“I saw the whole goddamned thing!” He thought, staring at the ground.
He stared so intently; such vivid concentration on nothing, he wondered if he’d ever look up again. He thought that maybe, before people went catatonic, that they just started staring at something, and got so involved in whatever it was, that they found it was impossible to look at anything else. Even long after the object was
gone. So here he was, standing in the middle of the sidewalk, head down, shoulders slumped, dressed in jeans and T-shirt, staring at the pavement like a stone.
“Look up! Look up you dumbass! Pick up your head and move! Move!”
No chance, he thought. In the distant, as though through a long tunnel, he heard a few screams, commotion, wind. He traced a crack in the sidewalk with his eyes. He watched aimlessly as the crack grew and grew, until it appeared as a giant canyon. And he was falling. Falling into a dark, smelly canyon. He reached out his arms, trying to stop his fall. He glanced over and saw the walls of the canyon. They were greasy and covered with faces. Hundreds of thousands of faces. He blinked, rubbed his eyes. All of the faces were the same. All of them staring at him. Screaming. Some of them only had one eye. There was a red, dark hole where the other eye belonged; and even its emptiness looked as if it were staring.
“Sir. Your name please? Sir, can you hear me?”
Farther and farther he fell into the summoning abyss. Tumbling end over end into the crack in the concrete. The farther he fell the more eyeless faces he saw. Each one more grotesque that the others. More red. Soon everything was red. He looked at his hands and they were red, the morbid faces on the greasy, canyon walls, his clothes, the ground, the sky, all red. The wind even appeared to be red.
“Sir! YOUR NAME PLEASE! I AM ASKING YOU FOR THE LAST TIME!”
With a jerking pulse he stopped falling. But the ground was still far, far below him. He lay, in the sky, suspended, surrounded by the horrid, one-eyed bloody faces. Bloody? The red was blood. It was everywhere. On his hands, his shirt, his jeans, the canyon walls, the faces – each one the same. He could smell it. An acrid meaty smell. Mixed with sulfur. He could taste it too. Salty and rich. He floated in mid air, in the canyon, in the crack on the sidewalk.
“I must be swimming in it. Swimming in all this blood. Those one-eyed faces are flooding everything.”
His stomach turned. Twisted and aching. At the bottom of the canyon he saw a green van. A bumper sticker on the back read “Clinton, Kiss my ass!” It was idling. Two men sat in the van and they looked out the windows up at him. They pointed and laughed. One of the men only had four fingers on one hand. They both pointed and laughed. As they laughed, blood spilled from their mouths. He could see that one of them had really bad teeth. They laughed at the one-eyed faces on the canyon walls too. Screamed and laughed. One of the men shouted, “Hey fag! Eat this!”
“Sir! Do you know where you are? What is your name?”
Soon he was flying again. This time, he was flying back up through the canyon. He flew up so fast that his stomach lurched inside him and he vomited. As he did, he heard singing. It was Paul. His friend. The one-eyed faces were also singing.
“I never ever saw the northern lights,
never really heard of cluster flies,
never ever saw the stars so bright,
in the farmhouse things’ll be alright”
The whole world seemed to sing and the canyon, the greasy, blood-stained, one-eyed faces grew smaller and smaller. More singing.
“Woke this morning to the stinging lash,
every man rise from the ash.
Every betrayal begins with trust.
Every man returns to dust.”
The canyon was gone, a siren flew by, the sidewalk had turned red. The bloody trickles filled in the crack and ran towards the curb. Slowly, he looked up.
“They killed him.” He muttered in a cold monotone. “I saw the whole goddamned thing. They drove right up and shot him in the face. This is his blood all over me. They shot him right in the face. Drove up and plucked him right off the street. My name is Darrin. Darrin Scott.”
And he fell into the officer’s arms.
**Song lyrics are Farmhouse by Phish**