They didn’t have a name for what he was. He wasn’t the sum of his parts. His last visit to the hospital hadn’t been a very good one, but they usually never were. His stay on a 5150 hold, seemed to last longer than seventy two hours. The police had picked him up in Pomona. He tried explaining that he was only walking past the elementary school. “The children approached me… ” he protested to the arresting officers. He was listed as a Danger To Others. Psychiatrists tried their little tricks. He was adept at turning them around. Glib. He knew what to say… He buckled his pants and put his t-shirt back on. Stepping over the body, he took one last look around the place. Details. The red blood had dried and darkened. Brownish clumps clotted on the baseboards. Moving back to the bathroom, he grabbed a towel and ran it hastily over the doorjambs, furniture and things. Turning the air conditioner to 60 degrees, he took the towel and trash with him as he left.
San Bernardino baked under the hot August sun. A bus had carried him past the 215 freeway and up an offramp. He rose at the next stop and stepped into the afternoon. He was drowsy from his activities all night. His latest ‘art project’ hadn’t gone quite the way he planned. It didn’t tell him that it loved him. He painted with it until the gurgling ceased. Death is death. He was it. He chuckled as he recalled a stupid film: 21 Grams. “MacDougall needs to have his head examined.” he snorted, referring to Dr. Duncan MacDougall’s futile attempt to prove the immortality of the human soul by weighing people before and after death. MacDougall observed that there was a twenty one gram difference after death. “Fucking scientists…” With his mind a cauldron, he plodded on. The sun seeped into him and he headed north, walking up the main street. He had to find some shelter and sleep. Thugs and workers thronged the 7-11 market on the corner. Some sold vice and others bought it. In the end, he didn’t think it really mattered… Misery was the norm. He sipped a Slurpee and stepped back onto the street. A few blocks over, he saw a small house that sat back in the trees. Old newspapers littered the dry lawn and it looked empty. The street was still. It slumped under the sun. He moved past the side of the house. Broken furniture and scattered clothing lay inside. Spiderwebs covered the porch railings. He forced a window up and crawled inside. No electric. No water. It had sat for months. Old mail lay in a pile by the mail slot in the door.
He moved upstairs to the top floor and slept in a corner that was shaded by a huge tree. A noise woke him up. He had been dreaming of razor blades and he – absently – felt himself with his hand. He had a hard on… The noise was coming from a house adjacent to where he was. He moved to the window as he heard it again. “What the…?” Then he saw. Through the tree branches, he saw that the neighboring house had a swimming pool. It was empty though and there were kids riding scooters and stuff in it… “Jesus! That’s all I need. Cops will come and be all over the place.” He peered at them through the dirty window.
They laughed and seemed pretty unconcerned. They acted like they belonged there. It was weird. He watched one of them fly up in the air on a skateboard and roll back down through the swimming pools deep end. It was pretty impressive but he needed to leave.
Gathering his things, he slipped outside. As he was walking up the street, he saw one of the skateboarders watching him from the wall. Their eyes met. The skater didn’t look away… He moved up the street as quickly as he could. He needed to sleep and gather his strength. His artistic Masterpiece was waiting out there for him…. somewhere. Thanks to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie