Death and Politics at the end of the world

By way of introduction might be helpful to know that you are entering an otherworldly realm as you journey with my character.
 When asked what genre I wrote in I could only respond "think magical realism meets surrealism meets Quantum Physics meets my imagination and the authors who have influenced me (including Jeanette Winterson!)" Things happen that are out of the extraordinary at times as a sort if so be prepared!!
 (My formatting is different in Word. I have far more freedom than I do in Blogger and formatting is part of the text. I use formatting and fonts to promote a mood or to have the words show more than might be shown in simple text formatting. )
The Uncertainty Principle:  the more precisely one property is measured, the less precisely the other can be measured.

The air envelops, vacuum-sealing the skin with moisture, ill-fitting and alien. Clothes react to the alteration in the physique, ironed pleats melting. Tendrils of mouse brown bangs cling- cooked spaghetti in a pan. It isn’t until the Ft. Lauderdale airport fades from view and the Florida toll road that the air conditioning in the rental beats back the sullen mid-afternoon July heat.
            Palm trees and sprouting developments dapple the landscape, the tropical foliage out of place among the hastily built habitations, dubitable monuments to William Levitt. The loosely coiled expressway through Miami is pleasant: Toll booths unfortunate dams in the Gulf Stream’s trafficked flow. I cynically wonder if the state doesn’t encourage rental agencies to recommend the “road less traveled” to ensure the population of their taxable byways. With Christmas morning anticipation, I strain to get my first glimpse of the exit to Homestead and Highway One, the expectancy of arrival heightens as I contemplate the solitary dime jingling in my pocketbook. They can pave the everglades on someone else’s penny. They’ll have to.
            I tuck my wallet away, relax into the leather of the import and set the cruise control, realizing even as I take my foot off the accelerator that the stop-and-go flow of the mostly one-lane highway will make cruising superfluous. I gaze off to the side, anxiously awaiting my first blush of the ocean… new time, new place. Key   West is a different world—anything is possible; the real world, paradoxically, is the unwanted dream. The carbon dioxide in the back and deepest section of my airway passage loosens, releases…
At last…
Blue, turquoise, green, indigo, cyan, white surf spraying, rolling, pulling, dragging out… nothingness.
Sailing away to Key Largo
Here’s looking at you, kid…
 Buccaneer Drive… hey there Buccaneer!
               Stomach’s rumbling…
won’t starve, lardo…
Key Lardo…
   hate McDonald’s.

Key West,
97 miles

            two hours    tops . . . 
Captain Jim’s Diving and Shoveling
… shoveling? …

Pay to shovel fish?
Snorkeling! More like it. 
Ann’s Beach… sand, warm water, sinking, drifting, kelp anklets, slimy, green things… used to hate it-
grew on me.

Wonder if he’s heard anything. . .

                        Surely has-          
                                                            happens all the time. . .

misunderstanding, miscommunication, misplaced, missing, mistake, has to be mistake, went for a drive, out of gas, side of road, injured, hurt, bleeding
                                                                        don’t think…
                                                                                                                        not now

Poisonwood Road. 
One mile to Islamorada—Ila,
or Eeesla?
What poison… poison for Cusco? Yes, that poison… wood.  Bible. King --  who???                     . . . solvent?                             solver! 
Hey! C’mon, move it! Want to be there before the sunset… or sunrise at this rate! Need to get around this beat up bug, long-haired potsmoking lib--- “Oh look honey, another pro-lifer for war”... hilarious! 
Glare is horrible…
Just like Bogey and Bacall…
starring in my own late, late show…
I told it all.
Deer Key
deer crossing-
drive slow- or… speed up
deer burger.
L              o              n              g                                      Key.
Houses with legs -- 
elevators for handicapped? Water would swirl…
 a personal Jacuzzi…
worry it would crash—
swirling waters,
can’t sw-
Theater of the Sea      Catchy!
Servile sea-life:
And Now Ladies and Gentlemen… for your viewing pleasure.

And next door: Sea-food Buffet. That makes it easy: A retirement center- Flipper in a whole new show!
Ladies and gentlemen… now for your dining pleasure.
                                        Dolphin Preserve...
  ...Dolphin Exploitation! 

