Waiting for the Sun
by A. Frank Bower
part 1 of 2
An homage to the Doors
Ron Mosimi, Jr. sat behind the wheel of his ’97 Ford. He stared ahead through rain while he and his car rested on the roadside. The highway looked claustrophobic, compressed, weighed by omnipresent grey. No traffic stirred; nothing alive moved. The environment complemented his inner state. The sole motion was in Mosimi’s memory.
It was a sun shower. It was what his mother called it. His family was on a Sunday drive, Dad at the wheel, Mom in front with him, six-year old Ron in back with his older brother and sister. Ron asked why Dad drove so fast.
Mom looked at her husband, smiled, turned to Ron and said, “Your father’s chasing the sun.”
She pointed out the car window. Ron looked: rain clouds moved in the same direction they were headed. Ahead he saw landscape drenched in brightness; it seemed odd and beautiful to him with the car being pummeled by rain.
A short while later his father gave up the chase. He knew he had lost.
Ron heard a long, loud squeal of tires; his mother screamed, “Oh, my God!”
Ron saw a truck ahead of them spin around and slam into a bridge abutment. People flew through air from the rear of the pickup like mannequins in a whirlpool. One smashed against the abutment; another slid along sixty yards of pavement; others were thrown onto the side of the road. The victims were native Americans.
It was his first image of carnage. As he stared at them, Ron witnessed death for the first time. The closest victim to him was a wizened old man who was dying, despite regular breath and a strange calm. He stared at Ron; Ron stared at him. Neither blinked. For a second Ron saw something no one else perceived. The old man lowered his eyelids and tilted his head back; a formless wraith rose from his middle and flowed to Ron, enveloped him and entered him. It rested there.
Ron’s father opened his door and got out of the car. “Honey,” he said to Mom, “keep the kids in the car. And call 911.”
He approached injured Amerinds on the roadside; other cars parked and people got out to help. Most of the victims survived. There were numerous limbs twisted out of shape, broken, pulled out of their sockets. One man who had stopped used a first aid kit and bandaged wounds.
Ron’s father heard a siren and saw emergency vehicles. He returned to the car to get his children away. The victims would be cared for.
Dad left the accident site.
Ron was silent. It was unusual. He stared out the rear window until the wreckage was out of sight. He turned forward and said, “Dad?”
His father steeled himself. “Yes, son?”
“The sun will come back, won’t it?”
Mosimi snapped out of it. Sometimes the memory haunted him, as now. Other times it inspired him. It always conveyed the same message: live.
He started the Ford and pulled onto the highway.
Ron Mosimi, Jr. suffered from a common malady: he could not shut off his interior monologue, no matter how involved he was in anything. He constantly took notes on himself inside and related data with the external, seeking meaningful correlations. He noticed things others miss.
At the same moment Mosimi saw desert, sun broke through the clouds. What a film editor’s statement.
Ron drove through the desert with few conscious thoughts. He felt the desolation was hovering over him like an alcohol rub; it relaxed his reason, revived his instinctual drives. Visual images flitted past his mental eyes like still photographs thrown past his face.
When he again saw man-built dwellings, he realized he was hungry. He stopped at the first diner he saw and devoured an order of steak and eggs with wheat toast, hash brown potatoes, grapefruit juice, milk, coffee, and two orders of flapjacks.
Mosimi gassed the Ford and resumed his eastward journey. He could not shake the lizard images; they symbolically gripped him, became part of him, the way a protein-starved man might dream of eggs until he eats them.
Along with incessant reptilian images were snapshots and sound bites from various parts of his rich mind: “In Iraq today”... breasts... snakes... winos in gutters... women’s buttocks.... He knew he correlated data like a computer; consciousness tried to map its reality with jigsaw parts from non-conscious areas. His conscious mind stood at arm’s reach from the primal, the emotional, the reptile. They mingled; he felt for linkages among them.
Thoughts intruded, as if in response to an image series. Mosimi pondered on extremes of lifestyle choices. Most people he knew opted for bland existences and lived long. There were a few who lived fast and furiously, who tried everything and died young. His thoughts always came full circle to the dying Amerinds. They were different ages, yet death claimed some of them anyway. His line of logic died.
If he were to comprehend life, he must experience. Mosimi thought of William Blake. What cost innocence?
He drove on. He turned on the radio, preset to a rock oldies station. There are reasons we listen to these things.
Riders on the Storm played.
He saw her walking on the roadside before she heard his car. Nice. She was tall, feminine, with full hips and wavy, dark hair. Mosimi felt destiny beckon.
Life doesn’t come to me; opportunity to create it does.
He wanted to turn off intellect, to freely flow, to let things happen. But his perception of truth was ingrained. He would live; he would create his life, but, dammit, he would analyze each moment.
I created myself in my own image.
The girl heard the Ford. She turned to look at it and leveled her thumb in the calm calculus of reason.
Mosimi took his foot off the accelerator and put it on the brake pedal. He approached her. She judged an approximate stop point of the car and headed toward it. Mosimi toyed with the situation: he inched forward while the girl, hesitant, moved toward him.
Could she perceive the subliminal association?
Mosimi stopped thirty feet short of her. She stopped abruptly, saw he wasn’t going anywhere and walked to the car. She realized he was playing some obtuse game she did not know the rules of, but decided to play it straight and see what was in his mind.
He turned off the radio. The passenger door opened. Mosimi appraised her as she entered. She was stoned and nervous about her decision to ride with him. She did not speak until she was seated with the door shut.
“Thanks for picking me up.”
