If ever I had a chance to see Zombies mating, it would probably look a lot like the young people I saw dancing in a bar a while back in LA. There was no real passion in their eyes, no heat radiating from their loins, or even fire in their bellies. They all appeared to be fronting, their faces as immobile as Kabuki dancers wearing painted masks.
The bar, loud enough to attract God's attention, was crammed full of attractive young urbanites, handsome young men pretending to be both knowledgable and relevant, and young women beautiful yet doubtful enough about their own self-worth to don revealing and often nonexistent clothing and shake their asses at a meat market while trying to be as appealing as a fifty dollar steak.
One young lady wore a dress so short it revealed her panties as she stood at the bar. In so doing, she looked like one of those heavily spiced cuts of meat getting desperate because of the impending expiration date. I felt bad for her. She wasn't that unattractive but the deep shadows behind her eyes revealed self doubt even as she jumped up and down with her hand raised high.
The place, regarded as one of the hip, happening places for young professionals and college students to hang, reminded me of a freezer during the siege of Stalingrad when starving people actually shopped for human flesh.
On the surface, the place was jumping and the people appeared to be enjoying themselves. But to a jaded soul like myself, there are questions raised every time that excessive alcohol consumption is mixed into a recipe of self doubt, no doubt, anxiety and the need to let loose.
To those eyes, it was more like a morgue where rock and hip hop was played loudly in case the cadavers in training still had enough energy and will to toss down a couple of martinis and mimic dancing like Uma Thurman and John Travota in Pulp Fiction.
I know I'm being unnecessarily harsh in my appraisal of the place. I was more than twenty years older than the second oldest person in the room, who I happened to be drinking with that night. And I know that these words can and will be construed as grapes so sour they smell like vinegar gone bad, and there's probably a great deal truth to that, after all I was in the bar too.
I also understand that I would most likely be singing a much different tune while checking out the cuts of meat myself if I was a lot younger, better looking, hipper and if I still possessed the same biological urges as say I possessed thirty-five, forty years ago.
I'll cut the people slack because we all look at life with our own eyes and see things and respond to what we see differently, but the situation that brought us together, called into placed by our collective, often untethered, yearnings deserves no such respect. There is always right way and a wrong way of doing things. And just because there is other smiling people in the room, don't make it right. Heaven help all of us who travel in the shadows.
From the moment I entered the dark hallway that led into the bar, I knew it would be a test of sorts, mythological in nature, a Jules Verne story of subterranean journey back into world I had left long, long ago.
The people I passed stared openly at me, their eyes silently mumbled, "What the fuck is this old geezer trying to prove?" Except it wasn't a question, it was all that silent, and it was punctuated with an exclamation mark.
The eyes of the older guys on the far edges of thirty, still trying to pass themselves off as being young, said angrier things, fearful I was blowing their cover as they hovered like predatory birds trying to pick off a straggler or two, and hoping that it happened before it got too late and they would have to settle for the desperate girl with the spice covered underwear and her partner.
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I am not going to explain how we ended up there because it is a long story. It was a fun trip, but once inside the bar, I felt a bit like Scrooge being led around my Ghost of Christmas Past, forced to look at suppressed memories, and getting my nose rubbed in dog shit, all to learn a lesson about life.
I was feeling very self-conscious and didn't much want to be in this bar, yet there I was, Looking like a somewhat younger version of Methuselah and feeling kind of like a ghost. I decided to drink my beer, try not to be too conspicuous, and take down mental notes from the experience like an anthropologist studying the natives. So, I did what I often do in such situations, wrapped myself in a bubble and retreated into my head.
I have been obsessing a lot lately about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. I have become convinced that it explains the basic idea of life of earth. Most people don't notice the similarity of the story to the Second Law of Thermodynamics where order erodes and chaos descends after the primary source of the energy maintaining the structure expires. Another source of outside energy must be found to maintain order and promote growth.