Maybe I should call…
has to be there
                                                          has to be
she can’t be gone
A mistake
has to be                                                               missing?
That can’t be right!
She can’t be                                    Missing!!
Went for a drive and ran out of
or maybe just needs time                                                        Time?
Maybe met someone
Left Dave?
CAN’T be right
Loves Dave
Means the world to her
She’d never
Don’t believe it for an instant                                                             But she’s…
Time for herself
working too hard
restaurant not doing well…                              maybe    
Said                                                                                                                 “gone”
as in they don’t know where she is.
Didn’t mean dea
not dead
She’s MISSING…                                                               Murdered?
 Oh my go-
It can’t be THAT                                Too terrible
doesn’t make sense
Make Sense                                           All right…
She doesn’t just take off
Not a runner
a fighter                                               If things weren’t going well?
she wouldn’t just
not a bird
NOT her                                              But if she were taken by force she would fight and they might…
                                    The median!

Pay attention, drive, can’t think about it right now.
                        Fifty-nine miles→alreadY?
Radio… distraction…can’t think… FOCUS  
Sailing away to Key Largo
We had it all …
Just like Humfy and Bogall..  
Starring in our own la—
John may call…
shouldn’t matte…
It’s over
Too many differences…
couldn’t work it out…
if I -- younger… prettier…
didn’t see it coming…

Finally, the Train Bridge: famous…  
calendar, paintings- palm trees, train track, ocean… postcard perfect…
                                                            oops, Original Overseas highway-
still a beautiful… umm, twenty feet.  
Just like Bogey and Bacall…
Watchin those old movies- fallin in love so ten-- tend --er…
Idiot.                                        Stupid love song IDIOT
                                 Too stupid to be believed- hormones.
Aunt missing, MISSING, MISSING
breaking up….

had to do it now, stupid man
 No more crying.

Seven Mile Bridge
  not a good place for car trouble
So high… swerve… Dive! Dive!
Eyes on the road—
A tiny key, Mini Key… Mini Mouse Key
…a piano with too many keys.
Breathe--- Breathe-- water’s beautiful… on and on. Read the signs.  

Key Lime Daiquiri, Floridita--- Marguerita! 
Wastin’ away again. . .   looking for my mmm, mmm.
lots to drink...
End of the world… wizards and angels… 
Key West chooses you.
Sunset Key.   
                                                                        hmmm hmmmm . . .
Searching for my lost shigger of salt-
Some people claim that there’s a ma-an-n to blame- Yeah there is---
It’s his damn fault.
His damn fau---
Nearly there.
God I hate Buffet…
What was that music…?     
                                     Something like…

So magical: Should have fairies,             
Palm trees  forget this
                                                            spray  forget that
Or, forgetting specialists, hmm---
In the real world…  BARTENDERS
Six miles.
Drive right into the ocean…                                                   real dead end! 

Five miles to the BEST Key Lime pie

Number One Key Lime Pie…

Favorite Key Lime Pie…

Award Winning Key Lime Pie…                               Who decides these things? 
Key Lime cookies-
Key Lime cake-
Key Lime ice cream
Key Lime soup
Chocolate-covered Key-lime-on-a-stick
Key Lime off-a-stick
Key Lime Lemonade
Key Lime Margueritas
Key Lime edible underwear…    hmmmm

Some people claim that  
there’s a ma-an to blame
                                                        Song’s a virus

Hog’s Breath—God’s Breath—hamburger yummers!… with everything… fries, Bartender’s special drink---

Do these people know how to drive? For God’sake
Bone Island: Boner…
Boner Island?
Boner Key—Bonkey… 
Don key Otee.

move! I need to go!
Land of the Free because of the brave”- MOVE, moron.
Left turn, right?
Right… Right?
No! left… right.

Southernmost Point
Southernmost Real Estate
Southernmost Hotel
Southernmost Café
Southernmost Bank
Southernmost Key Lime Pie
Southernmost oxygen.

