went into the cocked hat of destiny or whatever they’ll call it. Earth abides, green everywhere, really kind of nice. Shame that time in The Garden couldn’t last forever. When the skeletal-muscular system says enough, you have to listen. Force of will might make history, but it never won a long campaign with bad joints. When you’re fucked, you’re fucked.
I’ll be taking another walk soon, but it will probably be the last one. For awhile, I mean. Didn’t mean to get all dramatic and maudlin there. I’ve got many more years of chronic pain and memories of dead friends to look forward too, probably. Yeah, I guess my memories and everything else that makes up the big “I am” could go into the dark nothing that we all flee in vain from before I even make that last walk for awhile. I doubt it, though. The universe has a sense of humor, I think, even if it runs pretty dark. It wouldn’t let me cheat it out of one last punch line.
Some would call it karma. Fuck ‘em.
I’m taking another drink. Real bitter stuff, right from a still. Lucky to see straight after years of one hundred proof window cleaner and endless solitary vice. But, again, it wouldn’t be funny if I couldn’t see what’s to come and nature observes the laws of humor as certainly as gravity and the strong force and Noah’s flood making Grand Canyon in about twenty minutes.
The flood. I called that earlier, didn’t I? The end of the age of miracles, the age of glowing screens in every palm, high definition pictures of food and dear diary verbiage splattered all over invisible wires. I was as much a part of it as anyone, maybe more so. On top of that I received the special dispensation of living through the fall from grace and deep into this new era, this age of dirt and fucking and big nothing and life goes on, bro. Setting up that punch line, the perfect delivery and build-up. Called and chosen.
Tomorrow I walk. Maybe make a cane out of a tree branch, or a full walker out of a stump or the like. It’s too important, everything has been building up to this moment. Non-participation in destiny is not possible.
They think it’s still there, underground, just sleeping. We’re going to try to wake it up. I have to be there, I’m the old guard, the wisdom of the ages, the one who has done everything except make a black baby. I’ll know what to do when we find it. I’m like the shaman, the worker of wonders, the man who is so old and so completely wrecked behind the eyes that ordinary physical and mental entropy is mistaken for mystical truth by the young and dumb. If they only knew, but they will, in time.
Wake it up, bring back the old world. There’s no way, no chance, but I still have my part to play for the old cosmic laugh track. Think of it as a penance and maybe it won’t be so bad. I deserve bad, there’s no doubt about that. Who fucking doesn’t? Worst prayer in the world: give me what I deserve.
Old world coming back, that’s the hope of youth. It still lives in parts of my mind, parts that just refuse to die despite my best efforts. Maybe take one more anti-freeze cocktail. No, I still recall it well. Right before the end, feeding into the fortune of information we were blessed with. We were like Gods back then, speaking wonders into existence. Yeah, it was glorious. I could tell you.
Fuck, this drink is harsh.
Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.