The old man who I never really knew and yet for years after his death I aided in cleaning the house he nearly suffocated with hoarding. Like sifting through sand for gold I dug through countless boxes of junk that he had held precious and priceless. Stacks of newspapers and empty cereal boxes reached near to the ceiling creating a chaotic city of rubbish. And did you know he had a sister? How appropriate to be named after her. This Katherine was a smart woman who lived to be 96 If I’m not mistaken. I recall visiting her in at the old folk’s home in Florida. A small room featuring one window open to a view of the tropical garden. Stacks of books in large print spines cracked and torn from the rough love of reading. Books full of crosswords and various paper puzzles lay in a wicker basket by her bed. And did I mention Katherine was always happy to see us? Did I mention that she spelled her name K-A-T-H-Y-R-N? Thus provoking the spelling of Katy to end with a Y. Why indeed because my mother put K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E on my birth certificate so according to the government that is my name.
In the front yard of my house is a tree whose branches I know as steps to a ladder. Looking straight up the sky becomes a mosaic where brown boarders frame various hues of green. It is a church of its own to the faithful. The patch of bark raw from my clumsy climbing feet is the welcome mat of an old friend.
Being outside, some distance away, the sounds of the storm from inside is muffled. Turbulent waters can calm suddenly sometimes. Think gently shaking water surface beneath the rolling dark grey clouds.
One tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air in a single day, think of a heavy morning fog wrapped around you, think of shelter from the sun, shelter from a storm.
Rei continues to paddle us far ahead of the others. She pays no heed to the pace of Fort-he. He warns her that the canoe will flip. At several points we nearly crash into a log and he yells “Left Left!” or “Right Right!”
Suddenly it’s a tree that stretches across half the river with it’s web like branches. Long stick limbs like fingers stretch across the river and reach out from under water for us. The water itself had suddenly picked up speed and it all happens too fast. Fort-he is yelling and I fumble with my umbrella reaching for my paddle. Too late. The boat flips and we are in the water. I feel my umbrella pressed against my back as the half turned boat is before us is held tight in the might trees grip. I can see it being pulled further into that branchy web by the force of the current. Fort-he grabs the boat and stops it from being pulled in further with the panic strength of he-man on adrenaline. Rei does the same with silent determination and concentration. All this as I hold my twisted tea in the air and grab the cooler. Booze first you know. I’m quickly handed their two paddles. “Hold these they cost money!” I am told. I step back away from the battle. I am the keeper of items, our valuable treasure. I suppose my ability to maintain my umbrella, beer, and save the cooler proved my place on the team.
“We’re missing a paddle!” I inform them.
Much to my horror I realize the current is stronger there at the tree. Both Rei and Fort-he are being pulled into the branches with the sinking canoe. They are literally within the web of sticks and twigs getting sucked in deeper by the second.
Help arrives in the form of a well experienced father daughter team. The girl may be a teenager but they both seem to have done this before so we welcome the assistance. They walk right into the web of branches showing no fear. They grab the boat and help begin to pull it out of the monsters grip.
My paddle is found and it is handed to me. I am holding a large stack of things at this point standing right in the middle of the river as other canoes float past me. Someone yells to me that I am doing the most important job. I simply smile with gritted teeth for all the stuff I am holding requires balance to maintain.
They all work together and the canoe comes forward slowly but surely. I am handed another paddle. This is a forth paddle with a green end and a lighter wooden handle. “What?” It was found from within the beast. I suppose it was our prize for conquering the thing. Rei and Fort-he had lost their beers but nothing else was lost. A new paddle gained seemed quite a triumph in my eyes.
It took us a while to get back on the river. Much thanks to our family team saviors. Rei is focuses her energy into paddling and I help this time with the cool new paddle. In no time at all we have caught up with the others who had passed us during the chaos
I cannot think of anything that happened on Tuesday so my only conclusion can be that nothing happened on Tuesday at all. Twas a negative void in all the universe in which nothing occurred and some vast intergalactic being gained so so many days from living creatures that he added onto his own life certain immortality. This unknown supreme being stole everyone’s Tuesday and thanks to it shall eventually out live the universe itself. His curse shall be to sit alone and bored in the leftovers of all that was; cosmic stew and space decay shall stain his sneakers a nasty yellow brown.
Weaving past bored children and excited grandparents we go around the corner to be confronted by a giant smokey the bear. This bear is clearly hand made. Something in his face is off which gives you an uneasy feeling. Like who is this deformed imposter pretending to be smokey the bear?! The worst thing of all was the draw string mouth of obvious puppeteering. The voice of the bear was coming from the very obvious speaker near by. This was the most average voice of the most average guy I have ever heard. He must be an OSU student perhaps volunteering because it looks good on the resume. Anyway I was going to pose for a picture in front of the plastic monstrosity when the voice begins to directly address one of the children passing by.
How does Satan know his name? I wonder. I watch in horrified amusement with less shame than looking at a car accident. I have no idea where the voice is coming from, which I will give them credit for. However the receiving mic seemed to be faulty. The giant fake bear of evil and doom asked the child “What’s your favorite part of the fair so far Brian?” The little boy nervously began to answer and midway through speaking the bear yells “That’s great I liked that too!” Obviously the bear truly did not hear him. Smokey the bear is a liar and a fraud! I no longer desired any sort of photo with the creature. We moved on. The blind and deaf the beast was being fed information. The false profit knew nothing of our coming and going. It appeared that he only ate children’s souls so we easily escaped unharmed.