I believe that this is the esoteric meaning of Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden. The Prodigal going forth and then returning is that other source of energy that enables creation to keep on creating and which allows the material world to keep growing and expanding.
Way I figure, all us sinners have been sent forth into scabrous, weary yet constantly renewing world to gather up the sensory information of the endless permutations of life and store them into our memory banks, and that God feeds upon the novelty of it all. We are, in short, harvesting the brain food of the universe.
The brother who stayed in the parable behind keeps sending God the same boring ass pictures of his family dressed in hideous Christmas sweaters with the same unchanging greeting, "We love you. God!" signed FRED, EUNICE, and THE KIDS! Sometimes, I think that he'd rather get a picture of me sleeping on a barroom floor in Pixley using a carefully wrapped Christmas present as a pillow. Maybe, its the friction generated from trying to figuring out the audacity that provides the heat that keeps it all on track.
I was content to drink my beer and wait for my companions, and I was trying to think about the lesson that I was supposed to be learning when I glanced up at the TV on the wall and saw an ad for the new show Prodigal Son on the bottom of the screen. It was a message from the Universe, telling me that I needed to take careful notes because there was something real and universal happening, and I was appointed as official historian responsible for documenting it all.
I got out my mental pencil and sharpened it and wet the point on my tongue (not exactly sure why, must have got it from a movie), and then opened my notebook, flipped a few pages over, found a empty page, and told the universe, " All right, let it rip." This is all happening inside my head so one else can see it; it's hard enough to stay focused long enough to do it, but it's even harder when the celebrity news show on the screen is talking about a Heather Locklear nipple slip. Granted she is probably in her late fifties by now, which in TV years puts her up there with Aunt Bea and the Golden Girls, but still, it's Heather Locklear.
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I was about three, four beers into my note-taking when an older man with a young woman in tow came in and joined another group by the table where we were standing. The young lady had to be a model; she was gorgeous, as fair as a Medieval princess and wasted like a crack whore. The man, on the other hand, was bald, bespectacled, and looked a lot like the dude in Despicable Me.
They danced right in front of us. I could see their shadows grinding behind them on the red wall mimicking their every move. At one point, he pinned her up against the wall, and they started grinding for all the honest world to see. I dropped my mental pencil and notepad and stood there with mouth agape wondering if I should be asking them for a comment or two to include in my report.
The TV screen above their head was on the TMZ Show with Harvey Levin, who I personally consider to be the spawn of Satan. I mentally juggled the timeframe for the release of Rosemary's Baby to see if that connection might lead anywhere, but it didn't.
When the show cut to commercial, the music stopped, and the low rent Nosferatu let the girl off of the wall, took her by her left hand, and slowly walked away down the long hallway and out of the back of the building. I knew without following that Marty Feldman, or at least his stunt double, was out there behind the wheel of a ghostly looking 1948 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith.
I rummaged around in my pocket for a sharpened stake, didn't find one and just shrugged my shoulders and let it go. It was just me against the zombies, and I didn't much like my chances with those odds. "He that fights and runs away lives to fight another day," and that shit.
I've watched enough episodes of The Walking Dead, to know that there's a day coming when I won't be able to run anymore, and that I need to get my ass over to Home Depot to buy myself some lathes and a sharp axe.
I keep putting it off thinking somehow that Jesus is going to come back someday and handle all the people who do nothing but eat, waste their life, and defecate. We think that they are all out living dirty on the street but they'll be plenty of bon-bon eaters bursting into flames up in Beverly Hills too.
I knew that there was something that I was supposed to do, something I was supposed to say, or something I was supposed to learn. Hell, there were was enough damn symbolism and allegories in that room to have kept Sigmund Freud busy for years, but damned if I could make hide nor hair out of any of it.
Way I figure, I was told to take notes and submit a report, so that's exactly what I did. Interpreting shit like this was way above my pay grade. Besides, I was thinking at the time that it wouldn't hurt God to write a little more like Lucy Maude Montgomery and little less like Stephen King from time to time.
Wouldn't you think?