Most Southernmost


People everywhere.
It’s a zoo…

Bells over my right shoulder, I glance over, startled to spy a stout, charcoal-skinned grandma in full gypsy garb, hobbling off the curb just as the Conch Tour Train rattles up to the light. She leaps nimbly backwards, the fluid motion in surprising contrast. She lifts her fist and shouts, face contorting as though uttering a curse as the train rambles obliviously on around the corner. A tall broad-shouldered… woman? adorned in a floral, foo-foo tutu and flowing hot pink boa hangs out the door of the train, shouts back to a thick-chested man leaning against the back window sporting a leather bustier, one thigh-high booted leg draped casually down the side of the car. The passenger-laden train is blossoming with men outfitted in a bouquet of taffeta and silk. A rowdy rooster struts down the sidewalk, confident in his own colorful array, raucously punctuating the human cacophony. He flutters onto the sidewalk, inches from the tire tracks of a swimsuit clad couple, sporting matching full-body tattoos, brattling by on scooters, weaving in and out of idling traffic.
            “… more like a carnival.” I ease my vice grip on the wheel, clicking the red ruby slippers of memory. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
             Involuntarily, yet necessarily
drawn to the water,
I drive.
            Past the turn-in to an abandoned bar;
                                                past palm and pond;
            past bougainvillea and banyan;
and finally,
past the fort . . .
past the past.
Bread crust colored shoreline nearly deserted.
The gulf breeze tousles my hair
I come to myself, agape…
Here are your waters and your watering place…
deep calls to deep 

A woman and child face each other in the water, modest swimsuits quaintly reminiscent of an innocence long forgotten, capturing my attention. “Allie, put your face under the water! It won’t hurt you. Now blow bubbles…” The girl's shoestring arms cling then flail. Her moon-shaped face dips, arcs, mouth gapes in a desperate gasp, then sputters and coughs.
 frightening depths…
thought I would die…
terrifying baptism…
“It’s all right… won’t hurt you. Just a little water! Here.” Clutching, they buoy in the waves until the child’s laughter peels over the sonance of wave, wind and wings.
generated soul…
drink and be whole again… 
“So you come to the end of the world, Child,” a lyrical voice breaks my reverie. “What you think you’re going to find here?”
  The question hovers, a sparrow caught in a headwind. My gaze flitters back to the pair still bobbing in the waves. I know them… how?
  “Trying to find yourself?” Her voice holds tangy lilt that exposes the question’s banality.
  I squint, amused that she is so dispositioned to entice consumers, approaching them regardless of their susceptibility. “What are you selling, Grandma?”
   Her fake grin dissolves. Thick webs of tangled braids oscillate around her counterfeit affability. She smiles wryly. “Lookin’ to tell Martha Money how she will meet the love of her life.”
   “I’m not interested in having my fortune told. Save it for Martha and the rest of the rubes.” Where did they go? They had been by the rocky outlay. On the beach? A lobster-colored young couple lies motionless side by side. An elderly woman creeps to the concession stand. Underwater? Gentle waves lap onto the beach undisrupted by thrashing limbs.  
            “You’ll find many things- here - at the end of the world, child…” Her voice blends into the music of the beach.
            I turn back to the parking lot and search for the duo on the road:      
exiting the park???                       
gathering bicycles???              
I cross the blistering tar preoccupied with my hunt. My senses are awakened by the metallic melody of bicycle bells, the roll of engines, searing sidewalks, and piquant seafood. No hint of the familiar strangers. Dead ended, my curiosity dribbles off and the urgency that brought me across the country tugs at my sleeve again. I turn toward the parked car to finish my journey.   The tumult of a couple in the throes of modern love impedes my departure, the loci of the contention blocking the rental. Leaning against the car door, quietly hoping Heathcliff and Cathy note my presence and scram, I resume my recollection, ingesting the ambience of the beloved burg I experienced when visiting my aunt as a child.
Cathy’s voice rises over the sounds of the street, the words shrill, taut, faltering as a sob breaks through. Heathcliff steps forward, the timber of his voice low, controlled. Her sharp protests interrupt his words, their voices trip and collide.  “You said”“we were supposed””you are such”“to go after the show”“a liar”“I told you”“I hate you”“I was going to”“you told me”“you are such”“you loved me”“a bitch” watch out “Would you shut up and listen”what is not known “You can’tcould kill you...
            I turn, seeking the source of the third voice. Perhaps the Rastafarian fortune teller followed me…  then spot the old lady lingering in her booth, a black hole in the murky shadows. It echoed her voice, her accent, but distinctions coiled around the couple’s blistering words making it impossible to extract origins. The low bassy boom of a passing car… a radio?
            “Don’t expect me”“leave me”“take you home”“Bobby you said”“find your own way”“you loved me!” Her final words ring out as he strides past, brushing away grasping hands. She collapses onto the car, her back bowed, head buried. 
            I glance at drifting stratus and exhale, relieved there’d been no need to ask anyone the number for nine-one-one. The air backlogs, my cheeks balloon. A slight whistle escapes between pursed lips. Hesitant to break into her solitude, I nonetheless burgle.  “Umm, hey, I’m sorry. That, that was… uh, You okay? I, well, I was wondering… I just need to ask… did he tell you to watch out? Or that something could, um,  kill you?”
            She lifted her blotchy eyes to mine. A puzzled expression said more than the mumbled “What?”
            “Well, did you? I mean you didn’t say you’d… umm, kill him?”
            The cash register of her mind completes the transaction. “What the fu--”
            “Yeah, no… I didn’t think so. It’s just that I, err…Never mind…” I flee. Pulling out into the steady stream of traffic, I am only half aware of changing lights and turning cars as I measure my own lucidity.

