The grass and torn branches made wet sounds against the worn military boots as the gray man slowly and methodically made his way down the narrow path.
Animal smells hung in the early twilight mist around him pulling at memories of earlier, happier times. Memories so dulled down from years of neglect that their empty husks, as dry and withered as the broken branches under his feet, hardly registered as he focused on the rusted wire fence slowly coming into focus ahead.
His Bahco pliers made small sounds in the still air as he carefully cut the fence across the bottom, squeezed under it, and pulled leaves and branches back to cover his work.
The location was as deserted as could be found from three hours of painstakingly going over illegal print-outs of border patrol reports, but there was no reason to challenge fate. He was too old, and too experienced with the havoc momentary lapses could wreck on the best of plans, to challenge fate more than necessary.
As he got up on the other side and started pulling his way up the hill through the dense brush on the other side, he picked up speed. It had taken six long months to get here, but he was so close now he could almost smell it in the air.
Somewhere ahead, in the sleepy innocence of the kingdom ahead of him, he felt it. Felt the scent of his prey. The grey man pulled at the heavy backpack and carefully made his way down the trail.
Oh man, a six weeks vacation in the dead of winter from cold-clammy-Copenhagen to sizzling-sunny-Sydney comes heavily recommended from this happy camper.
Returned friday with enough jetlag to stop a Koala from eating and went straight to a party at work, where I had apparently forgotten my boss’s name and somehow couldn’t quite remember what I did for a living. Now THAT’s what you call getting-away-from-it-all.
I touched a sea-turtle at ten meters down, I snorkled in a stinger-suit worthy of an S/M super-hero bad-boy, I spent three days on a huge sailing boat with enough cold beer to keep a navy happy, I surfed like a parkinson victim with a poisonous jellyfish down his shorts (but somehow survived), I jumped out an aeroplane with a crazy chechnian rebel on happy pills strapped to my back, I drove for 300 miles through the Australian bush looking for wild kangaroos in a bright yellow french convertible, and I crawled into the highest tower there with my acrophobia screaming that I was gonna die with every step.
But the thing I remember the most, and what is keeping me awake on this cold dark night as my jetlag is still wreaking havoc on my sleep patters, is all the great great people I met and who I already miss like crazy. Guys you know who you are
Walking through desolate streets dragging the ragged shirt through the melted snow behind him, the Minotaur didn’t think too much about the last few weeks. Things had started nasty and turned steadily worse, but what the hell was he to do? That’s how things always went. No reason to reminisce.
His hand was dripping blood down the pantsleg of his torn but expensive suit, and he absentmindedly wiped it on the naked skin of his back as he passed an expensive window overflowing with bright colors and computer-enhanced bodies.
From behind bullet-proof glass lobotomized plastic smiles mocked him with their serenity, and he couldn’t help smile himself at the irony of it all. Maybe if he’d seen it earlier or approached it differently. Or maybe he’d just read the whole situation wrong from the beginning and there wasn’t actually anything he could have done.
Damn. There went his mind again. Not thinking was a firm belief dithering quickly into a shaky promise, and from there a dark road lay ahead that would have him muttering to himself in the gutter before daybreak if he didn’t shut it down.
He stopped at the harbor edge watching his ragged breath hang in the air before him. The sweat that had rolled from his chest in a steady stream as he had let himself loose, had long since steamed off him in the freezing air and he could suddenly feel the freezing cold shutting down his nerves, making him drowsy as he came off his adrenaline high.
He floundered and sat down on the dirty bench that had seen so clean in the bright sunshine of a few weeks before. Nothing was ever what it seemed. All he could do now was wait.
As mindships hurtling through space on the tailwind of reality with only the dim haze of our five senses to guide us. As spirits forever changing with the twists and turns of the flummoxing shadows on metaphorical cavewalls. As creatures bound by semi-fixed views of the world, living in a state of near-constant surprise at the things thrown our way. As all of this we still somehow manage to get together on a friday night, drink some beers, shoot off some semi-deep observations about the world, and have fun… ain’t that grand.
>Burning retinas from staring into the bright rapidly flashing abyss of my mind for too long. Sentences stretching into infinity, rolling before me, gathering me up and folding me into neat but strange divisions. Finally I flummox out of alternate-reality with a dry mouth and wondering absent-mindedly why my stomach feels like a punctured wheel still rotating.