Death Drive 2000
I've been on the bus since this morning. When we started out it was full, but now its almost empty, and everyone left seems to be asleep. Except for me and, I presume, the bus driver, who doesn't usually drive this obscure route, and keeps secretly consulting a map. Sometimes we follow the shorelines of little lakes, and sometimes we just head through the bush, our path blasted out of the granite and limestone. But there's only one highway up here, so as dubious as the enterprise might seem, there is little chance he'll end up taking us off-course. Drive for miles and end up only where you expected, twenty, thirty years into the past. I'm wide-awake and feeling kind of anxious and calm at the same time. I hate to talk to people on buses and planes — trains aren't so bad because you can get away from people. So I imagine everyone is silent and asleep because I willed them to be. I want to be surrounded by their moist, shallow breathing, not just the sound of the tires on the road. But the snow muffles everything, buries everything. To clean something is to silence it. The cleanest place in the universe is the void. The void is a black hole as clean as a whistle. A black hole sucks everything in and crushes it. Black holes are the best kind of cleaning machines — with brooms and dusters you're just moving the filth around — gathering it up, re-dispersing it. Snow's good because it just covers things up — you know everything will return in the spring—maybe it'll be a little bit rusty but it'll still be wherever you left it, though chances are good you won't want it anymore, and you'll just throw it in the river so you don't have to see it again or think about it. But my little freak is buried and that's how it should be because its almost Christmas and I'm going home — which is a place I don't belong and have no business returning to, but which still remains somehow compelling. Everyone's asleep and dreaming of a white Christmas because a white Christmas makes everything clean and covered and silent. I'm willing to love everyone as long as they don't touch me. That's how I'll live from now on: endless, boundless love; zero physical contact. In that I'll be truly Christ-like, blessed and remote. No one can argue with something that is truly righteous, unless they are evil or ignorant. In which case they should be killed or educated, but not until Boxing day, not until after the boxing day sales. Because after all a holiday is a holiday. I don't believe every snowflake is unique. I know that's what they told us in school, over and over till it seemed like indispensable knowledge as we sat over the white squares of paper, folding and folding, waiting for our turn with the blunt little scissors. I don't believe each of the possibly infinite number of crystal formations can be assumed only once. A good design should be widely adopted in any viable system. The outlandish and ridiculous disintegrate even as they are formed. Good structure is good structure and not every structure can be equally good. Perhaps in every blizzard there exists a most perfect flake. A most perfect flake which will melt with all the others, and sink through the soggy moss, through cracks in the limestone and down and down to the water table. They used to believe that a large underground river flowed far below the Sahara — totally inaccessible, but a river of hope nonetheless. But then they found it was only a little stream, a little stream which has subsequently dried up. Camel spit and camel piss. Double humped; a moody slave. My mother used to worry that I would fall asleep in the snow and never wake up. She would find me that way sometimes, but I was only napping, tightly bundled in a snow suit, no frost bite, all extremities as warm as my guts, my toes the same temperature as my intestines, and all life forces humming along as I dreamt of hibernation. Now she thinks I have an enviable life — exactly as she wanted, if more than she had imagined—and does not worry about me, though she wakes up some nights as if from a nightmare, worried that I've had things too easy. And what can I say? I have had things too easy. But I'm less superstitious — I'm not waiting for the knock on the door in which someone comes to deliver the balance of bad luck owing after so many years of good. I'm just bundling myself in blankets for the long slide to an easy and benign grave. Because now machines dig the holes, and the workers are unionized and can dig even through frozen ground and I will likely be cremated anyway. On my old Ontario drivers' license I left my body to science — I didn't care if science wanted it or not, I just wanted to snub the worms, because I find the worms incredibly smug. I can hear them singing "Whose the top of the food chain now, corpse-boy?" But now I have a California drivers license and it didn't have any organ donation card attached, and my organs do not belong in America anyway — I'm happy to be part of the brain drain, but they can't have my liver. The bottom of the bus, the luggage compartments, are filled with brightly coloured Christmas gifts. When good, simple people dream of gifts, they never imagine what is inside the package, for that would be presumptuous and greedy. They like the idea of the gift, as embodied in the bright paper carefully folded over the corners of the box, and the ribbons, and the bow. They never think of the contents. They can almost anticipate the pleasure of unwrapping, but their imagination stops there. What is inside all those beautiful boxes? Nothing and nothing. Clean and silent, about to melt and sink away. And then the aunts will come around and gather all the scraps of ribbon, and smooth them out on their laps, and save them for future occasions.