II. Relative State:  views reality as a many-branched tree where every possible quantum outcome is realised

The house gapes at me in surprise as though a stranger were climbing out of the rental and starting up the walk rather than the woman from child who once magic carpet rode down the stairs and swung on grinning screen doors. I launch myself up the wooden stairs and through the front door, silence wrapping around me in smothering folds. The contentment and tranquility of homecoming that bolstered me as I drove onto the island has been achingly stripped away and I stand alone in a sarcophagus of destitution.
            I pause, straining for the creak of a floorboard or water meandering through pipes. “Hel--lo?” The vowels rice crispy crackle in my throat. A rushing stillness swarms into the room in reply and I glance around, claustrophobic. I back toward the door anxious to escape suffocation, frightened of the flesh-eating feeling that runs up and down my arms.
            Interminable seconds later, a mattress spring groans in answer and a rhythmic thump marks time as someone sallies toward the stairs. The familiar scuffle of tattered Cookie Monster slippers make their way to the landing until they slip finally into view; a long, audible breath escapes the confines of my lungs. The quantum dose of relief that has begun to trickle down my spine quickly evaporates as our eyes lock on the reality of sorrow between us and a tidal wave of emotion floods the room. His lips contort into familiar patterns but the customary syllables echo and bounce around the room as he stumbles forward and collapses onto my shoulder. He slides into a mournful skiffle that caroms with unintelligible lyrics. The scattered words I comprehend are lost in an echo chamber of confusion. The room swirls into turmoil, walls sway, floors arc, chairs waltz in a dizzying maelstrom of mayhem. A macabre trio steps out from amidst the undulating drywall to punctuate his lament with a reprise of “she’s gone”.
            “There must be a mistake,” refusing the rain of anguish, I interject evasion. “I just talked— she was on the phone, I told her I was coming. Everything seem— was fine. Don’t you think—”
            “NO!”  His response coagulates into intelligible words but snatch at me with disconnected tendrils “missing…days…  jumped… no body.”
            “No mistake! She’s go-o-o-ne, oh why? She’s gone” the chorus repeats contrapuntally as their arms extend in Temptationesque choreography. My gaze narrows on the ethereal centerfold and she backs off timorously, gripping a fellow crooner’s arms, quietly receding back and out of focus. The bizarre aria fades and the singers dissolve into the floorboards. The walls slink toward me, leaning silently inward anticipating my collapse.
            If life were fair, the missing person would not be the genteel, affable woman who nourished the population of Key West. The MIA would be the detective in charge of the investigation. Alas…
He ambles up to the veranda where we foxhole against the sun’s intense onslaught, his bearing an uncomfortable parfait of govinator and Looney Toon stutterer. His jaunty entrance invades our grief, faux royalty denying bona fide poverty. Hand outstretches, I reach out only to have his cool, dry palm enfold mine, a too-familiar caress pumps gently up and down, all the while eyes train on Dave as perfunctory greetings are exchanged and my uncle asks him to fill me in. “It does seem strange…” Nothing but the facts ma’am nothing but the facts … words humming, a noxious plethora of nothingness. “…but it appears she jumped over the bridge around twelve-thirteen Sunday night.” He completes the briefing, an anthropomorphic auto-attendant.
            “Did you fi--- where was she?”
            “You mean the body?” He glances at the air over my head, then back at my uncle.
            “The body?” I bite off the words, chafed at the reduction.
            “We haven’t found the… body… yet,” His voice begins again, regurgitating evidence, snatches getting past the inner protests raging in my ear. “witnesses…”
            You don’t know crap! Idiot!
            “Left a note…”
A God-damned catechism
