I found him in the backyard, shovel in hand. He’s all tattooed arms and spitfire poetry. Razorblade scars and heroin-soaked lyricism. Perfectly unhinged; unchained dog mad with rabies. He burned patterns in my lawn. Bleached stained jeans. Tattered shirt and tie. Shattered glass bottles, thrown at trees; pockmarked cherry bomb testing grounds. Dirt stained everything.
He’s digging a hole.
He tells me, “One day, years from now, Africa with collide with Europe and close the Straights of Gibraltar. The Mediterranean will become a vast desert of salt.”
I stare blank. Unsure of what to say, I drink long slow sips. Burns like a lemondrop, hard swallowed.
“Don’t you get it? The Atlantic is spreading at a rate equivalent to that of human finger nail growth. The Atlantic is fucking spreading! Every second that passes we’re getting farther away from England. How do you handle that?”
I have nothing. I barely understand.
He puts it another way. “Right now the universe is expanding. Everything is moving away from everything else. We’re all drifting alone in the dark.”
His hole is getting deeper. I would really like to pull him up, but I don’t have the knowledge or the tools. He came out here with a mission. Hellbent and headstrong, he’s burning adrenaline like a grease fire. He’s a loaded gun. He’s loaded for sure, has been for days.
“She was mine once,” he said, “Not anymore though. I bled her out. Bled her dry. One too many leaches. Maybe one too few.”
I still don’t get it. Another long slow sip.
“She killed it for me. Knew I couldn’t deal. But that wasn’t it. That’s what she never got.”
A picture’s starting to form. Bleak and bloody, I think I’m getting it now. Rain falls silent on shirt collars. He’s all mud-splattered dress clothes. Real life American wasteland. The shit under your shoes.
“How I could bring it into a world that’s doomed. Birth is a death sentence. I see that now.”
And there it is.
He’s knee deep in slop, waist deep in a trench. He’s digging with a purpose now. His grip tight on the handle, a bear trap vice. Blood trickles from cracked knuckles. He’s broken bones healed crooked. He locks eyes with mine, searching for answers I can’t possibly give him.
Another long slow sip. I tell him it’s not all bad. We’ve got cable and high speed internet access. I am completely meaningless. He’s waterlogged and mechanical motion. Locked in; he’s on autopilot and coasting towards the end. I don’t think I could stop him if I wanted to. I don’t know that I want to.
He’s all rage and fear. Blood, piss, and tears. Mud splashed in fresh new wounds. He’s puncture marks and bleeding open heart. He wants me to be something I’m not. He wants me to be answers. He needs me to be strong comfort. I have to be everything’s alright. But I’m nothing like anything. I never have been.
He’s been digging all night. He’s been digging a hole.
“This one’s mine,” he says, “You have to dig your own.”