MOUNT NEVER AND THE BAD BONES
by the time you read this i would've died by the blues
what do you know about the american dream? what do you know about miracles?
"a lazy day. i mean every day is a lazy day, but today, particularly so."
he thumbed the slice of lime stuck at the bottle mouth down into his corona and put it up to his ear, listening to the parts dissolving and reacting with one another, a fizz that rung in another deadbeat summer. simple alchemy he thought to himself. death and transfiguration, he was a master of the elements. he sucked at his beer.
"well, what should we do?"
"should we do anything?"
"i guess not."
"maybe in a few hours."
we were both resigned to that unbearable heat weighing us down, we went on sitting around the courtyard shirtless and sluggish sucking at our bottles which were dripping with sweat just like us. his phone rang in his pocket and before the second ring it was up by his ear. he was quick.
"hey laura, whats up?" i couldn't see his eyes behind his sunglasses but i was pretty sure they were closed.
"yeah, well dean and i are just hanging out, having a beer, whatever. if you're in the neighborhood you should stop by. we could get in the pool."
his words were slick as they shot through the receiver, little bullets of speech and he'd get them that way. he always talked fast so the other person could hardly keep up and they would just nod their heads and say yes and go along with it. he could've been a great car salesman. he slid the phone back in his pocket and sipped at his beer.
"what was that about?"
"laura and maria are coming over. feel like a swim?"
"sure. should we smoke first?"
we finished our beers and chucked them into the recyling bin across the courtyard without getting up. both crashed into the blue bin. then the next door neighbor's black cat waltzed in through the front gate with something rotten in its mouth. she came right up to evan and left it at his feet.
"what the fuck?"
"is that a gopher's head?"
"yeah, another one. we don't want your presents richenda!"
richenda meowed and rubbed up against evan's leg, turned around and scurried off.
"should we get rid of that thing?"
the ball of black mess lay there under the sun. my eyes followed richenda, i spotted some gopher guts trailing off by the gate.
"i don't wanna touch that shit." evan stood up and struck a match to the cigarette hanging from his lips. he pocketed the matches and tucked his long black hair behind his right ear. i stared at the ground. ants were already lining up for the gopher head buffet.
"hand me another one will ya?"
we had just gotten out of the pool and had climbed up to the top of the house, our backs dripping wet and now sticking to the roof shingles as we lay under the sun. evan finished the tail end of his beer as he took the next one from me. he let the empty bottle slip out of his hand rolling down into the rain gutter, crashing into the glass graveyard of our rooftop alcoholism.
"you should really clean that out."
"i'll get to it before the next rain," he said.
i stared up to the sky, glassessless, trying to wrap my mind around the ceaseless stretch of infinite blue. i could hear the kiddies scream from the boardwalk only a few miles away as big road thunder mountain plunged another cartfull of boys and girls into a pit of terror and pleasure.
evan gave out a satisfied ah as he set his beer down between us, gazing up at the same patch of sky we've been staring at for years. we lay there silently beside each other for a long while, sipping at our glass bottles.
"life is so easy, it's hard," he said all of a sudden, still staring up, speaking to the heavens.
"you mean living at your mom's house and eating all the food in the fridge and drinking all the beer her boyfriend buys?" i laughed.
"yeah. i mean, what else is there? this is supposed to be the good life, but i'm bored."
he was sitting up now, preparing another spliff.
"maybe you just need to live somewhere else for a while. see some new things, meet some new people." i watched as he finished it off sprinkling bits of tobacco over it, licking, rolling it back and forth between his fingers, twisting it finished.
"yeah yeah. but it's a lot of work and everybody who leaves, they always come back."
he tucks his hair back behind his ears, always tucking it back. he lights it, puffs it, and passes it over.
i lay it on him. "you know, california is a trap. everyone lives their whole lives here. if they're not moving to new york or europe or something, they'll never leave. californians don't believe that anything exists outside of california." after a few more sips of the spliff i hand it back.
"this might be true, but maybe they're right." he says, breathing out smoke. "everyone is trying to end up in the golden state anyway, so why leave? people all around the country have always been california dreamin."
we finish the spliff and i lay back down into my heated shingle bed, feeling sedated as my head melts into the rooftop. "are you boys gonna come back down here?" laura and maria were lounging in the recliners next to the pool. i had forgotten they existed. evan drank the last beer in seemingly one gulp, stood up, and leapt off the roof, landing in the pool with a splash soaking the girls in their chairs.
when he rose to the top he yelled out after me, "your turn!"
i stood up and stared below. without my glasses on i could hardly make out the blurry blobs of flesh that were my friends. the sun fell hard on the water, a dozen shimmering spots of sunlight spinning infinity on the surface. i stopped thinking and jumped down into the light, i didn't even blink.