Wednesday, November 2, 2011
At first it was just regular old man bullshit. We argued about the greatness of the Denver Broncos, the best way to skin a rabbit, and how to get out of a traffic ticket. He thought my idea of being polite to the police was ridiculous and instead advised me to piss all over myself and start giggling wildly. I told him while that may be good for a white man, it would get a brown guy like me shot. He smiled, then we broke out the good whiskey and the talk got deep.
“Your type of journalism”, he said “will never be popular with the mainstream. You can’t write a god damn straight story to save your life.” He took a deep swig from the bottle of Jim Beam and his eyes became bloodshot with hellfire. “But for fucks sake, don’t listen to me. Lord knows you don’t give two shits what anyone else says. I never did either. Light that god damn reefer up!”
I pulled a lighter from the front pouch of my black hooded Adidas sweatshirt and inhaled deeply from the resin-darkened glass bowl. The good doctor mumbled something under his breath about the lack of good old fashioned wooden pipes these days and took his turn with the sweet smelling herb. We puffed in silence for a minute. Then he asked me about my plans for the future.
“I’m not sure,” I responded slowly. “I’m here now I guess. I’ll keep writing, doing my thing. Try my best to follow in your footsteps…” I barely got the last words out of my mouth before he stopped me abruptly. “That’s a load of horse crap if I ever heard one!” he screamed as he slapped me in the back of the head.
“My generation failed. Our revolution was killed in the early seventies. Stop looking at the past! Your readers are here, now! Wake up man!” He threw another slap my way, but this time I had the good sense to duck back. His chair swung wildly as he barely held his balance. I chuckled a bit as I tipped the old Jim Beam bottle into two more shot glasses and pushed one towards his side of the table.
“You were right about one thing. You need to keep writing. You’ll most likely fail if you do, but you will definitely fail if you stop now.” He winked. Or at least I think he did. It could have been the effects of the Beam. Do dead people even still feel the burn of good, four year old Kentucky bourbon?
“Zero, you’re not listening you bastard.” Hearing my name flow from between the lips of my greatest hero made me quiver a little. “Stop comparing yourself and your generation to others. This is the future, man! Ride your own rollercoaster. It is not your topics that make you original, it’s your words. You’re not Gonzo, your something different. Pirate ninja or whatever the hell you are calling yourself nowadays. I came here to get you to stop chasing ghosts. Your whole generation has been chasing ghosts. Jesus Christ man, stop. For your own good.”
I looked down at the half empty bottle of Beam. His words resonated in my head. I began to think of everything that is going on in this world, all the bad crazy shit, and realized the good doctor was right. Me, hell, all of us, have been chasing a dream that does not exist anymore. We need to create our own dreams. We need to live our own lives. It is time to forget our heroes, our past, and everything that has happened and do something new. Our future is our future; it doesn’t belong to anyone else. It is time to get on with that.
Just as that thought settled into my head, I looked up and the old coot was gone. All that was left was a diminishing cloud of reefer smoke and the slight smell of stale acid. All of a sudden, I was alone; left to mull over the wise words of our greatest journalist, my one time hero. I now leave you, good reader, to do the very same thing. It is up to you to take with your own conclusions from reading of this encounter. I couldn’t explain it if I tried