Touching the Earth

Jesaru Durango hurtles through the brush like a runaway stagecoach. When the wheels fall off, he sews himself up, blows himself out. Whispers to a cottonwood, “How about a quickie?” Then he calms down a little, whips out his amex card and feeds it to a coyote with eyes like Earl Bostic. The coyote says, “Thank you sir, may I have another?” All of a sudden a big wind slams the freezer door shut, but not before Jesaru catches a glimpse of Keith Richards’s delaminated face cracking wise in Paul Simon’s ear. Jesaru has never much cared for morality plays. His experience with border guards who trash his euphonium and close his couplet has left him a bitter cowboy. He resents the way they turn out his pockets and spill his cave art all over the floor. “We have no use for your senseless productions,” they tell him. When he protests, “I don’t know how to speak your language!” the border guards laugh and rip off his lips. They force him behind the wheel of one of their broken down vehicles, a tricycle built by Red Grooms. It’s a nice trike, with orange tires. The top guard tells him, “If you don’t like the way we handle the unities, you can just pedal your eclogue right back to Barnumville.” So he takes to the highway, humming “I’m On The Road To Nowhere,” though for all he knows he could be on the road to Karachi, because the signs are written in Urdu. It may be time, he thinks, to run down a flag man and force a complication. Next thing he remembers he’s sitting in the Lonely Lizard Lounge, chatting with a Ricky Ricardo impersonator who’s been making a living on the baby grand, making love to Inflatable Lucy. “I do thees to raise money for the benefit of the Night Soil Party,” Ricky confides. Jesaru explains that life used to be simpler in Barnumville before the cubist poets took over. “Did I mention,” he says, “that I was the one who invented the phrase, ‘the sea wind’s mournful dirge’?” “I’ve heard that once before,” says Ricky. “Our mutual frien The Traveling Epiphaneer, tol me bout it, just before he got himself joisted on his own pathetic fallacy.” “So what I should do now?” asks Jesaru. Ricky glances at the bartender, who once shared a recognition scene with Keith Richards. Just as Richards is about to speak, a fly bearing Paul Simon’s head lands in Jesaru’s ear. Simon says, “Wake uP.