Mosimi wondered if her choice of phrase held a clue to her attitude; she could have said for stopping, or some such.
Stoically, he asked, “Where you headed?”
“Brownsville. Going near there?”
Mosimi’s dispassion irritated the girl. She said, “That’s great... Thanks a lot... really.”
Mosimi decided to let her relax. He smiled a bit. While he pulled the Ford onto the road he glanced at her legs. She looked out the window and wondered why he did not come on to her. She was attractive. Maybe he was gay. There were so many now....
Mosimi looked ahead as she turned to him to smile; a lizard flashed across his mind’s vision. He turned to her to smile again.
Her curiosity was natural. She glanced at his crotch. He looked at her bejeaned legs again: the reptile brain....
The girl responded to her felt need for social filler. “Got any smoke?”
Mosimi played. He took his pack of Camels from his shirt pocket and dropped them on the seat by his thigh.
She said, “I meant smoke; not smokes.”
Mosimi barely paused before he said, “I never use it. Any more.”
He saw himself crawl on a filthy apartment floor, totaled on acid, looking for his eyes. He saw himself sip Jack Daniels.
Returned to the surface, he smiled at the girl, reached in front of her and opened the glove compartment. He tried to touch her as he leaned. She was too far back in the seat, but he was sure she got the message. She watched him.
She doesn’t see the gun.
One at a time, he withdrew four bottles and placed them on the seats. All were nearly empty: pints of Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort, half-pints of vodka and peppermint schnapps.
The girl said, “Listen, if you’re into it, we could stop somewhere for drinks. I’ll buy. Least I could do.”
Mosimi looked at her with a half-grin.
“Sure. Okay. But... we might as well start with these.”
She took it as a cue to grab a bottle. She took vodka and held it up to him. He shook his head. One by one, they inspected each bottle, got warmer with each elapsed second. The J.D. was first to go. Mosimi guzzled it like a dying man gasping for air. The girl laughed, held the bottle to his lips, and leaned close to him. When a little whiskey rivuleted his chin, Ron at last asked the obvious question.
“What’s your name?”
Mosimi threw the first empty over his shoulder onto the back seat. He picked up the Comfort and offered it to Sandy. While he steered with his left hand, he poured whiskey into her mouth with his right. He expected her to gag or spill some. She swallowed it without trouble, threw her head back and laughed.
Image of snake. We are all unknown.
Sandy poured vodka into Ron; he poured schnapps into her. He spilled a few drops onto her face; she licked at them. At the same time, they threw their bottles onto the sides of the road. Mosimi looked at Sandy, recognized a kindred attitude, laughed and proffered her the final empty. She tossed it over the roof of the car onto his side of the road. They laughed together.
Soon Ron saw a package store. He pulled into its parking lot and stopped the Ford. He opened his door, saw snakes, and said, “I’ll be right back.” Sandy nodded, smiled. While he was away, she turned on the radio, caught the end of Light My Fire and laughed.
Ron returned with a paper bag. He slid a fifth of Jack Daniels from it. He grinned, opened the bottle, took a mouthful, handed it to Sandy and shut off the radio. “There’re enough tunes dancin’ in my head now.”
Sandy laughed, drank. Ron started the car. Slow, they looked at each other, communicated all they needed to know. Sandy handed him the bottle and let her hand fall lazily to his thigh. She let it rest there as he pulled onto the road.
It was inevitable; alcohol releases reptiles.
The Ford weaved along the highway as J.D. weaved back and forth between them. Mosimi continued to see snakes and lizards. He could only guess what images fired Sandy. He got off the highway, drove onto a side road, found a field and parked, got out of the car.
For what felt like hours they gamboled like children and swilled whiskey until they collapsed into tall grass together. The bottle was temporarily forgotten as they consummated their lust. Sandy moaned encouragement. He said two things to her during their intercourse.
As he entered her he said, “By the way, my name is Ron Mosimi, Jr.”
Sandy looked at him, confused for a moment, and let it go. Their pleasure mattered.
Adept and delicate, Ron timed their releases as he might play a harp.
When his approached, he said, “We met in the land of lizards; we part there.”
Mosimi sat cross-legged and stared at Sandy while she dressed. He wept. He felt bizarrely happy for her. She was so alive. The method of her demise should ensure her life was a complete one, one without waste. He thought of his pistol in the glove compartment.
Should I be her guarantor?
He felt hollow inside, without knowing why. He rose and headed for the car without Sandy.
“Hey, Ron, where’re you going?” she yelled to him while she struggled to run and pull on her jeans at the same time.
He did not look.
On the road, images sped through Mosimi with staccato rhythm: lizards on sand, Sandy’s corpse, himself guzzling beer, himself chanting like an Indian and dancing around Sandy’s dead body.
He stopped at the next package store he came to and bought beer. He drove and drank, his face impassive, until he saw a pet shop.
He bought a lizard.
Mosimi drove on until he found a sandy shoulder. He pulled over, got out of the Ford and cavorted with the lizard as if it were his best friend or his younger brother. They played until he ran out of beer and passed out.
When he awoke, the lizard was gone.
The sun blinded him. He turned his face away from it, sat and looked around for the lizard. It was gone; he looked along the road, saluted, stood and staggered to the Ford.
While he drove aimlessly, he paid attention to children without knowing why. They fascinated him, regardless of what activities they were involved in.. Every time he passed by them he slowed. At one point, he angered himself. He drove past a young blonde girl, elevenish, and realized he was erect.
How many doors do even I dare open?
Copyright © 2009 by A. Frank Bower