I pulled myself from the floor of the church and stumbled towards the door.
Pistol be damned. Luke be damned. All of them be damned because the damned can’t condemn and pass judgment. I’m passing mine, but it still stands at my side. Turning towards the unyielding crowd behind me the shadowed room grows dark until finally there’s nothing but a pinhole of light and then gravity pulling on my shoulders as if never before.
The darkness is everywhere. I feel as if I’m in the middle of everything and yet nothing is showing itself. But slowly and softly the whisper of a dog’s bark begins in the distant. One at first and then another, bit by bit the echoes of others grow louder and louder until the barking is my entire world and has become all my mind is. I open my eyes to find myself sitting in my chair staring at my long cold stove.
I look down to find my father’s hat resting in my lap. Screaming its reality loud and clear—it was all a dream, every lucid moment was a dream. No Levi Meed. No shooting. No town lies with a hidden secret. And, still no Jacob. No father.
Sitting up I lay my father’s hat on my side table and rub my eyes. It all seemed so real. So true. I rub my eyes again and wonder if this moment right now is real, am I still dreaming?
The barking of the dogs fades back in as I lumber towards the door and, with no exact intentions, open it with a creak that quiets the dogs, if just a little, and step out onto the front porch. The sun is high in the sky, and my whiskey jug sits empty on the porch. Did I leave it out there? I’m sure I brought it in. It’s not like me to leave those sitting outside. I sit down in my wooden block of a chair and massage my head. Maybe Walters 88 is stronger than usual this time around, I don’t know, maybe.
Suddenly I notice that the dogs are all silent for a change and lying around in no particular fashion except for maybe the silence and their stares. As I look from one dog to the next, I come to Top, and he’s looking at me as if he feels my confusion, my hunger, and my emptiness.
People can sense these things in others that they are around for an extended amount of time.
Why should a dog be any different?
With eyes locked and my mind fully engaged in Top’s knowing stare the other dogs rise and in one quick moment rip the silence open with their barks of life; their barks of joy and head for the trail head and loudly disappear with Top trotting along behind them leaving me to my own thoughts and confusion.
There’s only one way to get rid of confusion—confuse yourself even more.
Standing I headed back inside and unlatched my comfort cabinet of worship and pulled out a jug of Walter’s local. Pulling the cork, I took a long swig and another as a few bubbles rose thru the upturned bottle, floating against the swirling liquid and fighting their way to their undeniable death. Placing the smooth cork back in the jugs mouth I let my arms fall to my side and looking around my cabin of solitude I grabbed my father’s hat and placed it firmly upon my head and once again headed for my wooden throne of a chair on the front porch.
After a few more gulps, my mind begun to slow and the pictures of my dream began to fade back into my consciousness. The pictures induced feelings; the feelings bring tears, and the tears slowly slide away from their source leaving glistening streaks of sorrow and happiness. Do I wish the dream were real? Am I glad that it wasn’t? Somewhere in between I find myself stretched to my breaking point.
All is too much. I want to forget whatever it is that has brought me to this point. I want to forget my father, my mother and most of all myself. So I drink some more, and I head for the fire pit. Open the gates of hell one last time. One final night of solitude with the fireflies of swirling stars. With the sun now creeping closer towards the western tree line, I placed my jug near my stump of a chair and reached for the shovel to dig the ashes of gray out of the caldron of solitude.
Please do not get me wrong, I understand where dreams come from when they happen but it is the ‘why’ that leaves my mind shivering in the corner of some open room. A room where three walls are seen, and the fourth assumed. The floor has its allure of comfort and yet the ceiling seems too low. Was my dream a warning? A posted sign made of carved rickety wood. If so this signpost gave up no arrow of direction, no sense of ease. Nothing but images of a reality unreal.
Reality; this is my mortal enemy. What would one feel if they knew they were immortal? Knowing that time was of no consequence does the mind cease to remember or does it lay heavy the visions of yesterday?
With shovel in hand, I stabbed my first puncture into the ashen gray lock that covers my pit. Flinging the grayness aside, I cannot help but notice the clinging brown on the edges of the metal spade. This is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong.
What is right?