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Ex Cathedra





By Rudolfo Carrillo


I.


Here is some mierda I come up with after I took the garbage to the curb and then set my arse down on an old chair I found abandoned on Ridgecrest Boulevard about a year ago.


That perch makes for a damn good sit because it is covered with the same sort of luxurious burgundy cloth and brass tacks that might have been popular among the upper classes back when the liquor establishments in these parts were dark and smoky, their clients innocent of things like men on the moon, the redemption of Elvis, and the the ascendancy of King Nixon.


Just so you know, I took up a book whilst in the aforementioned repose, and with considerable joy and foreboding read from the part of Huckleberry Finn where the hero of the story tells all about death. That would be chapters seventeen and eighteen, if you wanna know more.


The action in those chapters are all mixed up together, just like this post, and sorta like the fried animal flesh, smashed up beans, and sliced American cheese food product that I made for my supper last night. Some of it makes you laugh, and then you cry; but when you've just about had your fill of either tears or burritos, freedom beckons. For Finn, it was the river; for me it will probably be a good nap on the rico throne that I took home.


II.


Anywho, it's been about a month since my old dog died. I ain't seen much of her in the dream world, except in bare glimpses, like the time I was carrying her around in a golden cage through the streets of Mexico City. My father appeared, covered in black ink and blue bird feathers. He was serving up elote on a street cart and wanted to tell me that the cage was empty, except when I looked at it. Course he disappeared in puff of smoke, but the dog smiled at me and licked her chops as I opened the door to her mew. Then I heard some nightjars chirping and awoke just past four in the morning with the swamp cooler just tumbling and tumbling cold air into the world.


Since every other body in mi chante was asleep, I tilted myself away from the abyss and touched a little round button that sets among its own brand of royal accouterments. An instant later, light filled up the whole room: a symbol of a common fruit with a bite taken out of it flickered and hovered in the center of all that action. For a moment lost in time, I thought order had been restored.


III.


I was wrong about that too, because no sooner did I start clicking and typing than I found out some folks I knew back in high school were planning to meet up after thirty years removed from the city of gold. They must've  had an inkling that I might want to join them, so they sent me an order form, which told of near future reunion events that would be the ginchiest of all time, clearly worth the exchange of feria spelled out in Comic Sans on a pdf that also featured a multi-color gradient background and promises of golf and resort locations - with a picnic and campus tour thrown in for good measure.


I reckoned there and then I would not go. That was not out of spite, neglect, nor a failure of my nostalgia programming circuitry, but mostly because I didn't need to go, what with Facebook and all, sabes?


Besides, the whole damn thing just seemed a little too high falooting and I just knew I'd feel out of place in my dusty-shoe teacher costume among the bomb-makers, real estate developers, and high-heeled government wives. 


Very few of the freaks or theater or band people I knew in that misty world went to the previous iteration, convocation, invocation, or whatever the hell you wanna call it; the twentieth reunion sucked. If you wanna know how bad it sucked, here's some good clues: it was held at a downtown meatmarket; all the jocks and preps were drunk as fuck and rocking Thirty-Eight Special and Duran Duran. Ten years on, at least they've advanced to the country club level of things, though the swing from one extreme to the other is concerning, I gotta tell you.


IV.


It was pouring with rain that night of our twentieth reunion and my brother and I got eighty-sixed for complaining about the atmosphere, the shitty snacks, the watered down drinks. We stood outside in the falling summer water and I gave the bird to the captain of the football team. We wandered back to my place, and spent the rest of the evening watching old science fiction movies on the teevee and cursing the past during commercial breaks, which were mostly about the glory of the future, and so on and so forth.


Now it's dry as summer on Mars, out here, and ten years later, too. I feel like I've come around in a windy circle. Back yonder, the old man was in the hospital, fixing to die while the monsoon was swirling through town. Some folks were embracing the past drunkenly, my brother eventually went home to Ohio, and I was working my way to a place near the corner of San Mateo and Central for a meet up with a dog I thought was dead. She wasn't dead back then. She lived ten more years and became the center of my life, became the leader of the TiL pack. When she left all of that behind, she was at home and lying peacefully next to me on her special and luxurious futon, in case you want to know.


At first all of that hurt like hell: Rosie dying, my old man long gone, my twin brother living a continent away. But things sorta lightened up when I realized I never had to go back to high school, never had to see the creepy assholes, bullies, and temporarily beautiful people that had the run of the place. I had already decided, via the magic of twenty-first century computing technology, whom I  would still hang out with, virtually or otherwise.


Plus which, I have a damn fine chair to sit in and dream upon; a place to envision the future, and read about Finn's adventure. All of these things are portals to other worlds that I have either been in or at least dreamt about whilst longing for the next thirty years to pass swiftly, roaringly alive, like a river making its way to the sea.

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