Back out we walked into the rain like entering another world. This world was wet cold and harsh. People were clumsy and drunk out here. They are the stragglers and stumblers left over from other locations who finally yelled out last call like a night bell ringing out over the town. Greencoat decided he wanted some Late Night Slice pizza. This is the cool pizza place that projects movies onto the wall. I’ve been wanting to hang out there and watch a movie for some time but I realized on Friday at least the play music so you couldn’t hear the movie if you wanted. None the less I’d still been wanting to try their pizza. I ended up buying a piece of cheese and garlic and yes it was delicious. I really want to try their spicy so I may have to make a meat exception in the near future. Here Rei got pissed about something and reached the point of yelling. I just sat inside out of the rain and ate my pizza peacefully. That food was too yummy to worry about her passing grump moment.
We walked back to the car as the rain became a genuine downpour. It took a moment to find because I’d had to park somewhere out of the normal. There in the steady shower of rain. With my feet and shoes getting soaked completely through, It was like walking across a bathtub this steady even layer of ground water, there was my car baconator with a ticket on the window. A soaked through piece of paper. A slushy bit of parchment and ink. $40 when I’d just spent the evening using a credit card. My bank account held but a mere $12.
I saw a lot of fancy nice designer clothes. I saw a million well put together outfits. I saw yuppies and yacht owners.
I saw homeless and stinky.
I saw tourists walking around with wide eyes and cameras at the ready.
I saw families. I saw couples of every possible sort. I saw a million dogs many of them small and so damn cute. Apparently one of the custard shops on High Street was giving out free plain custard with a dog bone to any dog for free this day.
I saw furies. I saw a bunch of full on dog costume people with masks, tails and collars. There were actually a lot of them.
I saw people and children wearing fairy wings.
I saw Drag Queens in beautiful gowns.
I saw organizations which had all their people wearing the same color shirt. Some slogan was printed across I’m sure it said who they were and what they did but I never saw close enough to know what that was. There were at least three different shirts out there a dozen or so being within each pack.
I saw a large group of girls dressed as airline stewardesses. I believe they were handing out flyers for something maybe?
I saw a group of five skate boarders all ride down the street. In unison they kicked off down the road at full speed basically keeping up with the cars who were trapped in the busy High Street stop and go.
And all along the sidewalk you could find tables selling local art, handcrafted jewelry, printed T-shirts, organic goods and more. Many corners featured fantastic musicians playing for money and dressed in their own cool ass style.
When I was off I was off. YHA was set to play at 10:30 at Kafe Kerouac which is on High Street. I walked as fast as I could. I dodged and bobbed in-between the sea of human beings. I squeezed through and I excused. I hurried and scurried. I ran across green light roads. All the while I ignored the pain in my legs and feet.
My alarm went off and I hit snooze. I’d meant for a little more sleep however the excitement of the day sprung upon me like a cup of hot coffee dropped in your lap. My blood was pumping with excitement it flowed static with kinetic energy. I couldn’t sit there a moment longer let alone sleep.
And there was Neil Gaiman the ineffably cool best selling author who I’d been reading since I was a teenager. Someone who’s work I really respect and admire.
He was going through the stack of books fairly quickly people were just sort of breezing past him and I thought to myself; you have to say something to him. Don’t just breeze by say something. And so he came to my books and I opened my mouth a out spilled words like I’d been choking on water. I spoke very quickly I told him I really love all his work and comic books and everything and I’d been reading his stuff for a really long time and I think he’s just great. I said it in one massive slur that he probably did not even understand.
Then something surprising happened. He stopped what he was doing and looked up at me. His hand stopped moving mid signature and he seemed to be genuinely noticing my existence.
I handed him my Melancholy Evil Poptart and I told him; “This is a stupid webcomic I did and at least I can say I gave it to you.” He looked at it and said “Now what is this?” He asked me a question and I had to explain. I told him it started as a comic book in middle school me and my friends passed around and now this is about us all grown up and him trying to find meaning in life. I warned him that it was really depressing. He looked at the cover and said “I’ll read this… Melancholy Evil Poptart” He seemed to find humor in the title. He shook my hand. He fucking shook my hand and I felt far more acknowledgement than I’d ever expected from going to this event.
Mel-Dog was really excited to see this last band unfortunately the lack of food, sleep, walking constantly, lack of water and having not partook in so long caught up with me. I started feeling really dizzy. I was getting super light headed and felt like I was swaying on my feet. I told myself not to. I told myself not to ruin everything by being that girl who passes out. I really didn’t want to but I must admit I have passed out several times in my life and I suppose something I’m prone to do. The world began to go black and white and I was numb every where but a flush of heat across head. I was falling backward and I said quickly “I have to sit down.”
They sat down with me instantly concerned as I was instantly humiliated and mad at myself. It felt like dehydration and I think to myself “Damnit, this is what you get for all those times you deliberately dehydrated yourself to stay trashed longer. This is karma for treating your body like that.” I’m not willing to accept that I’m getting too old for fun however I will acknowledge a need to eat better, sleep more and drink more water.
So we sit there and we can hear Mel’s band and I feel really bad that we can’t be standing up listening. We sit in a circle and I drink a Gatorade, and nearly two bottles of water. I drink all that but my head is still swimming and my mouth is still dry.
I feel a little nauseous but I’m less dizzy when we decide fight to get up and see the band. Next thing I know I’m following Mel through a thick sea of humans. We are weaving through them like a tight labyrinth maze. We stand to the side because Mel knows some guy in the band. I think he says Hi to us in passing, or maybe he stopped to talk to her.