FUCK YOU CAT.
FUCK YOU CAT.
Gnarled and twisting, with a reckless and unapologetic grace, the massive tree hunches there like a squatting giant with its massive halo of branches. Not a trace of order lies in the movements and twists of the branches – like hair that has become so tangled, so knotted, that its only future would be to shave it off and start from scratch.
My boots sunk into the centuries-old grime-covered stone floor of the corridor that lay far beneath the St. Louis Cathedral. In front of me: a river of warm light, its wind blowing back my hair and jacket. I looked down at my hands, which were covered in hardened black wax. I could feel the golden symbols simmering on the skin of my face and neck, reacting to the pull of the wonder. In front of me, the bits of wonder leaped out of the stream like fish now and again, slow-motion arcs of bursting yellow fireworks reaching into my vision and kissing the backs of my eyes, leaving their mark.
New Orleans, five weeks ago - or tomorrow afternoon. Most of the time it sleeps, stretched out through the middle of the city, half-curled up like some sleeping dragon. Half a mile wide and who-cares-how-many miles long, it cuts through the city like a scimitar, curving down and up again, giving the city the scar that forever earns it the moniker “Crescent City.”
...the clown nodded to Scape and quietly slipped out from under the car. I, on the other hand, hadn't thought about how I was going to sneakily get out of my own hiding place, which was a trash can, and ended up just tipping myself over, so that the trash can spilled me and some trash onto the sidewalk.
Walking down Saint Roch Avenue (Roch is pronounced “rock,” as in what this city is not built on), down the middle of the neutral ground full of giant oak trees, past all the colorful shotgun houses and the men playing horse shoes in the grass, you come to the Saint Roch Cemetery. I've always known where it was – I'd always meant to go there some day. But the fact was, I'd never stepped foot in there before. This was a sub-entry for an episode that hadn't happened.
Drip. Drip. In the darkness, it's all I could hear – the sound of liquid slowly dripping into a puddle of itself. Drip. Drip. The smell of plants and herbs wrapped around me like a cloak, making my skin tingle all over. It hugged me tight, then whispered into my ear, “Follow me out of here, and all will be well.” “We already had this conversation, remember?” I said. “So I know that you're lying. But I'm going to follow you anyway, because I need to come back to life. I have things to do.”
New Orleans, circa 1935. Canal Street, with its bustling shoppers and rushing business workers, chosen to forever serve as the border between the European charms of the French Quarter and the tall business buildings and statue-guarded city buildings of the Central Business District. Even in the midst of the depression, people walk to and fro with places to go, things to spend their money on. But to me this street on this particular day meant only one thing: a way back to where I belonged. I rushed past the hoards of people, followed closely by the clown. (I feel like I should call him something else, something more fitting now that I've remembered who he is, but the fact is he doesn't have a name. And in my defense, he is dressed like a clown. I'd have to remember to ask him about the whole dressing-up-like-a-clown thing.) I felt my wrist start to twitch. “Not yet!” I said. “This sub-entry just started!” “It's not ending,” said the clown, stopping to look into the sky. “Something's coming.”
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Western world went through a period of preoccupation with wellness. People took up vegetarianism, nudism, spiritualism, and the consumption of patent medicines with whopping narcotic content. If Lydia Pinkham’s couldn’t cure your hiccups, there were spas and sanatoriums aplenty, many of them with a comic level of preoccupation with excretion. Turn of the century sanatorium life was satirized in T.C. Boyle’s 1994 novel The Road to Wellville, which was based on the cereal pioneer John Harvey Kellogg’s Battle Creek Sanitarium, as well as my old favorite The Magic Mountain. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all opium and sitz baths. Unscrupulous quacks preyed on rich hypochondriacs, convincing them that they were hysterical or consumptive or just plain constipated. In the worst-case scenario, “taking the cure” could be fatal. In 1911 two British heiresses, both of them convinced that their digestive systems were on the verge of complete collapse, checked into a sanatorium in Washington State to undergo Dr. Linda Hazzard’s extraordinary “fasting cure”, which consisted of not eating anything. Predictably, one of the sisters died after a few months of treatment, and the other was forcibly removed, still convinced that her system was unable [...]
There is a fellow up in the clouds who looks down on all of us who live here in Louisiana. He doesn't have a big white beard and his name isn't God or Zeus – it's actually Albert, and he's about as nice a fellow as you're likely to meet. But this sub-entry and this episode don't really have anything to do with Albert, except that he had pulled the lever up there that made the clouds dump their thousands upon thousands of buckets of water down upon the city of New Orleans. Now, I'm not gonna say that if you haven't seen it rain in Louisiana, that you haven't seen it rain. Because what it does here doesn't fall under the definition of rain – it's something else entirely. What happens here is enough to make you question the way you're going about your life. It's enough to alter the way you see things – or alter the way that things see you.