“searched the perimeter…”
            We believe in
            “no trace”
            God the Father
            “no reason not to believe”
            The son and the…
            “it was suicide”
            “Holy shit!” A detonation of silence stiffens the room, then yields a mushroom cloud of resentment. “You cannot possibly believe that my aunt— Louisa Jean Cook— could possibly… She’s got a great life, a husband who adores…”
            “Your uncle tells me you’re a scientist?” Infuriating speciousness.
            “What has that got to do—”
            “Then you understand the difference between inference and actual data …” Condescending, patronizing presumptive pedagogue. “blah, blah-seem one thing-blah, blah-never know blah, blah get all the testimony-blah, blah- dope points to, blah.”
His Reaganesque “facts” were irrelevant. I am not one of those shell-shocked women who scream and cry out, refusing to correlate gun with hand, only later recognizing dark moods, caliginous silences, emotional meltdowns: Precursors of destiny. My eyelids lower, slowly shuttering out the incongruent, incompatible scene.
“blah- so very sorr-blah, blah …” There might have been a condolence amidst the disembodied syllables but it was lost in his candy-coated southern drawl.  “Best be going.”
Moving toward the door, the bereaved husband’s arm valanced the lawman’s shoulder as though he were in need of comfort, low voice reassuring, even apologetic as he thanked him for his visit. The two men clasp each other gingerly, then turn to face their lives, one man’s stride cocky and insolent, the other ponderous and dilatory.
Words float back as he reaches his patrol car. “I’ll put ya’ll on the prayer chain. God doesn’t give us more than we can bear, but this is difficult, I know.”
I long to race into the yard to give an impromptu seminar for the protist on protocol, human relations and… “religious sensitivity!”
“He’s only trying to be helpful, Alex.” My uncle’s eyes hold a gentle reproach, then settle back to enveloping sorrow.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t really mean to… I wasn’t… He shouldn’t say that shi... To assume… helpful?! … What an ass… unprofessional. It’s wrong!”  Vocal chords compress producing a raucous graunch. “If there was a god…”
A death mask faces me and my soaring passion hits the ground, wings abruptly clipped. “People do the best they can,” He recedes into unoccupied space. “Doing the best I… we can…” He wanted consolation, consideration, rather than the breaking storm of skepticism. The endeavor of inhaling, exhaling, heart pumping, limbs moving are all he can sustain, the added weight of my turmoil too much.
“You don’t really think… it’s impossible, not her at all. You don’t believe it?”
“Yes, What choice? I don’t know. No. I never would have thought, it’s not something she’d do, never in a thousand years… But it’s there, her last words. She loves,” He disappears into the framework of their memories. “loved. She loved me…” The final words float back, nearly absorbed in the gulf’s tender breath, as he lumbers up the front steps of the small conch home the pair shared for over half their lives.
Voices ping pong,“Crazy”… “Like who?...” “sad, but seems pretty clear…” “got to be nuts…””                                                            
frustrating, bi-bonk, irritating, mind numbing.
“never had trouble…” “everybody loved her…
                                                Think goddamn it. Does it sound like her?
                        “I just never would have thought…”           
                                                                        “just unbelievable…”
Take a few minutes… clu-chunk, out of your own stupid, pitiful lives
                                                listen to me… b-clonk…
            “And to go like that…
Think through “answers” or lies meant to pacify and subdue. Oh my god…
if I could just…
If we had only known…”
Damn it!…                              I should have said…
She’s in a better place…”
what if she…                                                  too late

A trapeze artist tilting…

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