Garbage & Flesh (Chain Email Proposal #4)

 

mystery1
BELOW THE SURFACE, MIXED MEDIA ON PANEL, 2002 COPYRIGHT GPD

 

TWO FRIENDS ARE WALKING THROUGH A VAST, AMERICAN COUNTRYSIDE OF GARBAGE. 8 HOURS INTO THEIR JOURNEY, THEY HAVE AN ARGUMENT OVER A STALE CANDY BAR.  IN AN EXHUBERENT FIT OF PIQUE, FRIEND #1 SEIZES THE OTHER’S HAND AND TWISTS IT UNTIL HE DROPS THE CANDY BAR AND LOPS OFF HIS THUMB WITH A JAGGED PIECE OF FOUND SCRAP METAL.

THIS MAKES THE NOW THUMBLESS FRIEND SAD AND ANGRY.  WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING, AND USING AN ASSORTMENT OF FLUX (RANGING FROM MEDICAL WASTE, ROTTEN FOOD, OLD SHOES, AND CIGARETTE BUTTS) TO FORM THE INDIVIDUAL LETTERS ON THE GROUND, FRIEND #2 WRITES “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND CHOPPED OFF MY OPPOSABLE THUMB” BEFORE PASSING THE FUCK OUT.

WHEN FRIEND #2 AWAKENS, HE’S NAKED SAVE FOR HIS SHREDDED T-SHIRT AND HIS BEST FRIEND IS NOWHERE IN SIGHT.  HE TIES WHAT’S LEFT OF HIS THUMB OFF USING A SHRED OF HIS SHIRT WHICH NOW LEAVES HIM COMPLETELY EXPOSED. EVENTUALLY, HE SLIDES TO HIS FEET AND STAGGERS ALONG- ALONE- THROUGH THE MOUNTAIN RANGE OF RUBBISH, DELIRIOUS.  HE WANDERS FOR ONLY A FEW MINUTES (OR HAS IT BEEN AN HOUR?) BEFORE HE COMES UPON AN OASIS.  IT IS LUSH, GREEN AND SMELLS OF PINEAPPLE, LAVENDAR AND CLEAN WATER, NOT WASTE, GASOLINE AND ROTTEN FISH.   MIRACULOUSLY, THERE’S NO GARBAGE ANYWHERE IN SIGHT.  NO HILLS OF CIGARETTE BUTT AND ASH: NO FATBERG CLIFFS STIPPLED WITH USED CONDOMS, FAST FOOD DEBRIS AND PLASTIC BAGS.

DESPITE HIS CONDITION, HE HAS A MOMENTARY FEELING OF REFRESHMENT AND PEACE.

THEN, SUDDENLY, HE HEARS A GREAT SPLASHING AND LAUGHING AND THERE, IN A QUARRY NOT FAR FROM WHERE HE STANDS, HE SEES HIS FRIEND.  WHEN FRIEND #1, WHO HAS BEEN CAVORTING IN THE FOAMY WATER, FINALLY SPOTS HIM, HE CALLS HIM OVER.  FRIEND #1 SHOUTS LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED.

“WHERE YA BEEN, BRAH?  WHY’D YOU GET LOST?”  HIS SMILE IS BRIGHT AND PERFECT.

“FRIEND… YOU STRIPPED ME NAKED, MUTILATED AND ABANDONED ME OVER SOME MILK CHOCOLATE COATED NOUGAT!”  SCREAMS WOBBLY FRIEND #2 BEFORE LOSING HIS FOOTING AND PLUNGING 30 FEET INTO THE QUARRY.

AFTER DELIBERATING WHAT HIS NEXT MOVE SHOULD BE, AND KNOWING NOTHING OF FIRST AID OR PHYSIOLOGY, FRIEND #1 RELUCTANLY DOGGY PADDLES OVER TO FRIEND #2 WHO’S PALE AND WEAK FROM HUNGER AND BLOOD LOSS.  BUT FRIEND #1 IS RESOURCEFUL; HE HAS SAVED HIS MATE’S THUMB IN HIS OWN SHIRT POCKET LAYING ON THE SHORE.  WITH MUCH INVECTIVE, FRIEND #1 HAULS FRIEND #2 THROUGH TO THE WATER AND HEAVES HIM ONTO THE ROCKS AT THE RIM.  CLEANING THE LINT AND BURNT TOBACCO FLAKES FROM THE HALF INCHED DIGIT, HE CREATES A FIRE USING HIS ZIPPO AND FRIEND #2’S CLOTHES.  HE PROCEEDS TO ROAST THE THUMB ON STICK, CHARRING THE OUTSIDE JUST LIKE THEY DID AT SUMMER CAMP.  HE FEEDS THIS TO HIS QUICKLY EXPIRING COMPANION.  AFTER FRIEND #2 CRIES HIS WAY THROUGH THIS SCANT MEAL, HE FINDS HIMSELF WITHDRAWN.  HE SEARCHES HIS SOUL FOR AN APPROPRIATE MEANS OF EXPRESSING HIS GRATITUDE TO HIS FRIEND.

THAT NIGHT, AS FRIEND #1 DRIFTS OFF TO SLEEP, FRIEND #2, STILL NAKED AND NOW FREEZING, FINDS A SIZABLE BOULDER FROM THE QUARRY AND, WITH EVERY LAST BIT OF STRENGTH HE CAN MUSTER, HEAVES IT ONTO FRIEND #1’S CLOSED EYES.  INSPIRED. HE GRABS A SHARP PIECE OF FLINT STONE AND CARVES, “TODAY THIS SONOFABITCH SAVED MY LIFE” DOWN THE FRONT OF THE MOTIONLESS BODY IN CAREFUL, ONE MIGHT SAY ELEGANT, CALIGRAPHY.

AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER, WHEN FRIEND #2 IS FINISHED WITH HIS ADDRESS, HE WHISPERS SOFTLY INTO FRIEND #1’S EAR: “WHEN SOMEONE HURTS US WE SHOULD WRITE IT DOWN IN GARBAGE, WHERE WINDS OF FORGIVENESS CAN BLOW IT INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S YARD AND THE DECAY OF FORGIVENESS CAN BREAK IT DOWN SLOWLY AND WITH MUCH FLOURISH.  WHEN SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING GOOD FOR US, WE MUST ENGRAVE IT IN THEIR STOMACHS WHERE IT WILL STAY FOREVER. OR AT LEAST UNTIL THE FLESH FALLS AWAY.”

 

LEARN TO WRITE

YOUR HURTS IN GARBAGE

AND TO CARVE

YOUR TRUTH

IN THE TENDER PARTS

OF YOUR FAVORITE ENEMY.

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